Bubba Beautifies a Tokarev

Well, Bubba thought he was beautifying it. How about a two-tone hack paint job — black and candy apple red? Take it from the top:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-4

If you look at the area around the rear sight, you’ll see that the paint job is not only gaudyit’s also lousy and inept. 

Same is evident from the bottom:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-5

And, guess what? We just showed you this abortion’s two best sides. Look at the crappy job around the slide serrations, and the orange peel and bubbles in the paint on the slide:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-3

Two other things about that picture… ask yourself, what’s wrong with that firing pin retaining pin? And where’s the clumsily added safety on all recent Tok imports?

Now, we’ll let you see the whole thing:

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-1

A coyote ugly Bubbafied Tokarev. And yes, he didn’t even use a crappy recent import job for his failed attempt to teach-yourself-cerakote. (Or more likely, “teach yourself Krylon”). He used a pre-68 import and/or GI bringback of a relatively uncommon postwar Tokarev. An all-matching gun, too.

But that’s not even the worst violation of this poor rape-victim of a pistol. Bubba had his way with the slide, too, in his inept attempt to, apparently, change firing pins.

Bubba Tokarev TT33 2-2

He helpfully had TOKAREV TT-33 stamped on it, in case no one could recognize it any more after his close-enough-for-government-work ministrations. You know, where he milled the slide serrations off.

The current owner — who’s trying to sell this junker for $400 — suggests that Bubba might have been trying to get at the firing pin retaining pin. That’s as good an attempt to read Bubba’s mind as we’re likely to get, because that ol’ boy just don’t reason like the rest of us.

What he has done is blow it right past “gunsmith special” into “parts gun” land. It would take a lot of work on that gun to make it good enough to stink, and if Fyodor Tokarev Himself weren’t dead and pushing up whatever they decorate Soviet cemeteries with, this’d kill him.

Maybe we should take this page down, lest Russians who take pride in their achievements in the Great Patriotic War consider it a casus belli. In the meantime, you can always go see it (and the other Tok the guy is selling, a recent import in arsenal-overhauled shape) at this thread in the ARFCOM Equipment Exchange.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Amoebas

In this electron micrograph, n. fowleri looks like an evil, grinning mask. Source: National Geographic

In this electron micrograph, N. fowleri looks like an evil, grinning mask. Source: National Geographic.

It’s just a little thing — a unicellular organism that is often used to teach kids the basics of cell biology. The ameoba, in its various species, has a number of ways of killing Homo sapiens dead, dead, dead, such as dysentery (a bad way to go) and this one, a brain infection that the press describes as the amoebas “eating the brain” — a vivid, if not precise, description of the process this poor kid underwent.  The technical term, which one hopes never to hear in a hospital waiting room, is primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.

An 11-year-old South Carolina girl has died after she became infected by a brain-eating amoeba in a river where she had gone swimming, an undertaker said on Saturday.

The girl, Hannah Collins, of Beaufort, died on Friday night at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said Carla Smith, director-manager of the Anderson Funeral Home in Beaufort, which is handling the funeral.

Hannah is thought to have been exposed to the amoeba on July 24 in Charleston County’s Edisto River, the state health department said this week.

Hannah’s mother, Elizabeth Crockett, wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to her: “I will try to find comfort in the fact I will one day be united with her in her new home, Heaven.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that a South Carolina resident had been exposed to the Naegleria fowleri organism, which is found in warm freshwater and triggers an infection that destroys brain tissue.

The fatality rate for an infected person is more than 97 percent, according to the CDC.

The brain-eating amoeba was blamed for the death in June of an 18-year-old Ohio woman, who became infected after rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

via South Carolina girl dies from brain-eating amoeba | Reuters.

In another recent case, a kid infected with Naegleria fowleri beat the infection and lived, but that’s a very rare outcome. Doctors are cautiously optimistic that a combination of induced coma, antibiotics and cryotherapy (as we understand it, they reduced the survivor’s core temperature to 93ºF — maybe 34ºC) and drugs may save more patients going forward. But the fate that befell poor Miss Collins is the standard prognosis. (Indeed, the survivor’s doctor, told the kid’s family to say their goodbyes before putting him under).

Human life is very fragile. Another of our family members is at death’s door this week, although he has long been ill; but all these things, taken together, remind us to celebrate family and friends when we have them, because there is so much to say when they are gone, and no one to say it too.

