HGR 045 - Handgun Radio Beauty Pageant

This week is Handgun Radio’s Beauty Pageant! I’ve assembled a small panel of guests to discuss what THEY think are the most beautiful & the most ugly guns, as well as some picks from Handgun Radio listeners!!!

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Week in Review:

Ryan: -Shot the Rossi Model 13 Princess and it was really cool! Terrible DA pull though Check out the video link in the show notes!!

TJ Gauthier:

Weerd Beard:

Main Topic: Handgun Radio Beauty Pageant


Welcome to the first annual Handgun Radio Beauty Pageant! We may have follow up entries down the road depending upon how many new beautiful & ugly guns come out in the future! First off, I’d like to set a few ground rules. We can choose any fairly modern handgun, but no flintlocks or wheelocks, because most of those aren’t really comparable in terms of beauty or ugliness to modern handguns. Having a firearm included in the ugly list DOES NOT mean it is a bad handgun; this list is purely opinion based, so no hate mail =) This is a list that is just totally FOR FUN! A lot of people have compiled lists of what they think are ugly guns, but very few do both sides of the coin. We will each have a few choices in the Most Beautiful and Most Ugly, and then at the end we can try to come to some sort of consensus in each category.


Most Beautiful:


-Revolver: This one for me is a toss up between the Colt Python and the Smith & Wesson Registered Magnum. The Colt Python has always been considered the Rolls-Royce of double-action revolvers, but the Registered Magnum (Later the Model 27) predated it by many years. The Model 27 uses a half-lugged barrel, with a larger N-frame. The Colt Python uses a fully-lugged barrel, giving it the distinctive profile we all know and love. There was a significant difference between the two guns in terms of manufacturing however. The Python was always known for its brilliant finish and fit. The Model 27 had incredible bluing and fit was extraordinary, but high prices drove some customers away. S&W responded with the cheaper and less refined Model 28, which allowed the average gun owner of the time to purchase a well made revolver without all the frills for a more affordable price. Colt really never made a “budget” Python (at least not one that followed the profile of the Python exactly; they made other cheaper models but none really looked like the Python.) Being a S&W guy, I would normally say Model 27 wins, but in this round I have to say that the Colt Python gets my vote, probably because I may never get to own one =)



-Semi-Auto: This is a VERY hard toss up for me. I am a huge fan of the Browning Hi-Power, especially the really nicely blued ones, but I am also a huge fan of the Colt 1903 & 1908 pistols. I think I would have to go with the Browning Hi-Power, simply because it is a more modern firearm, and would still have very many useful practical applications in defensive shooting today. It may be somewhat outclassed by the latest plastic “high speed low drag” polymer handguns, but it still is a highly functional and great looking combat pistol. The Colt 1903 & 1908, while still being fairly modern in that they look like a semi-automatic pistol, fire somewhat less powerful cartridges than the Hi-Power. The small cartridges compared to the size of the pistols takes them out of the “pocket gun” category that we know today. Therefore, I have to go with the Browning Hi-Power.


Most Ugly:


-Revolver: Easy choice for me: The Dardick Revolver. The Dardick is the most ugly looking revolver/magazine fed gun I have ever seen. The Dardick has a unique system of operation; it is an “open chamber gun”, meaning that rather than having several circular chambers cut into a cylinder, it has three chambers that have no outer wall. The top strap of the frame forms the outer wall of the chamber when a cartridge is proper aligned with the barrel. The reason for this open chamber design was to allow for rounds to be fed into the three shot cylinder from a magazine mounted in the grip of the gun, much like a semi-automatic. The revolver shot triangular shaped cartridges called Trounds. These trounds allowed for the chamber to be properly sealed upon firing using this open chamber design. The revolver then had an ejection port on the left side of the gun to eject the spent plastic trounds and free up the chamber to be reloaded again by the magazine. The Dardick was really an answer to a question nobody asked, and at the time it was introduced, semi-automatic pistols were already pretty well established in the marketplace.


-Semi-Auto: This may ruffle some feathers, but the S&W Sigma has always been a really ugly gun to me. The weird colors that S&W chose to release the Sigma in are just horrible and the gun doesn’t have the greatest reputation for reliability to boot. But there is an even worse variation; the S&W Sigma .380. It has got to be one of the UGLIEST guns I have ever seen. Luckily, S&W got it right when the introduced the M&P line of pistols; much better polymer handguns.

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TJ’s Picks:

Most Beautiful:


I think that all of North American Arms products are pretty nice to look at, but most of all is their Blackjack. It is a distributor exclusive variant of their standard model, but with a nice bluing. It also has a set of rosewood grips with a Spade etched into either panel.

NAA Ranger



The CZ-75 series has that classic beauty, much like the Hi-Power. It is just an amazing firearm to look at. If owned one, I would probably be inclined to sit and stare at it, for hours on end.

My Buddy’s CZ-75B  Enjoy  -Weer’d

Most Ugly:


For me, the ugliest revolver has GOT to be the Rohm RG-10. Rohm is a German company that produced, what many claim, the worst handgun in the world with claims of crooked sights and reliability issues. This particular model is their 22 short. It’s almost like someone just made a semi-functioning firearm from a bin of old parts.


The Borchardt C-93 is probably a touchy one. I understand that is has a certain historical/classic interest. It is a toggle-lock, similar to the Luger and it is chambered in a .32 caliber bottleneck cartridge. It really shows what comes out of innovation, but to me, it has always been a funny looking design.

Weer’d’s Picks:

Most Beautiful:

Revolver:  Ryan beat me to it,  Colt Python  Specifically with a 4” Barrel (just perfect proportions IMHO for any full-size revolver)  and the Colt Royal Blue Finish.

Just to be Different I’ll also toss in the Dan Wesson .357.   I don’t think it compares to the offerings by Colt or S&W really,   but It has the unique cylinder latch by the cylinder crane that gives the gun unique look.   It’s kinda like that mole on Marilyn Monroe's cheek (or Cindy Crawford if you want a model that goes better with my shoulder holster for 80s style)


Semi Auto:

No Doubt for me it’s the Caspian 1911 with the Damascus slide:


And For Variety a gun I actually don’t much care for, but I’ve always liked the lines of it.

The Desert Eagle in Satin Nickel.   They don’t run well, they don’t serve any practical purpose, but with that low-gloss Nickel finish they’re a cool looking gun.


The Ugly Guns:


This one is easy.  It’s a Fantastic gun, in my own collection but good lord is it homely!  The Ruger LCR .22.   I have this and an LCR .357,  The .357 is the best looking of the LCR family, and that is a low bar,  the .38 is VERY ugly, but the LCR .22 is hands down the ugliest of them all.    All guns have a matte black finish on the metal which rarely flatters,  but Ruger throws in the polymer lower which just looks funky.    This is made worse by the extreme scalloping on the cylinder.    Super functional, but U G L Y!


Semi Auto:

This one takes the cake for ugly! The Nambu Pistol.   There is just EVERYTHING wrong with this gun!



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