Category Archives: Weapons Education

Wanna Get Your Crank On? With a Gat? (ling?)

Sure, there’s always a couple of vendors trying to sell Colt’s new-edition 1875, 1877 or 1878 Gatling Guns for prices around $50-60k. (There were eleven of them on GunBroker when we put this story to bed last night). What about those of you who jones for a Gatling, but can’t afford the price of a luxo car or SUV for it, or can’t get a decent trade for your first-born child?

Fear not, the cheapskate New Englanders at WeaponsMan.com have your back. Mission: save you money on a Wild West icon, so you can go bankrupt buying blackpowder or Cowboy Action rounds and getting your crank on.

Fun fact about Gatlings: they had been so well employed by one American officer that the US Army’s machine gunners — who were, mostly, under his sway — clung to the Gatling into the 20th Century, long after the armies of Europe and the modern armies of Asia had chosen automatic machine guns.

Item 1: Museum Quality Gatling Gun w Carriage 45LC Mag

Price: Buy it now for $18k, or make an bid on the penny auction — against the unknown reserve. No bids yet.

Gatling Portland 01

Great looking Gat(ling).

Seller’s been trying to unload this gat since 2015, at least on GunBroker and at the Portland, OR gun show. Initially he wanted $30k, then $25, and now he’s down to $18k. Ground shipping to your FFL (it’s a Title 1 firearm) is $600.

$18k too high? Let’s move on.

Item 2: Replica Gatling Gun in 45 Black Powder

Price: No Reserve sale with minimum bid of $10k, or actually $5 under that number. No bids yet.

Gatling Tucson 02

This one’s not as impressive as the $18k gun; it has a homemade-y look. But it’s $10k plus actual shipping from a gun shop in Tucson. The seller says:

Up for auction is a Modern Replica of a Gatling Gun, built in the 1980’s by a machinist who was also a civil war re-enactor.

6 barrels. Working Black Powder Gatling Gun, designed to fire cap and ball blanks only but barrels are .45 caliber and rifled.

Perfect for Recreations, Movies or Stage Prop. The gun has been a fixture in the shop for years and gets a lot of attention but it is time for us to change some of our decor so it is reluctantly for sale.

Item 3: GATLING GUN FULLY- FUNCTIONAL LIVE-FIRE 45 L.C.

Price: No Reserve sale with minimum bid of $7k, or actually $5 under that number. No bids yet.

While this is the price leader of the authentic(ish) Gatlings, it seems to be a high-quality piece with a lot of brass. The seller complicated his sale by not taking a single good picture of the whole Gatling, but there are some character-rich detail shots. The business end:

Gatling OK 04

And here’s the rear half, left side:

Gatling OK 03

The rear half, right side:

Gatling OK 01

And the forward:

Gatling OK 02

Sure, it’s not for everybody. Some guys will complain about its lack of Picatinny rails and others will turn it down because there is no place to mount a bayonet. The magazine capacity probably makes it illegal in Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and North Korea.

But it would be worth the price of the ammo (and the target frames) to crank this puppy up from time to time… maybe on the anniversary of the Little Big Horn.

But there you go — three options for less than the somewhat stiff cost of entry to the Colt Repro Gatling Club. Just the thing for getting your crank on.

And on the other hand, if you feel diffident about saving money on a 19th Century classic firearm, there are eleven Colt replicas available for up to $60k.

But if you feel diffident about saving money on anything under the sun, we don’t know what you are but you are not a cheapskate New Englander.

The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch… was a Thing?

One of the more entertaining scenes, at least for a WeaponsMan, in the old cult film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, involves the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

For decades we’ve believed it to be a fiction, but it turns out that it might have been a real thing. Fox News reports on donations to an Israeli museum from a powerplant worker who collected artifacts that washed up on the beach,for his hobby. He passed away, and his survivors donated the items — which turned out to be older than anyone expected:

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

Some of the artifacts. The 'nade is the heart-shaped object at center.

Some of the artifacts. The ‘nade is the heart-shaped object at center. The needle and knife blade at bottom center date to the Bronze Age.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13thcentury, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13th to the 16thcentury, experts say.

Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume.

The Haaretz story that Fox links is unfortunately off limits to goys and other nonsubscribers.

Sam Bostrom at Ancient-Origins.net tried to provide some technical background on the little bundle of joy illustrated here.

Close up of the 'nade.

Close up of the ‘nade.

One of the most striking gems the family had hung onto is a beautifully decorated hand grenade, of a type commonly used during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.

Hand grenades filled with Greek fire (burning naphta) was a Byzantine invention that spread to the Muslim armies in the Near East.

They were filled with Greek fire and sealed so that all a soldier needed to do was throw the grenade toward the enemy to eliminate him. Characteristics that made it singular include its ability to burn on water and stick onto surfaces, extinguishable with sand, vinegar, or–bizarrely–old urine. Some historians believe it could be ignited using water.

Although the technology has changed over the centuries, the concept remains that all the soldier need to do was to hurl the grenade toward the enemy and it´s disseminate burning naphtha at impact. The hand grenades we have now are a direct descendent of these contraptions; we’ve just updated the concept by using explosives instead.

Here’s a worker with the Israeli antiquities office, holding the milennium-old weapon.

Grenade-Authority-employee

Bottom line: Three is the number you shalt count. Five is right out. And perhaps your enemies will snuff it.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Second City Cop

second_city_copWe find it hard to believe that, for all the times we’ve quoted, cited, or just flat chortled at the Second City Cop blog, we’ve never made it Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week.

Oversight, fixed.

SCC is one of the only two websites you ever need to read to understand crime in Chicongo (and in Chicagoland generally) and why the ineffectual official response to the same has been so, well ineffectual. (The other website is HeyJackass.com).

It’s because Chicago City management (Mayor and Aldermen and all their minions) and the senior appointed leadership and sucked-up-and-moved-up white shirts in the Chicago Police Department have problems with competence and character.

Competence? Yeah. Most of them couldn’t pour piss out of a boot, if the instructions were written on the heel.

Character? If Chicago ever wants to hold a reunion of its Aldermen, do you have any idea how many prison transfers would have to take place?

Of course, there’s competence and character in the Chicago Police Department, mostly in the blue shirts and in the actual, case-working, line-dog detectives. And Second City Cop is there to write about it — and about the management’s ongoing efforts to stamp it out, wherever found.

If you’re a Chicagoan, this stuff is, unfortunately, life or death for you. For the rest of us, it’s entertainment (and such entertainment!), albeit with a dash of black humor.

Second City Cop. Spend some time there and you’ll have a different angle on police work, for sure. It’s not like those TV cop shows, is it?

Non-Factory Cutaway AR (Semi M16A2 Clone)

You don’t see many cutaways. Here’s a shot of a Colt M16A1 cutaway:

Colt M16A1 in Museum

This one was done by a little shop called Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company — you may have heard of them — for a retiring worker, and resides in the Cody Museum — you may have heard of it.

So one of the ARFCOM retro heads, “Trimdad” of Oklahoma, got it into his head to do a cutaway of this: M16A2 clone with M203. By himself. With a Dremel tool. Here’s the thread.

A2 Cutaway 01

Here’s a shot to compare with the Cody Museum Colt:

A2 Cutaway 09Here’s an overview:

A2 Cutaway 03

And some close-ups. The receiver:

A2 Cutaway 04

The bolt and gas subsystem:

A2 Cutaway 05

The trigger group (note that this lacks the auto sear of the factory gun):

A2 Cutaway 07

The business end:A2 Cutaway 08

And the buttstock and its features:

A2 Cutaway 06

It all came about because he had parts for an A2 build, but not for an authentic A2 build (kind of a big deal in the retro world). As he puts it:

This one started because I had some A2 parts I was saving for a clone, but they weren’t Colt parts do I decided to sacrifice them . The upper is a dpms with a strange texture on it. The lower was a 80% A2 that braceman couldn’t sell.  The barrel is a FN that was rusted and shot out. The 203 is a Colt licensed airsoft and the rest was laying at the bottom of the parts box.

