Top Ten Guns To Shoot Before You Die

I have been fortunate enough to shoot many, many different firearms over the course of my life. While I have enjoyed most, a precious few have made their way into my heart as towering giants that provide an unparallelled shooting experience that is meant to be savored and appreciated. Know this; this list is nothing more than one man’s meandering opinion on ten firearms that everyone should give a try to maximize enjoyment in marksmanship and to better appreciate firearms technology.

10. Mauser 98


I have called the Mauser 98 the perfect rifle. Everything about them is just excellent and the parts work together in perfect harmony to drive lead downrange. The rifles are strong, easy to shoot, clean, train with, and are as reliable as a toaster, but the 98 makes it to number 10 simply because a bolt action rifle will only entertain many shooters for so long. The trend these days is towards self loading firearms and it is easy (and embarrassing) that many members of my generation will forego the Mauser shooting experience in favor a hod-rodded semi automatic… not that there is anything wrong with that either.

9. M1 Garand


Ah, the venerable M1 “Garand” rifle. A symbol of American might, innovation, and pride… that was invented by a Canadian. Nonetheless the Garand served the USA valiantly for over twenty years as a main service rifle, and the United States Civilian Marksmanship Program offers the ability to have one shipped right to your door if you meet a set of qualifications. In my humble opinion if you have not taken advantage of the CMP, you should do so! The Garand honestly does provide a marksmanship experience like no other. When you get behind a Garand, you have eight rounds of heavy hitting 30-06 ammunition, and the firing of the famous last round results in a harmonious ping that always brings a smile to my face. Garands are incredibly accurate rifles, and even today are used in competitions across the USA, ranging from less formal bowling pin shoots, and up to Camp Perry.

8. Self Loading Bullpup (Any)


It seems like people either love bullpups or hate them. The only way to find out which side you are on is to pick one up and get some trigger time. There are several good options on the market right now; The AUG, TAVOR, PS90, FS2000, and more but the experience you get when shooting one of these firearms is unique to say the least. Are bullpups the future of small arms development? Some nations seem to think so, but other big players are hedging their bets on conventional layouts. Either way, give a bullpup a try!

7. A Good 1911


Alex’s Wilson.

There is a reason why 1911s have been around for over 100 years: People like the way they shoot. John Browning’s genius shows through his many designs that are still around and relevant today, and the 1911 is no exception. The crisp single action, grip angle, user friendliness, and safety of 1911 pistols have ensured that shooters have used them to fight wars, defend their homes, and win numerous competitions. It is not uncommon for a plastic-fantastic pistol owner to not understand why anyone would want a heavy, low capacity and dated pistol, but they need only shoot one to get why this amalgamation of parts come together in perfect harmony to provide a brilliant shooting experience.

6. M16


The author’s M16A1

The weapon that separated America from it’s love-affair with wooden stocks and .30 caliber cartridges. The M16 is an incredibly accurate rifle that borrows parts and concepts from other guns that came together spectacularly:

  • From the FAL it took the hinged receiver system allowing the rifle to be opened for cleaning
  • The ejection port cover is similar to that found on the German World War II-era StG44
  • The non-reciprocating charging handle was a relatively new concept
  • The bolt locking mechanism is similar to the M1941 Johnson rifle
  • The ejecting mechanism is similar to a Remington model 8’s
  • From the German FG42 and M1941 Johnson machine gun came the idea of straight-line stocks to reduce muzzle climb in fully automatic fire.

These factors contribute to the platform’s inherent accuracy. Stoner’s use of aluminum alloys and polymers combined with the aforementioned features borrowed from other designs culminated to create a new American rifle that was destined to hit the jungles of Vietnam. This new weapon was light, accurate, easy to field, ahead of its time, and loved by the soldiers who initially got their hands on it. Controllability on full auto is also amazing and it is easy to keep shots on target even when dumping a magazine:

5. H&K MP5


The MP5 is the gold-standard when it comes to SMGs. While closed bolt sub-guns were nothing new, the MP5 was the first to gain widespread acceptance (the Reising was a closed bolt SMG, but there isn’t much positive I have to say about mine). Until short 5.56 carbines became the norm, the MP5 was the gun of choice for military people in tight spaces, letter agencies, police, and even civilians who worked over HK94s. So many MP5s were sold, that Jim Schatz, a 20 year HK employee said that it was the only gun keeping the company afloat for a period of time.

The MP5 suppresses well, is accurate, easy to control, and light. If you could only ever choose one SMG to shoot, it should be an MP5:

4. A Big Bore Revolver


Do you feel lucky punk? If you own a nice Smith and Wesson Model 29, you should! Shooting a big bore revolver can be a bit painful to a noobie, but with some practice and instruction a revolver shooter can harness the power of a .44 Magnum and do some amazing things with it. I have seen my friend CJ nail 100 yard ringers over and over with his, and I know people who have taken plenty of game with one. It takes a while to get over the reflex to flinch when shooting a big bore revolver, but shooting one will make you feel as manly as can be. If you don’t have one or have a desire to own one, go to your local indoor range and see if they have a rental unit. It will be well worth your time and money!

