Top 5 Metal Wondernines

Wondernines are semi-automatic, high capacity 9mm handguns that truly brought an end to the revolver as a police service pistol in the United States. The term “wondernine” has been used as both a term of endearment and disdain, but the fact of the matter is that they are here to stay. In this video, we explore what we believe are the five best metal framed versions.

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Transcription …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV.

The topic of today’s video is going to be the Top Five Metal Wondernines.

A Wondernine is a self-loading 9mm pistol with a double column, high-capacity magazine relative to older designs.

We’re focusing on metal frame pistols in this video because we thought we might do a separate one for combat Tupperware.

First up is the Browning Hi-Power.

The Hi-Power is a pistol that is incredibly popular the world over, and really contributed a lot to the Wondernine concept.

It was practically the only game in town for decades and for a pistol that was introduced in 1935, it was way ahead of its time.

While pistols before the Hi-Power had a double-stacked magazine, like the C96 Broomhandle, if you really want to grasp at straws, and the Savage 1907 had a format of a detachable double column, single-feed mag, the Hi-Power staggered the rounds into two true columns and really turned some heads when it was brought to market.

Having 13 to 15 rounds of 9mm on tap in a simple, reliable pistol led to numerous military contracts, including countries like Australia, Canada, England and Belgium.

All four of which are still using the pistol to this day which is a true testament to how sound the design is.

The Hi-Power is the brainchild of Browning and his protege, Dieudonné Saive, and many think of it as an improved 1911.

However, the pistol isn’t without its haters.

The trigger isn’t anything to write home about.

The magazine disconnect is irritating, the hammer is prone to biting the hell out of your mitts.

But these can all be remedied of course, with some time and money.

Today you can find surplus guns like the one here for about $400, and I had this one refinished to look nice and new, but current production guns from Browning are 800 and up, and seem to sit on store shelves for a while.

It’s as if Browning has not gotten the memo that there is now competition out there and is stuck back in the 50s when they kind of had the market monopolized.

Nevertheless, I’m a big fan of the Hi-Power and I really enjoy shooting them.

They’re wonderful little guns, and my generation certainly seems to overlook them based on the amount of “What’s that?” queries I receive at the range.

Next up, we have a crowd favorite, and Hi-Power descendant, the CZ 75.

This example is actually a Cold War commemorative model and the serial number even starts with CCCP.

Kind of a weird tribute, I thought, especially when most Czechs I’ve met vehemently hate Communism and look at that period of time with disdain.

Anyways, more about the pistol.

The CZ 75 is often mistaken for a Hi-Power at a cursory glance, and it really does have a lot in common with it.

The gun disassembles the same way, has the same barrel-to-slide locking serrations, and the same linkless style tilting barrel.

The most important difference is the arrangement of the frame rails.

External versus internal.

This setup is similar to a SIG P210.

My only real gripe about the CZ 75 is how small the slide actually is.

You have little to grab on to when racking it that it is quite inconvenient, but other than that it’s a really spectacular gun.

The pistols are accurate, easy to shoot and just flat-out well made.

Unlike the Hi-Power, they are capable of being fired in double and single action as well, or carried cocked and locked, depending on the user’s preference.

There really isn’t much I have to say about the CZ 75, other than that it’s reliable as hell, well-constructed, and you can absolutely depend on it.

Its stable of fanboys has every right to champion these factors, and I think an SP 01 variant is in my future.

Damn if they don’t look great and shoot well.

Third, we have the SIG P226, a gun that many people believe to be the best metal 9mm handgun.

I borrowed this gun from a friend and, to be honest, I personally would never buy a SIG pistol not made in either Switzerland or Germany.

Ever since they started making guns in New Hampsire or splitting slide and frame production on opposite sides of the Atlantic, SIG collectors insist that the quality has dropped.

As a collector myself, I would much rather have a P22-series gun stamped “Made in West Germany” but that’s just me.

Regardless, the SIG P226s are truly excellently designed firearms that are priced high, but function well.

They did not innovate in any one specific area or bring much new to the table, but they combine elements of many pistols that simply worked and the result was an extremely brilliant product that has been adopted by many militaries around the world, in at least some capacity.

The SIGs are a bit heavy and bulky, but this of course helps soak up the recoil.

My biggest gripe about the design is the position of the slide release.

On just about every other pistol I own, the slide release is located where the SIG’s decocking lever is.

When I shoot a P226, I find myself frustratingly hitting the decocking lever to bring the slide home until I remember that it’s far back, and in the most inconvenient place possible.

However, I can overlook this because I do like they way they shoot, and I do like that they have a decocking lever in the first place, as opposed to the CZ 75s.

Where the user’s expected to pull the trigger and slowly lower the hammer themselves, which is incredibly unsafe in my opinion.

Although the CZ 75 BDs do have the lever.

So the SIG has a rightful place on the list and damn if they don’t just shoot great.

Fourth, we have a pistol that seems to be very divisive.

The Italian Beretta 92.

This is a 92FS model and the 92 series is noteworthy as having been adopted by the United States Army as the M9.

I’ve talked to numerous servicemen about the M9 and you get a mixed bag of folks who either love or hate the thing.

I’ve heard everything from “Mine GM’d every shot” to “The one I had worked flawlessly”.