The airsoft nature of the 203 is evident on close up of its left side — you can see the circular marks from the ejector pins used in injection molding.

A2 Cutaway 02

Since these live, mostly, on the “inside” of the firearm, as it’s displayed (and it is a firearm — the lower would actually function, with a functional upper), the giveaway doesn’t really matter.

Moral of story: a Dremel does not turn you into Bubba, any more than a Glock turns you into some cop killer from Black Criminals’ Lives Matter. The tool is fine and good, but it’s what a man does with it that cements his place in the universe.

Well done, Trimdad.

He’s also done an A1. Next? Maybe an M4… complete with a sectioned ACOG, or maybe a Chinese Fake-COG. We’re guessing it’ll be awesome.

A Gun We’ve Always Liked: Whitney Wolverine

This one takes us back, as a hack Freudian analyst would, to our childhood (imagine echoes: “childhood, childhood…). We never had a Whitney Wolverine, but we had this:

Zebra-IIIt was a “Zebra” toy gun that shot pellets, and it was, as you’ll see, a ringer for the style of the Whitney, except compressed to about a Walther PPK form factor — perfect for a child’s hand. The only hard part was keeping it running; every James Bond or Cops and Robbers session left you a few less pellets to the good… and God alone help you if Mom found them first, because no power on Earth would help you at that juncture.

Here’s a beautiful Whitney, from a well-written post at the Smith & Wesson Forum:

WHITNEY_WOLVERINE_BOX-SMALL

While the Zebra toy was made in uncounted millions, and clones remain in production today, the Whitney started production in 1956 — 60 years ago today! — and it was all over by 1959 with exactly 13,371 pistols made. A few were made in nickel finish with white grips, and they’re really striking:

wolverine nickel

WOLVERINE-GUNS-3-19582Whether it was the space age, futuristic styling — retro-futuristic now that we’re living in the future designer Robert Hillberg, who came from aerospace (naturally), imagined — or whether it was that it was more expensive than another elegant .22 made by a start-up, the Ruger Mark I, the bold Whitney flopped with the same guys who bought Plymouths with gigantic tail fins and push-button transmissions, and Fords with plastic bubble tops. Or it could have been the marketing and legal It might be an interesting case study for a forensic or historical MBA.

The gun itself had a decent reputation as a fun-to-shoot .22, slightly picky about ammo.

Recently, Olympic Arms produced a clone with a plastic frame. It, too, tends to like premium high-velocity ammo, and jams on el cheapo Aguila (doesn’t everything?) Reportedly, many of the Olympic parts can be refitted to repair old Whitneys.

Here’s pictures of the two, from that same forum thread:

Wolverine and OlympicOlympic Wolverine Clone

While Ruger used several techniques, including steel investment casting and build-up of parts from laminated steel sheets joined with rivets, Whitney’s gun was primarily made of steel and aluminum investment castings. As you can see in the slightly-open Olympic clone above, the breech block traveled within the frame, like the Ruger (or a Nambu, Glisenti, and many other designs down through the years).

Disassembly and reassembly of the Whitney is a challenge — it’s ridiculously easy to take to pieces, many of which come out under spring pressure and, in accordance with Murphy’s description of the universe’s fundamental physical laws, are either transformed into energy or strategically position themselves in the most inaccessible niche beneath or behind furniture or machinery. Having, once the round-up of the itinerant parts is complete, a pile of pistol parts, reverting them to a functional pistol is a degree more difficult. But no special tools are required.

One elegant feature of Whitney design is seen in the magazine. Whereas most .22 pistol mags have a button for retracting the magazine follower to ease loading, the Whitney has a hole.  It’s a perfect fit for a .22 round or casing. There’s your button!

What occasioned this post? We were working on something else, but a Redditor, rocketboy2319 (how appropriate!) posted that he’d scored this Whitney, and posted it to Imgur:

Wolverine genty used R

It’s a non-Wolverine “post trademark dispute model” — Hillberg agreed to drop the Wolverine name when Lyman pointed out that had a trademark. (He’d chosen the name because he was a Michigan fan, and you might see a little U of M symbolism in the factory box).

