Do You Have One of These in Your Safe? Cool Guns, Optics, and Lights

What kind of guns are in your safe? Buying that first gun for concealed carry or home defense is a fun process but can be frustrating as well. What size, what caliber, what brand? Of course, we like having lots of options, but with so many, it’s still a long challenging process. When you buy your second gun, selecting the right one doesn’t get any easier. You may want a full-size handgun for your second purchase. Or maybe a shotgun, AR-15, or long-range rifle. Maybe one of those cool guns you’ve always desired?

Guns are addictive and hold some magical “I need more” power to them. Logic would tell you a good AR-15, handgun, shotgun, and hunting rifle is plenty right? Well, it doesn’t work that way for most of us and collecting guns is just fun. Everyone develops different interests in guns as they start accumulating more. Your interest could drift towards revolvers, lever action rifles, AR-15’s or some other category of firearm.

You could also be one of those guys that just likes a random assortment of cool guns because they’re all interesting. I like building, modifying, and upgrading AR-15 rifles. But I still have that interest in any gun that’s just cool or not common. WWII weapons are among my favorites, but I also like some of the new modern guns being developed. We go through the same process with optics and lights too. If you are looking for ideas on the next gun or accessory for your collection, here are some of my favorites.


The WWII era PPS-43 was developed from the need for a more compact, lightweight version of the Russian PPSH-41 sub-machinegun. They wanted a gun that was fast and easy to make, which resulted in mostly stamped sheet-metal parts with little machining. Because the gun was so simple, it could be made in 2.7 hours. Compare this to the 7.3 hours it took for the PPSH and you have a cheap, fast production gun. It fired 7.62x25mm ammunition and was fully automatic. It was used in at least 14 different wars and is still used by some countries today.

Cool guns: PPS-43 9mm gun.
The PPS-43 Polish made gun originated from Russia during WWII as a compact sub-machinegun. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Of course, civilian models are no longer full-auto, and the folding stock has been modified. On my PPS-43 the stock has a welded pin running through it so it can’t be opened. Having a stock on a short-barreled gun would make it an SBR (short barrel rifle), which requires a tax stamp. Another thing that has changed is the caliber. While you can still buy the PPS-43 in 7.62, I opted for a modified receiver that shoots 9mm ammo. This makes it cheaper to shoot on the range for some fun. You can find the PPS-43 in the $400-$550 range.

Stribog SP10A3 10mm pistol

If you want a 10mm cannon that shoots more like a .22, the new Stribog SP10A3 by Grand Power is an awesome gun. This thing is built like a tank and uses a delayed blowback action to reduce recoil. I’ve always loved the Stribog and have the 9mm version. Getting a little boost in the 1980s, 10mm ammo started to take off but didn’t make it far before dying off. However, it’s now being revived and just about every gun manufacturer has produced or is working on a 10mm firearm. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a big bullet with a lot of knock-down power.

Cool guns: Stribog SP10A3
The new Stribog SP10A3 is a 10mm pistol/PDW that shoots like a .22 plinker. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Another thing that’s cool about the SP10A3 is the controls. They’re fully ambidextrous, so it doesn’t matter if you are right or left-handed; it’s ready for the range. The safety selector, mag release, and bolt catch are all AR-15 style, which is great for those familiar with the AR-15. They also include an AK-47 style mag release for those who prefer that instead. A threaded barrel is standard so you can attach a suppressor when basting away at the range. This thing would make a great home-defense weapon. It could also be kept in a vehicle or backpack. Retail ranges from $1,300 to $1,600.

Bul Armory 9mm Government 1911

You can’t buy too many guns without wanting a 1911 pistol. After all, John Moses Browning was the greatest weapons inventor the world has ever seen. Just about every firearm we pick up today displays his handiwork to some extent. His most popular handgun is the classic 1911 .45 caliber pistol. Currently, we live in a time where 9mm dominates the pistol market, so why not add a 9mm 1911 too? Made in Israel, the Bul Armory Government 1911 in 9mm is one of the smoothest shooting guns I have.

Cool guns: Bul 1911 side profile
The BUL Government 1911 looks and feels like a high-end custom 1911 but is priced surprisingly well. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I selected the stainless-steel model and added a set of black buffalo horn grips to give it some contrast. Because it’s all stainless steel, it’s on the heavy side compared to modern day polymer handguns. But, that’s how 1911 handguns are made, and they last forever. A serrated hammer and trigger give it a custom look and the texturing on the front strap is nice as well. It has an extended magazine release and thumb safety making it easy to access with your thumb. This is one of my all-time favorite 1911 handguns.