Either way, I can say that I’m a fan.

In the 1980s, the Beretta 92 was all the rage.

You could see them in all the big movies of the era including Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and anything John Woo ever touched.

The 92s are a mechanically interesting design with an unusual tilting locking wedge that is similar in form and function to the one found on the common Walther P38.

The non-tilting nature of the barrel allows the 92 to be suppressed without a Nielsen device as well.

So that’s something to keep in mind for you suppressor folks.

The 92 is big, but it fits my hands extremely well and perhaps better than any other pistol.

It is a full-size service pistol so it wasn’t exactly designed for IWB carry.

The five-inch barrel lends itself to extremely good accuracy.

I could shoot a 92 shockingly well and I’ve used this one in competition, and for my CHL qualification, where, without tooting my own horn here, I shot the best group in the class.

The 92 was one of my first self-loading pistols and to this day it’s still one of my favorites.

I can still make it dance, it has 18-round magazines, it’s double-action, has a safety, a decocker, and it’s just plain fun to take to the range.

While the pistols certainly don’t have a minimalist look to them, in fact it’s kind of interesting to see all the odd bits moving about on the outside of the gun, they are very solid and I’d highly recommend you try one if you have the chance.

Lastly, we have the greatest semiautomatic handgun ever made.

The H&K P7 M13.

The P7 series of handguns are fascinating mechanically.

They do not have a locked breach, but rather are gas delayed blowback, whereby a piston below the barrel actually serves to delay the opening of the action.

This is a brilliant system because, say you use more powerful ammo.

Well, more gas works against the piston to delay the opening of the action with appropriate resistance.

For those of you that argue that external safeties are stupid and unnecessary, well, HK has you covered here.

The P7 is without one, but is possessed of a wonderful system to ensure safe operation.

The lever on the front of a P7 must be squeezed to draw the striker to the rear.

At this point the weapon is ready to fire.

Pulling the cocking lever requires 15 lbs of force but keeping it held down requires only two pounds, so as not to tire the user’s hands if a prolonged Ready state is required.

The P7’s lever has also saved the lives of many a good guy.

In fact, there are documented incidents of criminals taking law enforcement officers’ P7s and being unable to fire them, due to being unfamiliar with the cocking mechanism, a mechanism which a trained user operates naturally and with ease while drawing.

The P7s are ridiculously overbuilt as well.

They had a cold hammer forged, polygonally rifled barrel before it was cool.

And they have fluted chambers like a G3 or MP5.

The pistols point very naturally, with a 110-degree grip angle, excellent bore axis, and a slide that is just the right size.

The P7 M13 is the apex of the P7 series, having all the features of the original but with the heel release eliminated, no tools required for disassembly, 13-round magazines, a heat shield under the dust cover, and absolutely unparalleled accuracy and reliability making the P7 M13 the pinnacle of what a 9mm handgun can be.

Well, now that I’ve triggered all the Glock, Springfield, M&P, Walther, FN and Ruger fanboys with that, keep in mind that this list was about metal Wondernines.

I have no bias against plastic frame guns, but I thought that would make for another good video.

Really it’s up to the consumer to decide what you want, and what works best for you.

With that said, big thanks to our ammunition sponsor Ventura Munitions.

Our videos wouldn’t be possible without them so if you need some ammunition, even hard-to-find stuff, check them out.

Also, hitting that Subscribe button would really mean a lot to us, and we would sincerely appreciate it if you would do so.

Thank you very much for watching, and.

Alex C.

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


  • Darkpr0

    ‘I’ve heard everything from “Mine GM’d every shot”’

    For once, a transcribing mistake made the sentence more correct rather than less

    • Giolli Joker

      I can’t watch the video now so I just read the transcription… I didn’t get it and I thought it was an acronym I’m not accustomed too…
      Now I get it… “jammed” and thanks for the laugh!

  • Vitsaus

    P7M13? Can’t think of a more impractical gun for this list.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      To be fair it seems to be his favorite gun in the whole world. It sure is an interesting piece and if it works for someone then I wont stop them. As far as it being one of the top 5, there were no clear parameters to define what “top” means. That being said, I had never heard of it until I started watching & reading Alex’s stuff about 6 months ago and I have not otherwise heard or read about it since. Of course Im not as much of a handgun guy as I am a rifle guy and HKs never excited me too much anyway so my ignorance may be completely my own doing.

    • ostiariusalpha

      You don’t have much imagination then.

      • What’s the top pistol?

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha ha, that little gem is a Lorcin. If you’re looking to injure yourself with a self-destructing pistol, you’ll be very satisfied with the Lorcin.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha ha, that little gem is a Lorcin. If you’re looking to injure yourself with a self-destructing pistol, you’ll be very satisfied with the Lorcin.

          • Giolli Joker

            Pot metal?

          • ostiariusalpha

            Propio cosí.

          • Giolli Joker

            Kudos for the attempt to reply in my language, though!

          • ostiariusalpha

            Haha, typed it too fast. Typical American.

      • David G

        Can’t unsee this.

  • Austin

    I maintain that the Hi-Power is the real wondernine. Mine’s 70 years old and runs like a champ.

  • I’d REALLY like a Beretta.