3. Something Belt-Fed


I popped my belt-fed cherry on the M60 pictured above. A few years ago we had a company shoot where we rented the local indoor gun range and I asked a friend to bring out some stuff for my coworkers and I to play with. The big hit was definitely the pig:

It is hard to explain the experience of shooting a 30 cal machine gun that has little to no recoil but I can sum it up with one word: Awesome. Since then I have shot a 1919a4, Shrike, and I have an M2HB pending transfer. Having the ability to set the gun down on a tripod and burn through ammunition is an experience like no other, and I would definitely put a belt fed gun on your firearm bucket list!

2. A Select-Fire AK47


Anytime someone mentions that AKs are easy to control or shoot on full-auto, they are wrong. I have numerous select-fire full caliber rifles and the AK even gives experienced machine gun folks a hard time. In this video, my friend CJ and I tested my post-sample AK I built, and we felt battered by the thing:

That said, these rifles have been used in conflicts all across the globe and have more than proven themselves effective. To understand the doctrine of the AK, one needs to shoot on on fun-mode. While they will group minute-of-enemy on semi, the Soviet doctrine called for thousands of BMPs carrying hordes of angry Russian’s spraying their AKs towards those unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of the Soviet onslaught. While difficult to control on full auto, the experience is still enlightening and that is why I placed it at number 2 on the list.

1. A Suppressed Bolt-Action .22lr Rifle


Wait, what? A .22lr on the list, much less at number one?

Yes. Hell yes. Shooting a suppressed bolt action .22lr rifle has given me more joy than any of the above mentioned firearms. The accuracy of a good bolt-action 22lr such as my CZ 452 pictured above combined with a good optic will let you ring your target all day and affordably. A suppressor simply adds some more giggle-factor as your ringer is louder than the report of your rifle. I use my .22 for target practice and hunting small game primarily but I also use it to teach new shooters due to the simplicity and silence. With suppressor ownership becoming more mainstream, you now see folks everywhere with cans on their rifles, and in my opinion a suppressed .22 will provide you with just as much fun as high dollar NFA firearms.


Thank you for reading, if you have your own additions you think are essential, post below in the comments and I would love to read them!

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Mr. Fahrenheit

    Yes, my God, yes to a big bore revolver!

    The intimacy, the noise, the flash…Yes!

    Excuse me…I have to go to the bathroom for a moment…

  • Zachary marrs

    11, m1a1 carbine
    12, 1894 winchester
    13, p08 luger
    14, any sxs shotgun

    Thats really all I could add

    • Thracian Beast

      I would suggest an American-180 .22lr full auto (youtube it, for those that don’t know). And a MAC-11 in .380.

      • The mac 380s empty the magazine before you realize you’re enjoying the experience, ha ha.

        • Zachary marrs

          So do ppsh’s, those drum mags come in handy

        • Thracian Beast

          Hahaha true! But what an awesome BRAAAAAAAP it is.

        • That’s for sure!

    • Good additions!

    • I would agree to these additions!

  • stephen

    I have shot 2-10. As for a suppressed .22LR bolt gun? Thats kids stuff compared to 338 Lapua suppressed.

    BTW the funnest I have shot is a Mark19 (live rounds of course) = Awesome! Then again the RPG and LAW rockets were pretty fun too!

    • Patrick R

      The Mark 19 sure is fun, but not something I would deem worthy of the list. Yes mine were live HE rounds as well.

      338 Lapua with a suppressor would hardly be hearing safe. The thing that makes the .22 bolt gun fun with a suppressor is you can have a conversation while shooting. It also is the “gateway drug” into the NFA world.

  • USMC03Vet

    No shotgun, lever action, micro automatic, or muzzle loader?

    You cray.

    • kingghidorah

      Smoke and boom from a muzzy always turns heads at the range.

      • USMC03Vet

        That reaction when you start loading the kitchenware into the blunderbuss…

        • The technical term is Langrage: All the metal crap you can fit into your cannon to damage sails (or sailors) in a sea battle.

          Learned that one from Tam Keel, I did!

  • Rogier Velting

    Where’s the suppressed bolt gun firing a specialized subsonic big bore wildcat (so .510 Whisper or something like that)? 😛

    • Thracian Beast


  • Jeremy Star

    My local range has a real P90 for rent. I have a PS90, but I think for my birthday next year I will have my wife rent me the real one. I have wanted to shoot one ever since Stargate SG-1 started using them. Semi is fun, but I have to try the real fun switch!

  • st4

    No Thompson?!


    • YES! and an MP40 shot them both serious fun!

    • I have a Thompson and enjoy shooting it, but the experience is nowhere near that of an mp5!

      • Zachary marrs

        An mp5 will NEVER have the history of the Thompson. NEVER.

        • Frank L

          Die Hard, and many many other 80’s and 90’s action movies.
          Those have to count for something.

          • Zachary marrs

            Do they count for thousands of dead nazi’s, commies, and ija troops?

          • M

            No, but it is the SMG of choice since it’s inception and continues to be used in conflicts worldwide to this day. The amount of copies that are being made of the MP5 and the sheer number of countries that have adopted it, poor and rich, its simplicity and ease of bulk manufacture (it is a sheet metal gun after all) have made it the AK of SMGs. Oh, and of course there is the SAS storming the Iranian Embassy which made every gun enthusiast lust after those 6 pounds of German steel.


