Top 5 Most Historically Significant Pistols

Some pistols are just downright iconic and have made an incredible mark on history and paved the way for future designs to manifest themselves. In this video, TFBTV explores 5 of the most important automatic handguns of all time!


The full transcript is below …

– Hello, this is Alex C. with TFBTV.

Today I’m gonna cover my picks for the top five most important pistols in history.

For this, I will be using the lexical definition of the word “pistol”.

That is, I’m going to be pedantic and go by the definition that a pistol is a handgun having one chamber integral with the barrel.

Sorry revolver fans, that’s another video.

So let’s have a look, shall we? To start, I chose the Mauser C96, colloquially known as “The Broomhandle” for obvious reasons.

The C96 was an amazing commercial success that proved semiautomatic pistols were here to stay.

While not the first mass-produced semi-auto pistol, an honor belonging to the Borchardt C-93, it was less cumbersome and much more powerful.

In fact, it fired a round that was dethroned in velocity only by.357 Magnum.

It was also exponentially more successful than the Borchardt.

Mauser alone made and sold over 1,000,000, and the pistol was copied the world over.

The gun was, however, pricey.

A factor that did not stop Winston Churchill from acquiring and using one in battle.

The pistol is complex in its function, was difficult to manufacture, and is a nightmare to disassemble and clean.

But it is beautiful, and proved to the world that revolvers in military service may not have been the way of the future.

So the Broomhandle definitely earned a spot on this list.

It was reasonably user-friendly at the time and could accept stripper clips containing 10 rounds of ammunition.

The stripper clips are reasonably easy to use and I could see that in the heat of battle it would definitely have a revolver outmatched as far as reloading speed and power, but it was a little bit larger.

However its holster also doubled as a shoulder stock, and eventually developments led to things such as select-fire versions, which were very nifty, if not something of a novelty.

This example right here is a M712 Schnellfeuer, which means “fast fire” or “rapid fire” in German, and that selector switch right there allows the user to go from single shot to full auto.

You can see here that a shoulder stock has been attached, which is also the holster.

The Broomhandle had a great influence, not just on handguns, but all sorts of different firearms and designs.

But let’s see what’s up next.

Next we have a pistol after my own heart.

The P08 Luger pistol.

The Luger is a refinement of the Borchardt pistol I mentioned earlier, but with a less cumbersome action.

It was arguably the semi-automatic handgun’s Model T moment.

Not the first, but it got the job done well, and at an affordable price.

It was adopted by many nations and even considered by the U.S. military.

Originally chambered in.30 Luger or 7.65 caliber, it was later offered in a proprietary caliber 9mm Luger.

Even today, 9mm is going strong.

This is perhaps one of the most successful flukes in firearm history.

For a more detailed look at the Luger, click the link below.

We have shot a segment on the Luger for TFBTV, and I cannot understate how fun it is to fire one of these pistols.

The grip angle and the way it functions just make it a fantastic pistol to use, fire, and have in your collection, and I would definitely recommend one to anybody.

So the next choice is a pistol that is often overlooked, but it makes the list primarily because of one feature so revolutionary that just about every handgun today has copied it.

This is the FN Model 1900, and it was the first pistol ever with a slide Grabbing your pistol and pulling the slide back to chamber a round is commonplace today, but before 1900 you either cranked a toggle or racked a bolt.

This gun changed everything.

The Model 1900 though is also important because it was affordable.

Its simple blowback action made it easy to manufacture and the price was passed on to consumers.

Browning did well in designing the small, affordable pistol, and FN was proud enough to feature its form on its own grip.

Another neat feature is a small lever that impedes the sight plane so the user knows that the pistol is not cocked.

Up next is a true American classic.

It would be hard to overstate the significance of John Browning’s M1911.

It has been produced for over 100 years with many of its proponents arguing that it is still the best option out there.

In its early days, it was used by both hero and villain alike, and the films would have you think that no self-respecting gangster would leave home without his Tommy gun and a 1911 pistol.

But for good reason.

Relative to other offerings, the 1911 and its.45 ACP cartridge were incredible.

The legacy of the 1911 can be seen in most modern, short-recoil operated handguns.

That is to say, Browning’s tilting barrel operation is used in its linkless form by Glock, SIG, HK, Smith & Wesson, and many more.

