The Best Pistols of SHOT Show 2020

Maybe a better title for this article would be Best Handguns of SHOT Show 2020 since three of the four best “rifles” are actually quantified as “pistols.” And since we ALL know that none of the braces Pistol Braces (gunmagwarehouse.com) were lifted to the shooters’ shoulder, I guess we have to accept that definition. But, either way, Gun Mag Warehouse’s Fab Four discovered an interesting quartet that justifies Daniel Shaw’s radio voice intro, with bonus content featuring the inevitable flurry of dick jokes, so read on.

David Reeder’s Extra Light Gucci Glock from Adams Arms

As the beer is poured (they don’t even try covering it up at this point), David Reeder starts us off with the Adams Arms AA19 — a clever designation if there ever was one. Adams Arms has previously produced Gucci slides under the name Voodoo Innovations and what they’ve done with the AA19 is spec out some frames to match those slides. The slides are available in different configurations and, presumably, so are the pistols. The guns are available with an optic, prompting Daniel Shaw to head off the trolls in the comments by snarkily opining that “We can have some sights on there that are great for when you don’t need your sights and not so great when you do need your sights.” He does have a point. Some of y’all have to comment on everything.

Adams Arms AA19 at SHOT Show 2020
The Adams Arms AA19 is very light and built around their well-received enhanced slide.

Anyhow, the gun is “fun to shoot,” though it’s “kinda snappy because it’s very light.” It has a nice, thin profile and David projects it as an EDC gun. He doesn’t think he would use it competitively because of the recoil. Daniel agreed about the recoil, “but it was so light, it would have to be comfortable to carry.” The AA19 likely would not be a gun you’d complain about having strapped to your belt. Paul asks if the weight is what differentiates the AA19 from other Glock 19 style guns. David says yes and goes back to the quality of the slides. He has run a Voodoo Innovations slide on one of his guns for a long time and really likes it. If the frame quality matches the slides, he thinks it will be a good gun, especially if you want a pistol without a ton of weight.

Adams Arms AA19 Specs
Reeder tries out the Adams Arms AA19 at the SHOT Show 2020 range day. He says it is very light and built around their well-received enhanced slide.

David qualifies that by saying he only shot two mags through it. Daniel makes the uncomfortable point that many people have 200 rounds through a gun they’ve owned for ten years and claim they’ve never had a problem with it. I confess to being guilty of that in a few instances. Okay, fine. More than a few. Moving on to specs:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs.
  • Magazine: Glock
  • Capacity: Variable
  • MSRP: $999.00

David’s testimonial ends in true GMW fashion with Daniel extolling the virtues of Paul’s cool pen, thus bringing the “Beat on Dave” segment to a close. You can watch that for yourself, along with the dick jokes.

Paul Carlson’s Extra Light Gucci Glock from Culper Precision

Paul flourishes his fancy pen to write about, and tell us about, a fancy gun he was suckered into trying out. You can watch the video for that story. But it turned out well and he ended up with an interesting gun.

The Culper Precision Atomic 6 has a skeletonized stainless-steel slide filled in with carbon fiber to preserve its strength. The result is a very lightweight gun with a sci-fi look about it. The Atomic 6 is a Glock 19 clone with Zev internals (partially accounting for the price) that runs really fast due to the lack of weight. Noticeably faster than a standard Glock 19. “It was crankin’,” Paul says. As you might imagine, the light weight and fast operation make for some extra recoil. Paul says it wasn’t that he couldn’t shoot it, but there was a real difference between the Atomic 6 and a standard Glock 19.

Culper Precision Atomic 6 best of SHOT Show 2020
Culper Precision’s Atomic 6 is an innovative skeletonized design using carbon fiber.

