Category Archives: Weapons that Made their Mark

SARCO has Bren Gun Kits!

SARCO is celebrating Thanksgiving with some deals, but also has dug back into the warehouse and found some Bren Gun kits. These have not been on the market much lately. The good news is that two of these old torch demils include original barrels:

SARCO Bren Mk.1 kit

SARCO Bren Mk.1 kit. Included mags not shown.

They also include some magazines and accessories, which vary by mark. For example, the Mk. I illustrated above includes five .303 magazines, and an original barrel SARCO calls “good.” On the Mk.3 kit, they rate the included barrel (a Mk. 2 and not the shorter Mk.3) “very good” and include it and five magazines (which are not shown in the kit picture).


Sarco Bren Mk.3 Kit. Included Mk.2 barrel (which does fit) and mags not shown.

The bad news? Those torch-cut receivers are almost certainly not rebuildable, at least, not economically so. If the cuts fall in critical areas of the receiver, or if there’s too much material removed, there are no easy fixes.

And any rewelded receiver must be heat-treated.

Finally, they have a true rarity, although it is barrel-less at the moment: the L4A3 7.62 NATO version. This comes with just one mag, and they’re working on having a new-production barrel which will be offered at additional cost as soon as they are available.

Bren L4A3 kit. Included magazine (1) not shown.

Bren L4A3 kit. Included magazine (1) not shown.

The reweld cautions with the other kits need to be observed here, too. In our judgment, building these guns is possible (if you’re lucky about where the cuts are) but extremely challenging and time-consuming.


For the Man who Has Everything

Or, hey, the woman. We’d like to see Tam put 1,000 rounds through this! (Although, truth be told, it’s demilled). Available for sale on a European armor and armament sales website, along with its 203 mm howitzer counterpart, the 155 mm “Long Tom” gun was the staple US military heavy piece of World War II. The seller has a French name and a French (33) telephone code.

WWII 155 mm Long Tom

Of course, moving this gun between the USA and France is possible — it’s been done before, right? — but you can’t just click the Pelican case shut and check it like a bag.

At the time the M1 gun was developed during and just after the First World War, most world armies maintained both “guns” (which shot a smaller higher-velocity projectile a longer distance at a lower angle) and “howitzers” which shot a larger, lower-velocity projectile a shorter distance at a higher angle. Later, technical improvements in howitzers would render most guns obsolete, and today, howitzers fill both roles.

Both the 155 and 203 were US improvements on foreign guns, a WWI French 155 and the WWI British 8″ howitzer. (In inches, 155 mm is a hair over 6″). The American-designed chassis had a number of improvements, including the hydraulic “equilibrators” which made up for having the gun’s pivot point so afar aft of its center of mass, and the carriage that used eight road wheels and a two-wheeled bogey or limber to support the tow end of the trails and connect to the towing pintle of the tow vehicle. The tow vehicle was either a heavy truck or a “high-speed tractor” that used light-tank running gear.

This period Popular Science article describes and illustrates some of the then-new features of the M1 “Long Tom” 155.

The seller, Jean Petit (whose name is the French opposite of Long Tom, we note) describes it like this:

Very rare and impressive piece of history, deactivated main gun, weight 14 tons, towed by High Speed tractor or 7 ton truck, Price on application, this historic artillery is properly deactivated. Also available one each deactivated heavy howitzer 203 mm version, WW2 manufactured, probably the only one’s available in this good original condition.

M Petit has a large number of other historic pieces and vehicles for sale. The European site has an extensive set of interesting classifieds.

Hat tip, Miguel at GunFreeZone.

Two Dead in Tank Destroyer Explosion in Oregon

tank_destroyer_explosion_bend_orHere’s a real puzzle. It looks like a mishap during an armored vehicle live fire has killed two people inside the fighting compartment of the vehicle. The vehicle was on a public firing range. Those slain have not been identified. Local TV:

Two people were killed Tuesday afternoon by an explosion inside a World War II-era tank at a public firing range 24 miles east of Bend, Deschutes County sheriff deputies said.

Deputies, Oregon State Police and Bend Fire Department medics responded shortly after 3 p.m. to the reported explosion, off U.S. Highway 20 East near milepost 24, said sheriff’s Sgt. Nathan Garibay.

via Two killed by explosion in WWII-era tank east of Bend | News – Home.

tank_destroyer_close-up_bend_orThe vehicle appears in this picture (see blow-up above), from its sloped armor and large road wheels, to be an M18 Hellcat tank destroyer. The road wheels look too large to be an M10 or M36. Technically, it was the M18 Gun Motor Carriage, but it was assigned to Tank Destroyer units and everybody called it a Tank Destroyer. It had a high-velocity 76 mm gun and very little armor. With a similar 975-cubic-inch radial engine as the one in many Sherman variants, it was fast, hard-hitting and had the armored-vehicle equivalent of a glass jaw; in the last years of the war, the 2500 or so M18s built fought in both major theaters of the war.

This picture of this next M18 was taken during a live fire in 2010 and may be a photo of the mishap vehicle. The vehicle in the photo is based in the West, but there are a number of M18s in private hands, at least one of which is known to be in Oregon.

M18 Hellcat Winter 2010 148 regrets the loss of life and continues to develop the story.


Five Rare Colt MGs on GunBroker — From One Seller!

Here’s some good Class 3 stuff from a single dealer on GunBroker. It feels like a single collection of Colt weapons being liquidated, but in any event five of the six firearms he’s offering are rare Colt machine guns. (The sixth is an ordinary Sig M400 AR).

In chronological order, they are:

Colt BAR R75A Machine Gun RARE

Here;s what the vendor says about it:

Up for bids is something you don’t see everyday. A Colt BAR R75A. Next to the Colt Monitor, it does not get more rare when it comes to BARs. This one was made with a quick change barrel, and pistol grip. It appears to be unfired! I can not guarantee that, but it is in excellent condition – especially for its age.


This weapon is in my inventory, on a form 3 ready for a fast transfer to your dealer. Can be transferred on a form 4 if purchased within PA. Will ship with one twenty round magazine. The last R75A that went up for sale 8 years ago sold for $85,000. I am starting this auction 20K below that.

We;d observe that, rare as it is, it is less in demand than a GI style BAR. It, and the FN MOdel D, are probably the best BARs for someone into the “shooting of” rather than the “history.” Of course, if this thing really is unfired, it probably won’t be shot by its new owner.

