Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The S&W Model 19 is a revolver produced by Smith & Wesson on its K-frame platform. The model 19 is chambered for .357 Magnum. The K-frame is somewhat smaller and lighter than the original N-frame .357, usually known as the S&W Model 27.
The .357 Magnum is the oldest "magnum" handgun cartridge. Smith & Wesson played a major part in the development and success of the cartridge and revolver that went with it. Firearms writer and experimenter Philip Sharpe is credited for its development during the 1930s when police agencies were asking for a more powerful round. S&W's Dan Wesson agreed to produce a new revolver that would handle "high-intensity" .38 Special loads, but only if Winchester would develop a new cartridge. Elmer Keith, a well known author and wildcatter at the time, was experimenting with hand loading .38 Special ammunition beyond their original specifications, taking advantage of the newer and better designed firearm frames and metallurgy, and also played a major role in the development of the .357 Magnum. Winchester introduced the .357 Magnum, which was dimensionally identical to the .38 Special except for a .125 inch longer case, and the first revolvers (referred to as ".357 Magnum Models") were completed by S&W on April 8, 1935.
Retired Assistant Chief Patrol Inspector of the U.S. Border Patrol, famous gunfighter, and noted firearms and shooting skills writer Bill Jordan consulted with Smith & Wesson on the design and characteristics of the Model 19. Jordan's idea for a "peace officer's dream" sidearm was a heavy-barreled four-inch K-Frame .357 Magnum with a shrouded barrel like the big N-frame .357 and adjustable sights. After a year of experimentation with improved-strength steels and special heat-treating processes, the result was the .357 Combat Magnum (later designated Model 19), with the first serial-number gun (K260,000) presented to Jordan on November 15, 1955.
The Model 19 was produced in blued carbon steel or nickel-plated steel with wood or rubber combat grips, an adjustable rear sight, semi-target hammer, serrated combat-type trigger, and was available in 2.5" (3": Model 66—rare), 4", or 6-inch barrel lengths. The weights are 30.5 ounces, 36 ounces, and 39 ounces, respectively. The 2.5- and 3-inch barrel versions had round butts, while the others had square butts.
The Model 19 was produced from 1957 (first model number stampings) to November 1999. The Model 66 was produced from 1970 until 2005. The Model 66 differed by its use of stainless steel and its smooth target-type trigger. The Model 19 and the Model 66 had the same trigger options.
Engineering changes were designated with a "dash-" number after the model number. The engineering changes are as follows:
Monday, May 25, 2015
The Smith & Wesson Model 36 is a revolver chambered for .38 Special. It is one of several models of "J-frame" Smith & Wesson revolvers. It was introduced in 1950, and is still in production.
The Model 36 was designed in the era just after World War II, when Smith & Wesson stopped producing war materials and resumed normal production. For the Model 36, they sought to design a revolver that could fire the more powerful .38 Special round in a small, concealable package. Since the older I-frame was not able to handle this load, a new frame was designed, which became the Smith & Wesson J-frame.
The new design was introduced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) convention in 1950, and was favorably received. A vote was held to name the new revolver, and the name "Chiefs Special" won. A three inch barreled version of this design went into production immediately, due to high demand. It was available in either a blued or nickel plated finish. It was produced as the "Chiefs Special" until 1957, when it then became the Model 36. The "Chiefs Special" continued to be manufactured as a separate variant.
In 1951, Smith & Wesson introduced the Airweight Model 37, which was basically the Model 36 design with an aluminum frame and cylinder. The aluminum cylinders proved to be problematic and were abandoned in favor of a steel cylinder.
In 1989, Smith & Wesson introduced the LadySmith variant of the Model 36. This was available with a 2 inch or 3 inch barrel and blued finish. This model also featured special grips designed specifically for women, and had "LADYSMITH" engraved on the frame.
Approximately 615 Model 36-6 Target variations were produced. This variant had a 3 inch full lug barrel with adjustable sights and a blued glass finish.
In 2002, Smith & Wesson reintroduced the Model 36 with gold features (hammer, thumbpiece, extractor, and trigger), calling it the "Model 36 Gold". The gold color was actually titanium nitride.
In 2005, Smith & Wesson produced the "Texas Hold 'Em" variant. This was produced with a blued finish, imitation ivory grips, and 24k gold plate engraving.
A large number of Model 37 variants with a lanyard ring attached were made for Japan. Part of this contract was cancelled, resulting in a large number of these being sold to a wholesaler, who then re-sold them for civilian use. These entered the civilian market in 2001. In 2006, the Model 37 was dropped from Smith & Wesson's catalog.
Serial number 337 was shipped to J. Edgar Hoover and is engraved with his name.
Designed to be small and compact, the Model 36 is available with a 1.875 inch barrel.
Like nearly all other "J-frame" Smith & Wesson revolvers, it has a 5-round capacity in a swing-out cylinder, and features an exposed hammer. It features a nickel-plated or blued finish and either wood or rubber grips.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
The Colt Detective Special is a carbon steel framed double-action short-barreled revolver, and is an example of a class of firearms known to gun enthusiasts as "snubnosed", "snubbies", or "belly guns". As the name "Detective Special" suggests, this model revolver was used as a concealed weapon by plainclothes police detectives.
Introduced in 1927, the Detective Special was one of the first short-barreled revolvers produced with a modern swing-out frame. It was designed from the outset to be chambered for higher-powered cartridges such as the .38 Special, considered to be a powerful caliber for a concealable pocket revolver of the day.
The Detective Special is by design a shortened and somewhat streamlined Colt Police Positive Special, sharing that revolver's slim 'D' size frame and six round capacity. The DS uses a slightly smaller frame than the Colt Official Police or Smith & Wesson 'K' Frame revolvers, but is larger than the compact 'J' frame used in Smith & Wesson five-shot revolvers.
The Detective Special went through several issues or series. The First Series was produced from 1927 until 1946. Compared to later production models, the First Series used a narrower frame, with reduced clearance between the frontstrap of the gripframe and the rear of the trigger guard. Other distinctive features included a shorter ejector-rod with an ungrooved, knurled tip; a checkered hammer spur and cylinder latch, a "half-moon"-shaped front sight, and an overlapping screw and locking pin set-up on the right side of the frame. Grip panels were wooden. A rounded butt on the metal frame became standard in 1933, but pieces with the original square butt (like that of the Police Positive Special) continued to be produced into the 1940s.
The Second Series ran from 1947 to 1972. The ejector-rod was longer and had a groove in its knurled tip; a three-inch-barrel variant was offered, with a yet longer ejector-rod. The cylinder latch was smooth, and the trigger spur serrated. The right side frame screw has no locking pin, and the rear half of the front sight is a serrated ramp. The grip panels were plastic in 1947, but were changed back to wood starting in 1955 (first with a silver-tone Colt medallion, and later a gold-tone). An optional hammer shroud was available from the factory to prevent the hammer from catching on clothing.
The transition from First to Second Series was gradual, with some post-WWII Second Series guns retaining short ejector rods and checkered hammers. Because of this, assigning a given revolver to a particular issue is best done by serial number.
During the 1960s, the grip frame of the Second Series Detective Special was shortened, matching that of Colt's other snub-nosed pistols, the Cobra and Agent. Despite this alteration, the Detective Special's overall grip size remained unchanged, as Colt fitted the Second Series with new, lengthened gripstocks that extended below the frame.
The Third Series ran from 1973 to 1986. A new shroud extended down from the barrel, enclosing and protecting the ejector-rod, and the front sight was changed to a full ramp. New, oversize wood gripstocks were introduced that covered the front frame strap. The Third Series featured improvements to the revolver's internal lockwork as well. As with the previous two Series, a few nickel-plated guns were produced, and a 3-inch-barrel variant was again offered. In 1986, facing stagnant sales numbers as well as rising production and labor costs, Colt discontinued production of the Detective Special.
Colt filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992. After reorganization, the company restarted production of the Detective Special in 1993. The post-1992 Detective Special is sometimes called the Fourth Series, and featured "composite" (rubber), wrap-around grips with a gold medallion. Only a two-inch barrel was offered, in blue or hard chrome finish. The new production run continued only until 1995, when Colt introduced its stainless-steel SF-VI as a replacement for the Detective Special.
From its introduction, the Detective Special used Colt's ‘Positive Safety Lock’ (hammer block), first featured on the Police Positive; the mechanism interposes a bar between hammer and frame until the trigger is pulled, preventing accidental discharge if the hammer is struck (e.g., if a dropped gun falls onto its hammer) with the trigger forward. First and early Second Series Detective Specials are becoming highly sought after by collectors, particularly if they are in prime condition and still have the famous Colt 'Royal Blue' finish.
The Detective Special was initially available in both bright blued and nickel finishes; a stainless steel finish replaced the nickeled option during the Fourth Series. For the Second Series, caliber options were .32 New Police, .38 New Police, and .38 Special; only .38 Special was offered for the other Series. The standard barrel length was 2 inches, but also a (rare) three-inch-barrel was offered during the Second and Third Series.
Interest has arisen over the use of higher-pressure (+P) .38 Special ammunition in the Detective Special. In their more recent owners manuals, Colt authorized limited use of +P ammunition in steel-framed revolvers (including earlier versions), citing 2000 to 3000 rounds before recommending the gun be returned to the factory for inspection. Many believe that this is was due to potential liability rather than engineering requirements, as the standard pressure ammunition of yesteryear was about the same pressure as modern +P ammunition. SAAMI lowered the pressures in 1972.
The DS series was discontinued in 1995. While no longer manufactured, Colt still supports the DS with parts and repair services.
Due to the good concealment qualities of the revolver, the Colt Detective Special was used as a weapon mostly by plainclothes police detectives, though it was also a popular off duty and backup firearm for uniformed police officers. It was used by bodyguards, and for personal defense and shooting sports.
The Colt Detective Special was a popular weapon before the semi-automatic pistol replaced the revolver in many police departments as well as law enforcement units and armies. Myanmar Police Force and some other countries are still using the batches as officers' sidearms.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
The Smith & Wesson Model 29 is a six-shot, double-action revolver chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge and manufactured by the U.S. company Smith & Wesson. It was made famous by — and is still most often associated with — the fictional character "Dirty Harry" Callahan from the Dirty Harry series of films starring Clint Eastwood.
The Model 29 was offered with 3", 4", 5", 6", 6½", 8⅜" and, later, 10⅝" barrel lengths as standard models. Other barrel lengths were available either by special order from Smith & Wesson's Custom Shop or custom built by gunsmiths. The 5" barreled variant had a full length underlug. Finish options available included a highly polished blued or nickel-plated surface.
S&W's production of a large N-frame revolver in .44 Magnum began in 1955; the Model 29 designation was applied in 1957. It remained primarily the province of handgun enthusiasts, some law enforcement personnel and hunters until 1971, when Clint Eastwood made it famous as "the most powerful handgun in the world" in the movie Dirty Harry. After the movie's release, retailers had trouble keeping the Model 29 in stock.
At the time of its introduction, the Model 29 was the most powerful production handgun. There were a number of custom, or wildcat, calibers that were more powerful, as in the old Howdah pistols of the 19th century. Elmer Keith's achievements in maximizing the power and performance of the .44 Special was the inspiration and driving force behind the introduction of the .44 Magnum by Smith & Wesson. His intention for the new round was for it to be used in sidearms for hunters of large, dangerous game, rather than for self-defense, though with today's specialty cartridges, it can be a good defensive round.
The Model 29 will chamber and fire .44 Special cartridges, as the .44 Magnum was developed from the .44 Special. The Magnum case is slightly longer to prevent magnum rounds from being chambered and fired in handguns chambered for the .44 Special.
In the late 1990s, Smith & Wesson discontinued production of many models of revolvers, including the 'basic' Model 29; since then, at various times, the model, in limited or 'custom' configurations, has been manufactured in as many as 10 evolutions.
The original Model 29 was superseded by the Model 29-1 in 1960, with modifications made to the ejector-rod screw. The Model 29-2 replaced it the following year, with one screw that had secured the cylinder-stop spring being deleted. The barrel length was shortened from 6 1/2" to 6" in 1979. These two versions are known as "pinned and recessed". "Pinned" means that the barrels are screwed in, and additionally secured by a pin driven through the frame and a notch in the barrel. "Recessed" denotes the rear of the bored cylinder holes being recessed, so that when loaded the cartridge rims are fully enclosed by the cylinder. In 1982, the cost-cutting Model 29-3 dropped recessed cylinders and pinned barrels for crush-fit barrels.
The -4 and -5, produced from 1988 and 1990 respectively had changes to improve durability for heavy use. In 1994 the 29-6 began production, now fitted as standard with rubber Monogrips from Hogue to replace the previous wooden items, standard tapped holes also being provided for attaching scope mounts. The 29-7 started production in 1998 with changes to the locking mechanism, the firing pin's attachment, and a hammer and trigger produced with a metal injection molding process.
Friday, May 22, 2015
The Walther P38 (also known as a Pistole 38) is a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol that was developed by Walther arms as the service pistol of the Wehrmacht shortly before World War II. It was intended to replace the costly Luger P08, the production of which was scheduled to end in 1942.
The first designs submitted to the Heer (German Army) featured a locked breech and a hidden hammer, but the Heer requested that it be redesigned with an external hammer.
The final developmental stage in the P38's design history was the Modell MP/H (indicating exposed hammer). Apparently only a few were produced before the army adopted the HP in 1938 (Modell Heeres Pistole—Model Army Pistol). The production relationship between the HP and the almost simultaneous P38 (Pistole 1938) is unclear and quite confused.
The P38 concept was accepted by the German military in 1938 but production of actual prototype ("Test") pistols did not begin until late 1939. Walther began manufacture at their plant in Zella-Mehlis and produced three series of "Test" pistols, designated by a "0" prefix to the serial number. The third series pistols satisfactorily solved the previous problems for the Heer and mass production began in mid-1940.
Early P38s were almost identical to the HP (which continued to be produced for "commercial sales," i.e., to well-connected Nazis). The major differences were different slide markings, an external extractor, the HP's rectangular firing pin was replaced by one with a round tip, a different configuration for the locking lever and slide stop lever on the left side, and a re-configuration of the grip panels.
It is interesting to note that in 1944 the cost of one complete P38 was $14.08, while the cost of one complete P08 Luger was $19.80. The commercial retail price of the Model HP during this time was $75.
Several experimental versions were later created in .45 ACP, and .38 Super, but these were never mass-produced. In addition to the 9 mm Parabellum version, some 7.65×21mm Parabellum and some .22 Long Rifle versions were also manufactured and sold.
The Walther P38 was in production from 1938 to 1963. From 1945 to 1957, no P38s were produced for the German military. Slowly over time, West Germany desired to rebuild its military so that it could shoulder some of the burden for its own defense. Walther retooled for new P38 production since no military firearms production had occurred in West Germany since the end of the war, knowing that the military would again seek Walther firearms. When the Bundeswehr announced it wanted the P38 for its official service pistol, Walther readily resumed P38 production within just two years, using wartime pistols as models and new engineering drawings and machine tools. The first of the new P38s were delivered to the West German military in June 1957, some 17 years and two months after the pistol had initially seen action in World War II, and from 1957 to 1963 the P38 was again the standard sidearm.
In late 1963 the postwar military model P1 was adopted for use by the German military, identifiable by the P1 stamping on the slide. The postwar pistols, whether marked as P38 or P1, have an aluminum frame rather than the steel frame of the original design. The aluminum frame was later reinforced with a hex bolt above the trigger guard.
The last death penalty in Germany was conducted with a variant of the Walther P38 with a silencer in East Germany on June 26 in 1981. During the 1990s the German military started replacing the P1 with the P8 pistol and finally phased out the P1 in 2004.
An improved version of the P38, the Walther P4, was developed in the late 1970s and was adopted by the police forces of South Africa, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Nambu pistol (南部拳銃 or 南部大型自動拳銃 Nanbu kenjuu or Nanbu ōgata jidou-kenjuu?) was a series of semi-automatic pistol produced by the Japanese company Koishikawa Arsenal later known as the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal. The series had five variants, the Type A Model 1902 (also called the Grandpa Nambu), the Type A Model 1902 Modified (also known as the Papa Nambu), the Type B (also known as the Baby Nambu), the Type 14 (南部十四年式自動拳銃) and the Type 94. The pistols were designed by Kijiro Nambu and saw extensive service during the Russo-Japanese War, Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The Type A was made in very small numbers. Type A Modified and Type B Nambus were never formally adopted by any branch of the armed forces of Imperial Japan but were sold to officers through officer stores. The Type 14 was adopted as an official sidearm. As World War II progressed, and particularly in the final year of the war, in order to speed production, Type 14s began to be more hastily manufactured with a subsequent decline in quality.
The origin of the Nambu pistol series goes back to a design by Lieutenant General Kijiro Nambu. General Nambu claimed the design originated with experimentation during the "30 year Automatic Pistol Plan" of 1897 in Japan. It is probable that the pistol series was influenced by the Mauser C96, after a Japanese commission toured Europe and reported recent developments. The first Nambu type known as the Type A was completed in 1902. The Type A underwent trials with the Imperial Japanese Army but was never formally adopted. Many Original Type As were sold commercially to China and Siam. Coinciding with British customs, Japanese army officers were expected to purchase their own side arms. The Nambu Type A Modified pistol was adopted by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1909 and the Thai Army in the 1920s.
Most of the Type A Modified and Type B Nambu pistols were produced by the Tokyo Arsenal with a few pistols being produced by the Tokyo Gas and Electric Company. The Type 14 Nambu was produced by the Nagoya Arsenal in either Nagoya's Atsuta or Toriimatsu factories.
The Nambu pistol series withdraw the magazine from the left side of the pistol by pressing the magazine release button on the left side of the magazine. The magazine case is loaded by hand, and there is no charger clip for loading. The A Nambus and the Type 14 Nambu have 8-round magazines while the Type B Nambu has a 7-round magazine.
The Nambu pistol series is a recoil operated, locked breech, semi-automatic pistol. The pistols are slender barreled with a single piece frame. The barrel is forged integrally with the receiver. The breech-lock was achieved by a propping system similar to the breech lock system used in the Glisenti Model 1910. As the barrel moved forward, the block would be lifted as it rode across the frame forcing the lug upward to lock into the bolt. The Nambu series is well balanced despite the main spring chamber protruding from the left side.
The Nambu pistol uses a low pressure 8 mm cartridge, which is considerably less powerful than comparable Western rounds like the .45 ACP, the 7.62x25mm Tokarev, the .455 Webley, and the 9x19mm Parabellum. The safety catch on the Type A requires both hands to operate; it was omitted entirely from the Type 14.
The "Type 14 Nambu" was designed in 1925 with the goal of simplifying manufacturing to reduce cost. It was officially adopted for issue to non-commissioned officers in the Japanese Army in 1927 and was available for purchase by officers. The Type 14 was an improved version of the Type A Modified Nambu. As many as 400,000 Type 14s were possibly produced. Most Type 14s are marked with the month and year of production according to the year of Emperor Hirohito with his reign name abbreviated Sho from Showa left of the stamped date.
Later production models are distinguished by an enlarged, oblong trigger guard (which was introduced after Japanese soldiers reported difficulty in accessing the trigger while wearing gloves in Manchuria) and sometimes have a knurled steel cocking knob instead of the standard "slotted" cocking knob. An auxiliary magazine spring was added from mid-1940 to retain the magazine and aid the magazine follower. The safety is a lever on the left side and locks the barrel and barrel extension as well as stopping the sear from moving. A redesigned cocking knob was implemented in 1944 in order to simplify production. The Type 14 also lacks the grip safety used on the previous models. The Type 14 could be equipped with the Type 90 tear gas grenade with use of a special attachment.
Pre-World War II Type 14s are well made, with quality dropping during wartime. Machining marks, a lack of polishing, and thin bluing became more common as wartime shortages affected quality. The later Type 14s remained quite functional despite the decreased quality. Holster quality for the Type 14 also degraded as the shortages of critical raw materials forced a change from a leather holster to rubberized canvas.
One quality of the Type 14 caught the eye of William B. Ruger who had acquired a captured Nambu from a returning U.S. Marine in 1945. Ruger duplicated two Nambus in his garage, and although he decided against marketing them, the handgun's rear cocking device and the Nambu's silhouette were incorporated into the Ruger .22 semi-automatic pistol series, when in 1949 the Ruger Standard (and later Mark I, II, and III) pistols were sold to the American public.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Mauser C96 (Construktion 96) is a semi-automatic pistol that was originally produced by German arms manufacturer Mauser from 1896 to 1937. Unlicensed copies of the gun were also manufactured in Spain and China in the first half of the 20th century.
The distinctive characteristics of the C96 are the integral box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which can double as a holster or carrying case and a grip shaped like the handle of a broom. The grip earned the gun the nickname "Broomhandle" in the English-speaking world because of its round wooden handle, and in China the C96 was nicknamed the "box cannon" (Chinese: 盒子炮; pinyin: hézipào) because of its square-shaped internal magazine and the fact it could be holstered in its wooden box-like detachable stock.
With its long barrel and high-velocity cartridge, the Mauser C96 had superior range and better penetration than most other pistols; the 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge was the highest velocity commercially manufactured pistol cartridge until the advent of the .357 Magnum cartridge in 1935.
Mauser manufactured approximately 1 million C96 pistols, while the number produced in Spain and China was large but unknown due to the loss, non-existence or poor preservation of production records from those countries.
Within a year of its introduction in 1896, the C96 had been sold to governments and commercially to civilians and individual military officers.
The Mauser C96 pistol was extremely popular with British officers at the time and many purchased it privately. Mauser supplied the C96 to Westley Richards in the UK for resale. By the onset of World War I, the C96's popularity with the British military had waned.
As a military sidearm, the pistols saw service in various colonial wars, as well as World War I, The Easter Rising, the Estonian War of Independence, the Spanish Civil War, the Chinese Civil War and World War II. The C96 also became a staple of Bolshevik Commissars and various warlords and gang leaders in the Russian Civil War, known simply as "the Mauser".
Winston Churchill was fond of the Mauser C96 and used one at the 1898 Battle of Omdurman and during the Second Boer War; Lawrence of Arabia carried a Mauser C96 for a period, during his time in the Middle East. Indian Revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil and his partymen used these Mauser Pistols in the historic Kakori train robbery in August 1925. Chinese Communist General Zhu De carried a Mauser C96 during his Nanchang Uprising and later conflicts; his gun (with his name printed on it) can be viewed in the Beijing war museum.
Imported and domestic copies of the C96 were used extensively by the Chinese in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, as well as by the Spanish during the Spanish Civil War and the Germans in World War II.
Besides the standard 7.63×25 mm chambering, C96 pistols were also commonly chambered for 9×19mm Parabellum with a small number also being produced in 9 mm Mauser Export. Lastly, there was a Chinese-manufactured model chambered for .45 ACP. Despite the pistol's worldwide popularity and fame, China was the only nation to use the C96 as the primary service pistol of its military and police.
The Broomhandle Mauser is a popular collector's gun. It was popularized in Soviet films as the iconic weapon of the Russian revolution and civil war. The C96 frequently appears as a "foreign" or "exotic" pistol in a number of films and TV shows, owing to its distinctive and instantly recognisable shape. A C96 was modified to form Han Solo's prop blaster pistol for the Star Wars films. Reproductions of the blaster became so popular in the Cosplay community that gun collectors became aware that fans were buying and altering increasingly rare original Mausers to make blaster replicas. Author Ian Fleming outfitted agents of SMERSH in the James Bond series with Mausers on the advice of firearms expert Geoffrey Boothroyd.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Pistole Parabellum 1908—or Parabellum-Pistole (Pistol Parabellum)—is a toggle-locked recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol. The design was patented by Georg J. Luger in 1898 and produced by German arms manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) starting in 1900 with other manufacturers such as W+F Bern, Krieghoff, Simson, Mauser and Vickers; it was an evolution of the 1893 Hugo Borchardt–designed C-93. The first Parabellum pistol was adopted by the Swiss army in May 1900. In German Army service, it was succeeded and partly replaced by the Walther P38 in caliber 9mm Parabellum.
The Luger is well known from its use by Germans during World War I and World War II, along with the interwar Weimar Republic and the postwar East German Volkspolizei. Although the P.08 was introduced in 7.65mm Parabellum, it is notable for being the pistol for which the 9×19mm Parabellum (also known as the 9 mm Luger) cartridge was developed. Because of its association with Nazi Germany, the pistol has been used in fictional works by many villainous characters over the past several decades.