In response to Daniel’s question, Paul agrees that the gun’s recoil and fast operation has “Gotta beat the snot outta red dot.” Dave brings up a good point that tracking a red dot on a gun like that could be tough. Paul responds that the gun felt pretty flat, despite the recoil. He didn’t think it had a lot of lift. The Atomic 6 is “a neat gun,” but it’ll cost you. Here’s what you get and what you’ll pay for it:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Standard Barrel length: 4 inches
  • Weight: A svelte 1.1 lbs.
  • Magazine: Glock (ships with two)
  • Capacity: Variable
  • Ships with two barrels, one regular and one threaded
  • Zev internalsCut for an optic
  • Recoil tuning kit. Probably for springs and guide rod.
  • MSRP: $1,999.00

Paul says he thinks the recoil tuning kit is a thing because of the way the gun is set up. Different ammo may perform in different ways, or not at all. He acknowledges the high price but notes that it’s consistent with the price of a quality custom Glock. Daniel says, “Plus carbon fiber, so it’s kind of a deal” At the time of recording, the Atomic 6 was available in small batches.

Culper Precision Atomic 6 specs.
Culper Precision Atomic 6 specs.

Travis asks reasonably who the Atomic 6 is for. Paul thinks it’s mainly a barbecue gun at this point.

Now, many folks, including me sometimes, scoff at the idea of a “barbecue gun.” But Daniel likes this kind of stuff. It doesn’t necessarily solve a problem for anyone, but it could be the beginning of something. Paul and David agree.

Culper and other companies will look at it and see what works and what doesn’t. Maybe three iterations down the road, something great might come out of it. It’s part of the process. Daniel sees it as something akin to SilencerCo’s Maxim 9 integrally suppressed pistol. It doesn’t have much of a market right now, but it’s an idea that might lead to major developments ten years along.

David comes back to the idea that guns always have to have a functional purpose. He equates them to muscle cars in his Dad’s day. Sometimes, you just want something because it’s cool. Again, I’m totally guilty of that and don’t even care, though I don’t have what I think of as a “barbecue gun.”

Daniel says that guys who bust on guns that are cool but not 100 percent on the “functional” train, whether it be cerakote, paint, a cool accessory, or whatever…those guys should all drive Toyota minivans. No sweet rides for you. Great point there. If you like something and can afford it, you, as they say, do you.

Travis Pike Goes Heavy

Travis Pike likes the “Teutonic killing Machine” that is the Walther Q4 SF.
Travis Pike shooting the “Teutonic killing Machine” that is the Walther Q4 SF at the SHOT Show 2020 range day.

Drawing the by now expected dick jokes with his description of the steel-framed Walther Q4 SF, Travis liked this “Teutonic killing machine.” Essentially a PPQ with a steel frame, the design was derived from the longer Q5 competition pistol. The discussion devolves quickly from there, supposedly confusing Paul, so we’ll go straight to specs on the Walther Q4 SF:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel length: 4 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs.
  • Magazine: Proprietary
  • Capacity: 15/17 rounds
  • MSRP: $1,399.00
Walther Q4 SF specs.
Walther Q4 SF specs.
dick jokes
Paul Carlson makes a dick joke before claiming not to understand other dick jokes.

Daniel Shaw’s “Awesome Little Gun”

Ruger 57
The Ruger 57 could open the door for more 5.7x28mm offerings.

Daniel mentioned this gun in the Best Rifles video, and he chose it for his favorite handgun. Chambered in 5.7x28mm, the Ruger 57 recently won “Handgun of the Year” from American Rifleman and seems to be well-thought of. Daniel notes that Ruger reaches new shooters better than anyone else. When people walk into a gun store, Daniel says they’re almost always asking to see a Ruger from the start. Even though Rugers don’t always have the bells and whistles he likes, their guns just run, which leads to their popularity. Not much detail again, but Daniel likes the Ruger 57. On to specs.

  • Caliber: 5.7x28mm
  • Barrel length: 4.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs.
  • Magazine: Proprietary
  • Capacity: 10/20 rounds
  • MSRP: $799.00
Ruger 57 specs.
Daniel shooting the Ruger 57 at SHOT Show 2020 range day.

So, there you have it, the pride of Gun Mag Warehouse holding forth on their favorite handguns of SHOT Show 2020 to get you ready for what’s coming in just a few weeks. Check out the video for bonus dick jokes. But seriously folks, will the AA19 and Atomic 6 still be around, or have those companies moved on? With so long to come up with new stuff, whatever it is, it ought to be good. Stay tuned.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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