The 1911 has earned its place in history by proving itself the hard way, and it lives on by being manufactured by dozens of outfits to this day.

Lastly, we have an unusual entry.

This isn’t a phaser, but it certainly looks like one.

What you see here is an HK VP70Z.

But why include it on the list? Well, for good reason.

It was the world’s first polymer-framed pistol.

Not only did it beat Glock to the punch by 12 years, but it has a greater capacity.

18 rounds versus 17.

In 1970, a pistol with an 18-round capacity was very impressive, but many people were deeply concerned about a pistol made of Tupperware exploding in their hands.

Since then, this attitude has dissipated, and the VP70 served as a great proof-of-concept to plastic Wonder Nines that would come after it.

It wasn’t exactly a great pistol, but it was a trailblazer in terms of pistol construction and the durability of polymer in firearms applications.

This application would turn out to be one of the most influential design elements of handguns in the late 20th century.

So that covers the list of the Five Most Historically Significant Pistols.

If there’s a gun you have in mind that you believe should’ve been included in the list, please list it in the comments below.

Otherwise, thank you for watching this installment of TFBTV.

If you enjoyed this segment, more in this format will follow.

In the meantime, hitting that Subscribe button would really help us out a lot.

Alex C.

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


  • kyphe

    I class the Browning High Power as one of the most Historically Significant guns in the world. This was the Pistol of choice for most military’s as possibly the most used service pistol in the world. I believe the global prevalence of the 9mm round is directly linked to the popularity of the High Power.

    • I thought long and hard about the hi power (hell, I keep one in my car
      in the event that someone decides they need it more than I do) but in
      the end it got slightly edged out.

      • kyphe

        Fair enough mate it is your list. I feel the High Power gets over looked a lot as it is always in the shadow of the 1911 as far as a browning pistol is concerned and by Luger as far as 9mm go. Though in service it was more successful than both combined.

        • Nicks87

          I agree, I would take a high power over both the 1911 and the Luger but historically the latter are probably more recognizable to the casual gun enthusiast.

          • 1RANGEMASTER

            Good stuff! Having said that, I think the High Power should be included because of its double column mag(first?); P38(or earlier Walther -DA/SA-first?) and the GLOCK due to its commercial success, DAO (“Safe Action”) fire control and switching preferences from hammer fired to striker fired pistols.
            Granted, the H&K was first, but that’s like saying the Hudson was responsible for front wheel drive…
            Drop the Luger- the cartridge is significant, not the launcher…
            Or maybe a “Top 10”!?!

          • It did not have the first double stack mag. Hell, the broomhandle has a double stack mag.

          • Hyok Kim

            I think he meant double stack mag in the handle.

          • Hyok Kim

            1911 has better trigger.

      • Anonymoose

        I would have picked the Hi-Power over the M1900, but the advent of the slide is pretty big. Also, I’d give an honorable mention to the P38, since it was the reason DA/SA really took off.

        • greasyjohn

          You’re right about the P38. It’s the other half of modern handgun design.

      • Frank Aking

        How anything Hk can possible “edge out” the designs they ripped off is beyond me.

        • iksnilol

          Who did they rip off with the VP70? Glock? Glock didn’t even exist at the time.

          • Glock fanboys are funny.

          • iksnilol

            Then the moral conundrum appears: If I dislike Glocks too much, doesn’t that make me just as bad as the people who like them too much?

            Hopefully my rationalization of them as being overpriced for what you get will keep my conscience at ease.

          • Hyok Kim

            I used to really like Glock, then I discovered their main weakness, the trigger part. It’s fine for military issue, since pistols are rarely used in war anyway, but PSD purpose, reliability is more important. I stick to hammer fired ignition only.

          • iksnilol

            What do you mean? Is there a problem with striker ignition?

          • Hyok Kim

            Well, yes and no, depending on the considered use.


            Striker ignition (given the same amount of trigger pressure), has shorter lock time than hammer fired ignition. This results in better practical accuracy than hammer fired ignition. I think this was the genesis of the ‘Spectre Pistol’ Project from 80s, trying to combine linear sliding trigger of 1911 and the shorter lock time of the Glock striker ignition system. It didn’t happen eventually for whatever reason.


