Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Wish List

We all have one.

That list of guns we not only want, but that we somehow MUST bring home. Morally imperative acquisitions, critically important purchases, the guns we cannot live without and continue to function as sane human beings.

For me... that list is relatively short, and necessarily so. Even though Mrs. Normal is a hell of a shooter and enjoys the sport, I do want to continue to remain happily married and continue to expand our collection. Today, I think I've whittled my wish (more like need) list down to the following:

1. Glock 34
2. Remington 870
3. Colt Combat Elite

Why? In case it's not obvious...

Glock 34 - Competition Run & Gun Perfection

Simply put, I miss my G34 almost as much as I miss the temperamental 1911 that got me into handgun shooting and sent me face first down the firearms rabbit hole. It's simple, fast, accurate and rock-solid reliable. It's the standard for USPSA Production and IDPA SSP for a damn good reason - in the words of a former instructor, it's "the box that rocks." I've owned the 26, 19, 17, and 34 at one point or another and cannot wait to strap my 34 holster on again and step into the start box. I have a feeling I'm going to have one of those evil-grin "oh yeah" moments...

Remington 870 - Fun, Home Protection, and "Hell Yeah!"

There are a few firearms I think everyone should own - hell, the government should simply ISSUE to us... The Ruger 10/22, the Glock 17, and a Remington 870. For about $300, it's nearly fallen into the realm of "I don't need to ask for permission..." spending more than once and I can't believe I don't have one living under the bed already. There's just something heartwarming about running the action of an 870 - instantly familiar, insanely simple, and utterly reliable in the hands of any mortal. And, once you have the base gun at home, simple to build into exactly the shotty you want. The first time I ran a handful of slugs through an 870, my mind had been made up -- I simply HAVE to get me one of those.

Colt XSE Combat Elite
This one's a little less obvious... sorta.

My first steps into the universe of serious handgun shooting didn't come through buying a Glock, Springfield, Ruger, or Taurus but a bare-bones 1911 from the folks at Kimber and those who know me well know the love-hate-love relationship I had with that pistol.

While Kimber produces thousands of perfectly functional guns for every unit that simply refuses to run, I was one of the "lucky" few to have bought a factory-fresh lemon. After its first 10-week spa vacation in Yonkers, the gun came home WORSE than when it went out and the internals look like they'd been polished by a stoned vo-tech freshman. After its second trip back - this time directly to the Custom Shop - the weirdest thing happened... the damn gun actually ran. Over 99% reliable... right up to the day I had to sell it. She'd gone from my daily-carry weapon as a range officer and instructor to 2/3 of a mortgage payment and, while I can't believe I ever would have felt this way, I miss it more than anything else I had to sell. Glocks have come and gone, but I actually regret selling my first pistol - my first 1911.

I don't just want another... I NEED another 1911, and I've been trying to find a way to bring one home at some point this year. Given the dozens of manufacturers producing hundreds of variations on the 1911 platform, I find myself drawn to what I think typifies the heart and soul of the modern 1911 -- the Combat Elite from Colt.

I'm no purist and have no problem with integrated light rails on 1911s but something about the Combat Elite just looks and feels right. With its reputation for running with near-flawless reliability out of the box, 100-year pedigree, and integration of features which define the modern 1911, the XSE Combat Elite puts everything I want in a production gun within reach... all I need to do now is save every spare penny, quarter, and $20 I can hide from my prettier half until I've got enough to bring home what I've been missing most of all. It's one thing to own a collection of Glocks, XDs, or M&Ps - and I have. What I'm missing, really missing, is that one handgun that bears the weight of heritage and history. That gun I'll own as an old man; that one gun my son or daughter one day will ask for and I'll be able to say, with a grin, "the day you can have it, you won't want it."

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