H&R M16A1 US Property Marked Machine Gun

The Pennsylvania dealer selling these weapons has a “rare” M16A1 variant — only a couple hundred thousand were made! But two other things make this A1 rare — its minty condition, and its availability as a transferable MG.

H&R M16A1

There were some 246,000 rifles made by H&R under the contract.  The serial numbers ran from 2,000,000 to 2,246,000 (approximately). Serial numbers through 2,999,999 were reserved for H&R but never used. This shows this rifle (2,244,611) to be one of the very last H&R military firearms. The numbers  Relatively few made it from GI status (as this one was, with its PROPERTY OF US GOVT rollmark) through the po-po to the NFA Registry before the 1986 cut-off on new machine guns. Here’s what the dealer says.

Up for bids is a new, unfired Harrington & Richardson M16A1. The H&R M16A1s are one of the rarer variants, and do not pop up often. Has the “Property of US” roll mark. Still has the plastic red cap on barrel. Will ship with the original twenty round magazine. Gun is in excellent condition.

The pictures (many more at the link) show that he’s not exaggerating the condition. The gun is as new in all respects, including complete lack of the usual military acceptance stamp in paint, or any indicia of an arsenal rebuild. It seems to have gone right from the Worcester, Mass. factory, to a GI warehouse, to someplace whence it could get on to the registry, without passing through the usual GI abuse.

It  was made during the single batch of contract M16A1s made by H&R during 1968-70 and appears in all respects to be a “time capsule.” Note the mix of solid and dimpled takedown pins.  It’s invisible in this picture, but in one of the others you can just make out that the upper receiver has casting flash on the front and rear outside surfaces of the carrying handle, something that is absent from Colt-made firearms.

Colt AR15 Model 639 Machine Gun New

This is a type that also exists in very small numbers on the transferable market. It is the commercial market version of the XM177E2 Submachine Gun, the most successful first-generation Colt “carbine,” and the direct forerunner of the M4 series.


The vendor says this about it:

Up for bids is a rare Colt Model 639 Machine gun with registered matching flash enhancer/suppressor. This gun is in new, unfired excellent condition. These guns don’t pop up often, especially in this condition. Would make an outstanding investment.

Colt M231 Port Firing Machine Gun NIB US Property 

This transferable rarity has not much practical use — as the later, more common, version of the M231, it’s completely without any stock (it was meant to lock into swivels in a Bradley) or sights (it’s aimed with tracers, like a fire hose). It has a fire-hose rate of fire, too.


The vendor says this about it:

Up for bids today is a rare find. A brand new Colt M231 Port Firing Gun with US Property roll mark and government inspectors mark. M231s are one of the rarest variants in the M16 platform on the NFA registry. Fires from an open bolt at around 1100 RPM! Has threads in the forearm to screw into a firing port on the side of the Bradley Assault Vehicle. This is a transferable machine gun, and a great investment. It has had one owner since it left the Colt factory. … Will ship in the original box, and a thirty round magazine.

This next picture shows a US Army acceptance stamp, missing from the M16A1 above but present on this M231. It is the white paint marking on the front of the magwell.

M231 04

For plinking, an 1100-rpm open-bolt subgun with no sights has its joys, but the earlier wire-stocked version is a little more practical (or a little less impractical, maybe). Of course, a gun like this is more likely to be kept in its unfired condition by a doting collector than taken to the range to burn off your excess Wolf 55-grain.

The M231 is a unique American combat weapon,  a true oddity that has even been phased out, almost, of mech-infantry service (most of the firing ports have been removed from the vehicles to accommodate other improvements).

Colt RO633 DOE Sub Machine Gun SMG RARE

This is another one that is extremely rare, at least, in a fully-transferable state. It’s a special ultra-compact Colt 9mm SMG made to compete with the MP5K for the affections of the tactical teams guarding sensitive nuclear site. The R0633 won out, no surprise if you’ve shot the K a lot, but was never produced in large numbers.

Colt R0633 DEA 9mm SMG

Up for bids is something you don’t see everyday. This is a factory Colt DOE 9mm RO633 sub machine gun. As you know, the RO635 is the full size SMG. There are only a few hundred transferable examples of these on the NFA registry. There are less then 6 transferable DOE RO633 examples. This is truly a rare gun, that you may never see again. Will ship with one Colt 30 round magazine and factory box.Pr maube an unfired MG is really worth 150% of what a fired example goes for?

Most of these would be a fine stand-alone centerpiece to a Colt or US martial or LE arms collection.

None of the guns (not even the M400) has drawn a bid. In our opinion, the seller has placed the opening bids too high for the market.

And for people who wonder about past GunBroker exotics posted here, that one guy is still flogging his Johnson. People must be clinging to their cash reserves in an election year.

Walther, Before Double Action (long)

10x10_Walther-Logo_V01For most collectors, especially Americans, the concept of “Walther” begins with the innovative double-action PP (Polizei Pistole) of 1929, and then leads on through the PPK, the Olympia-Pistole of 1936, the Heeres Pistole that became the P.38, and the Walther semi-auto G41 and G43 to the modern Walther service and target firearms (and air guns, a post-WWII development). In fact, the company itself had been producing fine firearms for over 40 years before that PP revolutionized pocket pistols forever, and it had forebears that went back still further into German history.

Walther before Walther

The history of the Carl Walther company and its firearms begins, naturally enough, with Carl Walther in the 19th Century; but according to family lore, they descend from Mathias Conrad Pistor who was born in 1691 in Offenbach in the state of Hesse, and rose to be Oberzeugmeister (a wonderfully German word which means literally “Superior master of things,” but idiomatically Chief of Arsenal or Ordnance) of Hesse (whose arsenal was in Kassel). He worked in Bettenhausen  (1732-43) and established a shop known to 20th Century Walthers alliteratively as “Pistor’s Pistol Plant” in Schmalkalden, Thuringia in 1744. Pistor himself passed away in 1761, but his plant was still producing pistols in 1780, as 12 September 1780 correspondence by Goethe notes a visit in the company of the Duke of Weimar, Carl August. (The letter, alas, seems to have noted only the bare fact of the visit, so we’ll never have a description of the then high-tech plant from the greatest writer in the German language).