  • Blue Centurion

    Great report Alex! And your assessment of the P7M13 is right on. I just wish HK would make another run of the M8 and M13. I can’t afford a M13 for $2500+

    • Kivaari

      I had an early P7. It was very accurate and reliable. But like many guns, I thought it had too many tiny parts. Like many nice guns, I’ve sold many guns, just so I could buy another new wonder.

    • Budogunner

      I once bought an m8 for $900 and sold it later for… considerably more. Biggest mistake of my firearm owning life.

      If new m8s and m13s were made I think that’s all I’d carry. That gun was a laser and an easy pointer. Best gun I’ve ever owned.

      • jng1226

        Man, I thought I was the only one stupid enough to have done that! You made me feel better, but also reminded me of the “biggest mistake of my firearm owning life.” I agree, the P7M8 was the best handgun I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned just about all of the modern autoloading platforms in the major calibers in the last 20 years. I also wish that they would make them again, and wouldn’t hesitate to drop BCM/Daniel Defense AR money on a few and then carry one every day.

  • John

    Sig P226 mentioned? Check!

    OK, you may now proceed with my blessing.

    • thedonn007

      CZ 75 > Sig P226

      • JC

        …Until you have pull your tweezers out to manipulate the slide.

      • John

        Not in MY opinion. CZ ‘s are great but just the LOOK of a Sig is enough to make you proud to own one.

  • Lance

    Glad added the Hi power and the Beretta 92FS. since tacti coolers never look at them.

    As for your love of the P-7, just channel your inner Hans Grubber, Alex! 😉

  • Brian Fulmer

    Great Top 5, really. BUt…

    Holy Carp, Batman! The P7M8 my FIL has was very cool until I borrowed it to shoot. It didn’t run for beans until I scraped all the carbon gunk out, then it got REALLY hot going through four magazines. Super neat design and really well built, but not a patch on the ergonomics of the BHP or the CZ 75.

    My CZ 75 is in 40 S&W which I really don’t like at all, but the pistol is fantastic. It is now a second class citizen to the CZ 97 with my sons, but I really dig the Eastern European vibe. I remember the reason the Bren 10 stole the design. Pick it up, melts in your hand, the only pistol I like holding more than the BHP.

    Not sure whether India made BHP’s, but they sure had a lot of them and surplus’d their mags to the US market – they don’t suck. Israel was a recent source of surplus BHP’s as well. My FM95 is an Argentine development from their licensed BHP production, so another country heard from. You kind of understated the impact the GP35 had on the firearms world – much more significant than the 1911, really.

    The PT92 a buddy of mine picked up was interesting but all I could think ~20 years ago was “gee, this is a HUGE 9mm!!” I was a 45 snob then, Glock 21 and 1911’s, but really, does a 9mm have to be that freakin’ big? I finally bought a plastic fantastic Glock 22 last year and immediately picked up 9mm and 357 SIG barrels for it – the answer is a resounding NO, it does NOT need to be that freakin’ big. Beretta shotguns, yum! Anything else, not so much….

    SIG people are not my people. Meh.

    Again, great article, great reminder of where we’ve come – now you can rub some love on the P38/P1, S&W 39/59/etc (possibly first true Wonder 9? good argument starter!), and I don’t know what all else, surprise us.

    • Bill

      The rubber thing in front of the trigger guard was a heat guard, theoretically. They didn’t come on the original PSP, and when NJ State Police adopted the P7 there was much whining about the heat scorching the trooper’s tender digits.

  • thorin

    I have handled every single one of those guns in some form and agree that they are all very influential and great guns. haven’t had contact with a 9mm CZ but I would like to try one since I was not impressed with the 40 s&w one I shot. My friends p7 was awesome and I own a 92fs made in America that patterns well but 7 inches to the left, I still like the gun and am going to move the rear sight.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    I owned a P7 and hated it. That goofy grip just never felt right. The Beretta would be my choice if the safety wasn’t on the slide and if didn’t require massive mitts. I shoot that gun and it’s retarded cousin Helwan well. As for all metal wonder 9’s, I’m a P88 guy. Again, another big grip, but runs like a dream.

    • CommonSense23

      I have never understood why people like a gun that’s selling point is extra safeties/magazine disconnect/or special way to activate it.

      • Reef Blastbody

        I partially agree with you, specifically the magazine disconnect “feature”. External safeties I can see a good, common sense use for.

        Witness LAPD when they transitioned away from the Beretta 92 to the S&W M&P, and saw a tremendous spike in negligent discharges by their deputies, due to inadequate/outdated training doctrine.

        For appendix carry, I’d go with a manual safety gun and train to always engage it before I re-holster, to avoid ND’ing into my femoral artery.

        • CommonSense23

          Actually look into some of the NDs the LAPD had. When you got people NDing while directing traffic with their weapon light. It paints a picture of gross incompetence and lack of standards when it comes to firearms handling.

    • Reef Blastbody

      Get a later Taurus PT9X or PT1XX (9MM/.40S&W) as they corrected the location of the safety/decocker to the frame, where it rightfully belongs.

      Still requires goodly sized mitts to grasp though, so you’re SOL on that account.