            Striker ignition (given the same amount of trigger pressure) doesn’t strike the primer as hard as the hammer fired ones. This especially combined with lighter trigger (for whatever reason), results in more misfires than hammer fired ignition.

            Then there is the issue of gun being left cocked for a long time. What I read about so far indicates that striker ignition is subject to spring wear outs if left cocked unlike hammer fired ignitions.

            In military use, one very rarely relies on pistol and even if one does, one is far more likely to have back up buddies, not so in PSD cases.

            So I pretty much gave up on all striker fired ignition pistols for PSD purpose. I guess that leaves me 1911, Walther P5, Sig P210, and Mauser C96s.

          • Zebra Dun

            My problem with the Glock is my hand, every time I pick one up I drop the magazine out accidentally.

          • Hyok Kim

            Maybe you should convert to heel release? For PSD purpose, I think it is better.

      • Hyok Kim

        The return portion of HP sucks compared to 1911.

    • gunsandrockets

      Eh, I think the global prevalence of the 9mm round is more directly linked to the popularity of 9mm WWII SMG.

      • Zebra Dun

        Most likely so.
        The round seems optimized for pistols and submachine guns.
        The British adoption and the German usage helped a great deal.

      • kyphe

        No doubt the post war surplus of MP40 and Sten guns had a great impact on national pistol caliber choice, but there was also a great surplus of cheap easy to make M3A1 45acp guns and Russian 7.62 guns. Most nations chose the Hi Power as a service pistol even if it was not the caliber of their SMG and then changed to 9mm SMG for logistics.

        • James Acerra

          9mm Made it’s way across the pond during the US trials for a new service pistol though the Eagles were in .45 caliber the 9mm was being sold on the commercial market post WWI and pre WWII to the public but the US had a gauge phobia we liked it in calibers not millimeters, until the post WWII era when so much surplus, bring backs and adoption’s by Military and Police (cost again) then NATO’s emergence during the Cold War with Europe almost total 9mm carry as above for logistics did the 9mm family of makers, clones, by license production of handguns and ammunition make it widely available in the US.
          Just look how fast you can get a discussion (combat) over 9mm vs .45 or .357 going again caliber vs metric!
          I have carried both, fired both in combat and law enforcement situations. In my younger day it was .45’s (had the arms to tame it) later, and now in my dotage it’s 9mm I can get a faster 2nd shot placement with it.
          So who knows maybe when I’m really old it will be a .380/9mm Kurtz I’ll have both in one!!
          Just enjoy the video (kinda a weird way to shoot it pun intended) and look how lively the responses are even straying into the car and computer world.
          And for the record Ford and Windows for me but I digress.
          There are a lot of choices out there the author slimed it down to 5 so yea some folks’s toes are gonna get squeezed, feelings will be hurt so produce your own list and flick and submit them, see how much work went into it.
          Here’s to many more like this one.
          Yours in service
          James Acerra

        • gunsandrockets

          Examples? Nations whose subguns were different than 9mm, chose the Hi-Power anyway, and then switched to 9mm SMG?

          Even the U.K. doesn’t follow that example. They officially adapted the Sten before the Hi-Power.

          Sure the Hi-Power was very popular, but let’s not exaggerate. I think most of the nations which adapted the Hi-Power as the standard army pistol were part of the British Commonwealth.

    • Zebra Dun

      I love a Browning High Power, I don’t own one but I’ve handled and shot them, I consider this pistol John Browning’s 1911A1 upgrade.

      Yes I love my Series 70 1911A1 too.

      • Hyok Kim

        1911 has better trigger.

        • Zebra Dun

          Some do, some don’t, It’s according to the pistol.
          I like my 1911 trigger now that it’s had 38 years or so to smooth out >grin<

  • Don Ward

    So basically you have a list of the 5 most historically significant pistols without the most historically significant pistol; namely the Colt Paterson revolver and its direct descendants.

    *Starts handing out pitchforks and torches*

    I know you made an apology in the text but the title should be 5 most significant semi-auto pistols.

    • Don, a pistol, as I clearly laid out in the beginning, is different from a revolver.

      • Don Ward

        Oh I understand. I disagree and feel it’s an arbitrary distinction but I understand. It would be like a Ford guy making a list of the most iconic American cars and saying that Corvette doesn’t count because it is made of fiberglass.