One of the first semi-automatic pistols, the Luger was designed to use a toggle-lock action, which uses a jointed arm to lock, as opposed to the slide actions of almost every other semi-automatic pistol. After a round is fired, the barrel and toggle assembly (both locked together at this point) travel rearward due to recoil. After moving roughly 13 mm (0.5 in) rearward, the toggle strikes a cam built into the frame, causing the knee joint to hinge and the toggle and breech assembly to unlock. At this point the barrel impacts the frame and stops its rearward movement, but the toggle assembly continues moving (bending the knee joint) due to momentum, extracting the spent casing from the chamber and ejecting it. The toggle and breech assembly subsequently travel forward under spring tension and the next round from the magazine is loaded into the chamber. The entire sequence occurs in a fraction of a second. This mechanism works well for higher-pressure cartridges, but cartridges loaded to a lower pressure can cause the pistol to malfunction because they do not generate enough recoil to work the action fully. This results in either the breech block not clearing the top cartridge of the magazine, or becoming jammed open on the cartridge's base.
In World War I, as submachine guns were found to be effective in trench warfare, experiments with converting various types of pistols to machine pistols (Reihenfeuerpistolen, literally "row-fire pistols" or "consecutive fire pistols") were conducted. Among those the Luger pistol (German Army designation Pistole 08) was examined; however, unlike the Mauser C96, which was later manufactured in a selective-fire version (Schnellfeuer) or Reihenfeuerpistolen, the Luger proved to have an excessive rate of fire in full-automatic mode.
The Luger pistol was manufactured to exacting standards and had a long service life. William B. "Bill" Ruger praised the Luger's 145° (55° for Americans) grip angle and duplicated it in his .22 LR pistol.
The Swiss Army evaluated the Luger pistol in 7.65×21 mm Parabellum and adopted it in 1900 as its standard side arm, designated Ordonnanzpistole 00 or OP00, in 1900. This model uses a 120 mm barrel.
The Luger pistol was accepted by the Imperial German Navy in 1904. The Navy model had a 150 mm barrel and a two-position (100/200 metre) rear sight. This version is known as Pistole 04.
In 1908 the German Army adopted the Luger to replace the Reichsrevolver in front-line service. The Pistole 08 (or P.08) had a 100 mm barrel and was chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum. The P.08 was the usual side arm for German Army personnel in both world wars, though it was being replaced by the Walther P38 starting in 1938. In 1930, Mauser took over manufacture of the P.08 (until 1943).
The Bolivian Army adopted the DWM Luger in 9 mm Parabellum as the main officer's side arm in 1908; a few hundred were bought, starting with a batch of about 250 that were included in an order of 4,000 Mauser DWM 1907 rifles and 1,000 Mauser DWM 1907 short rifles, both in caliber 7.65×53 mm, and continued with smaller batches every year until 1913. Only the first batch wore crests and the Legend "Ejercito Boliviano" stamped in the receiver.
The Lange Pistole 08 (German: "Long Pistol 08") or Artillery Luger was a pistol carbine for use by German Army artillerymen as a sort of early Personal Defense Weapon. It had a 200 mm barrel, an 8-position tangent rear sight (calibrated to 800 metres) and a shoulder stock with holster. It was sometimes used with a 32-round drum magazine (Trommelmagazin 08). It was also available in various commercial carbine versions with yet longer barrels.
The firm Armeria Belga of Santiago Chile, manufactured the Benke Thiemann retractable stock that could fold out from the grip section.
The United States evaluated several semi-automatic pistols in the late 19th century, including the Colt M1900, Steyr Mannlicher M1894, and an entry from Mauser. In 1900 the US purchased 1000 7.65 mm Lugers for field trials. Later, a small number were sampled in the then-new, more powerful 9 mm round. Field experience with .38 caliber revolvers in the Philippines and ballistic tests would result in a requirement for still-larger rounds.
At least two pistols were manufactured later for possible commercial or military sales, and one is exhibited at the Norton Gallery, in Shreveport, Louisiana. The other was sold in 2010 and remains in a private collection. After initial trials, DWM, Savage, and Colt were asked to provide further samples for evaluation. DWM withdrew for reasons that are still debated, though the Army did place an order for 200 more samples. A single .45 Luger carbine is also known to exist.