In the Reddit thread he notes:

It truly is [sexy]. When they pulled it out at the FFL where I had it transferred, everyone came over to check it out. Most of the guys there has only seen pictures of them. I really want one of the nickel-plated ones they made, but I’m not willing to pay $2000+ right now. Out the door with shipping from the original dealer and transfer fees this came out to $385.

Wolverine genty used

And a commenter has this helpful tip:

If you ever order magazines from Olympic, let them know that they are for a vintage Wolverine, not one of their new ones. Apparently, there is some special tweaking that they do for vintage Whitneys. The one I bought from them works like a champ.

There’s some handling wear on the alloy frame/envelope of the gun, and it shows just how well it holds up (compared to the corrosion and pitting often evident on average steel firearms of similar vintage).

(Note: With Revenge of Small Dog going on here, posting may be slow for a day or two. As the posting of today’s six AM post almost at noon ought to tell you. We’ll keep dispensing the gun crack, it’s just going to take us longer –Ed). 

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Soviet Armorer

We won’t go deep into the weeds on what you can find here. Notes of a Soviet Armorer is an occasionally-updated (last in March) detailed review of aspects of historical Soviet weapons, especially the weapons of the Great Patriotic War. He takes information from Soviet-era archival sources, and Russian-language firearms forums, and posts rare but in-depth examinations of Soviet small arms questions.

SVT sniper

We could go into greater depth, but we’ll just refer you to his post on Tokarev SVT sniper rifles, which includes serial number lists and production counts. Most “SVT snipers” in the USA or here in the West in general are fakes and forgeries, so it’s worthwhile to see what Russian sources say about these rare firearms. (The rifle and scope are relatively common. The mount? Vast majority out there are fake). He also has a post with entire photo galleries of real period photos of snipers armed with these elegant sniper rifles.

If that’s not enough for you, here’s a comprehensive examination of Soviet-era ammo pouches as used with the SVT and Mosin-Nagant rifles.

Good stuff. If you collect Russian stuff, maybe priceless.

Usage: Open Carry Saves Her Life

Frank Taylor_mugshotMeet Frank Taylor. Don’t get too attached to him, because he’s a crumb, a violent criminal, and he’s already dead, dead, dead — where he can’t hurt anybody any more. Maybe he was a lovely guy 99% of the time, or maybe he was always prone to the kind of dyscivic activity that characterized the last hours of his life. We don’t know, although the fact that he already had a scowling mugshot on file is what intelligence officers call “an indicator.”

Moms Demand Action records his demise as a “gun death.” And it was, but not quite the way they mean.

As it happens, he took his chances on robbing a woman a fraction of his size (4’11″/85 lbs, aka 1.5m/39 Kg), and the gamble came up snake eyes for him, as he coughed out his last blood on an operating table soon thereafter. (We can just feel the groundswell of sympathy for the guy, all the way from Arizona).

Now, we’re not big fans of open carry, here. Why advertise? In summer months, when our service pistol would be hard to conceal in shorts and t-shirt, we downsize. (First Rule of Gunfights: Bring a Gun). But some people, like Carolann Miracle of Glendale, AZ, are built so lean that even a Baby Browning is going to print. You might as well carry the horse pistol, exposed, then.

A news channel tells part of the story:

The suspect, Frank Taylor , tried to bum a cigarette. She told him that she didn’t have one, and then seconds later, Miracle said, she could feel the barrel of the gun against her skin.

“He put the gun up to my neck and said, ‘It’s loaded, don’t move,’” Miracle said. ”I think he thought, ‘She’s a little girl. Maybe she doesn’t know how to use her weapon.’”

Miracle said, “I dropped my soda, released my gun from my holster and cocked it. I shot him and ran in the opposite direction.

She called the cops from home; meanwhile, others responded to the scene, where they called paramedics who transported Taylor to the ER, where attempts to save him — why? Not because he was worth saving, but out of sheer force of habit; it’s what they do — were unavailing.

“Every time you hear a peaceable carrier’s gunshot, a devil gets his bat wings.” Now Frank Taylor hangs, upside down, alongside his brethren in the Surprised Scumbag Hall of Infamy.

Carolann Miracle. From Dean's screen cap of a TV interview.

Carolann Miracle. (Note her Glock). From Dean’s screen cap of a TV interview.

Dean Weingarten has done some work on this story, and reached some conclusions we generally agree with:

Carolann’s father was a Marine.  He taught her well. …

Carolann did many things right.  The first was to instantly recognize the threat.  Many become mired in the thought that “this cannot be happening”; “this is not real”.  People who carry are much less likely to do that because they have considered the possibility of attack and prepared for it.

She did the right thing when she dropped her drink.  Dropping things to access your weapon or to fight better is not an instinctive reaction.  Many people instinctively hang on to useless things that impede their ability to fight.  I taught my students to practice dropping things at the beginning of a fight so that they could draw their firearm, and fight more effectively.

She did the right thing when she fled the area in the opposite direction from the way the attacker was going.  Many attacks, perhaps 50%, involve an accomplice.  She purposefully made the decision, moved to safety, then called the police.

Carolann’s response is common.  She did not want to kill her attacker. It was a consequence of what he forced her to do.  She would have preferred that it never happened.

Indeed, if Frank Taylor decided to get a job framing houses or working in a car wash, he’d be ahead, not dead, and poor Ms. Miracle wouldn’t have his soul, blackened and crabbed though it may have been, on her conscience.

But he didn’t. He decided he wanted to be an urban predator — the U-Boat of the modern urban environment. If Carolann hadn’t gone home to her three-year-old, if it’d been her vapor-locking on that operating table, that probably wouldn’t have troubled Taylor’s atrophied conscience at all. But she wasn’t the complacent victim he expected. The only problem with the lesson he learned from running into a Q-Ship is that his ability to pass the message on is somewhat curtailed.

Dean has a lot more; go Read The Whole Thing™. (His whole site is excellent).

 

Why Were Little Cartridges Ever Good Enough?

Colt 1908. The kinship to the FN 1906 is obvious. Image: Adams Guns via wikipedia.

Colt 1908. The kinship to the FN 1906 is obvious (Both are Browning designs). Image: Adams Guns via wikipedia.

Today the defensive caliber argument seems to have devolved into two warring camps: those who like a small .380 or 9mm, and those who sniff at anything whose Imperial measurement does not begin at .4. So the older pocket pistols of the 20th Century, and even the police revolvers and some military pistols of the early 20th, seem inexplicable to a modern shooter.

Sure, they’re small, but so is a Seecamp .380 or a Micro Desert Eagle (both of which, completely off topic, have Czech antecedents. We’ll get back on topic, now). And the standing joke, which we believe may have originated with .45 aficionado and 10mm impresario Jeff Cooper, is, “Never shoot a man with a .32. It might make him angry, and then he’ll want to fight.”

Millions of .32s like this Iver Johnson were sold in the 20th Century. Why?

Millions of .32s like this Iver Johnson were sold in the 20th Century, mostly for defense. Why?

Yet, who ever thought it was okay for cops to walk the mean streets of New York and Chicago with a .32 Police Positive, Official Police, or M&P? Why did European cops cling to the .32 ACP well into the 1980s? Why did the Wehrmacht, of all things, reopen a conscientious objector’s closed factory so that his product, a tiny .25, could be produced — 117,000 of them — for sale to German officials?

More generally, why were micro .25s and compact .32s made and sold in the tens of millions worldwide?

First, the small size of these firearms (and their ammunition) is not just a disadvantage. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it is a boon: you carry a gun a lot more than you shoot it. In this nation of 330 million citizens and probably 3 million legitimately armed law officers and everyday concealed carriers, there are almost certainly under 300 police officers and Federal Agents who have fired their guns at suspects in more than one situation. (There wouldn’t be that many, if not for the emergence of tactical teams). The civilian who’s been involved in two defensive shootings is rare enough that we can’t think of an example — maybe you can.