Trijicon RM06 RMR red dot

Just after 9mm started overcrowding the handgun market, micro-optics also moved in. What started out as a custom high-end upgrade is now a normal feature on many handguns. I like having optics on some of my handguns and sticking with the old school iron sights on others. When it comes to red dots, there are tons of options today offering decent quality at an affordable price. Holosun, Viridian, Vortex, Swampfox and others make some great optics for the price point.

Trijicon RM06 optic.
This Trijicon has seen some abuse but is still running great. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
But if you want the best of the best, Trijicon is hard to beat. However, you also pay for that name and quality. The RMR is what I keep on the larger caliber guns that have a lot of recoil. I keep a Trijicon on my Sig P320 X-Ten because the 10mm round likes to kick. I haven’t changed the battery in years and it’s still beaming away with a bright red dot. The only time I made any windage or elevation adjustments is when I installed it. Trijicon optics can take a lick’en and keep on…well, I guess that’s a watch, but you get the point. Retail for the Trijicon RMR is in the $500 range unless you find it on sale.

Aimpoint ACO red dot

Aimpoint is another one of those optics companies with bragging rights. You can still find old beat-up Comp 2 optics still working on some military rifles. Perfect for AR-15 rifles, the Aimpoint ACO is a cheaper alternative than the Aimpoint Comp M4 or even the PRO.  The fist time I used an Aimpoint optic was qualifying on a department AR-15 at work. Our agency had received some old Comp M2s from the military on a sharing program for law enforcement.

Aimpoint ACO red dot.
Aimpoint ACO red dot. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
To say they looked rough is an understatement. I was positive these things wouldn’t work or stay sighted in, but they did. Except for the dents, heavy wear, and scratches on the outside; they performed perfectly. I’m guessing new recruits at basic training are not easy on these things, which makes them impressive. The ACO is the same design and shape as the PRO and Comp models but cheaper. Retailing for around $350 you still get the same quality and guarantee from Aimpoint as all their other models.

Streamlight ProTac Series Flashlights

There are a lot of models in the ProTac line of flashlights but among my favorites is their weapon mounted lights. Referred to by Streamlight as the rail mount, they offer no less than six options to choose from. I have several ProTac rail mount lights. My first experience with Streamlight was their TLR-1 light for handguns. I still have the one I started off with years ago because they are built that tough. Since those early days, I’ve used multiple handheld lights, and their rail mount lights regularly.

Streamlight ProTac HL-X Laser Light.
The Streamlight ProTac is a larger light that is extremely bright, has a built-in laser, and rechargeable battery. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
The weapon mounted versions come with a bracket for mounting on a picatinny rail. They also make an M-LOK mount if you want to attach it directly to your handguard. Most of their rail mount lights have an activation switch on the back of the light in easy reach of your thumb. If you prefer pressure pads, they also come with an adaptor for that. For the price, it’s hard to beat a Streamlight ProTac light for rifles.

Steiner TOR Fusion light

Besides the Streamlight TLR-1 for handguns, I have also grown fond of the Steiner TOR Fusion light. Made in Germany, Steiner makes good quality optics and lights. I have the TOR Fusion which incorporates a green dot and is made of military grade aluminum. Using the paddle-button style on each side, the light can be used by either right or left-handed shooters. It will fit holsters designed for the Surefire x300 and has adjustable brightness settings.

Steiner TOR Fusion laser/light combo.
The TOR Fusion by Steiner is a laser/light combo for handguns. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
You can also program it to work with the laser only, light only, or both when hitting the power switch. If you want strobe, that’s an option too. Another great feature this light/laser has is a “power on” mode for the laser. With this feature turned on, you can lay the gun down on its side or place it in a holster. When the gun is drawn or picked up, the laser turns on. I carried my gun around with this option for a while to see if it worked and never had any problem with it. Retail for TOR Fusion is around $400-$450.

Ready to find some cool guns and gear?

These are just some of my favorite cool guns, lights, and optics, but there are plenty more out there to choose from. You can find options for just about any style you want in the price range you need. Searching for something and finding 1,000 options are available makes the selection process tedious. But, it’s also fun to have so many choices to pick from. Regardless of what type of guns you like or what accessories you are looking for, someone out there is sure to make a product that works for you.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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