May the Collins family find, if not actual peace, a modus vivendi with this heartbreaking loss. And everyone else, take the time to hold someone close.

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.

Infantry Weapons, 498,000 BC: Stone-tipped Spears

OK, this article from The Grauniad is a good three years old. But we seem to have missed it then, so there’s a good chance you missed it then, too. Let’s not miss it now! Here’s why stone-tipped spears were important: the first known spears date from 600,000 years ago, but they were just sharpened sticks. They could have been made by several arguably pre-human, protohuman or early human species, before the emergence of modern Homo sapiens or even our most recent extinct cousin, Homo neanderthalensis. Until recently, all evidence for stone-tipped spears came from the last 300,000 years and were arguably attributable to H. sapiens or to Neanderthals.

Stone-tipped-spears-008

A research dig in South Africa led then-Toronto (now Arizona State) archaeologist Jayne Wilkins to a surprising conclusion: our ancestors were making stone-tipped spears before they were even exactly “human.” First, the importance of the technology:

The invention of stone-tipped spears was a significant point in human evolution, allowing our ancestors to kill animals more efficiently and have more regular access to meat, which they would have needed to feed ever-growing brains. “It’s a more effective strategy which would have allowed early humans to have more regular access to meat and high-quality foods, which is related to increases in brain size, which we do see in the archaeological record of this time,” said Jayne Wilkins, an archaeologist at the University of Toronto who took part in the latest research.

The technique needed to make stone-tipped spears, called hafting, would also have required humans to think and plan ahead: hafting is a multi-step manufacturing process that requires many different materials and skill to put them together in the right way. “It’s telling us they’re able to collect the appropriate raw materials, they’re able to manufacture the right type of stone weapons, they’re able to collect wooden shafts, they’re able to haft the stone tools to the wooden shaft as a composite technology,” said Michael Petraglia, a professor of human evolution and prehistory at the University of Oxford who was not involved in the research. “This is telling us that we’re dealing with an ancestor who is very bright.”

It may not take a genius to make spears, but it probably took a genius to invent one.

Dating the stone tips to 500,000 years ago means that they were used on spears by the last common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, Homo heidelbergensis. The idea that Homo heidelbergensis developed stone-tipped tools made a lot of sense, said Petraglia, because Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, which descended and split from Homo heidelbergensis around 300,000-400,000 years ago, used similar stone-tipped spear weapons.

Petraglia added that there were several other implications to the discovery thatHomo heidelbergensis had used hafting to make spears. Adding stones would not only have given our ancestors an easier way to kill prey, but also to do it from a distance. “There is a big difference between thrusting and throwing,” he said. “You can kill from a distance, maybe 10 to 30 metres away. The previous ancestors did not have that technology, so it means you are now occupying a new ecological niche, you can now take animals down more efficiently.”

Meanwhile, while the archaeologists seem to think only of the spears as hunting weapons, not as warfare tools, they theorize that hunting meat with these spears was not just an effect of rising intelligence, but a cause as well:

He added that the discovery also shed light on the development of modern human cognition. “Hominins – both Homo erectus and earlier humans – were into this meat-eating niche and meat-eating is something that is thought to be very important in terms of fuelling a bigger brain,” said Petraglia. “In terms of our evolutionary history, that’s been going on for millions of years. You have selection for a bigger brain and that’s an expensive tissue and that protein from meat is a very important fuel, essentially. If you become a killing machine, using spears, you’ve come up with a technological solution where you can be reliant on meat-eating constantly. Homo heidelbergensis is known as a big-brained hominid, so having reliable access to meat-eating is important.”

It’s a fascinating article, and deep for a newspaper (and the Grauniad of all things!). For more depth, the Science article is available to subscribers and members of the AAAS. The free teaser:

Ancient Weaponry

Hafting, which allowed projectile points to be attached to a staff, was an important technological advance that greatly increased the functionality of weapons of early humans. This technology was used by both Neandertals and early Homo sapiens and is readily seen after about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago, but whether it was used by a common ancestor or was separately acquired by each species is unclear. Supporting use by a common ancestor, Wilkins et al. (p. 942) report that stone points in a site in central South Africa were hafted to form spears around 500,000 years ago. The evidence includes damaged edges consistent with this use and marks at the base that are suggestive of hafting.