          • Zachary marrs

            Its a cheaply made stamped steel gun. Its nowhere near the elegance of a Thompson and what about us troops storming the Normandy beach head, Thompsons in hand? Shivering in the cold during the battle of the bulge?

            This is like saying the ak is better the m1 garand because lots of third world countries use it

          • M

            Never said anything was better or worse, just pointed out the MP5 has a significant history as well. Dont be so sensitive

          • iksnilol

            I will bite:

            MP5 still used and made, Thompson not being made or used anymore.

            I like the Thompson though, at least the older versions which fired so fast that they could penetrate improvised body armor.

          • Thompson is still available from Autoordnance, though production rates aren’t what they were. Pesky rules limit barrel length and full auto fire capability.

          • Patrick R

            You sound like a man that has never shot either of them. I have shot both of Alex’s multiple times and if given the choice, I will grab the MP5 every time.

          • Zachary marrs

            You sound like a man with an opinion, just like me.

            I guess since you have shot both of them, we should all just listen to you, as you are clearly an expert on what is more wothy to be shot.

            An I have shot both, ive actually shot the mp5 more, since it was cheaper, but I had a lot more fun with the Thompson

          • Patrick R

            Foremost, I am not an expert, just a guy that has shot both examples that the writer has.

            If you have shot both guns in a select fire configuration than you are in the minority of shooters. I personally only enjoyed the Thompson because of the historical significance. We even went do far as to drag several other WWII weapons out with it. I have not had the opportunity to shoot a Blish lock gun, only a M1A1. I may have a more enjoyable time behind a 1921 model gun.

            The MP5 is just an enjoyable shooting experience all around. There are a couple things I wasn’t too keen about the MP5, but overall I found it to be constructed much nicer than the Thompson (M1A1 specifically).

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

          • Zachary marrs

            Ahh, sorry if I came off as harsh.

            The blish block guns are fun as all hell. Ive never shot the m1a1, is it real choppy? The blish block felt nice and smooth, at least to me

          • Patrick R

            For a sub machine gun that is a heavy and large as it is, it kinda sucks. I would sat the word choppy describes the shooting experience pretty well. There are guns I like shooting less, but the M1A1 is not anywhere near the top of my list.

          • Zachary marrs

            For what I was at the time, it was great, I mean, way back when, the m1 carbine was one of the best guns you could get if you wanted a semi auto carbine until the ar15 started to come out on the market.

            Thats like saying the Kentucky rifle is a pos, and is stupid and worthless, and while today that might be true, if you look at it in a historical context, the Kentucky rifle might just be one of the most important American inventions

          • Zebra Dun

            My impression of the M-1 Carbine was it resembled a Ruger 10/22 and fired the same way, down range it was different though, My brother had one, he swapped it for a SMLE Mk III long ago.

          • Gregory Markle

            I don’t think the Blish Lock makes that much of a difference, nor does the Cutts compensator.

          • Gregory Markle

            The MP5 doesn’t even make the Top 5 of subguns I’ve shot for “cool” factor but if I were shooting a subgun course it would be #1 pick right now. I find them utilitarian and functional but generally uninteresting. Given the semi auto performance, I have a feeling that once I get a chance to run a SIG MPX in full auto the MP5 won’t even make my list for competition shooting.

          • Zebra Dun

            Given a choice? Hell, I’d grab both and run like a MoFo giggling!

          • Elegance of a Thompson? Lol. Maybe the 1928s and whatnot, but M1s and M1A1s are incredibly crude.

          • Zachary marrs

            The 1928 is the only one ive fired, but in any case im that weirdo who would rather have a crappy wood stock than a good plastic one.

            But yes, the m1/a1’s are crude, but those are still better than the m3, at least I think so

          • Zebra Dun

            I believe the SMG most often storming the beach was a Sten or an M-3 grease gun.

          • Yojimbo556

            This is what played out in my head when I shot one…lol

        • Nope, but that’s ok.

        • kingghidorah

          Tommy’s are to fat. You may as well shoot an airsoft- same recoil feel. Beeeautiful, yes, a pleasure to fire, not in 45acp, perhaps a big bore mutant exists out there.

        • Revere

          I’d prefer a sten over both….

        • Atilla D. Hun

          Thompson wins the WW2

      • FALster

        Yeah, but the Tommygun is like a big, loud, gas-guzzling American V8 classic muscle car, whereas the MP5 is more like an economical four banger import with its only concern going from point A to B. But like one, all the fast kids can throw aftermarket doo-dads onto it. 🙂

        • FourString

          i’d say the mp5 is like a four banger import but one with serious road cred. like a scion fr-s or subie wrx. not focused on point A to B so much as back canyon carving.

      • rokpaperskizzors

        Well armed men arguing about guns. And yet nobody was called out for a gunfight to settle it. This is a phenomenon liberals will never get their heads around.
        I’m old school but love the engineering artistry of every design discussed here. I’ve had the good fortune to shoot them all. Great article, great comments.

        • Zachary marrs

          Dont rule out the possibility of a nerf battle

        • Fox

          Imma add fuel to the fire and say,

          DA UZI 9 milluh meetah!
          For pugilists who listen to Guns n’ Roses, and SWAT meant sporting a mustache and navy blue ball cap.

          For you Nirvana fan 90’s ninjas, when SWAT began tacti-cooling to ski masks, helmets, and shields. …Or if you’re a slick, European heister out to take over Nakatomi plaza.