The location of Schmalkalden plant was ideal; there was plentiful water power and a nearby iron works that was producing hundreds of tons of iron per annum by the mid-18th Century. This was right in Thuringia’s Gun Valley. It is about 12 miles northwest of Suhl; Zella-Mehlis, which looms so large in Walther lore, is barely two miles northwest of Suhl. According to Moller, Count Carl of Hesse had established a musket factory at Schmalkalden in 1687, even before Pistor was born; this plant was idled in 1720 until Pistor re-opened it in 1745. It is unclear whether Pistor opened the plant as a private enterprise

Some Pistor pistols survive. In 1998, Christie’s notes the sale of a pair of flintlock Pistors that were possibly (but not provably) presented by Frederick the Great to Major-General Baron Christoph Hermann von Manstein, Fred the G’s adjutant and, yes, of the same Manstein clan that we watched go down to defeat before Stalingrad in The Hot Snow. The beauty of history: it all ties together. Here’s an excerpt from the listing:

A fine pair of 28-bore German silver-mounted flintlock holster pistols by Matthias Conrad Pistor of Kassel, Bettenhausen, and Schmalkalden, circa 1745.

With swamped two-stage rifled barrels inscribed ‘Lazaro Lazarino’, the breeches octagonal then polygonal and chiselled in low relief with a mask and designs of running flowers and foliage all on a punched and gilt ground, and struck with copper-lined maker’s mark (Neue Støckel 5571), silver fore-sights, engraved tangs each incorporating a silver back-sight, plain bevelled locks, lightly carved moulded figured walnut full stocks, foliate engraved shaped silver mounts, silver escutcheons each with a coat-of-arms surmounted by a ducal coronet, baluster ramrod-pipes, set triggers, horn fore-end caps, and original horn-tipped ramrods.
17½in. (44.5cm.)
The arms are those of Manstein. According to the Parke-Bernet catalogue the original owner was probably Baron Christoph Hermann von Manstein (1711-1757), who rose to be Major-General in the Prussian service and Adjutant-General to Frederick the Great, who may have presented the pistols to him.

Unfortunately, the online reproduction of the 1998 catalog listing (.pdf; will attempt to print, which you must cancel) does not include a photograph. The pistols sold for £9,200 in 1998, which was equivalent to about $15,000 at the time. A sum of $15k in 1998 is equivalent to about $22k in 2015 purchasing power,

It’s interesting to see those pistols being auctioned in 1944 by a US officer. In 1945, American GIs would occupy the Walther factory in Zella-Mehlis and loot both the production lines and Carl and Fritz Walther’s carefully assembled museum of prototypes and historical arms. Our first thought on seeing a wartime date was “looted from the museum!” but unless Lt. Col. James W. Flanagan was a time traveler, he couldn’t have sold a 1945 pick-up in April, 1944. We’d have to read the listing from the Parke-Bernet Galleries auction in 1944 to be sure.

Pistor’s sons maintained and improved the plant, and products are generally marked with the boss’s initials, first T.W. Pistor (Thomas William, 1761-1787) and B & E.W. Pistor (Bernhard and Engelhard William), from 1787 to an unknown date. According to Moller (again) and Stutzenberger, Pistor was the principal producer of muskets and of Jäger type rifles for the Hessian forces supporting George III in the American War of Independence; Moller has some production numbers from 1750-63.

Hesse-Cassel Rifle by TW Pistor, sometime between 1761 and 1787. From Bailey via Stutzenberger.

Hesse-Cassel Rifle by TW Pistor, sometime between 1761 and 1787. From Bailey via Stutzenberger.

Despite the fact that the United States forces captured thousands of these rifles and muskets and still had hundreds in inventory as of 1797, very few of these Pistor muskets and rifles survive, a mere handful. There are more in the USA than in Germany or Britain, but the worldwide total is probably barely in double digits. An unadorned Hessian rifle or musket by Pistor, therefore, especially one with Revolutionary War provenance, might sell for more than the presentation pistol set described above.

Sometime about 1800, readily accessible Pistor records peter out.

Walther before World War I

The first Walther firm, the one that operated until 1945, was founded in 1886 by Carl Walther in Zella-Mehlis, a small industrial city just outside of Suhl in Thuringia. Like Suhl, Zella-Mehlis had long been a center of weapons production, going back to the days before firearms, when such items as pikes, halberds, swords and armor were made here. Zella-Mehlis was originally two separate communities, Zella St. Blasii and Mehlis; the Walther factory was in Zella St. Blasii until the 1919 merger, and very early Walthers, like many of the pocket pistols we are about to describe, may be marked “Carl Walther Zella St. Blasii” or “Zella St. Bl.” (A firearm marked “Zella-Mehlis” is definitely post-WWI production). The church dedicated to Saint Blaise that gave the town its name still stands; weapons production, however, ended in 1945 when brief US occupation looted the inventory and museum for souvenirs, and more longstanding Soviet occupation looted the machinery and transported it to points unknown.

Despite his own Pistor provenance, Carl Walther did not try to compete with big manufacturers for military contracts. Instead, he focused on producing sporting long-arms. Walther soon had a name for making accurate target rifles. Rifle technology was undergoing a revolution at the time, with metallic cartridges replacing muzzle-loaders and the first smokeless powders coming to market.

When rifle demand was slow, a parallel line produced another modern, Steam Age wonder — mechanical adding machines. Carl’s sons came up in one side of the business or the other.

The Walther Pistols 1908-1929, By the Numbers

It was Carl’s eldest son Fritz, who had grown up in the firearms side of the business and pursued an engineering education, that first steered the company into pistol design and production. Everywhere, the FN Browning Model 1906 pocket pistol was selling at a staggering rate — perhaps half a million of them sold to middle- and upper-class Germans, and it seemed like every gentleman and lady had one in vest pocket or purse. German makers like Mauser and Walther didn’t see why all those Reichsmarks should be going down the river to Liège, and rushed competitive models into production.

The first Walther Pistol, the Model 1, entered production in 19081, in the Browning’s 6.35mm (.25 ACP) caliber.

walther model 1 and model 8

The first and the next-to-last of the pre-PP Walthers (they were a lot in a 2010 Rock Island auction). Left, the awkward Model 1, this one a 3rd Variant produced in 1914; right, the sleek (but large for 6.35/.25 ACP) Model 8. The Model 8 incorporated not one, but six new patents, including the hinged-guard takedown method that would be used in the PP.