Abstract

Hafting stone points to spears was an important advance in weaponry for early humans. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that ~500,000-year-old stone points from the archaeological site of Kathu Pan 1 (KP1), South Africa, functioned as spear tips. KP1 points exhibit fracture types diagnostic of impact. Modification near the base of some points is consistent with hafting. Experimental and metric data indicate that the points could function well as spear tips. Shape analysis demonstrates that the smaller retouched points are as symmetrical as larger retouched points, which fits expectations for spear tips. The distribution of edge damage is similar to that in an experimental sample of spear tips and is inconsistent with expectations for cutting or scraping tools. Thus, early humans were manufacturing hafted multicomponent tools ~200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Nietzsche said, “That what does not kill you, makes you stronger.” WeaponsMan.com says, “That with which you kill, makes you smarter.” If our H. erectus and heidelbergensis forbears had been vegans, we might still be apes.

Technically-minded readers will enjoy a follow-on paper from 2014 (from PLOS ONE, freely available) which explores the relative performance of hafted-stone and solid-wood spears “thrown” by a calibrated crossbow into ballistic gelatin. (This article has several fascinating aspects and deserves exploration in depth).

spear_tip_testing_equipment

Since its publication, Wilkins’s original article has been criticized as, in the words of one critical article, an “abuse of the use-wear method.” Wilkins and three co-authors defended their findings in a further follow-on paper last year, and accused their critics of “using our paper as a straw-man example of the abuse of use-wear.” As archaeology disputes go, it’s a bit heated, but they haven’t resorted to spears. Yet.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Railroad Spikes

File photo: not the actual murder weapons.

File photo: not the actual murder weapons.

A mentally ill career criminal who grew up well-off in Coronado, California, is in custody for killing three passed-out bums and crippling two more with, among other things, railroad spikes & a hammer, and setting them alight with gasoline.

 A San Diego man who allegedly killed three homeless men and injured two others used a railroad spike and hammer in all five of his attacks, prosecutors revealed.

Jon Guerrero, 39, was arrested in July after police officers heard his fifth victim screaming for help. He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and arson.

Guerrero, who is from the city’s affluent Coronado district, allegedly began his spree on July 3, when he drove a railroad spike into a homeless man’s head and chest.

One of the victims lived, but lost his vision to a railroad spike through his sinuses. The story describes the gruesome crimes in some detail.

Guerrero was convicted of a series of dozens of crimes, often violent ones, beginning in 1999; starting ten years later, he began to be acquitted on mental health grounds, but he continued his pattern of regular assaults and arrests.

If he were in a civilized city that had 10-20-life sentencing reform, and not in Los Angeles where the rights of a murder trump those of his victims, he’d have only been a threat to his fellow inmates. As it is, the legal system will probably turn him loose again.

Nobody likes bums, sure; but nobody kills them, either. Except for the sort of people who are rather predictable, thanks to their long record as violent criminals.

Boy’s got “issues,” sure, but there’s nothing wrong with him a crew of gandy dancers couldn’t fix.

Remember that Slide? Yes, it was Real. Yes, the Army Flipped Over It.

Yesterday, we showed you this slide, which originated at the US Army WTF moments Facebook page. The question on everybody’s lips was: was it real, or was it Photoshop?

Army Insider threat brief

The answer is here: it was real. and now every knob-polishing, superior-stroking, i’up-sucking staff officer in the army — one thing the service has in plentiful supply — is trying to find and hang those responsible.

The Army Times has the story, but the bottom line is this: the slide has been pulled, the witch hunt for its creator is on, and the message is being sent to all hands: punishment for misconduct is strictly for lower ranks, and even references to misconduct by higher ranks now are a self-inflicted career threat.

David Petraeus, whose picture has been removed from the slide, is actually a federal convict who pled guilty to mishandling classified information. You would think that was worthy of discussion, or at least a reference, when the subject is information security and the insider threat. You would think. But because he is a former general and member of the senior executive service, and because he is affiliated with a political campaign at present, he is immune to criticism for his misconduct.

Knowing that, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out who else’s picture has been removed from the slide.

Naturally, they had no problem finding a career-first, self-serving, knob-polishing, up-sucking yellowstain of a major to quote in the article, clutching his pearls at the idea of lèse-majesté in the ranks.

So, are you still telling yourself that the people in charge of the military take their oath to the Constitution seriously? Nonsense. They stand ready to serve a government of men, not of laws.

Bottom line: the Army is like a Turkish water pipe: the more you suck, the higher you go. Case in point, David Petraeus.

