Monday, August 17, 2009

Killer Handguns

by Ben Small

So... what if your perp or protag’s got money and wants the best shooter he can buy? Handguns, that is... Where would he go, what would he carry?

We’re talking high end, here.*

Consider Ed Brown.

Ed's top 'o the line. Some models, you can wear Baby on a large link silver chain. Maybe Sean Combs will adopt you...

But let's be fair. Ed's designed and produced so many improvements to John Moses Browning's 1911 model .45 acp caliber pistol, they bear his name. Other manufacturers of high end pistols buy these parts from Ed. What does that say...?

Cost? These pistols will set you back twenty-five to thirty-five hundred dollars, maybe more. But many gunners consider Ed Brown pistols the absolute best. If your guy knows much about guns, he'll know about Ed Brown.

Not that there aren't others at Brown's level...

Take Les Baer, for instance. Cops think Les Baer pistols are the holy grail. Only Les, to my knowledge, offers models guaranteed to shoot a half inch, five shot grouping at fifty yards.

Yeah, Wild Bill Hickok shot Davis Tutt with a .32 caliber revolver at an estimated distance of seventy-five yards. Through the heart. But Wild Bill was lucky. Bet'cha he couldn't have made that shot twice, back-to-back.

No sweat for a Baer... assuming the shooter is up to it.

Other knowledgeable gunners will argue for Wilson Combat (, or -- God forbid! -- Nighthawk Custom (

Why the drama? Because the principal behind Nighthawk Custom used to be one of Wilson's top men, maybe his best gunsmith. Some folks left with him.

And they're all in Berryville, AR...

Think Hatfields and McCoys. Small town. Arkansas. Two top-end gun manufacturers who don't like each other -- bigtime. I sometimes wonder if Christmas trees cause all the late December Berryville flashing lights. Do Christmas trees shoot back?

Okay, so I made up the Berryville shootings. Let's just say the town is divided... Can you imagine the stress associated with addressing Christmas party invitations? Sorta Wallenda-like, huh?

Some other high-end pistol matters to consider...

You don't get handgun accuracy and reliability without two things: tight tolerances and lots of gun oil. The pistols I've mentioned are high precision instruments. So, if you're gonna drape your Ed Brown Baby on a large silver chain... wear black. Baby leaves stains. And try racking the slide on one of those Les-Baer-fifty-yard-guaranteed pistols. You better be Stallone or bring a weighty wrench.

These pistols break-in after a while, but they will certainly be wet and tight at first. How much so may be a way to age your perp/protag's preferred pistol to your preference. Go to these websites, look at the descriptions. Sprinkle details like blown snowflakes. But realize, these pistols will never be as loose as a Glock, a Sig or a Beretta. And that point alone makes them good story fodder...

We're talking different leagues, here. Think Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Elkart College.

Of course, each of these manufacturers has a fan base, indeed a well-heeled -- get it? -- and knowledgeable one. And if somebody ever says they'd prefer a Springfield Loaded over one of these pistols, just laugh at them. Chances are they're masking desire... for adequacy. Sure, most pistols are better than their shooters, but for those who can afford them, nothing beats the Browns, the Baers, the Wilson Combats and the Nighthawk Customs.

Sorta like the Rolexes and Patek Phillipes -- handgun category. But these artful machines... are American.

Perp, protag: Pick your pistols.

Me, I want a Nighthawk Custom Predator.


Because... That's all. I just want one.

Yeah, and I want a Gulfstream, too...

But a comment: You've probably realized that women might not like these guns. First, there's the caliber, not one typically enjoyed by women. Second, the oil -- gooey. Ruins the Hermes. Third, they're big. Just try fitting Baby in your purse. Yes, they make smaller versions, for Concealed Carry, for instance, but they're still big... and heavy. Consider a roller purse... Finally, a woman needs the arm strength of a pre-Reagan, East German shotputter to rack these slides. I'd give a dime to see Kyra Sedgewick try it.

Now here's a weapon a woman might like...

The Pink Lady, by Charter Arms.

The gun's not expensive, and sales are going through the roof. .38 Special +P, a good caliber and load. A taste thing, me thinks. Or maybe their hubbies thought they'd like one. Men sometimes have no clue, do they...?And they make one in lavender.

Shhh... Please. Please don't tell Venice Beach. Don't think I can handle pix of lavender pistols in pink thongs...

And don't put your purse where your kids can get it.


* Many folks, me included, think the Sig Sauer P-210 is the finest production handgun ever made. And Sig Sauer P-210s are as or more expensive than the gun manufacturers' products discussed here. The reason I didn't mention the P-210 in the main article body is... they're no longer in production. I've seen some advertised at twenty-five thousand dollars. Engraved, carved rosewood grips. The P-210 I've got is plain, much cheaper, with just the non-carved rosewood grips. Same gun, just fancier trimmings on the other one. But mine is good enough for me. Its tolerances are as tight as the other high-end guns above, and it's not a joy to rack. If you grip it high, its hammer will bite you. But then... Ed Brown's got a cure for that, too.

The Sig P-210 hits what it's shot at, dead-center... every time.

And that's the most important of all.

Say goodbye, Davis Tutt. I've got my Sig in my Speedo....


Jean Henry Mead said...

Ben, the pink lady is great for close proximity but what do you recommend for killing rattlesnakes? :)

Ben Small said...

Taurus The Judge, a handgun that shoots either a .410 shotgun shell of a .45 LC. Effective against slithering or multi-leathered critters. I've got one, and love it. Google it and see a remarkable video. For snakes, I'd use "snake-shot," not buckshot. Federal makes cartridges for them. YOu can get them with a cylinder that accepts either 2 1/2 inch or 3 inch shells. Either works but I heart the 3 inch version, their new one. I've got the 2 1/2 version.

Bond Arms also makes the same thing, but in a two-shot Derringer version. I've got one of them too. They work but only hold two shells. The model I have is the SmakeSlayer IV.

Both are beautiful guns, and the Taurus will certainly get attention if you wear it on your hip. The Bond Arms Derringer, you can carry in your purse if you get a Concealed Carry permit.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Ben. Do you think the rattlers will be intimidated if I wear the Taurus on my hip? :) I already have a pair of snake chaps just in case I miss.

Ben Small said...

Everybody will be intimidated if you wear The Judge on your hip. And you will not see the snakes again. I wear mine on the trails.

About rattlers... my boot maker, one of the best in the country, the guy who makes boots for Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds and many other so-called Manly Men, says a rattler's fangs will go through most leather. But not mule skin or something like that, the heavy stuff. But he said most people don't want boots like that, because they're not comfortable. Suspect your chaps are heavy leather. If ever in Tucson, you might want to go see this guy. Stewart's Boots. He's
been in business forever, and believe it or not, his boots are not as expensive as one would think. Most are priced about the same as you'd find in Western stores, just fitted exactly to your foot. When one wears a size 16 AAA boot like me, with orthopedic problems, such things make a huge difference.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I would love to have a pair of boots made to order. Thanks for the recommendation. And btw, the flared chaps are made of plastic padded with cardboard or some other material that is supposed to
keep the snake from biting through to the skin. I hope I never have to find out whether they're effective.

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