Walther’s bread and butter had been high-tech, high-quality long guns, and at the time of the introduction of the Model 1, their flagship was a toggle-locking semiautomatic shotgun that was priced at the high end of the market and sold slowly; and their bread-and-butter products were rimfire rifles, including the KKJ (kleinkaliber Jagdrepetier, “small bore hunting repeater”). The KKJ and semi shotgun are avidly sought by Walther collectors, because the Model 1 started the company in a new direction. Walther didn’t call it the Model 1, except in retrospect; it was just the Walther “German Self-Loading Pistol, Caliber 6.35,” until the improved Model 2 came out in 1914.

The Model 1 had some unique features, and some common ones. It was striker fired with a striker system very like Browning’s as used in the Baby Browning, the 1900, and other early hammerless Browning pistols; the magazine closely resembled Browning’s; the recoil spring is under the barrel, as in some Browning designs, like the 1908 Colt .25. But the oddball slide was open-topped and -fronted; what looks like the barrel is actually a barrel sleeve, whose purpose is unclear; the trigger bar comes up diagonally under the left grip, rather than straight back as in many other designs. The takedown catch is located in the trigger guard bow at the front, which Smith suggests was copied from an earlier Steyr pistol. The recoil spring is located under the barrel (like a 1911’s or Glock’s, but much smaller!).

It was a homely pistol. But it worked, and it was popular; and the Quasimodo profile of the Model 1 was not all that unfamiliar to gun buyers, given the similarly hunchbacked FN Browning Model 1900, the pistol that launched the European auto pistol market. And the homeliness was all German. Introduced at about the same time, the Mauser Pocket Pistol 1910 was larger and perhaps a little better made. These two pistols gave Germans a home-grown alternative to the Belgian FN pistols.

The Walther Model 2 was an improved pistol. It had nicer lines, although the trigger-guard hosted disassembly catch was replaced as takedown initiator by a funny-looking knurled cap on the barrel. (This cap is often mistaken by those who do not know the guns as a thread cap for suppressor use. Nope). It features an ingenious loaded-chamber indicator: if the gun was ready to fire, the rear sight came up. If it was not, the sight subsided into the slide, providing a visual and tactile indicator of loaded status. It was introduced in 1913 or 1914, just in time for the outbreak of the war. Model 1s — retroactively numbered now, although the numbers were not marked on them — were assembled into 1915.

Internally, the Model 2 changed to an internal hammer system. From the outside, it looked like any other striker-fired small gun, but it had a hammer, a hammer-blocking safety in the convention left-rear of frame position (safe was up), and a recoil spring that wrapped around the barrel

Model 2s came in two versions — one had the loaded chamber indicator rear sight, and the other dispensed with any sights at all, having just a groove. Model 2 production ceased with the end of the war.

Model 3 was, essentially, an enlarged Model 2 in .32 ACP caliber… 7.65 mm. (7.65 x 17 SR). It was introduced within a couple of years of the Model 1’s debut  and produced up to 1918.

The Model 4 was a still larger pistol, aimed at capturing more military and police sales. It was the first Walther pistol offered in multiple calibers, something that would become standard for the company later. Its production resumed after the war.

Model 5, previously mentioned, was a follow-on for the Model 2. It was intended to be a premium pistol with a finer fit and finish (and a higher price), 6.35 mm only. It co-existed with Model 2 in the marketplace pre-1918. It was not reintroduced after the war. 

Model 6 was a unique pistol — a scaled up Model 4 for the military 9 mm Parabellum cartridge. It was taking the blowback-operated pistol to the extreme, and depended less on its heavy slide (like more recent blowback 9 mm firearms) than on a very stiff recoil spring for operation. In retrospect, Fritz Walther knew he’d taken the simple blowback system too far, and every future 9 mm Walther production or prototype pistol would have a locked breech. Surviving Model 6s are rare and when they turn up draw a premium. This one sold this month at a buy-it-now of $9,500 on GunBroker.

Walther Model 6 ght side

If there’s enough interest, we’ll do a “walk around” of the Model 6 based on that auction.

We believe (but are not certain) that the HP/AP/P.38/P.1 magazine is identical to the Model 6 magazine.

Model 7 was the last wartime Walther. It was an enlarged 6.35 mm pistol of generally the same dimensions as the Model 4 (which is more common in 7.65 mm). Its ejection port reverted to the conventional right-hand side. It had a short run — Buffaloe records the contradictory statements from the references, but they do agree on “short” — and apart from the curious Model 6, may be the most difficult Walther numbered-model pistol for a collector to find today.

After the war, the Model 8 and Model 9 defined the best pistols that Walther had yet made. The Model 8 had a new, closed-front slide that was far more attractive than the knobbly knurled nut (or sleeve, in longer-barreled pistols) at the business end of the Model 2 through 7 pistols. It resembled the nose of the Browning 1910, but instead of the Browning’s removable barrel bushing, offered a patented new way of taking down a pistol. The trigger guard was hinged where it attached to the front grip strap, and pivoted down. A lug on its forward end that retained the slide was now out of the way. With the slide in the right position fore-and-aft, its after end could be lifted out of engagement with the slide rails and slide off, forward.

Owners of later Walther pocket pistols will recognize this, of course, as the disassembly method of the PP and PPK (and the many guns they inspired, such as the Makarov PM). Indeed, apart from the single-action lockwork and enclosed hammer, the Model 8 is clearly a kissing cousin of the PP. Many of Walther’s manufacturing details would carry over from the number pistols to the later named pistols.

The Model 9 was a complete redesign of the vest pocket pistol and was, on its 1920-21 introduction, the most compact 6.35 mm pistol available in Europe. It may have been the impetus for the redesigned 1923 Baby Browning, which has a very close resemblance to it; more likely, Saïve (a Browning protégé whose point of departure was Browning’s 1906) merely responding to the same market demand as Walther. The Model 9 was a striker-fired, open-slide, spring-below-barrel pistol like the Model 1, and in stark contrast to the Models 2-7 which were internal-hammer, closed slide, spring-around-barrel designs.

The model 8 and 9 would remain in production until some time during World War II (here, too, sources disagree, with some suggesting that they were produced up until the Occupation). Whether production ended in 1940 or 1945, it’s clear that these early guns were produced alongside the later double-action firearms.