In 1936 Mauser phased out "straw finishing" the small parts and levers on their pistols, choosing to blue them with the rest of the weapon. When in combination with black bakelite grip panels, used on some examples starting in 1941, these pistols were named the "Black Widow" model by a postwar US arms dealer as a marketing ploy.
Captured Lugers were much prized by Allied soldiers during both of the world wars as war trophies. However, during World War II, German soldiers were aware of this and would use Lugers as "bait", rigging them to detonate land mines or hidden booby traps when disturbed. This tactic was common enough to make experienced Allied soldiers deeply suspicious of an apparently discarded Luger that they discovered.
Although outdated, the Luger is still sought after by collectors both for its sleek design and accuracy, and for its connection to Imperial and Nazi Germany. Limited production of the P.08 by its original manufacturer resumed when Mauser refurbished a quantity of them in 1999 for the pistol's centennial. More recently, Krieghoff announced the continuation of its Parabellum Model 08 line with 200 examples at $17,545.00 apiece.
In 1923, Stoeger, Inc. obtained the American copyright for the "Luger" name for the import of German-built parabellum pistols into the United States. The 1923 commercial models, in .30 Luger and 9mm, and with barrel lengths from 75 mm to 600 mm were the first pistols to bear the name "Luger", roll stamped on the right side of the receiver. Stoeger has retained the rights to the "Luger" name. Over the past seven decades, Stoeger imported a number of different handguns under the "Luger" mark, including an Erma-built .380 version and an American-manufacture .22 which only remotely resembled the original design.
In 1991, the Houston, Texas firm of Aimco, Inc. began making an all new remake of the original Georg Luger design. At that time Mitchell Arms, Inc., under the "Mitchell" name marketed Aimco’s "new" parabellum. Stoeger, Inc. bought the rights to market the Texas-built pistols in 1994, and since that time the "Luger" name is once again on these toggle-action autoloaders.
Stoeger’s current offering is named the "American Eagle" model. This refers to the U.S. eagle roll-stamped above the chamber, closely resembling the eagle used to mark the original pistols designated for U.S. import. The "American Eagle" is available in 4-inch and 6-inch barrel lengths in 9mm Luger only.
Thousands were taken home by returning Allied soldiers during both wars, and are still in circulation today. Colonel David Hackworth mentions in his autobiography that it was still a sought-after sidearm in the Vietnam War. Recently the first serious study on the Post World War II Luger has been published (The Parabellum is Back! 1945–2000); it covers the Luger production from 1945 until 2000. In fact, in 1945 Mauser set up again the Luger production under the control of the French forces. In 1969, Mauser Werke in Oberndorf restarted the production until 1986 when the last commemorative model was produced.
Monday, May 18, 2015
The Colt Buntline Special is a long-barreled variant of the Colt Single Action Army revolver that author Stuart N. Lake described in his best-selling but largely fictionalized 1931 biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. According to Lake, dime novelist Ned Buntline had five Buntline Specials commissioned. Lake described them as extra-long, 12 inches (300 mm)-long barrel Colt Single Action Army revolvers. Lake wrote that Buntline presented them to five lawmen in thanks for their help with contributing “local color” to his western yarns. But modern researchers have not found any evidence to confirm that Buntline ordered the guns or that Colt manufactured them in that time period.
Lake attributed the gun to Earp, but modern researchers have not found any supporting evidence from secondary sources or in available primary documentation of the gun's existence prior to the publication of Lake's book. After the publication of Lake's book, various Colt revolvers with long (10″ or 16″) barrels were referred to as "Colt Buntlines" or "Buntline Specials". Colt manufactured the pistol among its second generation revolvers produced after 1956. A number of other manufacturers, such as Uberti, Navy Arms, and Cimarron Arms, have made their own version of this long-barreled revolver.
There is no conclusive evidence as to the kind of pistol that Earp usually carried, though it is known that on the day of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, October 26, 1881, he carried an 8 inch (200mm) barreled Smith & Wesson Model 3. Earp had received the revolver as a gift from Tombstone mayor and Tombstone Epitaph newspaper editor John Clum. Lake later admitted that he had 'put words into Wyatt's mouth because of the inarticulateness and monosyllabic way he had of talking'.
The book later inspired a number of stories, movies, and television programs about outlaws and lawmen in Dodge City and Tombstone, including the 1955 television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.