      • Zebra Dun

        It’s the effect of those big slow .45’s impacting the target that thrills!

    • Zebra Dun

      I agree, I fam fired some M-1A1’s and the M-3 once long ago.

    • C.J. Shull

      Thompson’s just weigh too much. They are hilariously heavy. From an experienced MG shooter’s opinion, they are nothing special. They do not shoot particularly different from any other sub gun and they are not particularly easy to manipulate. There is nothing about the thompson that stands out other than it’s stellar track record and historical significance. From a modern perspective it’s draw is it’s history alone. The grease gun on the other hand is fun to shoot, and it’s slow cyclic rate is something that is enjoyable, so it stands apart from the thompson.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    “many members of my generation will forego the Mauser shooting experience in
    favor a hod-rodded semi automatic”

    lol – Mauser 98? No thanks, my friend just put a Slide Fire stock on his splash-anodized Black Rain Ordnance AR-15, so I’m gonna go shoot that!

  • MattCFII

    I have to agree that a suppressed .22 bolt gun is fun. When I first got my supressor I ran it on my threaded pistols and M&P15/22. My buddy had a Savage Mk II FV-SR that I had been wanting to try. I had some old subsonics that had been sitting in my ammo can and wanted to try them first. Since they were old though I wasn’t sure if they were going to work. I pulled the trigger with a paper target and all I heard was a click. I was really disappointed that the ammo was too old, until I opened the bolt and noticed the bullet was gone. I traded my amazed but suppressor-less buddy for the rifle on the spot.

    • WFDT

      I recently got a Ruger American Rimfire and had the same experience when I mated it with my Sparrow suppressor. The bullet hitting dirt makes more sound than the shot. Fun!

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Own 6 on the list, shot everything but the 98 Mauser, but did own some CZs with 98 style actions. Doing well

  • AKSapper

    9 out of 10 aint bad , noone in the machine gun club has brought their AK out yet . Owning an MP5 is pure heaven I might add

    • iksnilol

      Lemme guess about the MP5: When practicing clearing rooms you wear a gas mask and pretend you are SAS?

      I know that’s what I would do.

      • AKSapper

        LOL , no shooting evil steel man sized silhouettes….Now the gas mask , I might try that .

        • iksnilol

          Well… If you are going to honor the MP5s history you should at least once dress up in some SWAT/spec-ops gear (you can buy costumes very cheap), go to a shoot house and throw a smoke bomb* in every room while yelling operator lingo and shooting the targets.

          PS: If you do that please film it preferably with a GoPro or something. Also don’t forget the gas mask, bonus points if it is the SAS style.

          * smoke bombs can be gotten from fireworks stores, not the real deal but close enough.

  • Uzim16

    MP7 even better than MP5

    • No.

      • Zachary marrs

        But it does, like more damage in call of duty bro

      • Cymond

        FWIW, Palmetto State Armory has an MP-5 and an MP-7 for rent, as well as a lot of other iconic fireams. It’s definitely on the ‘to do’ list next time I’m in the area.

    • Patrick R

      Your Call of Duty is showing bro.

  • mosinman

    the more Dakka da better!

    • mosinman

      but in defense of my namesake, the Mosin Nagant series of rifles are fun to shoot as well. that would be my #10

      • Sam Schifo

        I would say any old military bolt action. Lee-Enfield, Springfield 1903, Mauser 98, Mosin-Nagant, Arisaka, etc.

        • Cymond

          I dunno about the Mosin-Nagant and Arisaka. The Enfield, Springfield, and Mauser are like works of art by comparison.

          • iksnilol

            I find all the old guns to equally bad/clunky. In spite of that I still like them, the Krag I am especially a big fan of. Not the neutered American version but the proper Norwegian version.

          • Sam Schifo

            The Arisaka is based off of the Mauser action, and aside from the last ditch late war models that were literally pieces of junk, the Arisaka is one of the best examples of a Mauser action. They were overbuilt and in my opinion are beautiful rifles. As for the Mosin-Nagant; if you have a nice one (at least an upper B grade) they are really fun and actually pleasant to shoot.

          • Cymond

            Thanks for the info, I hadn’t realized. I’d only really heard about the late-war junk, and general talk about the huge diversity of Japanese types and calibers. I can’t imagine the supply logistics.

      • Patrick R

        Ah yes, the only bolt action I have seen jam regularly. The Mauser 98 is much more of an enjoyable experience as a result of the rifle working 100% of the time.

        • mosinman

          Um what? I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the mosin, but jamming is something I haven’t hear people say about it. Maybe you loaded it wrong lol!

          • Patrick R

            Google “Mosin rim lock”. Also, the Mosin is the only rifle I have ever shot that I honestly take a 2×4 with me to the range in case the bolt gets stuck, and that happens often.

            Saying a Mosin Nagant is a more enjoyable shooting experience over the Mauser 98 is like saying that you prefer driving a 1995 Hyundai Accent hatchback over driving a BMW 5 series.

