Grad Corner

Are Race Guns Carry Guns?

  • Jack Collins

I was recently introduced to a new gun-related term: race gun. No, this isn’t the revolver that Mr. Bevilaqua used to kick off the climactic sprint in Seinfeld’s classic “The Race” (S6, E10). Instead, it refers to a specific type of gun that’s been modified to meet certain goals.

Sounds a lot like guns in general these days, right? You can’t hit the range nowadays without running into some guy blasting a souped-up SIG the lane over. And modern carry guns, too, would seem to fall into this category.

So I hit the books. And with some help from SDI’s own Caleb Downing, I answered my burning question: What exactly is a race gun, and are all carry guns technically race guns?

What is a Race Gun?

The term “race gun” first started showing up in the 1960s. Essentially, the term referred to a firearm that had been modified to exploit certain rulesets. The gun’s design was intended to help its operator complete a stage before their competitors — hence the name “race gun.”

Generally, a race gun wasn’t built from scratch. Instead, it was a customized version of an existing firearm platform. For example, if you were a competitive revolver shooter trying to nail targets at a distance, you might install a Picatinny rail along the top of the barrel and mount an optic to it.

Caleb puts it very succinctly in his video:

“In the modern era of firearms technology, we have way surpassed what a traditional blank slate pistol is. In a modern look at firearms, do regular guns — particularly those that are designed by the manufacturers to be carried — have features that (back in the day) would have made them a race gun?”

Caleb uses the example of his Shadow Systems MR920. It comes from the manufacturer with an optic, suppressor height sights, and a threaded barrel. These are all modifications that make it more effective at tackling certain tasks.

I would tend to agree with Caleb’s assessment that guns today are equipped with a bunch of modifications that make them more effective at completing a job. And while they may not be built out to tackle a certain kind of competition, they’re definitely an effective self-defense weapon.

Learn More About Handguns at SDI

Do you love tinkering with your handguns and learning what makes them go “boom?” So does SDI — and they love teaching students about pistols, too. To learn more about handguns and explore the programs SDI offers, click here.

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