  • M

    My favorite was the Daewoo DP-51. For some reason I shot it so well…

  • schizuki

    I own a Hi-Power, a CZ-75 and an M9. I really, REALLY know in my mind that the CZ-75 is the best metal 9mm in the world. The Beretta is just too damn big. But… I agree with Alex. That damned Dragoon pistol of a Beretta just fits my hand like it was molded to it.

  • Bill

    Having used SIGs since the early 80s I am confident that any difference in quality between German made guns and American made guns is strictly illusory. This is based on agency use of both, not small-sample individual ownership.

    • iksnilol

      What about those SIG rifles then? Where the CQ issues of the USA versions strictly illusory?

      • Bill

        What SIG rifles?

        • iksnilol

          Were some problems with the AK mag ones last I heard. Probably fixed by now.

  • Bill

    The BHP certainly belongs on the list, but historically so does the S&W M59, if not the M39. While far from the greatest pistol ever made, it was the original domestic double-stack, double action 9mm pistol and paved the way for widespread U.S. LE adoption of the semi-auto over the revolver.

    • schizuki

      It’s a Top 5 list. Which pistol would you leave off to make room for it?

      • Bill

        Maybe the BHP. The working definition of wondernine seems to center around high capacity and DA/DAO/Striker firing mechanisms. The BHP brought higher capacity, but then the Walther P38 mainstreamed the DA trigger. The M59 brought both to the market at exactly the right time.

      • StickShift

        The P7M13. The single stack P7s handle better and were far more successful, but they don’t meet the magazine capacity requirement to be a ‘wonder nine’. They’re also striker fired, when ‘wonder nines’ are typically defined as being hammer fired.

        The S&Ws had 40 years of success in the LE market and helped usher the shift to autoloaders from revolvers.

  • schizuki

    GUN SHOP OWNER: That Hi-Power takes a 14 shot clip. You expecting an army?
    FRANK SERPICO: No. Just a division.

    • iksnilol

      GUN OWNERS WATCHING THE FILM: It’s a magazine not a clip for goodness’ sake!

    • I wanted to reference Serpico very badly, but I was not sure how many viewers would catch the reference!

      • schizuki

        I’m here to help. 😉

    • MrEllis

      Remember when Hannibal used to wave his about and threaten people with a barrage of bullets. Then miss everyone.

  • Kivaari

    My first SIG was a P220 in 7.65mm (.30 Luger). I found a 9mm barrel and used it as a 9mm from then on. I was very impressed with the SIG line. I had P226s, P225s, P230s and more. Except in 7.65mm, I never had problems. The Italian 7.65mm (they could not own military calibers) chambering with USA ammo, was simply unreliable.

  • I recently bought a surplus .45 ACP SIG P220 made in 1990 in W. Germany for a very good price. I am someone who’s never been very impressed with SIG’s current offerings.

    That P220 is probably the most accurate non-Olympic-match pistol I have ever shot. It is an absolute joy and has a virtually perfect trigger. So I guess now I fully understand where SIG’s reputation comes from (besides the P210). 😉

    • Giolli Joker

      “So I guess now I fully understand where SIG’s reputation comes from”
      Yep, from Europe.

    • HollowTs

      Exactly mine is 35 yo. Has been rebuilt once by me and still drives nails. I once had a doctor friend of mine put down his over priced les baer custom to shoot my p220 all day! Needless to say he purchased one the next afternoon! Ha ha!

  • Did someone forget about the P88?

    • Steve_7


  • Ryan

    One would assume that whilst mentioning the Hi-Power and the nations that adopted it you meant to say the UK and not England.
    Because sigh

    • Tom

      I think you just have to accept that most people use England rather than Great Britain or United Kingdom just as lots of people refer to Holland rather than Netherlands.

      • Holan

        Nowadays, Britain is not so great and not to United, so makes sense to call it England. Plus, the power that be remain there in their CCTV fortress they call London.

        • Tom

          To be a pedant Great Britain refer to it being the largest of the British Isles. And the Scots voted to stay so its still united of course that might all change if England votes to leave the EU and Scotland votes to stay on the 23rd June.

    • Bill

      All I know about England is what I learned from David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Downton Abbey. But I do want a Triumph Bonneville before I die.

      • midnitelamp

        kinks and who round it out. new Bonneville is water cooled [and higher priced].

  • Marcus D.

    The Hi Power and the CZ are both on my “must buy someday” list. I handled a CZ97 the other day, and that too was impressive, although I am no fan of decockers–they just make everything too complicated. But I must say that the DA trigger pull, although long, was not at all heavy and very smooth. Impressive. The Beretta not so much. I might replace it with an FN or a T or K series Kahr.

  • mechamaster

    It seems that Rex Zero-1 is nice improvement over the P226 control ( decocking and slide catch/ release combo in one place, that P226 only has decocking lever and separate slide catch in the rear )

    But don’t know how the quality, reliability, and availability in the US market yet.

    -( the picture is credits to Polenar Tactical channel )-

    Oh, thank’s Alex.C for mentioning the slide rail design of CZ75 is similar with P210. Now that’s a nice trivia there.

    • Matt Shermer

      I agree, I would love to see if the ReX really makes waves in the U.S. because of that quality. The only manual of arms question I have remaining is how easy is it to overtravel the slide lock and actually activate the decocker, I know that the CZ999 (which is where the origin of this pistol truly lies) has a much shorter decocker travel, so I wonder if the ReX is designed to combat that. Would be nice if you could use either SIG 226 or CZ999 magazines, but I don’t think it’ll work quite that way.