          • Zachary marrs

            #1 clean your gun
            #2 the mosin has a little metal interpreter that prevents rimlock, either its missing, or (more likely) its bogged down with cosmo, which takes us to #1

          • Patrick R

            All of my mosins are in good working order and have been cleaned quite well. The mosin was never designed to be anything more than a cheaply produced general issue gun. The Russians have a long standing tradition of building things “good enough”. There is a reason the Mauser 98 action is the most prolific bolt action in the world while the mosin action has been retired from use.

            Bottom line is the Mauser is a better gun. That said I still prefer shooting my mosins to any other bolt gun I own only because they are cheap to shoot.

          • Zachary marrs

            Ok, you got me there. All my mosins are m39’s, so I cant complain

          • iksnilol

            Mosins aren’t retired, they are still used by Russia and Finnland albeit modernized (fancy stock, barrel and some trigger + scope mounting work).

            Rest assured that as long as someone is shooting someone else on a larger scale, there are going to be Mosins there.

          • revere

            A lot of German soldiers preferred the mosin to the 98.

          • mosinman

            Try loading the rounds with each rim in front of the other. Kind of like stairs. The topmost rim is first and the last round’s rim is last. That’s how mine is loaded and it doesn’t jam. A lot of times I hear a sticky bolt is due to hardened cosmoline in the locking lug recesses. I put a lot of attention to that area the first time I cleaned it. I’ve handled many k98s and they never struck me as vastly superior. They are well engineered and nicely finished though.

          • kingghidorah

            But there are probably more 95 accents still on the road.

  • Guest

    I’m with you on the K98!

    • Nice!

    • Thracian Beast

      Nice is that a Mitchel’s Mauser? I hunt hogs with a Spanish FR8 Mauser/CETME Franken rifle in .308. The Mauser action is fantastic.

    • I like the Krag better than the 98 Mauser. the 2oo or 22o grain bullet works as well as it ever did. The bolt action is smoother by far than the Mauser, and muzzle velocity is about that of the AK-47, making the Krag a before your time sweetheart.

  • Tom Currie

    I guess 6 out of 10 isn’t too bad.

  • RoyG

    Enfield 303. O yea

    • Gregory Markle

      A Lewis Gun in .303 is a hell of a lot more fun!

  • Bob

    Hmmm. Let’s see. MP5, Check. Delicious. Garand, Check. A real man’s gun. M60, Check. It deserved the nickname ‘pig’, but fun to shoot. Bullpup, Check. P90. Fantastic, but IMO rate of fire is too high. Mauser, Check. Old school, and solid as granite. .45, Check. I don’t love them, but I definitely wouldn’t want to eat that pill for breakfast. Suppressed .22, Check. All you hear is the click of the the firing pin, when you can find subsonic ammo. 🙂 .44 Magnum, Check. I prefer the .357, but you can’t argue with that kind of blunt power. M16, Check. Of all the AR’s I’ve owned and shot, I still kinda prefer my old M16A1 from my Army days. Shot good. Easy to clean, and never malfunctioned. Full auto AK, sadly no. Plenty of semi shooting. Looks like fun.

    • Patrick R

      Shooting a fill auto AK47 is nowhere near as fun as one would think. I wish Alex had used the RPK-74 in his collection as an example instead of the M70 AB1. The RPK is well worthy of the list, unfortunately I can’t agree with Alex on the AK47.

  • Lance

    NAW I agree on a M-16 a M-60 a AK a M-1 but I add a M-14 a M-3 Grease gun A 416 Rigby, A 454 casule revolver. And a classic Hawkins or Kentucky rifle.

  • Michael Bane

    Oh crap, not only have I shot all 10, but every one of the “extras” mentioned in the comments!

    Okay, how about a Czech Skorpion? A Glock 18? A Walther PPK while wearing a tuxedo? A Barrett .50 BMG? A 4-Bore double rifle?

    Heck, they’re all Big Fun!

    Michael B

  • John

    I miss the days of the summer machine gun shoot we USED to have every year. I got to try the Uzi, the BAR, M60, AK, M16, but the weirdest was the full auto Glock 19. Impossible to shoot straight after the first shot but it looks sick when you shoot it.

    OH wait, the MG42….THAT is a scary fun gun!

  • Rich

    6 down, 1 on the way, only 3 to go. Not too bad. I still need the Bullpup, MP5 and Select-fire AK. The bullpup would be easy. The other two would require real effort.

    My bucket list – minigun, H&H double rifle, Broomhandle Mauser, M60, LeMat, and a tank gun over 76mm.

    • iksnilol

      Doesn’t Pietta make a LeMat reproduction? I know I saw one on Armslist for 650.

  • RaunchyDawg

    It is possible that your statement of “it is hard to explain the experience of shooting a 30 cal machine gun that has little to no recoil” is horrendously inaccurate. To say that perceived recoil while in a tripod or bipod supported position is less than standing is an accurate statement. A stock m60 has plenty of recoil.

    • dan

      Nit picker! Come on bro don’t be “that guy”, not here.

  • Carvey

    .22 Suppressed bolt action? Never heard of them. 🙂

  • Fruitbat44

    Out of a list of ten I have only managed one. -sigh-
    It’s still an interesting list though. Okay, it’s a subjective list, but still an interesting one.

