Top Five New Old Guns

A new old gun is a recently manufactured gun that draws on an old design. Sometimes, old designs stand the test of time and undergo only slight modifications as manufacturing and technology improve over time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Modern firearms based on relatively new and innovative designs are great. But frankly, I find it amazing how many modern guns are based on decades-old designs. Let’s look at some modern renditions of old designs. Many examples of new old guns exist, but here are my top five.

Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:

1. Hideout Gun

You could categorize a few of the guns mentioned here as hideout guns, but I’m talking about a gun that is really small — small enough to hide in a boot, up a sleeve, in a hat or in virtually any pocket.

This North American Arms Black Widow is chambered in .22 Magnum or .22 LR, depending on which cylinder is inserted into the frame. The gun is 5.88 inches long and has a 2-inch barrel. It is only 1 inch wide (because of the cylinder) and weighs only 8.9 ounces.

This is a very small gun. It is single-action only and has no external safety, which is very old-school but still very safe when used properly. The Black Widow is a reliable, durable gun. The one you see here is equipped with a laser sighting system (not that you’re going to be shooting at great distances, but it does help even with short-range shots).

***Shop for a Black Widow on GunsAmerica***

2. Derringer

The derringer name and the guns it represents have a long history. I am using it here to describe a familiar category of guns employing very low ammo capacity and relatively small size. A derringer could be but is not necessarily a hideout gun.

The Bond Arms Patriot you see here is chambered for .45 Colt and .410 shotshells. The overall length is 5 inches, and the barrel is 3 inches long. It weighs 21.5 ounces. Other than the simple sights and rosewood handles, there is not much else to it. It is solid, robust and exceptionally durable, and it fills your hand with virtually the same girth as a snub-nosed revolver.

With either or both .45 Colt and .410 shotshells on board, you have a very unique capability to deliver rounds or shot to a target. Some regard a gun and ammo combo such as this as a good option for defensive carry when in a vehicle because you can deliver a one-two punch: a blast of shot followed by a big bullet. Like the Black Widow, the Patriot is a single-action gun but has a cross-bolt safety on the frame.

***Shop for a Bond Arms Patriot on GunsAmerica***

3. Snub-Nosed Revolver

Revolvers have, of course, been around a long time and yet continue to be modernized, innovated and engineered according to the highest standards in modern manufacturing.

While some revolvers are available in lightweight metals such as aluminum and other exotic materials, the value of a steel-framed revolver, such as this Taurus 850, is hard to beat. It is a double-action only .357 Magnum, which means it can fire both .357 Magnum and .38 Special rounds. The rubber pebble grip and steel frame absorb recoil very well.

With a smooth trigger action and the familiar unloading and reloading of the five-shot cylinder, you will find yourself carrying this well-known classic more often than not. The bottom line is that the Taurus 850 is simple and effective with scores of accessories and ammo choices available.

***Shop for a Taurus 850 on GunsAmerica***

4. Auto-Loading Pistol

Auto-loading pistols have a long and storied history both in America and overseas, and I was hard-pressed to consider other contenders in this new/old category. But I landed on this Colt Defender 1911, a thoroughly modern rendition of the basic 1911 design. The design is over 100 years old and is still produced by several manufacturers today.

Colt, of course, still makes 1911s, and the aluminum-framed Defender you see here is a lightweight gun offering up a shooting experience that certainly provides some kick. In fact, you would grow weary of it were it not for the excellent rubber grips with the finger grooves — a feature which significantly increases purchase and control.

New 1911s (whether in Government, Commander, or Officer size) are marvels of design, not because of a good set of grips, but because the old, original 1911s are also marvels of design. But new ones are better. They are more reliable and durable and are easier to shoot. And they are easy to accessorize and customize too.

***Shop for a Colt Defender 1911 on GunsAmerica***

5. Lever-Action Rifle

A lever-action rifle exudes a classic look and feel. Its unique action has distinct rules, tricks and sounds. With a little practice, what seems like a complex maneuver to eject a spent round and chamber a new one becomes a confident, fast action.