All of these early Walther pistols had a CW monogram either molded into their hard rubber or plastic grips, or on an enameled medallion on the left side (the right side bore the caliber designation). All but the earliest had a version of the familiar Walther banner trademark. The PP (1929) and subsequent designs would dispense with the monogram, using only the banner. Collectors break down all the higher production models in to “variants” or “variations,” most of which hinge only on differences in roll marks.

Apart from the Model 6, these early handguns are common enough and sufficiently low-priced to put collecting them all within the reach of anyone who really wants to.

Walther’s War (WWI) and Postwar

During the war, 7.65 mm pistols were widely used by military officers outside of the front lines, where a pistol was more an index of authority than something likely to be used to engage actual Tommies or poilus. The smaller 6.35 mm pistols were used by high-ranking and staff officers in tiny little flap holsters, just like a standard Army holster but smaller… this let a man advertise his authority and the fact that he was a gentleman, keeping his hands clean, and above expressing that authority in a brawl with commoners in the trenches. Practically speaking, if your position requires you to carry a gun but it is exceedingly unlikely you will ever use it, it makes sense to minimize the weight tugging on your belt.

The officers of Prussia and most other German Imperial states purchased their own firearms, although frontline officers might well draw Luger pistols from unit stocks and leave their privately-purchased Walthers in a trunk with their dress uniforms and swords, for their batmen to tote around.

Walther sold as many guns as they could make… as is normal always and everywhere, the wartime guns don’t show quite the finish of pre- and post-war Walthers, although there’s nothing wrong with them (Smith’s cautions notwithstanding).

While Walther continued tweaking its models during the war, the one real wartime development was the Model 6. As mentioned above, it was simply a scaled-up Model 4, which made it a large and, frankly, marginal 9 mm pistol.

Under the treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact German was forbidden to produce military arms, and initially the Powers forbade the production of sporting and police arms as well, so the lines were stilled. This was not the catastrophe for Carl Walther GMBH that it might have been, though, because while Carl’s son Fritz had become a firearms designer and engineer, his equally talented other sons had gone into the design and engineering of mechanical adding and calculating machines, and they were in demand both in devastated Germany and worldwide.

Pistols were also in demand, and production of civilian pistols reauthorized in 1919. This allowed Walther to revamp and streamline the production line.

As permission was granted to produce firearms for the police and the Reichswehr, a 100,000-man heavy-weapon-less rump Army permitted to Germany for, primarily, control of unrest, Walther began producing pistols for these markets again.

With the excellent Model 8 and 9 pistols, many designers and manufacturers might have rested on their laurels. And Walther produced hundreds of thousands of these pistols (the exact numbers are not known, due to lost records at the end of World War II. The records and prototypes in the Walther factory museum were also “liberated” by GIs at war’s end). But the company’s greatest triumphs lay ahead — the .22 target pistol that would become the Olympia-Modell, the PP and PPK, and the P.38. But those are all a different story.


  1. That the Model 1 launched in 1908 is Walther official history, but it is far from undisputed fact. Some put the launch in 1910 or even 1911. Walther’s objective with the 1908 claim, now largely irrelevant, may have been to wrest conclusively the claim of German pocket-pistol primacy from rival Mauser, whose pistol premiered in 1910… or 1911.
  2. Any gun a century old should be inspected by a competent gunsmith experienced in similar firearms before being fired with modern, standard-pressure ball ammunition. Yes, people do shoot + pressure hollow points in WWI Walthers, Brownings, etc. We wouldn’t, from the standpoint of the gun’s historical significance and durability. For practical duty use, new and improved guns are available in almost every niche except the vest pocket pistol, where market’s been strangled by European gun laws and an American 1968 import ban, and even there some superior pre-1968 pistols are still circulating — but even those are closing in on the half-century mark.


Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Model 1. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Models 2 and 5. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Model 3. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Model 4. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Model 7 and 8. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Buffaloe, Ed. The Walther Model 9. Unblinking Retrieved from:

Moller, George D. American Military Small Arms, Volume 1: Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2011.

Smith, W.H.B. Mauser, Walther, and Mannlicher Firearms. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1971. (n.b. This is a reprint edition combining three books; it is still in print. The Walther section was first published stand-alone in 1946 and revised circa 1962).

Stutzenberger, Fred. The Jager Rifle: Forerunner of the American Longrifle. NMLRA Muzzle Blasts, April 2014: pp. 4-11. Retrieved from:

CMP 1911 Sales in the NDAA; Threatened Veto; Capped at 10k Firearms

1911a1-4-cThe authorization for the Department of Defense (NDAA FY 2016) includes the statutory language changes needed so that the Army may begin transferring the approximately 100,000 surplus M1911A1 pistols in its warehouses to the Civilian Marksmanship Program for sale to CMP member/customers. However, the bill must be signed by the President to become law, and it has many provisions (including this one) that he finds unpalatable. He has threatened to veto the bill, and it is unlikely that any of his fellow Democrats would help override his veto.

Even if he doesn’t fold before Congress like he’s so pleased to do for Khamenei and Putin, the bill is not the CMP free-for-all that pistoleros have been expecting. It requires CMP to jump through some hoops and add further of the politicians’ favorite buzzword, “background checks.” (CMP already conducts a NICS check on its rifle sales, so it’s unclear what the bill’s provision really does). It gives great authority to the Secretary of Defense, which he may use obstructively, if he desires to kneecap the program. There are reports required. And most vexingly, the program is limited to a pilot program of 10,000 in the first year, and then, if that is successful, 10,000 a year thereafter. The conference committee language is available at, although it’s not entirely clear when the bill, the final form of which was voted on by both houses last week, will make its way to the other end of the Mall for veto or signature. The text of the main part of the relevant section follows, then some brief comments. We’ll intersperse GI 1911 pictures, to prevent the Wall O Legalese from sending you into MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) Mode.


Sec. 1087. Transfer of Surplus Firearms to Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety.

(a) Authorization of Transfer of Surplus Firearms to Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety.–
(1) In general.–Section 40728 of title 36, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(h) Authorized Transfers.–(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may transfer to the corporation, in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this subchapter, surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols and spare parts and related accessories for those pistols that, on the date of the enactment of this subsection, are under the control of the Secretary and are surplus to the requirements of the Department of the Army, and such material as may be recovered by the Secretary pursuant to section 40728A(a) of this title. The Secretary shall determine a reasonable schedule for the transfer of such surplus pistols.

