While popular guns get covered more than enough, we rarely get to discuss the lesser known, but often still pretty decent firearms out there. Some well performing guns are highly underrated, so we’d like to shed a little light on some of our favorites.
No matter what type of firearm you’re looking for, you’ll see right away that the market is saturated with options. It’s easy to notice which brands and styles totally dominate your shopping experience, and in search of a new hunting rifle, there really is nothing wrong with going for a Remington. However, blindly picking the most popular weapons means you might miss out on some wonderfully unique and well-crafted options.
Even more, just because everyone else is buying a Glock doesn’t mean that a Glock will be right for you. Expand your horizons; learn what type of weight feels best in your hands – the common ergonomic grip might not fit well in your palm. Don’t like the look of polymer? There are gorgeous metals and woods out there that may catch your eye! Try out the guns for yourself, dive into the underrated market, and become a well-rounded and expertized gun owner.
A great handgun to be a concealed carry, the Walther PPS should really be a little more popular. This 9mm self-defense firearm is part of Walther’s line of German engineering. If you know anything about German engineering, it’s all about streamlined construction that delivers smooth and uninterrupted performance. Germany can pride itself in some of the most innovative and ergonomically designed features that Americans look for in cars, architecture, and guns!
The founder, Carl Walther, is known for creating the first semi-automatic pistol with his son, Fritz, in the early 1900s. The company has actually been partnered with Smith & Wesson for quite some time, which may explain why not everyone has heard of Walther Firearms as its own entity. S&W has been manufacturing the Walther PPK (another popular model) handgun, and Walther has been manufacturing the S&W M&P 22 pistol. While Walther Arms, Inc. is now its own company, the two brands continue to work as partners.
Walther Arms is mostly recognized for producing handguns for defensive action and competition. These are both areas where the shooter will want streamlined precision and a design that will enhance an expert draw. The PPS weighs a little less than 1.5 pounds, and is just barely over 3 inches long. The most recognizable feature of a Walther handgun may be the uniquely designed grips. These are some of the most ergonomic and, dare we say, comfortable grips on the market today. The PPS grip sports a grooved pattern on the front and rear and raised dots on either side. You’ll see similar grooves on the serrated slide. In self-defense, the last things you want is your hand to slip. The Walther PPS will have your back from start to finish.
For the hunters out there, we have the stylish and intuitively designed Mauser M12. Highlighted as being a “guarantee for accuracy”, the M12 rifle is definitely an underrated firearm for game hunting. At first glance, this rifle is a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship. However, those sensual curves aren’t just for looks. The German design is focused on perfect balance for some of the most precise shots you’ll ever take (these Germans must be onto something).
The first Mauser rifle was created in 1871 by Paul Mauser and his older brother, Wilhelm. It became one of the first metal cartridge weapons of the German Empire, and it was one of many firearms in a line of successful rifles and pistols. The Gewehr 98 (referring to 1898) was introduced to the public, and it is now nationally recognized as the company’s most popular rifle. It is better known as the Mauser M98. The manufactured Mauser rifles we purchase today are still created from the original designs from over 100 years ago.
Today, while the M 98 is still a beautiful classic that also shouldn’t go unlooked, we have the Mauser M12. This bolt-action rifle has the same time-tested functionality with some ergonomic improvements. The overall design features a thumbhole stock, which only enhances the ability for the shooter to hunt with accuracy unlike any other. Shots will be more controlled, and it will be faster to re-zero on any optics (if it’s even necessary). The body is made of a combination of solid steel and a high-grade laminated wood, bringing durability and a classic appeal together. The standard barrel is 22 inches in length and you can choose out of a wide range of calibers, from .270 to .30-06 or even the .308 if you plan on going after the big stuff. Forget your Remingtons and Mossbergs. Everyone will be asking where you got your Mauser M12.
While CZ is not a company that many may recognize at first, the CZ 75 is one of the most popular handguns from the brand. So much so, that there are nearly 20 other CZ pistols based on the original design. There’s a plethora of choices, from compacts, to single actions, and even various metal frames and finishes. The standard CZ 75 is a standard handgun that has unique attributes, setting it aside from your more popularly recognized tactical handguns.
CZ stands for Ceska zbrojovka of the Czech Republic. In the mid-1930s, the company was contracted by the National Defense Council (we could only imagine why), and they produced solely military arms. These included aircraft machine guns, military pistols, and rifles. After the Nazi occupation ended, the company split off to produce aircraft parts. It wasn’t until the 1980s that CZ returned its focus to weaponry, and they produced the slightly more popular firearms you can find on their website today.
It’s highly likely that CZ’s history with aircraft part manufacturing explains their choice of using steel frames on a majority of their handguns, as opposed to the commonly seen polymer and alloy. The CZ 75 weighs just over two pounds. While it may not be best for concealing in an IWB holster, you’ll experience a really solid grip and incredibly controllable recoil, so your shots should be crisp and accurate. The lack of popularity with CZ is probably due to their later re-entrance to civilian gun manufacturing, but that’s hardly a reason to pass up the beautiful craftsmanship. You’ll find the CZ 75 priced in the $600 range – around the same price you would be paying for Gen 4 Glocks.
Savage Arms Stevens 320
Finally, we have the Savage Arms Stevens 320 Pump Action Shotgun. We may not be looking at a classic design, but this shotgun is one of the most low profile firearms you’ll ever lay eyes on. Simplicity is key, on this one, giving the shooter the opportunity for expert, one-shot kills. The Stevens 320 isn’t anything new, and you may notice that it’s incredibly similar to the Winchester Model 1300. We could nit-pick all we want to, but the combination of a no-frills design, powerful action, and a low price-point makes the 320 a worthy and underrated competitor on the market.
The American made company, Savage Arms, was established in the 1890s in New York by Arthur Savage (who arguably has the best name ever). Savage Arms and Steven Arms joined forces in 1920, and history was made. Going up against brands such as Remington, Winchester, and Colt, the firearm duo had to create innovative and modern concepts that could beat out classic best sellers. Savage Arms provided the U.S. military with millions of weapons during WW II. Now, we have effective and up-to-date shotguns, such as the Stevens 320 Pump Action, that combine guaranteed shooting ability with back-to-basics construction.
The Savage Arms Stevens 320 Pump can be purchased with either a pistol grip or semi-pistol grip and a tube style magazine. The stocks are synthetic, and they’re great for securing the butt firmly against your body. The carbon steel barrel is a surprising 18 inches long, all finished in a matte black. This shotgun is normally overlooked because most buyers quickly go to classic appearances, but the Stevens 320 has a lot of power behind it and is really easy to use. Don’t let the price make you question it, either: it’s well under $300. It’s affordable and practical.
In a Saturated Market…
Of course, there are tons of other firearms we could be listing as underrated. It’s difficult to discover weapons that have already been on the market for a while and are being smothered by more popular brands. Some well known brands, such as Savage Arms, simply already have their best-sellers, leaving their lesser known (although equally high-performing) productions in the dust. Other brands, such as CZ, go practically unheard of because they’re up against universally renowned pistols from Glock, Smith and Wesson, and the like. Whether you’re looking to break away from the pistols, rifles, and shotguns you’ll see in any other shooter’s hand, or you’re interested in expanding your skills on a variety of unheard of weapons, the four listed firearms we have here are a great start to exploring the world of underrated guns.