Five awesome guns to shoot before you die

We’re all enthusiasts at some level. Sure, some of us are more serious about competition, some of us are more serious about defensive shooting, but not a single person that’s deeply invested in our hobby won’t admit that some guns are just cool. If I had to create a simple five-stop bucket list of guns you have to shoot before you die, this would be it. Some of the guns are on this list because they’re historically significant, others just because they’re cool and I like them.

1. Thompson M1 .45 ACP

thompson m1

The classic. Obviously, if you’re going to shoot a Thompson, it should be a proper Tommy gun in full auto. Of all the variants of the Thompson out there, the one I’d absolutely want to shoot would be the classic WW2 variant, the M1 or the M1A1. By modern standards, the Thompson is heavy, unwieldy, and overly complex, but in its heyday it was an awesome Nazi-blasting machine. Even though contemporary subguns like the MP40 were technically better, the Tommy gun holds a special place in American history and pop culture.

2. HK MP5

The featured image in this post is an MP5, and for good reason. It is possibly the most iconic sub-machine gun ever, with the only possible contender for the title being the original Uzi. But the MP5 has been with us for ages, and in fact continues to serve across the world in the hands of police and military forces. Hollywood is still obsessed with the MP5, likely because it’s still hugely popular in cinematic armories, and let’s be honest it just plain old looks cool. The one on my bucket list is the MP5-SD. With its collapsible stock and suppressor, it’s the king of cool.

3. Minigun


Do…do I need to explain this? It’s a Minigun. It’s 6 barrels of BRRRRRRRRT firing 7.62 NATO at rates of fire only exceeded by how fast politicians can tell lies. It’s everything that’s good and wonderful in the world, and of course it’s hard to get your hands on one to shoot one. But who cares! It’s a friggin’ MINIGUN. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

4. M2 Browning (Ma Deuce)


I realize this list is pretty machine gun heavy, and there’s a good reason for that. Most people don’t get to shoot machine guns as part of their regular lives, so getting the chance to do some full automatic thumping is awesome. Which is why the Ma Deuce is here. Unless you join the military, chances to shoot an M2 are limited to either being extremely wealthy or going to Knob Creek and paying for the privilege. If you can, you should. Because the M2 is the definitive American Machine Gun. Designed by John Moses Browning, shooting his most powerful cartridge, the M2 has been in service since 1933. It’s fought in every single war America’s been in since then, and it’s still downrange thumping out hate and discontent against our enemies to this day. That’s a record to be proud of.

5. A true custom 1911

A Wilson Combat "CQB" chambered in 9mm
A Wilson Combat “CQB” chambered in 9mm

The ultimate expression of the handgun is a true, full custom 1911. There’s something undeniably special about a custom 1911. Fit, finish, accuracy, it’s just nice. I’ve shot a couple full custom 1911s and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve also shot a lot of 1911s that weren’t so high end, and even when a low end gun is reliable, like our Rock Island, it’s not quite as special as a full house gun.

There’s the list! How many of these have you shot? I’ve got the custom 1911, the MP5, and the Thompson all crossed off, and I’ll soon have the proper M2 crossed off. Guess I need to figure out a way to shoot a minigun…


  1. Thompson & MP5… check. No M2 but a M1919 30cal belt fed once. Minigun,hmmm, that’d be fun!

  2. The Ma Deuce is a smile inducing machine even if the guy “Slappin the butterfly” is in a bad mood. The first time I shot a 50 BMG I was grinning from ear to ear, the GM2 that was standing there was smiling because he said when he trains people or has first time shooters shoot the 50 BMG he stares at their face to see the big smile and he loves it! Of course Uncle Sugar was footing the bill for the 50 BMG, ammo and upkeep and not this GM2 so he could also smile

    The Ma Deuce was the Viagra of the 80s for many people from their late teens to well into their late 40s, and this was before Viagra was discovered or needed

  3. S&W 460V, truly a Blast! Not as punishing as imagined, unless you choose to punish yourself shooting 300+ grain rounds repeatedly. Even the 454 Casull rounds will beat you up eventually. When I talk it out, I start with a cylinder full of 45LC Cowboy, progress to a cylinder of more powerfull 45LC rounds, then a cylinder of Casull in increasing power and eventually to the 460’s. Generally run through about 15 – 20 rounds of Casull and 460 before retiring it for the day. It is an experience though and even though I only practice with it a couple times a year, it always makes me SMILE : )

  4. I would add a true British dangerous game double rifle. I’ve also thought that shooting a Gyrojet would be a trip.

  5. Check on all five, with the custom 1911 being the most recent as I just took delivery of my 1911 from Nighthawk Custom.

  6. My personal list:
    Glock 18: pretty much a handheld minigun, as in a way to turn ammo into flame, noise, and awesomeawesomeAWESOME!!!
    Uzi: THE SMG for us early 80’s kids.

    On the bucket list:
    -BAR: Forget the tommy gun. If you wanted fire superiority over your enemy in the 20’s-40’s, this was the gun to have.
    -PPSh-41: Brothers, let us go kill Hitlerites FOR THE MOTHERLAND!!! FORWARD!!!!
    -Quad .50 AA gun. If one M2 is awesome then 4 M2’s is more so.

  7. This list could be 500 awesome guns to shoot. So many, so little time and money.

  8. Got to handle a Ma Deuce while making “pew pew pew” sounds. Does that count? Had a Thompson M1 clone in my hands on the back 40 with a full box of .45… that wouldn’t work cuz it were the wrong kind. Sigh.

  9. 40mm Bofors, check. MA Deuce, check. Thompson, check. M-60 check. M-16, check, Ak-47 check. M-2 Carbine check. full auto shotgun, check. Uzi 9mm, check…all full auto…it really helps to have worked for a class 3 manufacturer (Group Industries)

  10. I’ve been lucky enough to have shot all of them.
    One relic not on the list that I really enjoyed shooting full auto was the “grease gun” in .45 ACP.

  11. The very first firearm I fired was an M2. It was 1950, I was nine. The NCNG brought a blank adapted M2 to the celebration of opening of new Greensboro Coliseum. I doubt that would fly these days.

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