2) The Secretary may not transfer more than 10,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols to the corporation during any year and may only transfer such pistols as long as pistols described in paragraph (1) remain available for transfer.

There probably won't be old 1911s like this. And definitely not this one -- it was Clyde Barrow's.

There probably won’t be old 1911s like this. And definitely not this one — it was Clyde Barrow’s!

This is followed by a section of “technical and conforming amendments” that essentially patch other laws that would otherwise conflict with the policy change imposed by the paragraphs above. Then come the exceptions, limitations and reporting requirements:

(b) Exception.–With respect to firearms other than  caliber .22 rimfire and caliber .30 rifles, the corporation shall obtain a license as a dealer in firearms and abide by all requirements imposed on persons licensed under chapter 44 of title 18, including maintaining acquisition and disposition records, and conducting background checks.”.
(b) Pilot Program.–

(1) One-year authority.–The Secretary of the Army may carry out a one-year pilot program under which the Secretary may transfer to the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety not more than 10,000 firearms described in paragraph (2).
(2) Firearms described.–The firearms described in this paragraph are surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols and spare parts and related accessories for those pistols that, on the date of the enactment of  this section, are under the control of the Secretary  and are surplus to the requirements of the Department of the Army.
(3) Transfer requirements.–Transfers of surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols from the Army to the Corporation under the pilot program shall be made in  accordance with subchapter II of chapter 407 of title 36, United States Code.
(4) Reports to congress.–

The reports are spelled out in the Conference Committee report, but they basically are one three months in and one at the end of the year, send Congress the total firearms transferred, and any of these firearms reported as being used in crimes. (With the guns likely to sell in the low four figures and up, any that make it into criminal intercourse will almost certainly have been stolen, but Congress wants the report).

And one last provision:

(c) Limitation on Transfer of Surplus Caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 Pistols.–The Secretary may not transfer firearms described in subsection (b)(2) under subchapter II of chapter 407 of title 36, United States Code, until the date that is 60 days after the date of the submittal of the final report required under subsection (b)(4)(B).

If we read the statutory reference right (which is always a crapshoot), what this provision does is forbid the Army to transfer any newly recovered foreign aid or lend-lease .45s that are in foreign inventories and sell them, before the final report on the pilot-program year is submitted. It is unlikely that any such transfers would happen in the Obama administration, which has argued with a straight face that $1,000, four-foot-long M1 Garands and $1,500 collector carbines are widely used in crime.


Other Small Arms Provisions

Other Small Arms provisions in the NDAA include a requirement for a Report on the Army and Marine Corps modernization plan for small arms (sec. 162), and a requirement that an independent assessment compare the vulnerability to small arms and light AA of the A-10, which the USAF is anxious to scrap, to its recommended replacements (sec. 142).

Section 142 (e) (1) (b) (i.) (VI) (Some punctuation added for clarity):

An A-10C of the 81st FS with an interesting ordnance mix. Click to embiggen.

Future needs analysis for the current A-10 aircraft mission set, to include: troops-in-contact/close air support, air interdiction, strike control and reconnaissance, and combat search and rescue support in both contested and uncontested battle environments. At a minimum, the needs analysis should specifically address…[t]he capability to enable the pilot and aircraft to survive attacks stemming from small arms, machine guns, man-portable air-defense systems, and lower caliber anti-aircraft artillery organic or attached to enemy ground forces and maneuver units.

A Congressional brush-back pitch on the USAF’s desire to decommission the A-10. They should just transfer ’em to the Army (as if), since outside the A-10 community the leaders’d rather not do CAS anyway (the pilots are a different story… there’s a lot of gung-ho in line squadrons).

Sec. 162. Report On Army And Marine Corps Modernization Plan For Small Arms.

(a) Report Required.–Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Navy shall jointly submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report on the plan of the Army and the Marine Corps to modernize small arms for the Army and the Marine Corps during the 15-year period beginning on the date of such plan, including the mechanisms to be used to promote competition among suppliers of small arms and small arms parts in achieving the plan.

(b) Small Arms.–The small arms covered by the plan under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1) Pistols.
(2) Carbines.
(3) Rifles and automatic rifles.
(4) Light machine guns.
(5) Such other small arms as the Secretaries consider appropriate for purposes of the report required by subsection (a).

(c) Non-standard Small Arms.–In addition to the arms specified in subsection (b), the plan under subsection (a) shall also address non-standard small arms not currently in the small arms inventory of the Army or the Marine Corps.

This provision was originally in the Senate, but not the House, bill. The House yielded to the Senate language. The justification of this seems clear enough. The services seem determined to look like they’re flying by the seat of their pants here, with no forethought, let alone planning. This is a brushback pitch from Congress. Subtext: figure out a plan and show us what it is, or we might strangle the money you’re expecting.

Section 163. Study On Use Of Different Types Of Enhanced 5.56mm Ammunition by The Army And The Marine Corps.


Left: M855A1, 62 grain; Right: Mk 318 OTM/SOST, 62 grain. Image from Rod Rodriguez’s Grunts & Co. blog.

Rather than provide the text of this, just note that it requires the SecDef to appoint one of the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers to evaluate how the Army and Marines came to adopt different 5.56mm ammo, and suggest courses of action.  The full text is available at the link.

In this case, the House had a provision for a report, and the Senate did not. In conference committee, the two houses agreed to a report but required it be done by a nominally independent FFRDC (the committee language mentions the Center for Naval Analyses as an example, but there are others including the RAND Corp, the Institute for Defense Analyses, MITRE, etc., etc.)

On this, one of the best things we’ve seen is Will “Major Rod” Rodriguez’s painstaking explanation of what went into M855A1 (Army) and Mk 318 SOST (Marine/SOF) ammo. The bottom line is both beat M855 green tip for accuracy, barrier-blindness, and terminal effect. We stole Rod’s graphic too… sorry about that.

Someone’s Flogging His Big Johnson

Of course, you can’t have it if you’re in Libya, North Korea, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts because it’s a big assault Johnson, but what it is, is a rare Johnson LMG kit, restored onto a semi Johnson M1941 rifle receiver, producing a legal semi-auto Johnson LMG. And you can have it — if you win the auction.

big Johnson 13

Manufactured on the original Johnson 1941 semi auto receiver , using original US GI LMG parts , semi auto only . Excellent condition , park. military finish ,mint original barrel , beautiful wood furniture. Test fired only. The gun fires , extracts and reloads 100% , very accurate. The gun comes with bipod and 3 magazines. Shipping to an FFL or C&R holder. The gun will be shipped from FFL in PA.

big Johnson 02

via 1941 Johnson LMG light machine gun semi m1941 : Semi Auto Rifles at

There are a number of these around. By “a number,” though, we’re probably talking about a single digit number. The parts kits are rare, and the rifles are valuable enough to collectors that it’s hard to make the case for sacrificing one.

