Category Archive 'Guns'
05 Jan 2018

Mark Twain Firing a Colt Model 1903 Semiautomatic Pistol

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(click on photo for larger image)

The gun might actually be a Model 1908 chambered in .380, rather than the Model 1903 chambered in .32 ACP, but the latter is the original design and seems a bit more likely.

Seeing this photo, reminded me of Mark Twain’s comments on handguns in Roughing It (1872):

[Travelling West from St. Louis to Nevada:]
I was armed to the teeth with a pitiful little Smith & Wesson’s seven-shooter, which carried a ball like a homoeopathic pill, and it took the whole seven to make a dose for an adult. But I thought it was grand. It appeared to me to be a dangerous weapon. It only had one fault—you could not hit anything with it. One of our “conductors” practiced awhile on a cow with it, and as long as she stood still and behaved herself she was safe; but as soon as she went to moving about, and he got to shooting at other things, she came to grief. The Secretary had a small-sized Colt’s revolver strapped around him for protection against the Indians, and to guard against accidents he carried it uncapped. Mr. George Bemis was dismally formidable. George Bemis was our fellow-traveler.

We had never seen him before. He wore in his belt an old original “Allen” revolver, such as irreverent people called a “pepper-box.” Simply drawing the trigger back, cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer, and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an “Allen” in the world. But George’s was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers afterward said, “If she didn’t get what she went after, she would fetch something else.” And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree, once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon—the “Allen.” Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe place in all the region round about, but behind it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) lived, of course, through the percussion era when obsolete and inaccurate Allen & Thurber pepperboxes were still carried by the ill-advised, right down to the modern world of semiauto pocket pistols of John Browning’s design.

20 Nov 2017

Folding Glock!

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I’m not a fan of plastic pistols, especially the fashionable contemporary versions that come without a real safety. My own opinion is that trigger safeties are basically meaningless, and carrying an automatic pistol with no safety with a round chambered just makes me nervous.

I have consequently never bought a Glock, but now here is a version I would not mind owning.

The Firearms Blog:

Full Conceal is now shipping their Glock 19 folding pistol conversion called M3. The folding mechanism allows having a more compact carry package which in a matter of seconds unfolds and becomes a Glock 19 with a 21-round magazine. The reason why they advertise it with the 22-round capacity (21 round mag plus one in the chamber) is that the 21-round magazine most efficiently fits the slide length neither sticking out nor coming short of the overall length of the folded gun. The M3 pistol is available for purchase on Full Conceal’s website for $1,399 (the price includes one Magpul 21-round magazine).

Another important feature of the M3 pistol is the additional safety built into the folding mechanism. When folded, that mechanism blocks the trigger bar preventing any possibility of an accidental discharge when manipulating the folding mechanism. This system allows carrying the pistol with a chambered round being sure that it is safe.

The company also points out that even if the folded gun prints, it will rather look like a cell phone than a firearm. The folded M3 pistol silhouette basically matches the iPhone 7 Plus dimensions.

RTWT

Get yourself a second magazine, and you’ll be all set if you run into an irate Zulu impi.

27 Oct 2017

The Other 1%

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Science20:

There is a different kind of 1 percent, and it isn’t people who can afford to buy organic food. It’s Americans who carry a handgun on a daily basis.

It’s not a surprise, given American history and horrific events like a psychopath in Las Vegas wounding or killing 500 people while police waited 70 minutes to attack him. A nearby hotel guest with a gun could have ended that more quickly.

Up to 7 million have concealed carry permits while up to 9 million might carry a handgun on a monthly basis (not all states require a license for a concealed weapon). That is alarming to Northeastern epidemiologist Professor Matthew Miller and colleagues, who published their survey results, funded by two anti-gun groups, and extrapolated figures for the country, in American Journal of Public Health. “We’re talking about several million adult handgun owners carrying a loaded firearm on their person every day,” Miller said. “That’s a sizable number of Americans.”

RTWT

23 Sep 2017

Kalashnikov Honored in Moscow

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The NYT reported Tuesday:

A towering monument to Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, the Soviet rifle that has become the world’s most widespread assault weapon, was unveiled on Tuesday in the middle of one of central Moscow’s busiest thoroughfares.

The ceremony took place to the sounds of Russian military folk music, the Soviet anthem, Orthodox prayers and words about how his creation had ensured Russia’s safety and peace in the world.

The bronze statue depicts General Kalashnikov, who died in 2013 at age 94, looking into the distance and cradling one of his automatics in his arms “like a violin,” according to Russian state television. The statue is about 16 feet tall, and on a pedestal about 13 feet tall.

