Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: The 6 Worst Gimmick Guns

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Gimmick guns have a unique feature as their primary selling point, but little – if any – practical purpose for the civilian. People who own them or like them for whatever reason then try to come up with practical reasons for owning them, when they should just ‘fess up and say they bought it because they thought it was cool.

Look, we’ve all done it with either a gun or something else at some point. I bought a BC Rich guitar for that very reason; it looked cool (now it’s just old) and had a whammy bar. (Still does.) As it turned out, it’s a decent instrument; the neck is amazing and it sounds good. However, a lot of instruments made to satisfy the “looks cool, has whammy bar” crowd are just lousy.

Bear in mind, this isn’t to judge people, at all. Part of gun ownership is that shooting is fun! Guns, like any mechanical object, can be appreciated; you don’t have to have a practical reason for everything, but that doesn’t mean you get to lie about why you got it.

Here are 6 such gimmick guns.

The Desert Eagle is the only semi-auto magnum that’s managed to last. A number of others have come and gone, though Coonan seems to be hanging on and someone resurrected Wildey. They’re huge, they’re expensive, and the ammunition is too unless you have a .357 Magnum or 10mm model.

The justification that people like to give is “something something bears” but – and this is just my experience – I’ve never run across anyone who actually carried one in bear country. The real reason people get them is to make a big noise at the range.

Another frequent flier in this category is the Taurus Judge and S&W Governor. Yes, they chamber .45 Colt and yes, they’ll kill an intruder deader than disco, but if I hear one more person say “something something shotgun” I’m going to lose my mind.

What people mean by that is they don’t trust themselves to hit the broadside of a barn.

Granted, a good number of people use theirs as a snake gun. You load it up with rat shot or bird shot for use in the Southwest or wherever else you might encounter a less than beneficent reptile. I’ll also say that I’ve met some of the folks from Taurus, and they do level best to make quality products at an affordable price point and that’s commendable.

But I’m not talking about Taurus, I’m talking about the people who buy the things.

Instead of a specific model, I’m going to just come out and say all bullpup rifles. Yes, they have a lot of advantages; shorter OAL, carbine-length barrel, better in tight spaces, etc., etc.

People buy them because they look cool. You’re not in Mossad, and the closest you’re going to get to the French Foreign Legion is the dijon mustard in your fridge.

Brief aside – anyone ever see “The Last Remake Of Beau Geste?” That movie was criminally underrated. But one digresses.

Granted, there are some quality bullpup rifles out there. The IWI Tavor is supposed to be excellent, DesertTech makes some fine rifles, and KelTec makes them too. Again, though, let’s be honest. You got one because you thought it was cool, kind of like my BC Rich.

I know a few people that carry a Smith and Wesson 500 because they live in bear country and aren’t messing around. If Yogi shows up with bad intentions, they mean to have worse intentions. Had I to guess, far more people who buy the 500 do so because they just want to say they own the most powerful handgun on earth.

Granted, they are fun. If you get the longer-barreled models, they aren’t even that rough to shoot. So I get it; there’s an appeal, until you try to find ammunition. You either can’t, or find out it’s so expensive that you wish to God you hadn’t.

And now, we come to the last and, without doubt, the two absolute worst gimmick guns.

I’m just going to say any and all civilian .50 BMG rifles. There is literally no practical purpose that you can even try to come up with. Big gun, big boom, REAL BIG price tag.

At last, we come to the FN Five-seveN.

There’s probably a practical reason for one somewhere. The Secret Service has them for a reason, plenty of police, military and paramilitary forces have the P90 and for good reasons. But we’re talking about civilians here.

To my mind, if you want a high-capacity pistol but can’t handle much recoil, it’s a good pick, and that’s it. You could probably hunt small game with it, but – again – I doubt very highly that many people are doing so. Instead, most people want them because they read somewhere the Secret Service has them and that’s cool.

A .22 LR or .22 WMR is infinitely better for small game because they aren’t expensive, ammunition is everywhere, cheap and effective. While we’re at it, a .22 LR rifle is better than a handgun because they’re more accurate and a .410 or 20-gauge is a good pick too.

The ammunition is expensive and not easily found in stores. The gun itself is wickedly expensive; MSRP is over $1,400. The frame is polymer, so is the slide and so are the sights.

I reiterate.


Look, FN makes great products, without a doubt. Their rifles are very high quality, and so are the rest of their pistols. What I’m saying here is that it’s a gimmick gun and everyone needs to start owning up to it. For the same amount, you can buy a Dan Wesson 1911 pistol, and they are exquisitely well-made.

If you own or appreciate any of the above guns, there’s nothing wrong with it. People like what they like, and there’s nothing good or bad about any of it.

As long as you’re being honest about it. And you know what? I still love my BC Rich.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit