Before turning the calendar page to 2023, let’s raise a glass to the 100-plus firearm, ammo, optic and accessory makers featured in our fifth annual Ballistic’s Best Guns Of The Year Awards issue. This year’s handgun categories include compacts, full-size, revolvers, rimfires and 1911s. Our long-gun categories include hunting rifles, PRS rifles, AR-15s and a mixed bag of tactical 12 gauges. Ballistic‘s Best 2022 is legit!
Here’s to the Winners: Editors’ Select Ballistic’s Best 2022 Awards
The Ballistic’s Best project is a beastly undertaking that has its ups and downs—getting the teams, guns, ammo, optics together to pull this off is a goat-roping exercise. As you’ll see from the main cover blurb, we state 100+ Guns “Tested & Ranked.” At the start of the process, we’re actually closer to some 160 firearms, but there were wash-outs and no-shows.
We editors truly want to thank our evaluation teams for putting up with our never-ending demands and strict guidelines and deadlines. Without you all, this undertaking wouldn’t be possible.
Without further ado, here are the winners of this year’s Editors’ Select Ballistic’s Best Awards.
MANUFACTURER OF YEAR: Springfield Armory
XD line and 1911 line extensions, the Hellion 5.56 bullpup, the Hellcat Pro and the DS Prodigy line (and more to come). Mic drop.
BEST NEW DIRECTION: Walther PDP F-Series
Not ready to turn one of their guns into a hot pink glittery mess, Walther listened to the rising population of women shooters and delivered with the PDP F-Series!
LARGE FORMAT PISTOL: CZ-USA Scorpion 3+ Micro
When the CZ Scorpion EVO 3 was released in 2014, it hit cult-like status. The Scorpion 3+ Micro builds on that with backwards-compatible mags, ambi mag release and bolt catch, improved sights and more.
HANDGUN AMMO: Federal Premium 30 Super Carry
Higher capacity than a 9mm, delivering almost equal muzzle energy and performance. What’s not to love about the 30 Super Carry?
RIFLE AMMO: Hornady 7mm PRC
Move over 6.5 Creedmoor, there’s a new top-dog ammo in town that’s the perfect balance between the 6.5 PRC and .300 PRC. The new Hornady 7mm PRC is currently available in 160-grain CX Outfitter, 180-grain ELD Match and 175-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter.
AR TRIGGER: Rise Armament Iconic
Most two-stage triggers have to interact between the first and second stage. Not so with the new drop-in Iconic. Thanks to Rise’s exclusive design, you can have a two-stage trigger with a lighter pull weight and a crisp break.
PISTOL RED DOT: EOTech EFLX
EOTech has ventured into the reflex sight market with their EFLX mini red dot sight. The large rectangular window allows you to see more and get on target quickly. Available with a 3 or 6 MOA aiming dot.
THERMAL SCOPE: Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XP50
It is killing it in sister publication Tactical Life’s Night Shooter video series. The waterproof beast handles recoil up to .375 H&H, can store up to five unique shooting profiles, has a built-in laser rangefinder, detects heat signatures up to 2,000 yards, features photo and video recording, is Wi-Fi capable and has an impressive 10-hour battery life.
VALUE HANDGUN: Taurus GX4 Series
If you haven’t had a chance to shoot one of Taurus’ GX4 models (12 variants are currently available), do yourself a favor and try one. And then look at the price. Hands down, these guns sport the best triggers Taurus makes and flat-out shoot.
VALUE RIFLE: Mossberg Patriot Predator 7mm PRC
Just because something is inexpensive, it doesn’t mean it’s cheaply made. Mossberg’s Patriot chambered in the new 7mm PRC is a combo that will make you sit up, with a price tag that will make you stand up.
VALUE SHOTGUN: Mossberg 940 Pro Series
The 940 Pro Series semi-auto shotguns offer low-profile direct mounting of Shield RMSc-pattern micro dot sights. That in itself is a game changer. Whether it’s the Tactical model for home defense or the Waterfowl for hunting, we’re all impressed with the fit, function and price.
HUNTING HANDGUN: S&W 350 Legend
This 7-shot hand cannon, delivers maximum power and is the first production revolver chambered in the Winchester’s .350 Legend hunting cartridge. No doubt Harry Callahan would be carrying this wheelgun in the streets of San Francisco.
LEVER GUN: Marlin 1895
Ruger has reintroduced the Marlin Model 1895 SBL—and they did it right. These new levers go through multi-layered quality control procedures, accuracy audits and multiple inspections, resulting in one of the highest quality lever actions out there.
EDC APPAREL & RANGE GEAR: 5.11 Tactical
If the firearm industry has an unofficial uniform, it is 5.11 Tactical apparel and gear, and for good reason. The apparel stays up to date on modern styling and fashion, while being functional for the daily CCW, first responders and LEOs.
Much More Packed into Ballistic‘s Best!
Ten archrivals duke it out for the crown in the full-size pistol category
Eleven newly released EDC fighters vie for the title of best of the smalls
Top four new revolvers have a good, old-fashioned shootout for supremacy
.22 RIMFIRE RUMBLE
Nine new trainer and fun guns plink it out in the Arizona desert
Twelve of the newest AR-15 rifles battle it out on the range
THE HEAVENLY SEVEN
The cream-of-the-crop, dead-nuts rifles duke it out for long-range supremacy
SINGLE ACTION SHOOTOUT
John M. Browning would be highly impressed with this group of pistols
Our testers rock the range with a mixed bag of the best tactical 12 gauges
KINGS OF THE HUNT
We put the top 10 new bolt guns through their paces to find out which gets the crown
The full annual issue of Ballistic’s Best 2022 is on sale now. Get your copy today at OutdorGroupStore.com.
Get in the Game: Ballistic’s Best 2022 Readers’ Choice
Voting has ended for the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards. Stay tuned as winners will be announced soon!