        • Not really. It would be like a Ford guy making a list of the most iconic muscle cars and leaving out the corvette because it is a sports car.

          • Paul White

            …….what’s the difference between a sports car and a muscle car?

          • Quite a lot. Most significantly most argue that muscle cars must have a 2+2 seating arrangement and be a mid to large sized car.

          • Don Ward

            And be a big block.

            Sports cars must have only two seats.

          • No big block required. Plenty of nasty small blocks running around.

          • Darkpr0

            5.7L LS Engine + Small, light car = Fun!

          • Blake
          • petru sova

            Hey Blake I am not a car guy but I would sure like to know what kind of car that is. Now that’s really something.

          • Blake

            It’s a Cobra.

            This particular one is a Factory Five Racing kit, built around the basic concept that you can buy the vast majority of what you need to make one in the form of a cheap-n-ugly ’87-’04 Ford Mustang. You strip all the parts off the Mustang & both them to the $13K kit from FFR. It is what car geeks refer to as “stupid fast” in this basic form, because the FFR kit weighs 1000lbs less than a Mustang. It’s also, as you noted, absolutely gorgeous.

            Of course you don’t have to use all the ratty old mustang parts (some people put quite a lot of money into their builds), but with a bit of research & a lot of elbow grease you can build something pretty amazing. My cousin won the SF Bay Area SCCA autocross championship twice driving one of these, & I’m sure they didn’t have more than $25K invested in the car.

            Factory Five’s similar concept for the 2010s is Project 818, which applies a similar philosophy to a modern roadster with a Subaru WRX donor:


          • Not a muscle car, but they came with small blocks and side oiler big blocks. Also some other stuff shoehorned in over the years, but the 289s and 427s are the most prolific.
            Also, heresy to put an LS in one.

          • marathag

            Sports cars can do more than going fast in a straight line

          • Zebra Dun


          • Don Ward

            Fair enough. Is argue that muscle car = semiauto in that case. Boy aren’t we having an Internet discussion 😉

          • Mark

            No you’re not. You are being reasonable and civil. That has no place in an internet discussion. TFB- the only gun blog where I read the comments.

          • Zebra Dun

            Crack of my ass! How did we switch from pistol and revolver to Ford and Chevy?

      • Don Ward

        As I noted below, Colt’s original patent describes his revolutionary revolver as a pistol and does so five times 🙂

        • The letter of the law and the definition has evolved as technology evolved. As such we now use the words “pistols” and “revolvers” to refer to two different classes of firearms. Another good example of this would be the term “heavy machine gun”. During World War I, maxim, vickers, etc guns were referred to as such, but now an HMG is something very different.

          • RICH


          • Ironwulf

            Yeah – it is BOTH !

          • petru sova

            Your wrong. Its not incorrect to refer to an automobile as a “horseless carriage” nor is it incorrect to refer to a detachable feeding device as a “clip” instead of a “magazine” as the argument is 116 years old. Nor is it technically wrong to refer to a revolver as a pistol because Webster did not change the meaning until long after Colt called his invention a “Pistol” not a revolver”. The word Pistol came from a Czech word meaning “pipe” and a handgun definitely has a pipe looking barrel sticking out of it. True, language evolves and certain definitions become passé but not incorrect. I would also say The ATF is not the ultimate legal authority on anything either.

          • Ironwulf

            O M G ! I have a brother in the fight against arrogant, rude, self-serving, out-of-control federal agencies, headed up by A T F !

      • Ironwulf

        I heartily disagree. A ‘Pistol’ is a ‘handgun’ whether it is a revolver or an automatic !

        • I mean its ok to be wrong.

        • iksnilol

          Norwegian law disagrees with you there… So do dictionaries.

          • Ironwulf

            I don’t live in Norway Iks !

          • iksnilol

            Still, a developed country is more legit than you are. + dictionaries are international.

          • Ironwulf



            Word Origin


            1.a short firearm intended to be held and fired with one hand.

          • iksnilol

            Full definiton according to Merriam-Webster:

            “Full Definition of PISTOL
            : a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel; broadly : handgun”

            Don’t you just love it when people cherry pick things to make themselves seem right?

    • Sergey

      A Revolver is a handgun. A Pistol is a handgun. However, a Revolver is not a Pistol.

