Most Iconic Firearm and Caliber Combos: Handgun Edition

  • Jack Collins
[Pictured above: the glorious combo of the 45 ACP and it’s perfect partner, the 1911. Photo courtesy of Jan Hrdonka]

There are some handguns that are just iconic. Whether from real-world use or media representations, there are just some guns that the public thinks of when they hear about a certain caliber (and vice-versa). That’s the idea behind this post: exploring the firearms and calibers that have cemented their place in the collective consciousness. We’ll kick it off with two of the best examples of this kind of caliber for pistol: the 44 magnum revolver and the 1911.

The Lord’s True Caliber: 45 ACP 1911

While some frothing, AK-obsessed whack jobs may tell you that 5.45×39 is the true chosen caliber, in my opinion, every half-sane person will instantly answer that the lord’s caliber is 45 ACP. And there’s no better gun for that cartridge than the 1911. As we alluded to earlier, this association comes from real-world use. The 1911 chambered in 45 ACP has been the US’ go-to sidearm for two World Wars, all the way through Vietnam.

44 Magnum Revolver: the Most Powerful Handgun Known to Man


Smith & Wesson Model 629, a modernization of Dirty Harry’s Model 26 chambered in 44 magnum. Photo courtesy of Mesinge2

And then, we have the other category of guns: the ones from pop culture. The 44 magnum cartridge instantly became famous when Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character proclaimed it (in his case, a Smith & Wesson Model 29) the most powerful handgun known to man. That’s not even remotely true – in fact, the 44 magnum isn’t even the world’s most powerful revolver. But when you get past the ‘80s cop vibes, you’ll find the 44 magnum is still a great round for a variety of reasons.

These are definitely some of the best pistol calibers out there from an iconic standpoint. But sometimes, even the most iconic guns can break down. And when that happens, you need a trained gunsmith to get it running again. If you want to explore a future career as a gunsmith, check out all the programs we offer.

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