I’ve been fortunate, and let’s face it, driven, to have shot everything on this list. Really so can you, it isn’t too hard if that’s what you want to do. I’m a guy who LOVES shooting guns I don’t have prior experience with. Still I must say I have my own feelings on each.
#10. Mauser 98 : I’ve shot a ton of variants on the Mauser K98, from the more basic Yugos, to German issue guns, to the 1908 Springfield. Yeah, they’re nice, but honestly when it comes to military surplus guns, the ones I’m more impressed with are the Enfields for the slick cock-on-closing design, and the general advanced nature of them. The Brits were one of the few major superpowers to hold onto their bolt-guns for the longest time because really the Enfield held up. They didn’t dump it until the Full-auto FAL came around, and even then they took out the auto-sear before issuing them.
Also I love the Mosin Nagant because it is SO crude, yet still works well enough. Shows that the Russians were really only for issuing guns “Just good enough” to their soldiers. Also Mosin Nagants are so dirt cheap, even with current prices, it’s so easy to own a piece of history for short money.
#9. M1 Garand: Yeah they’re cool, and really cool when you consider when these guns were state-of-the-art the other forces were still manually turning the bolts on their rifles. Still loading them is a dangerous proposition with M1 Thumb being something most have heard about, and many have felt first-hand. They need to use lower-power ammo or they’ll bend the op-rod, and they’re DAMN heavy. Still everybody SHOULD shoot one just to enjoy the great sights, the minor recoil and that great PING as the clip gets ejected.
#8. Self Loading Bullpup (Any): Or not! When I was just a non-gun owner who just READ about guns a lot I LOVED bullpups. Short rifle, long barrel, it was the real-life equivalent of the D&D Min/Maxing Munchkin. Then I shot one. Most have bad triggers, and horrible ergonomics. Many are dangerous to shoot left-handed or if you have a head separation with your ammo. Also there is just NO good way to stuff a magazine into your armpit!
#7. A Good 1911: OK, yeah awesome! Still unless you have shot a few BAD 1911s, and a bunch of decent ones, you might not understand what a masterfully fitted 1911 is. Also some really good builds are tight to the point of fault having them jam when they shouldn’t, and making operating them and dissembling them difficult. I will someday own a really tricked out super-expensive hand-fitted 1911, but until I get to that point in my life, I’m really happy with my decently made S&W guns that are mass-produced and filled with MIM parts.
#6. M16 Yeah, they’re pretty awesome. An M16 was the second full-auto gun I ever fired. More on that later.
#5. H&K MP5: I honestly don’t get the appeal of H&Ks. They’re overly complicated, crazy expensive, and really not THAT impressive in the end. How about you repeat the above and see if you can shoot an M16 SMG in 9mm. You’ll like it better, trust me!
#4. A Big Bore Revolver: Yeah, I love big bore revolvers, from what has become the pedestrian 629, to crazy guns like the Ruger Alaskan and the S&W X-Frame guns. Never shot a S&W329 which is the 629 but with a scandium frame. They kind of scare me. Also another one to add to this is any subcompact lightweight .357. You’ll know your form is awesome the moment the shot breaks!
#3. Something Belt-Fed: The first gun I ever shot was a 1919 in 7.62×51. It was cool, and if you think a mag-dump from a 30-round AR mag is awesome, try dumping a 50 or 100 round belt from one of these monsters. Still it kills your wallet, and unless its one of the interesting AR-15/M16 mods, most belt-feds are big clunky things, which don’t interest me as much. Awesome if you’re setting up a perimeter against enemy assault, but for fun-on-the-range, I prefer other things.
#2. A Select-Fire AK47: Meh. they’re REALLY heavy for what they are, and they kick a LOT more than say an M16. Ergonomics suck, sights suck, meh.
#1. A Suppressed Bolt-Action .22lr Rifle Most of the noise from shooting a suppressed sub-sonic gun is the action cycling. Sending lead down range from a gun with a manual action with your ears off is REALLY cool. You hear the birds chirping and all the sounds you normally hear when you’re not shooting. Then *Pop* the round exits the barrel, and you can hear the round impact the backstop downrange. If it’s a .22 or some other gun where you can also get super-sonic loadings, make sure to send a few of those down range too, the sonic boom traveling down range creates a Doppler effect.
I’m very pleased I’ve shot a variant of all of these, and while I don’t agree, it’s a fun article.