      This is no different than saying a Truck is an automobile. A Car is an automobile. However, a Truck is not a Car.

      The ATF defines a pistol as having a chamber integrated barrel, where a revolver has a breech loaded revolving cylinder.

      So, even from a legal standpoint, they are not the same.

      • Don Ward


        Here is a snippet from the patent application for Samual Colt’s revolver in Feb. of 1836. (Edit. My response got eaten but you can Google the patent).

        Division 1 of the drawings represents a pistol. Division 2 represents Division 1 in four sections, as 1, 2, 3, and 4. Division 3 represents all the parts in Section 1 of Division 2. Division 4 represents all the parts of Section 2 of Division 2. Division 5 represents the mechanical combination of the entire instrument.

        To discharge the pistol, by pulling the trigger the connecting-rod is drawrs from the catch of the hammer,when the mainspring forces the hammer forward, the upper end of which strikes the percussion cap, during which the lifter, by means of lateral mot-ion to the left, falls below a succeeding tooth on the ratchet, when, by means of the lateral motion of the after end 9 of the key I which holds the cylinder, the pin 12 of the ham mer is permitted to fall below it again. Etc.

        The revolver Colt invented is described as a pistol five times in the legal description of the weapon.

        I don’t care if the ATF says something silly. I don’t care if it’s trendy for shooters today to call revolvers handguns and AR carbines pistols. A Paterson Colt, a Peacemaker, a Walker Colt, a Colt Python are all pistols.

        • Sergey

          Did it occur to you that people of that time used the wrong etymology for “pistol”? The term was used interchangeably between handgun and pistol back in those days.

          The inertia of bad habits doesn’t make something true.

          Although the ATF makes up rules out of its ass, the definition of a pistol isn’t one of them.

          Look up the history of the word “pistol” before you start redefining it.

          • petru sova

            Your wrong. The word pistol came from a Czech word meaning “pipe”. Also there were no auto pistols when Colt patented his revolver and called it a pistol therefore Webster’s current definition came after the invention of the auto loading pistol not before. The argument is about as wrong as the fight over “magazine and clip” as both have been interchangeable for over 116 years.

          • Lord Palmerston

            The origin of the word pistol is either Spanish or Italian, not Czech. Early and primitive “pistols” were produced in Pistoia, Italy, during the 16th Century. In those days the Spanish armies were fighting the French in Lombardy. Spanish infantry quickly adopted the “short muskets” made in Pistoia, whose inhabitants were called “pistolese” or “pistoiese”, hence the name “pistola”.

          • whome18t

            Who said a pistol had to be auto loading? It just needs to be designed to be fired with one hand and have a chamber integrated barrel.

            Colt? Have you heard of a Flintlock pistol? Those came out long before Colt’s grand daddy was even born. Those are the first handguns referred to as pistols. Not “autoloaders,” not “revolvers,” but a chamber integrated barrel hand gun.

            There are also Flintlock muzzleloaders and breechloaders – which are NOT called pistols.

            And what are you arguing about? You just contradicted yourself. If “magazine and clip” being used interchangeably is wrong, then so is “pistol and handgun”.

            Unless you think a clip and a magazine are the same thing…oh boy.

          • petru sova

            First, pistol has been used to describe a handgun for hundreds of years. Flintlock single shot handguns were called pistols, much later in time multi-barrel flint lock and cap lock hand guns were called pistols. Much later in time revolving hand guns patented by Colt were called pistols. And finally when self-loading handguns were invented they too were called pistols.

            In conclusion “pistol” has been a “generic” term like “handgun” for centuries and it has only been in recent times since the advent of the auto loading handgun that “gun people” starting using the term “pistol” exclusively to denote an “auto loading” handgun. The public at large still uses the term “pistol” as a generic term for all handguns and for a rare change they are correct and gun snobs incorrect.

            As far as magazine and clip you are incorrect by a good country mile. The two terms have always been interchangeable. Early 1911 military manuals described the 7 shot feeding device in a 1911 pistol as a “clip” not a “magazine”. In more recent times the majority of the public consider any detachable feeding device a clip not a magazine while magazine has come to mean a fixed feeding device like a tube magazine in a .22 rifle or pump shotgun. One hilarious card once stated that if this was correct then he must describe loading his M1 rifle with an 8 shot clip into his M1’s magazine. I told him he was 100 per cent correct.