Johnson guns get their collector cachet from their rarity1 and their use in training and combat by elite elements including the Paramarines, the Marine Raiders, the Canadian-American First Special Service Force (all ephemeral, hostilities-only WWII units), the OSS, and Brigada 2506, the Bay of Pigs invaders. The Marines and Cubanos only used the rifles; the FSSF, only the machine guns. Any surviving Johnson has some part of this history.

Because the Johnsons were not standard arms with standard doctrinal spare parts and maintenance support, they were withdrawn and replaced with US standard rifles and auto rifles/LMGs. Carefully packed away, all of them except for probable OSS/CIA stocks were surplused after the war.

We don’t know what it will go for. The current bid in the $8k neighborhood has not met the reserve (the rifles sell for $4k and up). Some comments, and the rest of the photos, after the jump.


  1. 30,000 Johnson M1941 rifles were made, a large percentage of which survive, but only about 3,000 were machine guns according to ATF Form 2s filed by Johnson Automatics. The Johnson M1944 machine gun appears to have been produced only in prototype quantities.

Continue reading

Here Be Pyrates


What sort of weapons did pirates use? No, not Somali pirates. Those guys use the same AK and RPG combination, just like every other modern form of hostis humanae generis. We’re talking about real pirates: the Errol Flynn prototypes of the 16th through 18th Centuries.

Fortunately, Our Traveling Reporter [OTR] recently traveled to St. Augustine, Florida, to have a look at the Pirate Museum there. Let’s join his one-man boarding party, to see what kinds of pirate weapons they might have on display.

A display board at the Museum explains the essentials of pirate armament:

To survive battles in close quarters, pirates had to be walking arsenals. Pistols took time to reload, so most pirates carried more than one. Blackbeard carried six in addition to a cutlass and a dagger.


Pirates carried a wide range of pistols. Do you think they had the equivalent of Glock-vs-1911 arguments between opportunities for plunder?

Six pistols? Were he not as dead as Blackbeard, Jim Cirillo would approve. Should we call that a “New Amsterdam Reload?”

Close quarter battles were common with pirate crews. They were focused on capturing the enemy ship and valuables with us little damage as necessary to the attackers or the prizes.

Actually, sounds like the way a SEAL VBSS is supposed to go down today. Hmmm… maybe their heritage goes back further than just the Beach Clearance Units and UDTs?

Tools of Vessel Boarding, c. 1700 AD.

Tools of Vessel Boarding, c. 1700 AD. By the way, these pictures do embiggen with a click.

The boarding party was well armed with a wide array of weapons including pistols, cutlasses, daggers, and boarding axis. The blunderbuss was a highly coveted weapon for blasting a deadly spray of lead shot, glass, and nails across the deck of the ship for maximum carnage. And when the blunderbuss was out of ammunition, the heavy wooden stock would make a very useful bludgeon.


Then, as now, there was a close combat weapon “sweet spot” between the pistol and the musket. Then, it was filled by the blunderbuss.

The classic pirate sword is the curved cutlass, but earlier pirates might have used straight rapiers.

The classic pirate sword is the curved cutlass, but earlier pirates might have used straight rapiers.

Of course, during the heyday of Caribbean piracy, the blunderbuss was a single-shot flintlock, so it was out of ammunition PDQ. Apparently nobody followed Blackbeard’s custom of the New York — pardon us, New Amsterdam — reload, at least not with blunderbusses; they were probably too heavy to carry more than one. So one shot, and then you were down to pistols or melee weapons — axes, swords, pikes, marlinspikes, belaying pins.

Given the limitations of period firearms, to be an effective pirate you had to be skilled with melee weapons — and strong enough and confident enough to rely on them in battle. Edged weapons are not for everybody.

Then again, with edged weapons, you never need to reload.

Swords were not only weapons, they were also valuable trade goods — whether for honest traders of for pirates who took their cargoes at sword’s point.

booty_and_trade_swordThe sword at left was a trade sword. It was made somewhere in India, most likely, and has interesting engraving including a Zoroastrian-looking sun.

This intricately-forged Indian Khanjarli dagger below might have been a pirate’s booty. It would have seemed to foreign or exotic to find customers in Europe, despite its craftsmanship.


A fanciful meeting between pirates who lived a century apart: Sir Thomas Drake (16th) and Robert Searles (17th C.). Can you find the weapons? Two Spanish rapiers, two Queen Anne flintlock pistols, and a dagger -- along with pieces of eight and a bottle of rum!

A fanciful meeting between pirates who lived a century apart: Sir Thomas Drake (16th) and Robert Searles (17th C.). Can you find the weapons? Two Spanish rapiers, two Queen Anne flintlock pistols, and a dagger — along with pieces of eight and a bottle of rum!

Piracy looks pretty antiseptic in the Errol Flynn (and Hays Code) era. In the real world it probably involved a lot of pain, fear and injury, fighting on blood-slick decks, and ultimately, a grisly and untimely death (probably involving a whole other lot of pain).

So while all the weapons are cool, we’re holding out for the Errol Flynn version.

Thanks to OTR for the pictures and for many more contributions to our education & entertainment over the years.

“Branded — Marked with the No-Go Brand.”

What do you do when you’re branded?1 Well, when you’re a 7 1/2″ Colt 1873 Single-Action Army Revolver and Army inspectors reject you, the word is not “branded,” technically, but “condemned.” And you get pulled from the ranks of all your brothers going to Artillery troopers, and sent back to Colt. And 139 years later, you’re a puzzle and a delight to collectors — a mass-produced firearm with a one-off story to tell.

condemned SAA

No word on whether there is a ceremony with ominous drum rolls2. As a pistol you are fortunate in not having buttons, stripes, badges or accouterments to be lopped off at sword’s point.

Colt’s records show that this pistol wasn’t returned to the Army after rework (it’s possible that to the War Department, this serial number really was “branded”) but instead shipped out in a batch of 50 commercial guns to a New York dealer.