Naturally, the Times bed-wetters felt compelled to add this little jibe:

“The ceremony contained no mention of the untold millions of people who have been killed or maimed by the weapon since its creation in 1947.”

RTWT

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Mikhail Kalashnikov’s memorial did apparently have a glitch, however.

The Guardian:

Workers have removed part of a new monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 assault rifle, after eagle-eyed Russians noticed that it mistakenly depicted a German second world war weapon.

The monument to the creator of one of Russia’s best known export brands was unveiled in central Moscow three days ago to much fanfare.

A metal bas-relief behind a statue of Kalashnikov depicts the AK-47 and other weapons all supposedly designed by the engineer, who died in 2013.

But embarrassed sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov had to admit that among them was the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) assault rifle used by Nazi troops.

“We will rectify this,” Shcherbakov said in comments broadcast by state-run Rossiya 24 channel. “It looks like this [mistake] sneaked in from the internet.”

By Friday evening a square hole gaped where the German rifle had been depicted in the bas-relief.

RTWT

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The US Government ought to put up a slightly larger statue of John Moses Browning.

04 Aug 2017

Folding Credit Card .22 LR Single-Shot Pistol

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Task & Purpose:

Touted as “the last gun you’ll leave behind,” the LifeCard is a single-shot, single-action .22 designed to resemble an innocuous credit card. Fashioned from lightweight anodized aluminum with a steel trigger and tilt-up barrel, the 7 oz. pistol folds up into a 3.375 inch by 2.215 inch card that, despite its half-inch thickness, can fit with relative ease inside your back pocket or average wallet.

With ammo storage for four rounds, Trailblazer hopes that the LifeCard — which, incapable of firing when folded, is in compliance with the National Firearms Act, according to Guns.com — will pack a punch as a last-ditch firearm in sticky situations, a modern, more civilized update to, say, the garter gun of the Wild West or the turn-of-the-century Chicago palm pistol.

RTWT

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Guns America:

Caliber: .22LR
Action: Single-Action, Single-Shot
Length: 3.375 inches
Height: 2.125 inches
Width: 0.5 inches
Weight: > 7 oz.
Barrel: Steel, Tilt-Up
Frame: Aluminum (includes folding handle)
Features: Ambidextrous, built-in safety features, ammo storage in handle for 4 rounds
MSRP: $399

31 Jul 2017

Another Article on Paris Theodore and the ASP

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Guns America:

The story of the ASP reads like a Ludlum or Flynn novel. In 1966, a young Paris Theodore founded a custom holster company known as Seventrees Ltd. Located in New York City, on West 39th Street, Seventrees designed and produced “modern” concealment holsters for professionals. The company’s clientele ranged from NYPD detectives to “spooks” from a variety of countries. Documents show that Seventrees was awarded several contracts from a variety of U.S. agencies including an order for handcuff cases from the United States Secret Service.

The holster business, while both legitimate and profitable, was only part of the story. Located in the back room behind a vault door, Seventrees’ sister company, Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP), was a clandestine laboratory that worked with various government organizations designing and producing specialized weapons. In fact, Theodore designed an “experimental submachine gun,” complete with a shoulder holster, a belt holster, and a unique sight.

However, the most lasting project from Armament Systems and Procedures was the ASP pistol. According to Theodore, the ASP was developed on behalf of a government agency who had a need for a concealable handgun chambered in a “major caliber.” During the early development, numerous 1911s, Commanders, and the Browning P-35 Hi Power were cut down and reconfigured. In each case, the end result was found lacking.

The ASP was extremely compact, with rounded edges and an intriguing round-counter window cut into the grip panels.
Solid Foundation

Theodore finally settled on the Smith & Wesson Model 39 as the base platform for the ASP. The Model 39 was introduced in 1954 to compete in the U.S. Army service pistol trials and was offered to the commercial market in 1955. The Model 39 featured an aluminum frame, 4-inch barrel, and a double-action, fire control system. It was chambered in 9mm with an eight-round magazine capacity. The most notable feature of the Model 39 was the one-piece, deeply curved back strap. To this day, the 39 fits my hand better than any pistol I have ever owned.

The trigger guard of the ASP was recut and welded to have a forward recurve, something that came strongly into vogue later in the 1980s.

