1. M1911 – The power of its .45 ACP chambering, the speed of its single-action trigger, and its unmatched reliability put the M1911 at the top of my list. In the last century it has never been equaled, much less bettered.
2. Mauser C96 Broomhandle – What the C96 lacks in elegance, it more than makes up for in utility and adaptability. For almost half-a-century, it was the world's most widely used military semi-automatic pistol.
3. Volcanic Pistol – It is an oddity, but its importance transcends the class of handguns. Its metallic-cartridge design makes the Volcanic not just a significant handgun, but a significant firearm.
4. Thompson/Center Contender – With its unique switch-barrel system, this handgun is incredibly versatile. More than that, since it is strong enough to take rifle-caliber cartridges, the Contender has transformed our ideas about handgun power, accuracy and range. It changed handgun hunting from a novelty to a serious pursuit.
5. Smith & Wesson Model 10 – Rugged yet well made, reliable, easy to shoot and accurate, the S&W Model 10 is the gold standard by which all other modern center-fire revolvers for service and sport are judged.
6. Walther PP – With its PP, Walther brought the simplicity and safety of the double-action trigger to the world of semi-automatic handguns. But the PP is more than a landmark technical achievement, it is a beautiful and well-made firearm.
7. Smith & Wesson Airweight – Developing an aluminum-framed revolver powerful enough for self-defense is no mean feat. Many tried, but S&W was the first to succeed. The result was a carry revolver that was as light as it was compact.
8. H&K P7 – Slim, lightweight and compact, the P7 was the realization of a dream, a semi-automatic pistol that was as simple and easy to operate as a revolver. With its frame free of buttons and levers, it is the ultimate carry pistol.
9. Smith & Wesson Model 29 – Power is the watchword of the S&W Model 29. For decades, revolver enthusiasts dreamt of a powerful and accurate long-range wheelgun, and the S&W Model 29 was the realization of that dream.
10. Luger P-08 – At the beginning of the 20th Century, the Luger was something unique - an elegant and ergonomically sound semi-automatic pistol powerful and reliable enough for military use. The beauty of its lines and the ergonomic perfection of its raked grip frame cry out "Pick me up and shoot me, and never let me go."