  • rooftopvoter

    I feel so left out with my Barrett M82A1

  • WFDT

    Well, I feel pretty good after reading this: I own a Garand, a WW1-era 1911, a Vietnam-era Colt SP1 (I know, not an M16, but as close as I’ll get), and a suppressed Ruger American Rimfire. I’ve shot a Steyr and didn’t like it much, I own a ’03 Springfield (close enough to the Mauser for copyright infringement), and I’ve shot a belt-fed MG42. The closest I’ve gotten to an MP5 is a Schmeisser, and I want no part of any Communist-made AK.

    • WFDT

      Oh, and I own a S&W 1917 .45 ACP. Shame on me for forgetting that.

      • iksnilol

        Well, the new AKs aren’t commie made.

        • WFDT

          It’s still a Communist design and I won’t have one on a plate.

          • dan

            But you were ok shooting a Nazi MG42? Weird. Wait! And a schmeisser? Wow! Rolling with the Nazi’s but Commies be damned. Of course I kid, (sorta) I don’t care who built, designed, or shot the gun if I have an oppurtunity to shoot or own it yay for me.

          • WFDT

            An excellent point, which I will concede. Shooting a full-auto MG42 and Schmeisser came about during research for a book my wife is writing about her grandfather’s escape from WWII Estonia. He was pressed into the Wehrmacht and issued a MG42 during the Battle of the Blue Hills. The Germans lost, of course, and Estonia fell behind the Iron Curtain and about 3/5th of my wife’s family disappeared during the 50 years of Soviet occupation. As a result, we have a healthy dislike of anything Soviet. To us, the Nazis rank lower on the despicable scale than the Soviets, Joe Stalin killing 5 times as many people as Hitler did.

          • iksnilol

            Not logical but I sorta understand. I have the same disdain for things out of Serbia.

            Do Czech guns count against the “no commie guns” rule? If not, then the VZ-58 is a nice gun to try.

          • dan

            Ok I can see where you’re coming from but I think once you break the 1 million deaths mark a few million more isn’t going to change your bad guy status. Just like mass shootings blame the people not the gun. Anyway to each their own. I would actually like to read your wifes’ book any idea when it will be published?

  • Tommy G

    Can’t believe the 22lr was #1. I would’ve put a 50bmg there or at least somewhere on the list. I know people just like to blast away nowadays but I’m into long range accuracy. Something like that or a 338 Lapua long range hunter that hits a gong at 1000 yards is a lot more fun than most of picks on the list.

    • dan

      Haha I remember the first time I shot my .50cal. It was the dead of winter and I had some sinus infection going on. I touched the first round off and remember feeling like someone punched me in the cheeks and seeing all of the snow around me blowing out and settling back down. I got up holding my cheek and my buddy asked if the scope got me, I said no, when I moved my hand he busted out laughing, apparently the concussion is very efficient at clearing sinus congestion as it was all down the sides of my face.
      When I take new shooters out and they find out I have one they beg to see it or shoot it. That became kind of spendy so I keep my mouth shut about it.

      • Anders Albertsson

        Definitely the thing that stuck with me shooting the M82 for the first time, it’s better than wasabi at clearing out your nose haha! Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve shot and i’ve shot most of the stuff on this list.

        • FourString

          will keep in mind next time i have a cold

    • iksnilol

      This will sound stupid but the .22 is better for long range accuracy than a 50 BMG. Try shooting .22 LR at 300-400 meters and then try shooting .50 BMG/.338 Lapua at 1000 meters, see what’s harder to do.

      + it is easier to find a range for long distance .22 shooting.

      • Dan

        I will agree with you on that 100% but, what I like about shooting the .50bmg and .338LM at long range is fine tuning the loads. It is hard but very satisfying when it all comes together.

    • .22LR is number 1 for a certain kind of shooter. I bet he likes show tunes too.

  • sccott

    No pump action 12 gauge? SMH……..

  • William

    Hmm, how about something .50 cal, like the Barrett M82?

    • I have two and they just arent fun to shoot.

      • Zachary marrs

        Why do you have 2 then?

        • One is an M107 and one is an M82A1. I have them because they aren’t going down in value 🙂

      • Y-man

        I shot Alex C.’s M82A1 in February, and MAN! I’m still in awe…
        Wouldn’t want to “plink” with it though… Like Alex said: it was TOUGH to shoot, and I really had issues with the optics, being an Iron Sights kinda guy…

  • Y-man

    For a firearms tourist such as myself, I think I have done quite well at 6 out of 10!

    But I agree that there should be at least 1 shotgun there!

    I have shot –

    M1 Garand



    H&K MP5

    A Big Bore Revolver

    AK 47

    Thanks Alex C.!

  • FALster

    I would throw the infamous Franchi SPAS12 on the list for more of an educational purpose – this is what happens to a firearm when form is prioritized over function.

  • Bayonet

    There are several widely used, and iconic firearms missing from that list.

    A muzzleloader. The birth of firearms, and they have been around longer than anything on the list. Bonus points for flintlock.

    A Mannlicher straight pull rifle. Far ahead of his time, many of Mannlicher’s ideas showed up in later guns.

    A falling or rolling block.

    A tube fed bolt action. Until James Paris Lee, this was the best idea yet.

    A lever action. And I say that not even liking the darn things.

    The modern stuff on your list is cool, but as a list of must shoot guns, the context of what came before makes where we are now that much more interesting.

  • Dr. Daniel Jackson

    Sorry but no .22 is very fun to shoot I’d rather shoot just about any other cartridge.

