I'm only including firearms that the average Joe could go out and actually purchase here in the United States, without going through too many hoops. That means no NFA stuff, no exotic guns that never went into production (I'm looking at you, Jackhammer automatic shotgun), and no imports that never made their way to these shores.Okay, I'm game. Here are my favorite guns that reply to the question "What's it for?" with the obvious answer "To sell!"...
1) Heckler & Koch SP-89
The whole genre is silly, of course, from the various semiauto MAC clones and the TEC-9 on the low end all the way up through the "Micro" Uzi Pistol and the B&T reboot of that malfunctioning paperweight Steyr used to sell. Really, what can you do with a foot-and-a-half long, three pound 9mm "pistol" that you couldn't do better with a Glock 17 and two mags? But the SP-89 sure does look cool, with that whole MP-5K cachet...
2) Franchi SPAS-12
An innovative Italian fowling piece that could malfunction in both semiauto and slide-action modes. As an added bonus, on the early versions the safety wasn't. Plus it had ergonomics apparently designed for people with hands that could palm basketballs and two elbows per arm. But it looked real mean and found its way onto the set of more action and SciFi movies than you could shake a stick at.
3) Barrett M-82
Well actually any .50 cal rifle, but only if you live east of the Mississippi. My old boss in Georgia had a Barrett. The longest range on his property was maybe 150 yards. Fish in a barrel was an exciting and challenging sport by comparison... "Sure kid, you can drive your old man's Corvette. Just don't leave the driveway!"
4) Half of the cool "Assault Rifles" from the salad days of the late '80s
Valmets, Beretta AR-70s, .308 Galils, Semiauto FA-MAS's (yes, they exist.) Sure, it's cool. Sure, you're probably the only kid on your block. But "practical"? Only if you define "practical" as "Nonexistent spare parts and scarce mags".
"Take it to Gunsite 223? No! What if it breaks? Then I'd have to shoot an AR or AK like everybody else."
5) COP 357
As big as a Glock 26 or Kahr MP-9, but heavier, and will only fire four times. Maybe. Spotty QC. A trigger pull that requires two grown men, a small boy, a mule, and a chainfall. But it has Science Fiction written all over it.
So there's my five. Feel free to play along!