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The Vault

Folding 1911 Shoulder Stock

From Tom Laemlein:

Colt 1911 with unusual folding wire shoulder stock

Colt 1911 with unusual folding wire shoulder stock (click to enlarge)

A few years back I found these photos of a Marine Corps modification of the standard M1911 .45 caliber pistol. Unfortunately there was no accompanying documentation. A unique folding extension stock—it would interesting to know if any of the “Forgotten Weapons” readers have any information about this rare modification. I would suspect it helped accuracy but not enough to justify the extra weight and the cumbersome nature of the added metal parts.

Colt 1911 with unusual folding wire shoulder stock, holstered

Colt .45 holstered, with stock folded (click to enlarge)

Tom Laemlein runs Armor Plate Press, a military history publishing company that specializes in producing photo studies of 20th Century weapons systems.

Thumb-Safety Glock

(photo and text by Miles Vining)

Trials Glock with thumb safety

Trials Glock with thumb safety (photo by Miles Vining, courtesy UK National Firearms Centre, Leeds)

One of the more revolutionary and innovative features of the Glock series of handguns is in their signature slogan “GLOCK Safe Action”. This is based on the fact that although there is no external hand operated safety device, there are three internal ones: trigger safety, firing pin safety, and sear safety. This has paved the way in modern day handgun designs to put the responsibility of firearms handling upon the user and not on an arbitrary lever. There is also the tactical requirement of readily getting the gun into action. But was there ever even an experimental Glock made with an external safety? During the initial Austrian Army trials of 1982, the Army wasn’t used to the fact that a military weapon could be issued without an external safety. So the Army requested a trial pistol with one and sure enough, Glock produced one for them to examine. The conclusion was that it was not needed, but one of these pistols exists today in the National Firearms Center, Leeds, England. Formally known as the MoD Pattern room, the author found this external safety Glock in one of the handgun drawers. The pistol has a newer magazine with extended floorplate so the original magazine must have been mismatched.

2-Gun Match: WWII Snipers (Video)

This month for the 2-Gun Action Challenge Match, Karl and I square off with WWII snipers’ rifles. I have a No4 MkI (T) Enfield sniper with a 3.5x No.32 scope, and Karl has a Mauser K98k with a 1.5x ZF41 designated marksman’s optic. Both rifles are authentic, although both scopes are reproductions. The question is, will the ZF41 allow Karl to shoot faster, or will the greater magnification on the Enfield provide a bigger advantage?

Vintage Saturday: Shooting Rest

Type 11 Japanese LMG fired resting on a bicycle

Japanese (I think – maybe Chinese?) troops utilizing the ever-popular bicycle rest with a Type 11 LMG. Thanks to Ruy for the photo!

Wrapping up a Road Trip…

Sorry guys, I don’t have any content to post today. I’m writing this from the airport, en route back home after an extended trip. I spent several days in Vegas for the annual DefCon hacker convention (filming some material for the upcoming Secret Project), a bunch of time at Rock Island Auctions doing video on items in their upcoming Premier auction, a quick stop at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum (which has an amazing collection I will absolutely need to spend a lot more time with), and a visit to Simpson Ltd. I met a whole bunch of great folks, and got a ton of material on tape that I will be bring to you before long.

In total, I have footage for 17 videos from RIA, and they will all be published prior to the September 13th auction – so you can expect a cool deluge of video content in the coming couple weeks. I did everything from really funky home shop conversions to early experimental pistols to the cream of the crop, papered FG-42 and MKb-42(H) machine guns. Very cool stuff.

The visit to Simpson Ltd was shorter, but equally enjoyable and productive. I put together a video touring their shop and facilities (the place is another of those warehouse type environments just filled with fantastic items), including a chance to see their laser engraving machine in operation. No less impressive was the basement collection of .22 German training rifles – more than 1100 of them – that are the basis for what will be a massively extensive reference book on the subject.

Slow Motion: Frommer Stop

This week’s slow motion gun is the Frommer Stop, put into production in 1912. The Hungarian designer Rudolf Frommer was responsible for a series of long-recoil pistols, of which the Stop was the last and best. It is chambered for 7.65mm Frommer, which is identical in size to the .32 ACP but loaded slightly hotter. Stop pistols will generally run reliably on .32ACP as long as it isn’t underpowdered. Anyway, it was a far over-engineered design, with a 3-lug rotating bolt to lock, and a long recoil action. It was adopted by the Austro-Hungarian military and saw service in WWI. Without further ado, I present the Frommer Stop:

Enfield 1899 Maxim Photos

Here’s another set of Maxim photos, this time of an 1899 pattern gun made at Enfield. Photos courtesy of the UK MoD.

MG-30

by Tom Laemlein

Lost in the shuffle of Germany’s automatic weapons of the World War II era is the Louis Stange-designed MG 30. Rejected by the Reichswehr, the MG 30 ended up in licensed production by Solothurn in Switzerland (as the S2-100) and also by Steyr in Austria.

MG30 side view

MG30 side view

Approximately 3,000 of the beautifully designed (and consequently expensive) MG 30s were purchased by Hungary, where they were known as the Solothurn 31.M. It was in Hungarian service where the MG30 would see the most amount of action in its original configuration.

MG30 with Hungarian trooper

MG30 with Hungarian trooper

In Germany, Rheinmetall-Borsig modified the MG 30 design to create a modern machine gun for the Luftwaffe, first with the MG15, and later with the MG17 (which fired at an accelerated 1,200 rounds per minute). The MG 30’s design concepts ultimately led to the development of the MG34 and the MG42. The MG 30 is brilliant light machine gun overall that gets little credit for the potent weapons systems it spawned.

MG30 & gas tanks

MG30 & gas tanks

MG30s on tripods

MG30s on tripods

Tom Laemlein runs Armor Plate Press, a military history publishing company that specializes in producing photo studies of 20th Century weapons systems.

Mauser 1912/14 Automatic Pistol (Video)

The Mauser 1912/14 automatic pistol was the final stage of a dead-end development track for a military sidearm in 9mm Parabellum made by Mauser. The program began as a plain blowback pistol in 1909, which did not work effectively, and was replaced by a series of different locked or semilocked systems culminating in this, the 1912/14. The same 1909 design was also the basis for a parallel development track that resulted in the smaller .25 and .32 caliber Mauser pocket pistols, which were quite successful. I had the opportunity to examine a 1912/14 model thanks to Rock Island Auctions (although I couldn’t shoot or disassemble it), and I made this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0-qidD-7HE

Vintage Saturday: Salvage

Finnish troops salvaging machine guns from a downed Russian Polikarpov R5 bomber shot down near Suistamo.

Plane’s broken, but the Maxim guns will still work! (photo from SA-Kuva)

Finnish troops salvaging Maxim guns from a downed Russian Polikarpov R5 bomber shot down near Suistamo, Finland.