  • Tim U

    I’ve shot the full list except #10 and #1. I own the non-NFA ones that I’ve shot too.

  • Rocco83

    I think the Uzi has more significance than the MP5. Are there any iconic pictures of the MP5? Look up Ronald Reagan assassination attempt pictures. You’ll see the Uzi in the hands of a Secret Service agent. Hell, Teddy Roosevelt has his picture with a Thompson.

    • Phil Hsueh

      The most iconic is that of the SAS storming the Iranian embassy, that’s when the MP5 first really made its way into the public consciousness. The picture shows 3 or 4 of them on balcony as they’re making their way in through a window.

  • Tom

    I would add a Mosin-Nagant and a Mark 19 (although that fits under “something belt fed” I feel it’s worthy of it’s own distinction. Fun read, thanks!

  • Cody

    The garand was made by an American!! He was born in Canada and moved with his family at the age of 7. For this reason alone diminishes your top ten list. Let alone no 50 BMG or tommy gun. You suck

    • Dan

      Well that was rude

      • UltramanSuperdude .

        No kidding…:P But his point is correct. Garand was an American citizen when he invented the M1 rifle.

  • Oscar

    I own a Savage MKII Bolt Action .22lr heavy barrel. Enjoy that more than my tacticool AR15. Cost me 10th the price of my AR15 and shooting it ALSO costs 10th of the price! (This makes it even MORE fun to shoot) but since I live in pansy CA I cant toss a suppressor in mine. Shame. But subsonic rounds do the trick!

  • Max Hvy

    GE minigun backpack maybe the M2. Been there have/done the others.

  • Zack

    Hmm. What about the H&K G36? Especially if the M16 gets to be up there.

    • Zachary marrs

      Sometimes people want to hit their targets

  • At first I thought I’d done all but number one, then I remembered that one full-auto suppressed 10/22 I shot a while back. Giggle. Machine.

  • big daddy

    I do wish I could make my 9mm AR into FA and waste enough ammo to burnout the barrel or two even. But I have fired FA in the army, it’s fun, expensive and yeah I love it. My bucket list so to say is just becoming a better shot. Before I die I would like to say I made myself into a good shot. I couldn’t list all the guns I wish I could fire at least once though or even attend a good carbine or combat course, that ship has sailed. Before I die I want to become the best shot I could be, that’s my goal.

  • kingghidorah

    I fired the CZ Skorpian full auto and that was the coolest little buzzsaw. That, and a Broomhandle full auto and a ppsh are my fav’s.

  • Tyler Horne

    I would’ve added any semi-auto, military sniper rifle. A good friend of mine has a Dragunov and it is a dream to shoot. Haven’t had the pleasure of test-driving a Barrett, though.

  • Gatlingun Shooting

    How about a 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun in 45/70??

  • dan citizen

    The minigun should be on this list.

    Everybody should make a pilgrimage to knob creek in their lifetime and spend some time basking in the glow of red hot barrels, smell the incense of ancient burning powders, feel the thumps and crackles of histories great machine guns.

  • BryanS

    Need to find a Mauser and a FA AK, and something beltfed. Past that… I think I am good. Hell, propbably shot more bullpups than most, and built one of my own at one point.

    • The Carden Chronicles

      If for some reason you can’t find the Mauser, I would say the 1903 Springfield would be a good substitute. Mauser had sent the US an 1898 to test, but the Army insisted on American made. After the 1903 came out, Mauser accused the US of directly copying the 98, and with there being no “international court” Mauser had little recourse. With the onset of WWI the issue became moot, and once WWI ended Mauser lost any chance of any type settlement over the allegations.

  • Micheil McCoy

    I cant believe I already have shot all the top ten. What do I have to look forward to now?

  • The Carden Chronicles

    Having shot all of them on the list, I would say there is one more that everyone should LOAD and shoot at least once– A flintlock .50 or .54 although a nice flintlock tower pistol will do.

    There is nothing more…educational I guess is the word, than one’s first flintlock experience. The first shot can be a surprise, with the squeeze of the trigger and seeing the sparks fly as the hammer falls and the flint hits the frizzen, the momentary (fractions of a second but it seems longer) pause before the powder in the pan hisses and flashes to smoke, then another moment before you feel the shove to the shoulder and hear the boom as your entire field of view is obscured by the smoke of blackpowder and your nose is accosted with the sulfurry smell of rotten eggs. And as the smoke clears and you begin to look down range for your target, you wonder, how far did I move the barrel between the time I pulled the trigger and the ball FINALLY left the gun! And then try to get off another aimed round in less than a minute

    It is worth doing if for no other reason, it lets you experience, if just for a moment, what it was like on the Battlefields of Lexington, Saratoga, or Yorktown— or perhaps standing on the walls of the Alamo with thousands of Santa Anna’s men marching toward you. Or what it must have been like prior to the mid 19th century to only have that one shot to fire and pray it hits its mark, or have nothing to eat that day.

    After taking a step back in time it is a lot easier to look at almost any modern ammo or firearm and find at least something good with it—

    Well, almost…

  • Boogur T. Wang

    I agree with your choices…but…I would also add the Ingram/Cobray (or whoever) M-11, M-10 or even the M-9. Some of us busted our full auto hymen on these little fire-breathers and one never quite forgets the first rush of 1100-1200 rounds per min going out the tube.
    Also, darn easy to conceal under a jacket or in a briefcase.

