Here we see a .32 ACP Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless self-loading pistol carried by General (later Field Marshal) Sir Gerald Templer, KG, GCB, CB, GCMG, KBE, DSO. The S/N (377681) dates to 1921 production.
Dubbed “The Smiling Tiger,” Sir Gerald commanded infantry and armored divisions, as well as the German Directorate of the Special Operations Executive, during the WWII and later went on to lead British forces during the Malayan Emergency, one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by the Western powers during the Cold War.
He was also something of a gun buff.
The signed 1954 card in the pistol’s case reads:
“The .32 Colt revolver and ammunition, in this case, was one of about 20 purchased by me when I was GSO I (1(b)) at GHQ, BEF. It was necessary for some of my officers to/ have a small automatic in their pockets on a good many occasions. I carried this one throughout the War, and when I was High Commissioner and Director of Operations in Malaya it never left my side. It was under my pillow every night whilst I was in country, ready and cocked.”
Sir Gerald died in 1979, aged 81.
Once upon a time, Fabrique Nationale was known for making the smallest, most compact handguns on the market. These included John Browning’s Mle 1900, Mle 1906 Vest Pocket (which predated his Vest Pocket for Colt by two years), Mle 1910, and the Browning Baby.
Fast forward to the 1980s and all of those classic designs were put to bed.
To fill this hole in their catalog in recent years, full-size polymer-framed double-stacks like the FNS and FN 509 have been chopped down to more compact designs, but they were still pretty chonky compared to Mr. Browning’s early guns.
Well, earlier this year FN launched the FN 503, a slim, 6+1 shot single-stack 9mm that is the company’s smallest handgun in generations.
I’ve been playing around with it for the past couple of months, and have the details in my column at Guns.com.
I get myself involved in firearms debates pretty frequently with people and, as a guy that has extensively carried and/or used dozens of different handgun platforms across the past 30 years, I have logged lots of time with both contemporary guns– such as Glocks, HKs, S&W M&Ps, FN 500-series, et. al– as well as more traditional classic guns like Smith J- and K-frames, Colt D- and I-frames, Walther P-38s, etc.
With that being said, I took a 2,000~ word deep dive over in my column at Guns.com into the subject of if two of John Browning’s most-admired handguns, the M1911, and the Hi-Power, are still relevant when it comes to EDC and personal protection these days.
Your thoughts? More on the article, here, for your reference.
While your best and most effective bet in the majority of hairy self-defense scenarios (barring something laser-guided or belt-fed) is a rifle– preferably a few different ones in a range of calibers– in a pinch a handgun is better than verbal judo, a pointy stick, or the lid off a can of sardines. With that in mind, I made a list centered on pistols and revolvers that are 1) modern, 2) accept common ammunition, 3) have spare parts that are readily available, 4) proven, 5) are simple to manipulate, and 6) easy to maintain.
Sure, each of these has their haters, but most importantly each type has a huge crowd of fans and users that have kept them in regular production for decades.
More in my column at Guns.com
Arkansas-based custom gunmaker Wilson Combat has joined forces with firearm icon Sig Sauer to produce an enhanced P320 pistol collaboration.
Dubbed the WCP320, the 17+1 capacity 9mm semi-auto comes with a raft of upgrades over the standard Sig Sauer P320.
More in my column at Guns.com.
These days, a well-rounded 21st-century man often leaves the house with several things in addition to their wallet, keys, and mobile device, namely: a small knife/multitool for multiple tasks, a larger knife for larger tasks, a small yet powerful flashlight, the most effective handgun they can get away with while still being comfortable and concealable, and the civil version of an IFAK.
My solution to the latter is pedestrian but, in my mind, effective:
I use a SWAT (Stretch, Wrap, and Tuck) Tourniquet which comes with a lot of advantages
A. It is multi-purpose beyond just being a TQ, and can be used as a pressure dressing or elastic bandage, something other TQs can’t do.
B. It can be used with minimal training as a tourniquet, which is important if I have to instruct someone on the fly to use it, perhaps on myself.
C. Because of its design, it can be used higher into the groin and axilla than other TQs
D. It is largely disposable
E. As it doesn’t have a windlass, it is easier to conceal and get through entry control points. I have flown with a SWAT-T dozens of times and never had TSA gripe me about it while nicer TQs with metal windlasses sometimes get barred for carry-on.
Besides the SWAT-T, I have a small ziplock with assorted band-aids for various size ouchies, iodine, gauze pads, prep pads, butterfly closures and a couple of vent chest seals to help “close the box.” Another small pouch holds a CPR face shield and a pair of gloves although in most cases compression-only is the way to go.
All of the above folds up in a thick double-sided handkerchief that in a pinch can make a large (though nonsterile) bandage if nothing else is available, be used to help clean an area for assessment, or serve as packing over a more purpose-made dressing. Be sure to launder it weekly and swap out your hankies regularly, while checking your TQ and kit for wear and compromise. Remember to review, renew, and refresh.
Weight, all told, is 5-ounces and, when folded up, fits neatly in my back left pants pocket, even in khakis. As I have a minimalist wallet that I front pocket carry, it is all good.
Of course, you could go larger, including an NPA and other goodies, and I have a couple of much bigger backpack-sized kits in my Jeep and house and make sure to have one on the range each time, but this kit above is for personal EDC pocket carry.
While speaking about medical kits, be sure to get regular introductory and refresher training from reputable sources when it comes to this stuff and always remember, “First, do no harm.”
I recently ran across this cheat sheet via the Proactive Response Group that, while substitution for training, is nonetheless pretty neat.
For years I’ve been a fan of small-framed revolvers with 3-inch barrels. I personally find them much more accurate than a snub at ranges past 7-yards while being more controllable, thus allowing a faster follow-up shot if needed. Further, they are almost just as concealable. In short, a nice 3-inch is the best of both worlds between the compact go-anywhere capability of a snubby while coming closer to being an effective “combat” revolver should it be needed.
With that, I was pleased to come across a line of night-sight-equipped 856 Defenders from Taurus that was just released this month at SHOT Show. All share the same 6-round cylinder, a factory-installed front sight post with an integrated tritium vial, and an extended ejector rod. With a 3-inch barrel, overall length runs 7.5-inches.
Prices at retailers should be around $350ish, which is a budget counter to Colt’s Cobra 3-inch and Smith’s Model 60/686s.
More in my column at Guns.com