The First Czechoslovak Service Pistols. Nº1: the Praga

The earliest Czechoslovak service pistols are relative rarities that are enjoyed by advanced Czechoslovak pistol collectors. While they are rare, they were still factory produced, and enough exist that they come up from time to time. At the same time, their relative obscurity has meant that a really rare pistol can sometimes be scored for less money than you might think.

This Praga in the Springfield Armory Collection, SN 7300, shows off its lines.

This Praga in the Springfield Armory Collection, SN 7300, shows off its lines. Note the divergent angle of the front and rear grip, which makes the pistol feel awkward and point low, relative to the Browning M1910.

These two pistols are the Praga, a 7.65mm (.32) stopgap, and the Czechoslovak vz. 22, the first Czech official military service pistol. Today, we’re talking about the Praga.

Other side of Springfield's Praga, showing that this is the later model.

Other side of Springfield’s Praga, showing that this is the later model.

When Czechoslovakia was established as a result of the post-WWI collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the subsequent treaties, it had little indegenous small-arms production capability. Czech and Slovak units had fought under Russian and French command, as well as in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and so a mix of surplus European weaponry was available. Austrian rifles (Mannlicher M.95 straight-pull) and pistols (Rast & Gasser revolvers and Steyr autoloaders) were the most common, and a small subset of collecting seeks out these guns as overmarked with Czechoslovak military markings. But the Czechoslovaks continued wartime Austrian plans to establish more production facilities in the Czech lands, especially Bohemia, and private firms’ production was also exploited.

Zbrojovka Praga was the first armory established in the optimism of the new Republic, but its life was short, from 1918 to 1926, and its production consisted of a few thousands of two models of pistol.

Still, the first pistol the nascent Czechoslovak military adopted, if not entirely officially, was the Praga. It is a 7.65mm (,32 ACP) handgun of conventional blowback design, resembling the FN Browning Model 1910 in styling but quite different in manufacture, and comparatively poor in ergonomics. Some sources, including Dolínek et al., say that it was designed by Czech designer Vaclav Holek, who is definitely credited with Praga’s oddball .25; Holek would go on to greatness, but the Praga is concrete proof that in 1919, he wasn’t there yet, if indeed the design was his. Novotny also employed, at one time or another, František Myška, who would go on to design other pistols, and Karel Krnka, who already had. What role each of these took in the design is unknown. Some Pragas are marked with a patent legend, but not the patent number.

Some of these Pragas would be used by the police, and some would be purchased by the Ministry of Defense. It’s unclear now whether it was intended for them to be standard issue firearms, or whether they were bought with a view to being an interim service pistol, but they did wind up being an interim pistol, as the Czechoslovak military retained neither the pistol itself or the 7.65mm caliber.

(A previous Praga pocket pistol in 6.35mm had a folding trigger and some other highly unusual features. It was never, and was never intended to be, a service pistol; it was obviously a defensive pocket pistol. We’ll discuss that at some other time; we’re only interested in the service pistol today).

Two versions of the service Praga exist; as far as we can tell the principal difference is in the markings. The rarer first model, sometimes called the vz. 19 or Model 1919 by collectors, is marked Zbrojovka Praga on the slide in ornate cursive script; the later model has the same legend, but in block capitals. The safety on the earlier model tends to be crudely checkered and the later model machined with lines, but the parts do interchange. That said, parts including the receiver, slide, breechblock, barrel, grips, trigger and sometimes the magazine are usually numbered. Matching numbers are common.

Hogg & Weeks say this (via Springfield, with some typos corrected):

7.65mm Praga Model 1921 – The first pistol produced was the vz/21 (vz: vzor, ‘model’), a 7.65mm blowback credited to Vaclav Holek but little more than an adaptation of the 1910-type Browning. Some small changes were made; the breech block was a separate unit, inserted in the slide, while the return spring was retained by the nose of the slide instead of a barrel bush.1

We don’t have a 1910 at present, but used to, and in our opinion based on the physical manipulation of both firearms, the Praga borrows mostly styling and (we think) the 7-round .32 ACP magazine from its Belgian forbear. Even the magazine, though, is altered; it has a catch to allow you to cycle the slide with a loaded mag, without picking up a round; and the gun is hammer, not striker, fired. It lacks the Browning’s grip safety. Internally, it is more different from than similar to a 1910.

The pistol was initially touted for military or police use, 5,000 being ordered by the Czech forces when Škoda declined to co-operate. They had plain wooden grips and cursive Zbrojovka Praga on the slide; this later changed to block and specimens with the Prague police badge can be found. A commercial version appeared with block-lettered slides and moulded plastic ‘Praga’ grips. Some specimens have elongated barrels which protrude about 30mm ahead of the slide.2

Springfield thinks that the marking on the left nose of the slide of their example is a Prague police badge. Their gun is also marked with 12.4.21 on the slide which is probably an acceptance date (12 April, 1921).  Most Pragas were intended for police and military markets and thus do not have Czechoslovak proof marks. (On those that are proofed, the Prague proof house retained its Austrian-era practice of marking with proof year and sequential proof number).

While Springfield’s archivists are professionals and seldom err, they aren’t perfect; they refer to the pistol as “Manufactured by Ceska Zbrojovka, Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1921.” CZ did not yet exist in 1921, and while it would mark many pistols as made in Prague, it never made pistols there, only in Strakonice and (post-1936) Uhersky Brod. (Some pistols were made by Škoda in Pilsen, and by the Czechoslovak State Armory in Brno, but they weren’t made by CZ, either. CZ is a specific firm, not a catch-all for Czech manufacture). 

Hogg and Weeks also said this about the company:

The Praga Zbrojovka in Vršovice, in which Vaclav Holek worked on the design of pistols, offered its first pistols to the Army already in the spring of 1919. This was a 7.65 caliber pistol that was more suitable for civilian or police use, but which nevertheless was more acceptable than the 6.35mm side pistol which this firm also manufactured and later sold in the market using the designation ‘automatic Praga pistol, cal. 6.35mm, M1921.’ The ministry of National Defense ordered 5,000 Praga 7.65mm pistols as early as June 1919, even though at that time it was only testing this type and had some serious objections to the workmanship.3

Vrsovice is a neighborhood or district of Prague, so these are rare Czech guns marked “Praha” (or Prague or Prag) that were actually made in the city.

Berger made a strenuous effort to get to the bottom of these exotics, and illustrates several and describes them, but he’s cautious in his conclusions. He illustrates Nº 552, then in the collection of O. Matyska. This example is an early version proofed in 1919 with the cursive Zbrojovka Praga legend, but with the striated wooden grips he suggests may be the mark of a military pistol, and a striated, not crudely cross-checkered, safety. His example of a “late” Praga is Nº 10828, dated 1923, then in the collection of E. Macaulay. This example has the block-capital marking ZBROJOVKA PRAGA PRAHA PATENT CAL. 7.65.

Some decent photos of another example are found here

Rock Island auctioned an interesting example, Nº 8950, slathered in markings revealing its history, in 2015. It was marked with a Czech military acceptance date, plus a partial commercial proof, hinting that it had been retired and sold off, plus it bore the markings of two Czechoslovak units, the 14th Infantry Regiment, gun 216 (on the right side of the frame, crossed out…) (RIA photos used with permission).

Praga SN 8950 right

…and the 5th Artillery Regiment, gun 153 (on the left side).

Praga SN 8950 left

…and close up, you can see the artllery unit’s mark, and the military acceptance date of 5 July 1921 under the rampant lion of the Czechoslovak Republic. Unit marks are often found on the grip strap of Czechoslovak Republic firearms, and are in the format: Unit Number / Letter for Type of Unit / Sequential Firearm or Rack Number. The most common letters are “P” for Pechotny, infantry, and “D” for Delostrelecky, artillery.

Praga SN 8950 L slide

Our example is Nº 10024, and in the near future, we’ll post a more complete set of photos of it, including a field stripping. It doesn’t have the interesting unit history of Nº 8950, but it does have a military acceptance mark and apparently matching numbers. In one that’s in pretty decent shape like this, the original rust blue really shines.

praga_10024-02 praga_10024-01

One thing that only some (mostly later) examples have is the world’s most impressive lanyard lug.

praga_10024-07

We’ve literally never seen anything like it.

praga_10024-06

The Praga has some other unusual features like its elegant and manufacturing-friendly removable breechblock, and a notch in the magazine, allowing you to lock it into place, but below the level where it would actually feed rounds. (Why? Our guess is for training purposes, but it seems like an invitation to Murphy)

Dolinek et al. refer to the Praga and, later in their book, to the Praga M, which may have been a Czech designation for the later version of the pistol. But their discussion of the pistol is very brief. They have a little more to say about the company:

 The private Zbrojovka Praga s.s.r.o (Arms works Praga, a limited liability company) had a competitive lead over Zbrojovka Brno. It was founded by Česka Prumyslová Banka (the Czech Industrial Bank) before the end of World War I in Prague’s Vršovice quarter with the participation of J. Novotny, the owner of the largest gunmaking company in Prague. The factory was originally designed to manufacture hunting guns and civil pistols. However, after 1918, it specialized in military arms. The company employed many gifted designers (Holek brothers, Ing. Karel Krnka, etc.) and a skilled labor force, partly emanating from the Austrian arms works, and it was well-equipped with machinery. They principally supplied automatic pistols but they were not very widely used within the army. The financial difficulties of the company were not even resolved by its incorporation into the industrial concern of the Česka Prumyslová Banka. In the MOD’s opinion, the collapse of the firm was mainly due to an incompetent management team that was not able to introduce the rational organization of production machinery within the plant. The firm was not even saved by the sale of the license for the light machine gun Praga designed by Vaclav Holek that, in Zbrojovka Brno, was to become an ever most successful Czech weapon in the years to come. Zbrojova Praga was wound up in 1926. 4

Hogg and Weeks dismissed the company rather abruptly, suggesting that they had not personally examined Praga firearms:

Zbrojovka Praga (Prague Small Arms Company) was founded in Vrsovice in 1918 by A. Novotny, a gunmaker. He is said to have employed talented designers such as the Holek brothers, Krnka and Myška, but Praga products showed little evidence of this. Two pistol were produced, one a copy of the Browning M1910 and the other an original design of odd appearance and poor quality. Not surprisingly, the company failed to prosper and in 1926 was foreclosed by the National Bank.5

While the Praga is generally thought of as a police and commercial pistol, they were used by Czechoslovak soldiers, and unit-marked examples are not unknown. One is for sale right now on GunBroker (and probably in-shop) by Historic Firearms.

Pragas are seldom found in the USA with import marks, suggesting that they were wartime bringbacks or pre-1968 surplus.

Finally, way back near the beginning of this post, we noted that “They can sometimes be scored for less money than you think.”

pix113354542

This one, Nº 3786, recently sold on GunBroker for $501! The typical going price is well over $1,000 in 2016.

Notes

  1. Hogg & Weeks, via Springfield.
  2. Hogg & Weeks, via Springfield.
  3. Hogg & Weeks, via Springfield.
  4. Dolínek, et. al., p. 40.
  5. Hogg & Weeks, via Springfield.

Sources

Berger, R.J. Know Your Czechoslovakian Pistols. Chino Valley, AZ: Blacksmith Corporation, 1989. pp. 83-85.

Dolínek, Vladimír, Karlický, Vladimír, & Vácha, Pavel. Czech Firearms and Ammunition: History and Present. Prague: Radix, 1995.

Hogg, Ian & Weeks, John. Pistols of the World. DBI Books, Inc. Northbrook, Il. 1992. Quoted vis Springfield Armory National Historic Site: retrieved from: http://ww2.rediscov.com/spring/VFPCGI.exe?IDCFile=/spring/DETAILS.IDC,SPECIFIC=10600,DATABASE=objects,

 

Posted without Comment

Well, without much in the way of comment, anyway.

Army Insider threat brief

From US Army WTF Moments.

Petraeus, for his part, had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with Michael Hanlon saying that the readiness problem is all imaginary, and who are we going to believe, him or our lying eyes?

Exit question: shouldn’t Bowe Bergdahl be on this slide, too?

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Rickshaws

In the mind-bendingly depressing annals of “damn near anything can kill a person,” we give you death by rickshaw misadventure. The Telegraph:

Niamh Corrigan, 29, of Bromley, south London, was flung from the back of a motorised rickshaw after a night out with her Scottish fiance Paul Fortuna.While changing seats with her partner, the vehicle turned sharply on a bumpy mountain road. Mr Fortuna tried unsuccessfully to grab her, and then battled to resuscitate Miss Corrigan at the roadside as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.The tuk tuk had been travelling no more than 25 mph at the time of the incident, Southwark Coroners Court heard.Miss Corrigan – a personal assistant at City investment bank Goldman Sachs – had arrived in Phuket for a friends Christmas wedding earlier that day, and planned to relax and explore the country.

via Goldman Sachs worker dies after being thrown from a tuk tuk while on holiday in Thailand with her fiance.

This is the place where we often put some clever or funny comment, but we’re just not seeing it tonight.