  • Jim

    I have enjoyed firing 19th century firearms. One should try at some time or another the 1873 Winchester, Martini-Henry, 1873 Springfield, 1874 Sharps…… The list goes on. These are best enjoyed using black powder loads. There is nothing like the sound, smoke, and flame of a BP cartridge firearm.

  • Mike

    All this space about combat weapons and not one word about the Ace 32 by IWI in 7.62×39…… Made in Israel, it is an AK-47 with a better, more accurate barrel and a machined receiver at less than the still under powered M-4……..

    • The Carden Chronicles

      An Israeli weapon that holds up to sand– I would expect nothing less of them considering the environment. And with another missile fired from Hamas hitting Israel this morning, I would bet this firearm may be “combat tested” soon?

      Really that should almost be IWI’s marketing line in the states- “IWI Firearms -Combat tested–daily”

      • Mike

        Well said!…. 🙂

  • Phil

    I guess I am indeed blessed… I have had a chance to fire everything on your list. I have to say “anything belt fed” has a joy al its own but yeah the suppressed .22LR was its own kind of giggle and that was unique, even over a suppressed .308 or SMG. Fun!

  • Zebra Dun

    All but number 8 and number 2 unless a pop bottle taped to the barrel counts.
    I would add another Rifle you simply must fire, The M-40 in 106 x 607 mmR and it’s companion piece the M-8 in 12.7 x 76 mm wear ear plugs, have a long, long range to shoot it and make sure your Back Blast area is all clear.
    “Gun Up!”

  • BobSmith

    I’ve shot most of these, and the remainder aren’t really very interesting. I was kind of hoping for some unique choices.

    Disappointing article, overall.

  • I like the M-3 A1 Grease Gun. Best 23 dollars the government ever spent. The A1 replaced the bolt retraction pawl with a hole drilled in the side of the bolt into which you insert your finger to retract the bolt. The firing pin is a tit in the center of the bolt. The safety is hinged ejection port cover with a bit of sheet metal that sticks into the aforementioned hole. Full auto only. Magazine with 32 rounds of .45ACP goodness, guaranteed to impress the ladies.

  • Dchil

    Bull pup : Check (Both an ADF issue F88 Austyerand a Kiwi F88)
    Belt Fed : Check (Aussi ADF issue F89 AKA. Minimi)

    I think I need to get to work on this list. At least I got lots of time (i’m 17).

  • tlmartin

    6 down 4 to go.

  • Dave

    I used to think the K98s were the perfect bolt gun after my Dad gave me one he captured in Berlin. Still love those 8mm rifles, until I discovered the Swedish Mauser 6.5X55 mm.
    The M96 has to be in number one place even above the M1 Garand in my experience.
    Even with iron sights you will outshoot all others at 500 yards.

  • AmericanIcon

    At least 6 out of 10, but an M-60? Really? You haven’t lived until you’ve not only fired, but mastered the Ma Deuce.

  • William Wallace

    Shot 7 of 10 above. But there are some suggestions I would add:

    Semi-auto 12 gauge on rapid fire – way more power than a big bore revolver
    Mac-11 on full auto – just to realize how fast a cyclic rate can be without power drive like a mini-gun
    Uzi on full auto – so controllable you can watch as you put your shots on target and put all 32 rounds in a man sized target at combat range
    Machine Pistol, a real one, not a SMG variant – like the Glock 18 or Beretta 93R

  • Jib Halyard

    Until you’ve got a bruised on your shoulder from a day on the ranges with an FN FAL, you haven’t really shot anything…

  • C.J. Shull

    Thompson’s just weigh too much. They are hilariously heavy. From an experienced MG shooter’s opinion, they are nothing special. They do not shoot particularly different from any other sub gun and they are not particularly easy to manipulate. There is nothing about the thompson that stands out other than it’s stellar track record and historical significance. From a modern perspective it’s draw is it’s history alone. The grease gun on the other hand is fun to shoot, and it’s slow cyclic rate is something that is enjoyable, so it stands apart from the thompson.

  • AnthonyS

    Nice to see my old Garand. It’s the one firearm I’ve sold or traded that I do miss. The giggle factor of the clip, yes clip ejecting itself is priceless. It’s also so damned accurate for an old battle rifle.

    If you want a sling for it, I have a spare. I got two when I got the correct style sling for my M1A. I know this list is limited to 10, but there are a lot of nice pistols that should be on the list. I’m glad the 1911 made it. Shooting a 1911 with a nice trigger job is pure joy.

  • PeterK

    I honestly think a huge part of your problem with that AK is the slant brake. You can see it slamming your muzzle down too hard in the video causing the whole thing to oscillate. I bet if you got a nicer muzzle brake on there it’d change the whole experience.

    Not that I have done this. :p

  • Max Glazer

    A small correction on SOviet AK doctrine. It was not meant to be constantly fired in full auto. The training was to fire short controlled bursts. AK due to its recoil wasn’t easy for 18-19 year olds to handle in full auto so precision suffered. Short burst allowed a higher hit probability since it covered larger area with fire towards the enemy. Any more then 4 round burst and the rest is waste.

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