Second, a small gun encourages carry. A gun that’s small and light inclines you to include it in your pocket litter or slip its holster onto your belt or waistband. Remember the first rule of gunfights: bring a gun. A small gun is, ceteris paribus, more likely to “get brung” than a big hogleg.

Third, for ex officio gun carriers, if not constrained by regulations, any gun will do. That’s why the Germans wanted all those .25s and .32s. Most cops were never going to shoot anybody, but the pistol in its flap holster was a mark of authority, like the badge. While that’s true for the National Railway Police riding the trains under Hitler, it’s also true for the large amount of American and worldwide cops who have a house-mouse assignment or are promoted to management rank.

Likewise, an officer of the vaunted German General Staff was supposed to have a pistol, but he had no serious plans to go down guns blazing like a Karl May hero, in front of a Red Army assault. The gun was a badge of office. It’s possible more officers killed themselves with their small pistols than killed a Russian, Brit or American enemy.

Fourth, there was historical precedent for small guns. As far back as a before the Civil War, Colt made its revolvers available in small and large caliber (.36 and .45). Others made .32s at this time. When Colt came out with its cartridge .32 in the 1890s, it had actually made a small, spur-trigger .22 some 20 years before that. Some people wanted a big gun, some wanted to trade off that gun’s advantages for the advantages of a small gun, and the market responded.

Fifth, the small guns were thought adequate at the time. The advent of the much more powerful smokeless powders in the late 19th Century made it possible to pack more power into a smaller gun. The NYPD did not adopt the Colt .32 at the behest of some berk ignorant of guns: Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, a lifelong gun enthusiast, drove the 1896 adoption of the New Police, a longer-barreled and square-butt version of the 1893 New Pocket revolver chambered for the .32 Colt. (Later, an improved version became the .32 Police Positive, chambered for the slightly less awful .32 S&W Long, which Colt called “.32 Police” because they wouldn’t say the two initials of their despised competitor upriver).

Colt New Pocket 32Why was a .32 adequate in 1896 but not by 1996? Certainly there have been many improvements in firearms since those beautiful little Colts left Hartford 120 years ago. Some of it may just be that more powerful handguns are available.

But another possibility is that human beings have changed. Anyone who has observed collections, for instance, of WWII uniforms notes that, compared to modern soldiers, midcentury guys were small. They were shorter and much leaner. Statistics bear this out.

The Union Army in the Civil War:

The average height of the Federal soldier was put at 5 feet, 8¼ inches.  …  Incomplete records indicate the average weight was 143¼ pounds.

That’s definitely a lot leaner (and a little shorter) than today’s median GI.

And here’s a table showing the gradual but real growth of the American soldier to 1984. (The Civil War numbers here are better supported than those in the link above). We submit that this growth has accelerated since (and note the small of the 1984 study suggests it may produce a less reliable mean than the earlier ones). Also, the Civil War measurements were taken clothed, WWI and up naked, so the differences were probably greater. Source.

Table 3-1Comparison of Some Anthropometric Characteristics of Male Soldiers in 1864, 1919, 1946, and 1984
Year of Study (n)*
Anthropometric Characteristic 1864 (23,624) 1919 (99,449) 1946 (85,000) 1984 (869)
Height (inches) 67.2 67.7 68.4 68.6
Weight (pounds) 141.4 144.9 154.8 166.8
Age (years) 25.7 24.9 24.3 26.3
Neck girth (inches) 13.6 14.2 14.5 14.5
Chest girth (inches) 34.5 34.9 36.4† 35.5
Waist girth (inches) 31.5 31.4‡ 31.3‡ 32.7
Estimated body fat (percent) 16.9 15.7 14.4 17.3
Fat-free mass (pounds) 117 122 133 138

Source: Table 3-1 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235960/

As you see, not only the overall mass of the soldier had increased by over 25 lbs, but also, over 20 of that was fat-free mass — presumably, stronger bones and thicker muscle. A 15% or more increase in musculature on the average young man makes him harder to stop and to kill, once again all other things being equal. Scientists ascribe this in part to improved nutrition as civilization’s benefits came to include refrigeration, rail transport and industrial-scale farming.