The ASP was the result of some 212 modifications on the stock Model 39. The most dramatic modification was the reduction in the size of both the slide and frame. The slide and barrel were shortened by ¾ inch while the butt of the frame was reduced by 9/16 of an inch. Both reductions required extensive internal modifications with regard to the barrel bushing, recoil spring and guide, the mainspring and back strap assembly. To lighten the slide, the muzzle end was tapered. To further reduce the size, the hammer spur was removed and the thumb safety was shaved. Each pistol came with three reduced-size magazines that featured a patented finger rest base plate.

One striking feature of the ASP was the uniquely shaped trigger guard. The standard trigger guard was cut and a hooked extension was heli-arc welded onto the pistol using a comparable alloy. The design was patented as a “forefinger pocket” and designed to aid in a finger forward, two hand grip. The forward half of the trigger guard was reduced in width by 50% to allow improved access. This reduction was tailored for either right- or left-handed shooters.

The ASP’s sighting system was revolutionary. Theodore’s patented sight, called the Guttersnipe, consisted of a machined block of steel with a tapered channel that ran longitudinally. The sides and bottom of the sight channel were painted yellow for high visibility. There was no front sight. The Guttersnipe required the shooter to subconsciously balance the yellow panels on the sides and bottom of the channel to align the ASP properly. In practice, the Guttersnipe was extremely fast to acquire and was “battle” accurate.

Theodore understood that it was rare for anyone involved in a violent encounter to keep track of the number of rounds that were expended. To that end, he cut a large witness window in both sides of the magazines and equipped the ASP with Plexiglas stocks. This allowed the user to visually observe how many rounds were in the magazine. It also added one more exotic touch to the pistol.

The entire design of the ASP was focused on the rapidly changing dynamic in a moving gunfight. To quote Theodore in a Combat Handguns article, “Our mission was to create a major-calibre weapon which was readily concealable yet could be brought into action with “the speed of an impulse.” That was pretty shocking in 1970! Every edge was radiused and it was void of any textured gripping surfaces. Instead, the shape of the grip and trigger guard caused the pistol to seat in the hand during a panic draw.

RTWT

2006 Paris Theodore obituary

ASP 2000 A Tribute to Paris Theodore

23 Jul 2017

Seven Most Expensive Guns

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Private Sam Wilson’s Walker Colt and flask

Breitbart lists seven of the most expensive guns in the world.

18 Jul 2017

Shooting the .451 Whitworth Civil War Sniper Rifle

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“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this range.” U.S. General John Sedgwick’s famous last words.

29 Jun 2017

YouTube Stunt Results in Darwin Award

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Monalisa Perez and the late Pedro Ruiz.

Buzzfeed:

Monalisa Perez was arrested on Monday night after she fatally shot her 22-year-old boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz, while the couple were recording a YouTube stunt for her vlog. …

On Wednesday, Perez was charged with second-degree manslaughter — a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, a fine of $20,000, or both. …

Perez, who is pregnant, told police that Ruiz wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting a book while he was holding it, as he believed that the book would stop the bullet, according to the criminal complaint.

Perez tweeted on Monday that the pair were planning to shoot a dangerous video. “HIS idea not MINE,” she wrote.

Perez started a YouTube channel in March which aimed to show “the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.”

Perez had uploaded several YouTube videos featuring her and Ruiz, many of which involved doing “pranks,” “stunts,” and “challenges.”

Some of the videos also featured their three-year-old daughter.

The couple’s most recent video, which was uploaded on Monday — the day Ruiz died — was titled “Doing scary stunts at the fair.”

Perez told authorities that Ruiz had been trying to convince her “for a while” to shoot the book while he held it for a YouTube video.

Ruiz had set up a GoPro camera and another camera on a ladder nearby to record the stunt, according to the complaint. The two cameras — which recorded the shooting — have been secured as evidence for the investigation.

Perez told authorities that Ruiz eventually “convinced” her to shoot the book he was holding.

She said he had showed her a different book which the bullet did not go through.

Perez told police that she shot from a foot away while Ruiz held the book to his chest.

She used a .50-caliber Desert Eagle firearm which authorities recovered from the grass near the house.

RTWT

Reading this you kind of wonder whether Pedro might not have tested the stunt using his .22 pistol, but then perhaps the unhappy girlfriend decided to switch in the .50 Desert Eagle when the time came to film the action. Bang!

16 Jun 2017

“More Youthful, More Urban, and More Inclusive of Women”

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Bad! Male shooting trap.

GunsAmerica makes it clear that entirely the wrong kind of people are on the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee has dropped three men’s shooting events from the Tokyo 2020 lineup in an effort to make the games “more youthful, more urban” and more inclusive of women.