One unique feature of this weathered old draft dodger:condemned SAA notches

It also has an interesting 5 notches cut on the left side of the barrel, and also on the butt of the right grip.


Make of that what you will.

condemned SAA with letterA Colt letter documents the gun’s history, and Jackson Armory, a perennial source of wicked interesting firearms, has it on offer to the “very advanced collector” on GunBroker. With a starting bid of $7,000, it’s a bit (okay, thousands) too advanced for our tastes. But you have to love the way GunBroker makes it possible to click your way to an education on firearms.

Hat tip, a LEO buddy who is a prolific source of really good blogging ideas.


  1. If you’re an American of a certain age, you’ll get the TV show reference.
  2. This drumming-out ceremony from the opening credits of the TV show Branded with Chuck Connors was a real thing, and was still done as late as the late 50s or early 60s, when guys we know saw it done to a miscreant at 10th Special Forces Group at Bad Tölz.

GunLab’s Reverse Engineering

We haven’t been over there ( in a while, and Chuck is always up to something cool. Recently he had something nice to say about us, in a longer post on reverse-engineering; to be explicit, reverse-engineering the MP44 trunnion. But forget what he says about, how cool is it to be making an MP.44 trunnion for (almost) the first time since a T-34 did a pivot turn on the ruins of the factory?

MP44 reverse-engineered trunnions

Here at Gun Lab we do a fair amount of reverse engineering, most of what we like to make have no drawings. However when there are drawings or solid models available we will use them. With this said I have found that most of what is available on the internet or in books is just not correct.

A case in point is the MP-44 trunnion. I have all the drawings that I have been able to find on this part, a number of different sets are out there, and when compared with the actual part have found them to be lacking. Some are just wrong and in some cases I don’t think the person has actually looked at a part.

Now, we have a set of MP.44 drawings here. We’ve actually been meaning to show a few of them to illustrate how MP.44 design features migrated into the AR-10 and thence to all its descendants. They’re terribly reproduced, no longer to scale, but they are dimensioned MP.44 drawings.

Say “Thank you,” class:


Now, you might wonder how it can be possible with apparently original (even if lousy), dimensioned drawings, you can’t just poke the numbers in and try to run the part. There are a number of reasons that you could expect drawings to diverge from shop practice. In the real world, in fact, it’s a constant battle to keep the drawings and the processes both aligned properly on the same part. In the 20th Century this got particularly bad because of engineer/draftsman/master machinist/machine operator job specialization and social stratification. Those could be four different guys whose only workshop interactions were with the adjacent guy in the org chart, and whose contacts were all correct.

There’s no way you produce stuff efficiently without the engineers going out on the shop floor, but some are loath to do that, and some shop staff are loath to have an engineer looking over their shoulders. There’s no way you produce stuff efficiently without a steel-cutter being able to walk back into the engineering spaces with a part and a problem, right to the guy who drew the drawings — but that is forbidden more often than it is allowed! So even in the best, cleanest, and least disrupted shops, lines got crossed, things fell apart, the center did not hold… wait, we got carried away there for a bit. But communications were imperfect, even in a perfect factory.

Then, add into the mix, we’re talking about the Third Reich in 1944-45. If the Germans had perfect factories, the Allies bombed them. Meanwhile, the gaping maw of the Eastern Front demanded endless human sacrifices, and in each successive draft call manufacturers could protect fewer and fewer key workers. The “fix” the government proposed for this was that they would provide labor, but that labor was at best displaced refugees from the ill-fated German settlements in the East, but more commonly slave labor from occupied nations.

Something had to go, and one of the things that went was correcting and updating drawings. Seriously, if you compare surviving German drawings to the M1 drawings, your mental picture of “German efficiency” will never recover. (Well, maybe a little when you realize that two large air forces were gamely trying to reduce German industry to the state of the Germans’ forebears in the Neander valley).

Now back to the MP-44 trunnion. We were contracted a while back with making a limited number of new trunnions for the MP-44. He sent us a very good original one and we had a poor copy of one at the shop. Using these two pieces we started the project of reverse engineering it. The easiest thing to do was look for engineer drawings off the web. These are the ones that I found.

His look like they’re from the same set we’ve got here. He has stripped them of dimensions, perhaps because he’s not working with SI (metric) dimensions, but more likely because the dimensions were not “on” compared to the physical parts he had to measure.

The measurements have been removed from these copies, however you can find them on the internet. I did use the basic drawing as a starting point. The sheets were cleaned and measurements were taken using a cmm, micrometers and pin gauges. Tolerances were set using not only the trunnion but also matching parts. When there was a doubt other parts were located to increase the measurement standards. This allowed us to come up with a reasonable solid model that we felt was accurate enough to start programing.

A CMM is a coordinate measuring machine. Think of it as a sort of 3D scanner that touches off against a part and records that position in 3D space. These can be used to gather a cloud of points, or more efficiently, to capture key dimensions.

The problem with using a CMM against a part you are re-engineering is that you’re working off one part, and you don’t know where in the tolerances that part was. (That’s also our beef with David Findlay’s excellent Firearms Anatomy books — for practical reasons, Findlay worked off a single sample of the firearm).

Given enough parts to measure, you can develop a degree of statistical certainty about where the original measurement was supposed to be. Working with most non-US products, you can also cheat a bit by knowing that engineers like to spec things in fairly round millimetric measures — dimensions that end in X.0 or X.5 millimeters, most of the time.

Anyway, here is the first post on re-engineering the MP.44 trunnion, and here is a follow-up post (in which the model turns out to need some improvement). Meanwhile lots of work improving the shop and working on GunLab’s other projects, such as the VG1-5 limited production run.

Note on an Unpleasant Subject

Technical posts like this and GunLab’s would be banned under a gag order slipped into the Federal Register by the State Department — yes, the very people who negotiated the deal to accelerate the nuclear armament of the hostage-taking terror state of Iran this week. The deadline for comments is 3rd August. As we previously wrote (more background there, at the end of a barrel-heating post):

Comments go here at or by email to: DDTCPublicComments@state.govwith the subject: “ITAR Amendment—Revisions to Definitions; Data Transmission and Storage”. Ceteris paribus, this link should open in your email application with the correct subject header.

Again, there’s more at that previous post on how to comment, but at this time it’s crucial that you comment. A State Department than can censor the Internet is a State Department that has lost touch with America.