    • CZ99 did the combined decocker/catch like 25 years ago. In fact, as far as I can tell, the REX0-1 is just an evolved CZ99 (or, more precisely, EZ-9). That’s nice, but no big deal.

      • Steve_7

        Which they copied off the Walther P88. The CZ99 is basically a hybrid of the P88 and the P226.

  • st4

    Heh… got nearly everything on that list. W.German P226 and even a pre-b ver 1 CZ75. Alas, my P7 is only the M8.

  • Ullan

    Incidentally Australia is looking for a new pistol for their new Vietnam era Browning High Powers. The main problem I feel is that due to Australia being more pro-military than your average island, it is ashamed that it has to buy pistols from overseas, as we are becoming increasingly distant culturally from Britain and the U.S. Perhaps a double stack 1911 from Armscor in the Philippines.

    • Ullan

      The idea is, it’s a U.S design, (our primary ally), but made in Asia (where we live). A bit of custom drilling holes in to lighten the gun would need to be made (also aluminium frame) but otherwise a beautiful sidearm for the “Best small army in the world”. Or perhaps we can bring in Lithgow Arms and they can make a polymer lower and Armscor provides everything else.

  • Green Hell

    Oh. My. God. Those markings on CZ are abomination, did someone actually sold you this as a legit Russian made gun? Because it isn’t and looks hyper tasteless, like Rambo 3 with bears on the unicycleskind level of tasteless, especially that colored star and “КАЛ.9 ПАРА” written in that “Chinese Cyrilic” font on the slide.

    • Gregory Markle

      The tacky CZ-75 Cold War Commemorative was not marketed as a Russian gun, CZ made them a few years ago and I really didn’t get it since the Czechs loathed the Soviets and the CZ was never used by the Soviets in any official manner. I guess it could make a good companion to the weird combination that is the Yugo SKS which fires the Russian 7.62x39mm but is equipped with a NATO spec grenade launcher. Both are arguably dependable firearms that are well made, with aspects that just leave you scratching your head in disbelief.

    • st4

      Blech, no kidding. Just nab a pre-B ’75 offa GB and have it refinished…

    • Doug73

      Yeah, it’s bad. Sorta reminds me of when K-Var made some super tacky silver and gold-plated SGL-31 AK’s, and sold them as “commemorative edition” models for absurd prices.

      I’m sure each respective company’s marketing departments had a laugh with these. They were probably like, “Let’s see how cheesy and tacky we can make these things with some obscure, non-factual history references to tell a story. ‘Cause as Mitchell’s Mausers taught us, you always need a good story to sell overpriced goods to unknowledgable people. Yeah, these are gaudy, but you just KNOW there’s a market for gaudy. Heck, AMC sold plenty of Gremlins, right?!?”

    • Toolan

      Russian VIPs are known to be tasteless even by euro standards.

  • BearSlayer338

    I’ve owned all five pistols mentioned at though they are good I think they are all overhyped so I eventually sold them,especially the Beretta 92,I mean I really like how good a 92 looks but it is huge for a 9mm my friends FNX45 is about the same size.

  • Nicholas C

    You did not mention the 2011 pistol. Double stack 9mm 1911 race guns. Those are amazing guns.

    • Reef Blastbody

      Those came later, IIRC. Para Canada was one of the trailblazers on the double stack 1911 frontier, and they really didn’t hit it big until the mid 1990s.

  • I’m sorry for offtopic comment, but the latest advertisement letter from TFB, advertising some power generators, was so bad I had to unsubscribe (though I’m sorry to do that; I enjoyed the newsletter very much).

    It was all that TFB generally isn’t: political fear-mongering (to sell some crap, no less), morbid relishing of imaginary deaths and calamities. And it’s really tasteless, too: it’s written in the typical style of conspiracy theorist websites, and it’s horribly designed (oversized typeface with 5-word lines, making a giant vertical column of text 5 screens high). I mean, come on.

    • This greatly concerns me. Can you email the editor and let him know? This is very out of my hands.

      • I will do that. I’m sorry if I was a little bit rash in its description (most likely the “scary” parts were just copy-pasted from FOX News article), but still, the title says:

        FOX News Warns: “Our Death Toll Would Be Staggering”

        • Giolli Joker

          I did not unsubscribe but getting the very same email from AllOutdoor and TFB upset me as well.
          Thanks for bringing this up.

      • roninpenguin

        I sent them an e-mail this morning about it. As a contributor if you follow up it may help them notice our messages.
        TFB is great and I realize that advertisers may not be sending the same messages as the editors and writers of the web site, but considering the “no politics” philosophy of this blog they may want to screen out things of this nature.

        • I agree 100%. I will call Steve, but will wait so I dont interrupt his weekend.

          • Blue Centurion

            Damn…I ordered 2 of them….

    • roninpenguin

      I unsubscribed as well because of this add. I love this blog specifically because I can avoid that kind of thing.

    • jng1226

      I’m so glad you brought this up. I have the exact same sentiment that you described and also unsubscribed on the spot. I really enjoy TFB, but as you say this was the cheesiest thing to receive through their mailing list. I’ll stay unsubscribed until I see some resolution to this.