The Committee announced last Friday that men’s double trap, 50m rifle prone, and 50m pistol will be replaced by events in air rifle, trap, and air shooting, which will be open to competitors of any gender.

IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement, “I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”

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Evelyn Waugh’s Scott-King’s Modern Europe follows the declining career of a balding & corpulent classics teacher at Granchester, a fictional English public school. Granchester is “entirely respectable” but in need of a bit of modernizing, at least in the opinion of its pragmatic headmaster, who is attuned to consumer demands. The story ends with a poignant conversation between Scott-King and the headmaster:

“You know,” [the headmaster] said, “we are starting this year with fifteen fewer classical specialists than we had last term?”

“I thought that would be about the number.”

“As you know I’m an old Greats man myself. I deplore it as much as you do. But what are we to do? Parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete man’ any more. They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world. You can hardly blame them, can you?”

“Oh yes,” said Scott-King. “I can and do.”

“I always say you are a much more important man here than I am. One couldn’t conceive of Granchester without Scott-King. But has it ever occurred to you that a time may come when there will be no more classical boys at all?”

“Oh yes. Often.”

“What I was going to suggest was—I wonder if you will consider taking some other subject as well as the classics? History, for example, preferably economic history?”

“No, headmaster.”

“But, you know, there may be something of a crisis ahead.”

“Yes, headmaster.”

“Then what do you intend to do?”

“If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. [Emphasis added] I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.

“It’s a short-sighted view, Scott-King.”

“There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly. I think it the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.”

14 Jun 2017

They’ve Got a Point

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(click on image for larger version)

11 Jun 2017

Custom Target Colt New Service

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Purchased at auction sale yesterday:

Manufactured 1927. This revolver started out as a standard New Service six shot double action revolver with blued finish. A custom low profile clock adjustable target rear sight has been perfectly fitted to the frame. A front sight ramp and large serrated blade have been fitted to the front. Has a custom wide spur checkered target hammer, much like Smith & Wesson target hammer. Trigger has been stippled. Sports a near mint pair of King style checkered walnut right palm swell with left thumbrest grips. Gun has a hint of muzzle wear and light drag line, retaining 98% original finish. This gun has been altered or customized to work in the single action mode only. The action has been finely tuned with the lightest of trigger pull, smooth as silk. Near mint bore. Beautiful large frame pre-war custom target Colt. Manufacturer: Colt, Model: New Service, Caliber: .45 Colt, Barrel Length: 7 – 1/2″.

Colt stopped making these large-frame revolvers in 1944, before I was born. This one was customized by Dean W. King in San Francisco, once a nation-wide renowned center of firearms culture. He died and his company closed its doors in the early 1950s.

Colt switched over to government contract work during WWII, and has hardly looked back. A couple of new Colt revolvers appeared very recently, but Colt had essentially abandoned the field of revolvers for so many decades that nearly all the gunsmiths who understood how to work on their fussy and delicate mechanisms died off long ago. Try getting a Colt revolver customized or repaired today and you’ll find infinitesimally few providers and long waiting times for service.

The past was a different country.

I have not seem it in the flesh yet, but I think this gun has Roper grips.

02 Jun 2017

St. Louis P.D. To Sell 27 Tommy Guns

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The St. Louis Police Department is selling a stash of guns that bring to mind Prohibition-era gangsters for cash to put new a handgun in every officer’s holster, plus arm the department with a number of AR-15 rifles.

The rifles and about 1,525 new 9 mm Beretta handguns will be paid for largely by the sale of 27 Thompson submachine guns, some dating to the 1920s. The proceeds from the vintage weapons will cover about half of the new arsenal — the first shipment of which is expected to arrive in August. The sale of the Berettas currently used by officers and other surplus weapons will make up the rest.

St. Louis decommissioned its Thompson submachine guns about 60 years ago. They have been stored in a basement bunker inside the police academy ever since. The guns, more commonly known as Tommy guns, were often the weapon of choice among gangsters during the Roaring ’20s and the 1930s, but they were also carried by lawmen of the time. In later years, FBI agents carried them.

Chesterfield-based Police Trades is the broker for the $1.2 million deal, which was signed in January by then-Chief Sam Dotson. Raymond Reynolds, the president of Police Trades and a retired St. Louis police lieutenant, is somewhat of a history buff with an affection for the iconic guns. He said he found original paperwork showing that the department had paid about $125 a piece for the submachine guns.

RTWT

11 May 2017

Worst Revolver Ever?

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The Rohm/Omega RG 10 is a serious contender.

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