The people police may engage with, criminals, are also likely to be obese, unlike soldiers.

In Conclusion

In the last 120 years, more powerful cartridges (and more of them) have been a trend in pistols. We identify several possible reasons for this trend. But when you break it down, they basically fall into two categories:

  1. More powerful pistols are possible now, given technology’s advances in powder chemistry, metallurgy, etc.
  2. More powerful pistols are necessary now, given the increased robustness of the mean and median human target.

In addition, there’s a third factor that may outweigh these two practicalities: fashion. We won’t raise it with reference to the present time — we’ll just point out that Roosevelt’s adoption of the .32 New Police for his New York coppers in 1896 set off a preference cascade that led many big cities to .32 Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers within 10-20 years.

No sooner had the .32s graced police holsters than clamor for more powerful cartridges would set in. This led to a step up to .38, until S&W were finally convinced they had put the police firepower issue to rest for all time with the new .38 S&W Special cartridge.

But that’s another story.

A Little More Owen Info

Here’s a 1942 British Pathé Newsreel clip on the Owen Machine Carbine in testing:

And if you need more information, a thorough Owen source document was distributed to libraries (we think, in Australia) but the post of its contents at Machine Gun Boards stands as an excellent bibliography and list of what we suppose ought to be called Owenalia.

http://www.machinegunboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=12765

Roland might have been a warrior from the land of the midnight sun who carried a Thompson into musical memory, but the Owen gave its name to one of the most interesting fictional characters of the new century. For that alone, we’s love the beast, but it has a lot of other qualities that inspire affection, too.

Here’s a Guy’s UZI SBR Build in Progress

An Uzi build is one of the easier ones you can do, thanks to the gun’s simplicity. This builder lucked into a bag-o-parts containing an already-modified semi-auto bolt and striker assembly. He chose to build a carbine and then submit for registration as a Short Barreled Rifle. He described his build on Imgur and in Reddit.

I found a seller with a Ziploc bag containing an Uzi parts kit with all the semi-auto components (sear, top cover, bolt assembly + buffer) needed for a complete semi-auto build for just $300. After verifying that I’d only need a receiver and barrel to complete it, I couldn’t resist buying it.

bag o uzi parts

He chose to use an already assembled, Title 1 semi receiver from McKay Enterprises ($239). McKay also sells flats, non-FFL bent but not welded receiver shells, long barrels and other Uzi parts. With the supply of parts kits drying up, they may be tapering off this business.

With only a barrel and receiver to add, he was able to quickly build the gun up. An Uzi is a really simple, blowback operated, low-parts-count weapon even with the added complexity of the semi system.

uzi first assembly

It worked right out of the box, a testament to the simplicity of the design and the quality of the McKay receiver. He then finished the in-the-white receiver with Alumahyde, and redid the stock.

Uzi after refinishing

IMI Uzis may have been blued — he says his was — but FN Uzis we’ve handled were semi- or glossy paint over parkerizing.

On the factory Uzi, the wood stock is detachable This is not legal on a 16″ barreled Title 1 Uzi in the USA, because with the stock removed the whole thing is under 26″, making it an unregistered SBR. Therefore, he permanently fashioned the stock. (The semi version can’t be fired without the stock, but the law is the law).

With the alternative folding stock, the carbine with 16″ barrel just breaks 26″ and is Title 1 legal. Here it is with a dummy barrel in it, showing what it’ll look like when his SBR application comes back.

Uzi with folder

The detachable wood stock was used on early Uzis, but by the time of the Six Day War, the folder was more common.

He’s got, assuming he buys a short barrel and doesn’t turn down his 16-incher, about a grand into the firearm. That’s because he got lucky on the parts kit including the semi parts.

A 9mm carbine like this has no real tactical place or purpose any more, but it’s a great range toy, evocative of the submachine gun era. And the Uzi is great for a first build or first-but-AR build. You need no special tools, just the skills to assemble the parts.