          • whome18t

            So bad habbits makes something correct?

            If enough people call a tomato a vegetable, I guess that makes it a vegetable.


        • Tom

          Lots of words evolve over time and Alex made it quite clear what definition he was using at the start so I for one fail to see the issue.

      • Zebra Dun

        Rumor is the word Pistol comes from horse weapons that were so large they were carried on the pommel of a saddle, 79 caliber and long barrels sticking out of the saddle grew questions from the wide eyed maidens as the cavalry rode by, and the soldiers told the girls they stayed in the saddle so much they had to have a place to pee while riding and the barrels were their…….piss holes.

    • Zebra Dun

      Oh Hell..get a rope!

  • Heretical Politik

    Unlike the AK-less 5 best assault rifles video, I don’t think you’re going to find too much argument. Pretty solid list, I’d also be hard pressed not to find a place for the Hi-Power, but I think this is a good top 5.

  • wetcorps

    You frogot the stockless AR15 🙂

  • FrenchKiss

    Please stop with the constant sweep of the camera over the gun. Its annoying because one cannot focus at all the various features. Just keep the gun in the frame until you want to show another angle. Geez.

    • HSmith

      Thank you.

    • Hyok Kim

      I didn’t find that annoying.

  • Lance

    I agree with the Luger M-1911 and C-93 Broomhandel

    I think two which should have been mentioned Is 1, the P-38. Since it was the first mass issued SA/DA pistol and that every one copied them after WW2 making it one of the most widely used pistols in history.

    2 Beretta 92FS, I know i will get the hatter moaning here. But the M-92 like it or not was the first 9mm pistol adopted by the US military and major Police departments. Before the M-9 most PDs and the military used either a 1911 pistol or a .38/.357 claiber revolver So the M-92 is added to my list because it brought the wonder 9s to America and 9x19mm became on the most use caliber here because the military’s adoption of the M-9 made 9mm popular in the US.

    5 Best revolvers. Id say the Colt Walker, Colt SSA, Nagant 1895 , .357 mag Colt Python and S&W M-29 .44 mag. What do you think Alex??

    • Drop the Walker and put in the model 10 and variants.

      • iksnilol

        Not a revolver guy so bear with me please: Isn’t the model 10 one of the most used and widespread revolvers ever made?

        The Walker wasn’t nearly as important as the model 10 from what I understand.

    • dude

      You only get the P38 or the 92. The latter is a copy of the former, at least in the important parts.

    • Hyok Kim

      “2 Beretta 92FS, I know i will get the hatter moaning here. But the M-92 like it or not was the first 9mm pistol adopted by the US military and major Police departments” – Lance

      Nope, it was S&W.

  • Kivaari

    I don’t think the VP70Z was ignored because of its plastic frame. It was the size, the crummy trigger and the over-sized bore that lowered performance.

    • Hyok Kim

      All of that, plus it used simple blow back for 9mm Para. It had to use extra heavy slide to make it safe to fire.

      • Kivaari

        Yep. They are huge and ugly pistols. Volksturm Pistole.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Walther P38 should have made it on the list. It’s by far one of the most influential designs out there.

  • guest

    Glock should have been included, because of all attempts to make a good gun – as far as technology and imagination of the time permitted – it has pretty much defined the modern pistol, as evident by the plethora of various knockoffs like M&P, XD etc.
    Sure, J.M.Browning came up with a smart way to use short recoil, and sure this designed used plastic, that design did that… but pretty much like Apple defined what a smartphone was while everyone else was bewildered in their own BS so did Glock with the G17.

  • hikerguy

    I agree with your choices. Granted the High Power, Glock, SIG, and other designs are/were more widely used or more famous (Colt 1911 being the exception). These pistols are important for their innovations and influence that they brought to the table and carry on in gun designs today.

    • Ok driving me nuts with high power- It’s Hi Power—-

      • kyphe

        lol As said to Alex that’s my androids fault

      • hikerguy

        Sorry….I was confused myself and saw written as “High Power” in another post and thought that was correct. Sorry it caused you temporary insanity. My wife says I have that effect on people 😉

  • I do not understand why all the folks championing the hi power are spelling it “high” power. Lol.