    • Machinegunnertim

      You are spot on with your description! I got it from All Outdoor as well, double the irritation.

    • Mark Are

      I’d say that with 1.2 billion Muslims in the world that if they wanted us dead we would really have a problem. Sure some Muslims may want us dead but apparently there aren’t too many. I mean seriously? I’d have this country on it’s knees inside of a month if I was a big bad Muslim leader and I really wanted to. I won’t iterate here as I don’t want to give them any suggestions. The BS about taking out only 9 substations could send us into the dark ages? CRAP, CRAP, CRAP. Maybe Dave Hodges wrote it.

  • TC

    Smith and Wesson Model 59 series certainly deserves a mention.

  • SlowJoeCrow

    I hope this drives down Ruger P89 prices 🙂

    • TC

      I traded my P85 for a band saw.

  • Reef Blastbody

    I’d replace the Beretta 92 with the (better sit down for this one) later Taurus PT-9X/PT1XX series of handguns, i.e. the licensed clones built after Beretta sold Taurus the tooling, building, and rights to the design drawings, notes, etcetera and Taurus retained the Beretta trained engineers and assemblers for. They are, unsurprisingly, one of the few Taurus designs that never had any serious QC or design issues with, and it can be argued very convincingly that Taurus actually improved the design by moving the safety/decocker from a slide mounted design (which I loathe) to a frame mounted design, where it can no longer bite you as the slide cycles. It also reduces the mass of the slide by a fair amount, which is never a bad thing for recoil spring and ultimate frame longevity, though in practice it’s quite likely a marginal difference, i.e. frame life is extended by 5K rounds out of a 100K+ total.

    Also, if you’re local to DFW, I do have a 1989 W. German manufactured, Herndon VA rollmarked SIG P220 for a very reasonable price, with a fair number of factory 8 round and a couple of factory 10 round magazines.

    • De Facto

      Yup, have to agree, bought a used PT92, ran like a champ, and the safety WAS in a better spot. And it only cost me $350. Only catch is magazines, genuine Taurus mags are expensive and while Beretta mags can be modded for use, I never experimented with it.

    • DW

      The irony is that early models of Beretta 92 had frame-mounted safety and decocker, JUST LIKE THE TAURUS. Don’t know why they went with a worse arrangement.

      • SimpleJack

        Because when the gun was submitted to the M9 trials it was only a decocker. The Army said they wanted a safety, so it was converted after the fact. At least that’s what I had heard was the reason. If I’m wrong feel free to correct me.

  • Reef Blastbody

    For the Browning Hi Power, I agree, fantastic design, but DAMN are they proud of them new in box. I’d get an ARCUS 98DA or DAC if I wanted a carry piece. It’s a Bulgarian made copy of the BHP, with the added benefit of being DA/SA instead of SA only as the original BHP was. And they MSRP brand new in the $375-400 range, or perhaps a bit higher. And take standard BHP magazines instead of proprietary units.

    • Doug73

      Indeed. I bought an Arcus 98DAC about four years ago for $319. It’s essentially a Bulgarian copy of the Hi-Power, for a little more than 1/3 the price. 1,200+ rounds through mine and I’m still waiting for a malfunction. It’s heavy and doesn’t have the bragging rights of a Hi-Power, but it sure works like one. I also bought a Canick Stingray instead of a CZ-75 Compact. Same deal…much less expensive than the design it copies, but just as reliable and tough. And I’m looking into an Arex Zero instead of a Sig P226.

      There are a lot of bargains out there if you’re willing to pay for what a gun does, rather than how it’s branded.

    • Scott P

      Well the 98DA took proprietary mags because of the longer grip it had and so was only able to take 15 round mags or with some fitting the now discontinued 20 round Mecgar mags.

      Otherwise it had improvements I liked over a regular Hi-Power like no mag disconnect safety which allowed for a better trigger and less parts thus making it simpler. Also liked the molded grip, sights, and beefier slide.

  • Reef Blastbody

    And I also second the call to check out the AREX Zero1. Haven’t found an LGS that has one on the shelf, but I did speak to a gentleman at K-Var in Las Vegas who would be happy to ship one to the FFL of my choice. But by all accounts they compare very favorably to the SIG 226 (the fullsize Zero1 is the only available model so far, to my knowledge), and as noted, the controls are a bit more intuitive. I also like the aesthetics of the full length dust cover on the Zero1. I’m also a fan of the CZ-SP01 over the original CZ-75 for that matter. I know, I know, it’s cosmetic, but I like what I like.

  • GrammarCopper

    Nice overviews of great pistols!

    But can TFB and the rest of the gun universe please indulge my pet peeve, and stop pronouncing the word “polygonal” incorrectly?

    It’s not “poly-GON-uhl”. The correct usage is “puh-LIG-uh-nul”.

    Disagree? Then tell me, if you see a guy with multiple wives walking down the street (a polygamist), do you say “Look at that poly-ga-mist”, or do you say “Look at that puh-LIG-uh-mist”?

    Point made (there actually IS a correct way to pronounce this word). And pet peeve addressed. 😉

    • Bill

      Is it pedophile, as in peda-phile, or pee-daphile?


