The TEC-9 has been the preferred gun of bad-asses since it was first featured on Miami Vice. Street thugs tend to like its menacing, militaristic appearance (it was developed by a Cuban refugee in Miami to serve the exiled anti-Castro population in South Florida). The gun saw increased popularity after being featured in early '90s girlie calendars. Ads in magazines like Soldier of Fortune boast, curiously, of the TEC-9's "excellent resistance to fingerprints."

The Lorcin .25 hits at the other end of the scale. It's a cheap little gun that won't impress anyone (aside from the person who gets shot by it). They're popular on the street, though, perhaps partly due to lax security. California-based Lorcin Engineering has been heavily investigated by ATF agents, who found that employees had a nasty habit of stealing guns from the plant. One Lorcin worker was busted for stealing 6,000 guns, many of which later showed up at crime scenes. According to a former employee who talked to the PBS show Frontline, company execs were none too concerned. At least they were unloading the pieces of crap. "Let's put it this way," says gun lobbyist Alan Gottlieb. "No one who knows anything about guns would buy a Lorcin .25."

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