    • kyphe

      Auto complete on my android lol

    • Tom

      It is the best translation from the French though we could call it the great power if you like 🙂

    • MrApple

      We think that it should have come up “higher” on the list.

  • Sabertooth88

    Been coming to TFB everyday for a good five years, I’m really loving these video additions!

  • sam

    Hmmm, the Broomhandle makes the list because although not the first auto pistol, it was the first really successful auto pistol. Yet the HK thing makes it because it was the first* polymer framed pistol, even though, you know, Glocks were the first to really catch on :S OK, it’s your list, do what thou wilt.

    *except for the XP100 which kind of fits the definition of pistol 😛

  • RICH


  • Jim_Macklin

    1896 Mauser,
    1908 Luger,
    1911 Colt/Browning,
    P38 and
    GLOCK 17

    I’m pretty sure that the natives confused Thor’s 1911 with a hammer that made thunder and lightening. Time travel.

    The P38 is significant because of the double action, the GLOCK with all its faults introduced polymers and self-inflicted gunshot safety awareness.

    • Hyok Kim

      Glock wasn’t the first when it came to polymer.

  • Dracon1201

    Nice video, interesting choices. However, suggestion for next time; The change in focus of the camera was extremely so, I had to look away as it physically hurt to watch in fullscreen. That may not be an issue for others, but it was for me.

  • Frank Aking

    You had me up till the H und K fan boy circle jerk.

    no1 should have been the BHP by all logic, but you suckle at H und K teet it seems. Serious down grade to your legitimacy as a source.

    • Fegelein

      Hmmmm… they do seem to ALWAYS find an excuse to put an H&K in just about every single list, even when it doesn’t make much sense…

  • Will

    THANK GOD this did not deteriorate into an argument about cars….WHEW!!!!

    • Zebra Dun

      ROFLMAO dang what a bunch of guys!

  • J.T.

    In regards to the C96 and the 7.63x25mm cartridge.

    “In fact, it fired a round that was dethroned in velocity only by.357 Magnum.”

    Nope. 7.62x25mm Tokarev was introduced 4 years earlier than the .357 Magnum and is faster.

    • Dolphy

      True, tree. I honestly think these guys are just fanboys for anything
      1. Expensive
      2. Western
      3. Slightly obscure

      And the TT and 7.62×25, by the way, are still rocking around the world thanks to its ability to shred through ballistic aramids.

  • tony

    1. Mauser broomhandle, 2 1911, 3 Brownin Hi Power, 4 Glock, 5 to be released

  • Jim

    Walther P38?

  • Gary Vetter

    I thought the CZ75 might be on this list, or maybe it was in the top six significant pistols. It’s hare to argue with it’s success among the police and military of the world.

    • Hyok Kim

      Wasn’t that a pretty much a rip-off of Sig P210?

  • petru sova

    Yes for the Broomhandle as it was considered a first and the gun did work.
    No for the Luger, even though it was blindly adopted by a lot of European Nations simply because “the Germans used it therefore it must be the best”. But lets face facts the Luger was a mechanical failure being one of the most unreliable pistols ever made and even back then it was too expensive and time consuming to make as it took 1,400 machining operations as opposed to the 750 machining operations of the Walther P38 which also turned out to be a failure as well. The Luger was also prone to crack its breach block as well.
    No on the 1900 Browning. Although it was wildly popular because it was “a first” the model 1910 was more reliable, smaller, pointed better and lasted decades longer and would still be popular today if someone was intelligent enough to manufacture it again. The 1910 is still as modern as the plasticky trash that is being vomited out today by todays gun manufacturers.
    One gun left out is the Plasticky trash pistol the “Glock” as it left manufactures a way to charge outrageous prices and make a pistol that cost them little to manufacture. Its wildly popular but unsafe design is now being copied by most other manufactures even though people and police continue to accidentally shoot themselves and others in droves.
    Of course THE MOST HISTORICAL PISTOL IS THE ‘ BROWNING HIGH POWER’ as it was the first double action service pistol and its DOUBLE STACK DETACHABLE HIGH CAPACITY magazine continues to be copied to this very day. It was the first of the “Wonder 9’s” and is still being made today. How in the world could anyone of left this pistol out as the most significant pistol ever made.
    The Walther PP 7.62 mm was also “a first” and its double action mechanism was later used as a basis for the Walther P38 pistol which again was copied by most manufacturers of double action “Wonder 9’s”. So the Walther P38 could be considered a “Historical Pistol” although it too was a mechanical failure but that’s another very, very, long story.

  • Wil Ferch

    Agree that Walther should have been included in the DA/SA aspect of historical significance….but the PP and PPK predate the P-38. Certainly the PP series deserves consideration.

  • MrApple

    No Browning High Power?
    No Glock?

    • Damn right no glock.

      • MrApple

        A list touted as “historically significant pistols” and Glock doesn’t rate? I think not.

        • I mean, that’s fine to have an opinion however wrong you may be.

          • MrApple

            How have so many millions of Glock owners all got it wrong?

          • Because the list is about historically significant pistols, not “how many millions of owners are there”.

          • MrApple

            The sheer volume of Glock pistols around the world along with pop culture status of the Glock makes it an historically significant pistol. Not to mention the fact that they just work and have been copied by basically damn near every other firearm manufacture in the world.

          • Volume doesnt always equal significance. Glock has not been around long and they have been plagued with numerous and notable problems. The most recent being a recall of all the gen 4 guns with tbe new recoil spring setup( lol).
            They use Browning’s operating principles and HKs polymer framr idea, so they are a footnote in pistol history at this point.

          • MrApple

            That “footnote” will last to hell and back while a number of those “significant” pistols can’t even survive a two day pistol course.

          • I would certainly hope that a gun that is 100 years newer would perform better.

          • MrApple

            Do you mean actual firearms 100 years old or a model of a firearm that is 100 years old?

          • Both.

          • MrApple

            I guess antiques have their place.

          • iksnilol

            How have millions of non-Glock owners gotten it wrong by not going with a Glock?

          • MrApple

            How many of those are shooting a Glock knockoffs like S&W M&P or Springfield XD/XDM/XDS, Kahr, xcetera xcetera?

          • iksnilol

            They are more likely to shoot a CZ or Browning knockoff than a “Glock knockoff”.

            I am looking at things internationally.

          • MrApple

            I look at things realistically from a standpoint to matters directly to me and my community and Glocks and Glock knockoffs rule the roost.

          • iksnilol

            Then you need to either get out more… Or find a better community.

          • MrApple

            I will and you get out and shoot a Glock. They’re awesome.

          • iksnilol

            Um…. I sorta shot a Glock. That’s kinda the reason I don’t like them.

          • MrApple

            Well then more Glocks for me.

          • iksnilol

            And more other guns for me… heck, we could achieve world peace through this.

          • MrApple


  • idahoguy101

    I’d add the BHP, and the Walther P38 or PP pistol, to this list

  • gunsandrockets

    In all fairness I think the Glock is more significant than the VP-70. The VP-70 may have been first with polymer, but it was not a success. Glock really broke down the wall on combat tupperware.

    I also think the 1910 Browning was more significant than the 1903. It was the incredible success of the 1910 that made the word Browning synonymous with pistol in Europe.

    • whome18t

      That can go either way. It’s like asking which is more historically significant, the Apple 1 or the Apple 2? The Apple 1 was not a commercial success that the Apple 2 was, but the Apple 1 was the first personal computer ever made.

      • gunsandrockets

        Bad analogy to compare VP-70 to Apple 1.

        • whome18t

          How? I explain why. No need to get lost in the details.

  • James Acerra

    Let us not forget the Bergman family of semi-autos. They do rather look sad next to many other semi’s of the day but they had a nice touch shoot well and came with their own ammo kinda like the Luger, The 9mm Bergman 9×23 later 9mm Largo. Just a passing ship in the night and mostly european they did reach across the water.(Even got good film credits in “Big Jake”)
    I understand why it was not mentiond but I think you may have wanted to expand the list to top 10 some day and I wanted my vote in early.
    Yours in service
    James Acerra

  • Monty01

    Very challenging to reduce the list to just 5 pistols. Good job, but I would have preferred to see a top 10 list with the addition of the Glock 17, Browning Hi-Power, Walther P38, Walther PPK, and H&K P30. Glock so dominates the striker-fired pistol market that surely it deserves a place? The H&K P30 must surely be the finest hammer-fired hand gun?