      • GrammarCopper

        “PEDA-file of course, because there’s a vowel after the root. If a constanant after the root, most times the root is not static.” – Ms. Dittlemeyer, your 7th grade grammar and rhetoric instructor. Unless you went to a U.S. public school, where there’s no expectation kids understand English at the same level as a Dutch 7th grader. 😉

        • Squirreltakular

          You must be a riot at parties.

    • As a Master Level Grammar Law Enforcement Officer, I’ve got to bring up the fact that English is not really a pronunciation-dependent language, globally speaking. While American accents are roughly pretty uniform (to a point – there are of course exceptions like Cajun and Chesapeake), skip across the Atlantic to the British Isles and you’ve got people giving a wide variety of different pronunciations for even common words (there are, for example, dialects in Ireland that pronounce “teeth” and “teet” the same way, lacking the “thuh” sound entirely). That’s not to mention Scottish and Welsh accents that are hardly intelligible to American ears.

      In comparison, stressing the syllables on “polygonal” in a different way is pretty tame.

      As a side note, this is also why English is better off with its current word spellings than it would be with phonetic word spellings. Exactly whose phonology would we use, and should we just hang everyone else out to dry?

      • KestrelBike

        one time I was in Montana camping and I was asking this store clerk where something was, and he kept saying “It’s by the crick” (like cricket) and I looked so confused and kept asking where it was, then it finally dawned on me that’s how they pronounce Creek (aka a stream) around there.

  • Geoff

    The only gun on that list that I have not shot is the HK.
    Incidentally, it’s also the only one that I have not ruled out of ever owning. The rest are undoubtedly well-made and reliable, but the CZ’s slide is comically small (height-wise), the Sig ergos are atrocious, the BHP is a’ight and was ahead of its time but years of using them for work has made me hate them, and the Beretta is comically large and the exposed barrel irritates the hell out of me.

    To each their own, though. It wouldn’t be an interesting world if we all liked/used the same guns

  • MrEllis

    Came for the CZ, stayed for the comments… kidding, just here for the CZ.

  • guest

    Besides the HighPower no other pistol had any real impact except the long trail of slither HK fanboys leave behind the overly complicated handguns they like. As for Beretta – same thing, with minor adjustments to consider that tilting blocks and whatever other exotic means of locking will never beat pure and simple locking achieved by short recoil and tilting barrel.
    Lastly the gas-delayed wunderwaffle which reminds me very much of late WW2 Volksgewehr (same type of gas delay was used there, give or take) also falls into the category of the exotic. “saved lives because the person who stole the handgun didn’t know how to operate it”? Really? That is just an obscure way to justify complexity.
    In general my main issue with any gun is either a) too many parts, more than necessary and b) too many buttons/levers/switches to operate one. Especially so with the who idea that a safety lever/button/whatever is in fact a “safety” feature in any way. Safety is in the head of the user, so much so that is the main safety from which any safe use takes root. Everything else is just an added technical complexity that has some vague psychological effect of making the user think that something is “safe”.

    • HKGuns

      Spoken like a true gLoCker…..Ever own or shoot anything but gLoCk?

      ………Thought not.

    • HollowTs

      Of all the weapons listed the SIG is the simplest. With the least moving parts to fail. I also own the CZ 75b and love it, but way more complicated. It is the love child of the Hi power, a p210 and aspects of the 1911 such as the beaver tail on the frame. Not a bad group ro be associated with though!

  • Dumb

    That CZ 75 “modification” is really dumb, ignorant.

    And insulting to any Czech… bar the few old commies.

  • CZFan

    Its hard to take a list seriously when the creator lists the P-7 as the greatest semi auto pistol ever made.
    And the whole “bad guy couldnt figure it out” saving lives bit was just too much. I am sure that has happened many times more with traditional safeties than the goofy squeeze cocking mechanism of the P-7.

    • Cmex

      Yup. Even worse, the P7M13 is a failed version of the P7, and it’s the only one of it’s family that counts as a wondernine. I call baloney. And these TFBTV guys really have a history of always shoehorning in an H&K weapon if it’s at all possible. I doubt their assessments often. It’s be just easier to admit there aren’t all that many metal wondernines.

      • CZFan

        Ive shot 3 P7’s two were P7m13’s in 9mm and one was a .380, one of the P7’s was in immaculate condition as far as finish went but ran like a turd, it failed to feed constantly, the well worn P7m13 ran as well as any other gun, as did the .380

        There are alot of great 9mm guns that predate the P7. The Hi Power 1935, the P38 1938, the P210 1949 the CZ-75 1975, and the P7 1976.

        The P7 was a reasonably successful service pistol for police, and a few military forces also used it for some time.

        But as far as I know no Police, Paramilitary or Military force still uses the p7. That says alot about the gun.

        However I think the biggest “tell” of a design is staying power, the 1911, the Browning Hi Power, both designs that have stood the test of time, and have been copied and improved upon for 80-100 years.

        The Hi Power is still standard issue for countless Police, and Military Forces, The British Army just replaced them with the Glock Gen 4 in 2013. The Canadian Army still uses the Hi Power.

        The P226 is a direct descendant of the original request for a “wonder nine” after the 1972 Olympic massacre that spawned the P7 and the P225.

        The P226 is still standard issue for many organizations including the Navy Seals. Delta Force still uses the CZ-75.

        Where is the legacy of the P7? does it have any “offspring” still being produced or used by anyone? Nope.

        The P7 was outclassed by better designs that came long before it, were developed at the same time, and ones that came after the P7.

        The P7 is a workable service pistol. but by no measure is it “the best of the wonder nines”

  • Billca

    Okay, your piece is titled “Top 5 Wondernines” and not the Top 5 Most Influential Wondernines which explains the omission of the S&W Model 59.

    While I’m not a fan of the 59 I do own several 39-series pistols with my first purchased in 1973. The Model 59 came as the result of S&W making a batch of Model 39 pistols into suppressed pistols for the Seals known as the Mk 22 Mod 0 “Hush Puppy”. The pistol was later upgraded with a double-stack magazine for the military and remained a DoD-only pistol until 1971 when S&W released it for civilian production as the Model 59. The Model 59 is really a Model 39 with a bigger magazine and straight backstrap. The Model 39’s lineage can be traced to the Walther P-38 design, modified and dressed-up for the American market.

    Why is it important? Because once it was released it provided police agencies with a domestically produced 9mm pistol with a double-stack magazine with 5 more shots than most 9mm self-loaders of the time. At that time, Smith & Wesson was known and trusted by police agencies across the nation, more so than the Browning Hi-Power. The Illinois State Police adopted the Model 39 pistol in 1967 and it’s high reliability started many police agencies evaluating the use of semi-auto pistols. But while 9 shots is better than 6 shots it didn’t offset the added costs of more complex training, extra magazines and maintenance.

    Once the Model 59 debuted with a 14 round magazine police agencies started adopting it to combat increasingly well-armed criminals. The loss of four California Highway Patrolmen in the Newhall Incident to a pair of well armed felons also had a big impact and many chiefs started considering pistols. The small California community I lived in at the time lost an officer in ’72 when his Colt Python was used against him and that loss spurred the police agency to adopt the Model 59 about 1974. Several other agencies did likewise for their own reasons. By 1981 they were a popular sight in police holsters.

    It’s important to remember that the Beretta 92 debuted in 1976 and was a lukewarm seller until its adoption by the U.S. military. And Glock was still at least a decade away from even prototyping a pistol. The world was quite different then.

  • Mark Are

    Well, I’ve owned a Browning High Power and a Beretta 92. And I currently do own a CZ 75 MADE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, not the Czech Republic a SIG P226 in 1980 version and 2012 version as well as an HK P7 M13. I guess I have good taste. However, the daddy of the modern “wonder nines” has to be the first one to carry 19 rounds. The Styre GB, which I just happen to own one of too. Hey, what can I say, I’m cool and can brag. If you don’t like it…go cry to mommy.

  • Schmiss

    No P88! Disappointed to be honest, if you’re gonna mention the CZ 75 then you don’t need to mention the Hi-Power, If a gun can go toe to toe with a CZ-75, there’s no need to mention the Hi-Power, and the Walther P88 is a far better gun than a Hi-Power, I love both but the P88 wins hands down. And you don’t mention the MAB PA-15, which is essentially a double stack P210 meant for military service.

    • Steve_7

      The P88 is possibly the most overrated pistol ever made. It had so many problems with it they had to come out with the P88 Compact to replace it.

  • maodeedee

    In THEORY the Browning P-35 Hi-power is no big deal but try shooting one sometime and she how it fits and balances in just about everyone’s hand like some kind of magic. Then you will want one.

    I have one but I wish I could afford another one in 40 caliber. And before any of the 40 haters try to say that the 9 is better, keep in mind that the bigger the hole in the hull, the faster the ship will sink, and any modern whiz-bang Controlled Expansion bullet technology used in the 9mm can be used in the 40, making it better yet.

    But regardless the p-35 comes in both flavors.

    • Steve_7

      I had one in .40, you don’t want one. Way more muzzle flip means hammer bite is guaranteed, almost impossible to work the slide with any amount of moisture on the slide or your fingers. Plus the magazine has a weird mousetrap spring to force it to eject that protrudes from the floorplate and snags on everything.

  • Steve_7

    The P7M13 is not a particularly good pistol, too heavy and blocky, I had one and I’ve got really big hands and even I thought it was too big.

    At least you didn’t list the Walther P88, which is the most overrated pistol ever made, exponentially more overrated than the Glock even. At least the Glock works.

    I had one that I shot until it literally fell apart. For the first 7,000 rounds it worked, then the combination decocker/slide release ceased having a combination and instead the hammer would follow the slide forward (unnerving) – not to worry, it has a firing pin that is raised into position by the trigger bar, and after you get some wear on it, you can move it out of position by pulling a bit hard to the right on the trigger. Thus the gun goes “click” instead of bang.

    Also – the trigger mech is very complicated and held together by pins held in place by slip washers. Guess what happens? Yes the washers slip off and the trigger mech self dissembles. And it also has a trigger stop held in place by glue… and eventually the glue melts because the gun gets hot when you fire it.

    Unsurprisingly after about 12,000 guns they stopped making it! The P88 Compact works but is less ambitious in its design.

  • ciscokid3750