No More Neat Guns. By: SLG


It seems that the era of the “neat gun” is over. Today, guns made by regular gun companies are all business. Even some of the single action .22’s are cerakoted these days! That may be great for profit margin and market share, but does anyone really look at such a gun and picture handing it down to their grandkids? Or coveting one 20 years after they stop making it?

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When I was young, there were many neat guns on the market, mostly made a few years before I was born, and still readily available. Some were still being made while I was growing up as well. They weren’t the latest and greatest, but they had an appeal that transcended mere function. Guns like the Beretta 70, 71, 85, and 86. The Colt Detective Special, Woodsman and New Frontier .22LR. Smith and Wesson Bodyguards (the real one) and Kit guns. Ruger MKI, MKII, Security Six, and Speed Six. The great Browning 1903. Even the Soviet Nagant revolver. There are many more but you get the idea.

I know what you are saying, “Those guns aren’t “neat”, they are just earlier versions of what are now more refined guns.” Yeah, they weren’t all perfect. And yes, some were made obsolete in some ways by the stuff that replaced them. Nonetheless, those guns had the feel of an older generation, some with blue steel and wood stocks before plastic and high-tech coatings took over completely. Some weren’t the easiest to take down and clean, you had to actually work with them a bit and learn their idiosyncrasies.

Some old soul gun owners still look for and cherish these types of guns. I like them and use them but I admit, I don’t usually carry them. I certainly could though and they would do their job. In the years to come, do you think the next generation of gun owners will feel the same about the polymer wonders that we all use today? Will people seek them out as fun guns to cherish and manipulate? Take them on hunts with their kids? Hard for me to see that happening, but I guess we will find out.