The Big Horn Armory Model 89 you see here looks old school but has been manufactured using the latest CNC technology. Not only is the gun precision-machined, but the 17-4 stainless steel is also properly hardened. A recoil pad takes out some of the recoil, and the adjustable sights allow you to fine-tune your aim. The gun you see here is chambered in .500 S&W Magnum, a modern hunting cartridge firing bullets from 300 to 500 grains.

***Shop for a Lever Action Rifle on GunsAmerica***


As I said, there are many other new old guns out there in a variety of categories. Let us know what your favorites are — and why — in the comments below.

About the Author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

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About the author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Christian Ranslam February 12, 2019, 3:41 pm

    75″ is a little over 6 feet champ.

  • MeeesterPaul June 15, 2018, 12:01 pm

    No mention of single action revolvers?

  • james stoltz June 8, 2018, 7:35 am

    i bought three henry rifles a .22 golden boy and a regular .22 and .45 long col.all three receive compliments at the range.the only thing that tops their looks and accuracy is the company itself. i hand dropped the golden boy butt first and broke the stock and damaged the brassard i contacted henry rifles to explain and get the price for a new stock they told me not to worry they would replace the part for free.when the gun was returned it was in a new box with a manual like it was new.i had also sent my gun in for repair and when it was returned again it was in a new box with manual and a handwritten explanation on the repair and the type of scope used and at what distance. also they me a $10.00 coffee mug and the total bill was NO CHARE AT ALL not even shipping.this is the best company and the finest gun i have ever seen or shot. if you have ever had to send your gun back you understand.

  • Jerry S. April 29, 2018, 10:29 am

    I would love to have that Big Horn Armory .500 Smith…..but alas I have lost my sight in one eye and have never been able to shoot left handed, so I guess I will have to dream.

  • FirstStateMark April 29, 2018, 9:56 am

    I like my S&W 642 air weight that can handle .38+P.

  • Leonard Feinman April 27, 2018, 7:06 pm

    I currently own a S&W Model 13 with a 3″ bbl. Round butt. I got it in the 70’s and was told it was a limited run for the FBI. Now I see it has made a comeback.
    Another gun I wish I still had was my 6″ Colt Python. Both guns had sweet triggers, but the python was consistent in hitting a target at 75 feet double action.
    They don’t build them like they used to. Now, everybody wants a 9 mm pistol. They don’t think about accuracy and power as much as they like to spray bullets.

    • Scotty Gunn April 28, 2018, 1:23 pm

      I own quite a few 9mm handguns . Every one of them will drive tacks. Not only can i hit the target at 75″ (25 yards) but I hit the center.

  • Phil April 27, 2018, 9:08 am

    I own 2 rifles: a Ruger 10/22 modified to look like an M1 Carbine and a Henry Lever Action Frontier Edition. The Henry is my favorite to shoot and I always get comments from other shooter at the range complimenting me on it. Every one who shoots (including a former Marine I shoot with) loves it. I think well all have a Cowboy fantasy.

  • srsquidizen April 27, 2018, 7:46 am

    “find it amazing how many modern guns are based on decades-old designs”

    Can’t think of many popular civilian guns that are not based on a decades-old design. The AR15 dates back to the 1950’s. Glocks and similar handguns since the 1980’s. Not many revolvers vary a whole lot from classic designs aside from the Chiappa Rhino. IMO the most old-school “new” guns are muzzle-loaders. which have been updated to use more advanced sights, bullets, propellants etc. As long as you just need one shot some of them are very effective hunting rifles even by modern standards, but by law they can’t vary too much from their design roots and still remain “obsolete” under NFA.

  • Ron Riddle April 27, 2018, 6:17 am

    One minor correction: the 850 is 38 +p only. The 650 is the 357.

  • Norm April 27, 2018, 3:03 am

    Years ago, I bought a Rossi SS 5-round .357mag 2-inch revolver. Years later, I sold it to a friend before that act was illegal. I still regret selling it for near the purchase price of $300. That gun was my prize, and I intend to get a copy of it ASAP. I know, I know-Taurus, Smith & Wesson & Ruger have similar, but for more dollars and not much higher quality IMHO.

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