Walking through a freshly opened Gander Mountain store a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but be guffawed at the sheer number of firearms available for purchase and fondling. They had almost everything you could think of in civilian armament. Almost. However, it also occurred to me that they had something else, too. A whole lot of useless guns. Sure, when it comes down to it, every gun that fires can be used. But consider these questions, and consider that “at the firing range” or “to look at” are not acceptable answers for my argument here:
- How would I use this?
- Where would I use this?
- When would I use this?
So that this isn’t construed as a slam on Gander Mountain, I will say that I did not in fact see all of these there. Some, however, I did. This article and list is about the guns, as always, and has nothing to do with Gander Mountain, or their quality as a retailer or the quality of their products. It has everything to do with these five guns being absolutely useless novelties in the world of civilian firearms. Not to be copying Letterman, either, this list will begin with number 1, and list them in no particular order of ranking:
1 – Gold plated Desert Eagle .50 – “Wow, it weighs only like 50 pounds and it’s covered with shiny yellow crap? Sign me up!” Um, sorry, Mr. T., but no. This thing finds its best use as a bludgeon after you run out of money to buy its absurdly expensive ammo. And who needs a gold-plated bludgeon?
2 – FN P90 – Ok, so I suppose you can use this as a home defense carbine, but really, why? Its 5.7x28mm cartridge is inferior to the .223 ballistically, is harder to find, and more expensive. You can, however, squirt a lot of it out in a hurry, thereby lighting a $100 bill on fire. There was an episode of “CSI” in which the P90 was featured. They portrayed it as the ultimate high rate of fire weapon that civilians should not own, and stated that they couldn’t be found in the U.S., nor could the ammo be purchased. Both statements (which of course helped lead to solving the case) were total crap, as was its rate of fire in the civilian semi-auto version. Semi-auto is semi-auto. The speed is limited by how fast you can wiggle your finger, just like with any other civilian weapon. Regardless, the gun controllers just love this one and think it’s scary as hell. Maybe it is useful after all.
3 – Pink Taurus Judge? [By Jason] – While I was visiting the new Gander Mountain in Florence, Alabama, I saw an adult-sized “Honey-boo-boo” caricature raving to her Bama clad family, “They got the pink judge baby! Can you believe it honey?! I gotta get it, it’s pink and it’s THE Judge!” She went on and on and on. Her husband was equally impressed. Here is a story that I tend to agree with: The Taurus Judge Is Just Not Very Good. I used to want one when I first saw it, but realized how pretty much anyone would be better served with something else.
[Back to Jeremy] — I do see value in the versatility of the Judge. I think it could be a decent camping companion. Do I think it would be better at that than my S&W Model 60? No. Plus, the Judge also has numerous limitations, is oddly shaped, poorly balanced, and frankly ugly. The pink “HBB” model, however, made me leave it on this list without hesitation.
4 – Beretta Bobcat in .25ACP – Really, anything chambered in .25ACP could be in this list. Ever hear of a Raven? Horrible. Perhaps I should list it instead? But no, the Bobcat is more famous. In fact, it’s a fine pocket gun in itself. I like the design (mostly) and find them comfortable. But if you want one for whatever reason then get the .22LR model! The .25 is so vastly underpowered it’s pathetic. You’d be better served almost by putting your finger through the trigger guard, gripping firmly, and using the gun like brass knuckles. Better yet, pay a few bucks more and get the Tomcat model in .32ACP, which is a reasonable cartridge for super close range self defense.
5 – North American Arms .22 short Mini Revolver – Again, here it’s more the chambering than the gun itself. While the NAA mini is almost too small for anyone over 10 to comfortably hold, it is a nicely reliable weapon. The problems arise in three areas. First, the single action operation in such a tiny, hard to grasp package makes it nearly impossible to cock the hammer between each shot, or at least to do it with any speed that would resemble self defense firing rate. Being that it’s designed as a pocket gun for ultimate concealability of defense, this isn’t a good thing. Second, the exposed trigger – no guard – just makes me uneasy about it. Third, and most importantly, is the .22 short cartridge. It’s the only thing possibly worse for defense than the .25acp. Just spit in your attacker’s eye and try to run away. You’ll get farther than when shooting them with a .22 short.
So these may be my Top Five Useless Guns, but there are plenty more to choose from. Notice the trends above, though: too big and heavy, too under-powered, too ridiculous to be practical, too “I want to be everything” to find itself able to be anything. Look for these qualities to avoid when selecting your own weapons, and remember, just because you think it’s cool doesn’t mean you’ll find it useful for anything other than looking at.
Have suggestions to add to the list? Leave a comment below and tell us what it is and why. We’d love to hear from you!