Category Archives: gun culture

Attention Gun lovers

For those who love beautiful and rare firearms, RIAC has some amazing offerings on their upcoming December Premier Auction.

They include a no serial number Singer Manufacturing Company M1911A1.

The sewing machine maker cranked out just 500 GI 45s in 1940-41, which came from an Educational Order issued by the Army. However, as this one has no inspector or frame markings, signs point to it being either a presentation gun made for company brass or a lunchbox gun.

How about this early production Colt Model 1911 with its scarce original box and even the original Ordnance Bill of Sale?

The U.S. Army contract pistol was shipped in a lot of 350 to the Commander of Springfield Armory in April 1912. Since then it has been carefully documented and passed down through generations of Lt. H.A. Davidson’s family.

Then there is this North American Arms Co. Model 1911 pistol, which was produced in December of 1918 in Quebec, Canada.

Did I mention it is SN#1?

And in the “you don’t see that every day” category, how about this Colt 2nd Issue Officer’s Model Target D.A. revolver that was manufactured in 1912 and is complete with an attachable period shoulder stock/holster manufactured by either W.P Thompson or the Ideal Holster Company.

Finally, how about this Belgian LeMat grapeshot carbine with a centerline 20 gauge shotgun barrel sistered under a 44-caliber revolving carbine.

It has Liege proofs and is SN#4.

If only I had a much larger piggy bank.

That a Colt in your pocket, bub?

I’ve always been a fan of the old M1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless.

Thus:

First hitting the market in 1904, the thin-profiled Pocket Hammerless (Colt Model M) was one of John Browning’s finest early designs, everything a modern self-defense pistol should be.

Today, it still feels good in the hand when compared to the best that the 21st Century has to offer, although its .32ACP-chambering is on the lighter side of preferred ballistic performance today. There was a good reason why the platform, one of the first decent first semi-auto pocket pistols, was used by such cloak and dagger folks as the OSS and slipped into the jacket and field table of many a general concerned about their hide.

Iconic as a pulp-era handgun, the Colt was a favorite in B&W Noir films— Bogart carried one in no less than five films: The Desperate Hours, Key Largo, The Big Sleep, Casablanca, and Torture Ship.

A side view of Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) Colt 1903 as he holds it on Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) via IMFDB

So naturally, when I came across an intact and original early model gun, I had to pick it up to scratch that itch.

The example I lucked into dates from 1911. Importantly, it hasn’t been reblued. The front sight isn’t banged flat. The first-gen hard rubber factory grips are intact. You can still read all the roll marks without a loupe. The magazine is in great shape.

I stripped it down completely and all the internals look OK and are in surprisingly good condition other than the recoil spring being a little relaxed.

Every now and then you have to treat yourself, right?

The Standard Bearer for the Modern .32 Pocket Gun

Ludwig (Louis) Wilhelm Seecamp was a pre-WWII German gunsmith who, once called up and placed in the Gebirgsjäger, logically served as a unit armorer, furthering his firearm skills. Post-war, he emigrated to Canada and then to the U.S., starting a career with Mossberg that endured across the 1950s and 60s.

At age 72, he founded L.W. Seecamp Co. in 1973 after a lifetime of experience, specializing in double-action M1911 conversions until, in his 80s, he patented a series of compact DAO all-stainless pocket pistols that didn’t skimp on craftsmanship.

The LWS 32

The small double-action gun didn’t have sights, which adhered to Seecamp’s wartime experience on the Eastern Front. 

As noted by the company’s history, “Ludwig had become a firm believer in the value of DA after a Walther P-38 saved his life in WWII. That incident, which left him with a cheek-long scar and some missing teeth from a bullet wound, also convinced him point shooting rather than sight use is the reality in close range combat.”

The LWS 32 proved so popular, introduced at a time when John Browning’s circa 1899 cartridge was dying out in defensive pistol use, that the handgun market was soon flooded with pocket pistols in the same caliber and general layout. These included the Beretta 3032 Tomcat, the NAA Guardian, and the Kel-Tec P-32.

As they say, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery…

More in my column at Guns.com.

More 2011s in More Holsters

Last year, I worked closely with STI (now Staccato) and the U.S. Marshall Service’s Special Operations Group– the guys tasked with specialty high-risk operations such as providing support for trials involving terrorists, moving high-threat prisoners and witness security members, and responding to national emergencies– to craft a piece about their 160 specialized STI 2011 pistols.

They are pretty sweet…

“Who wouldn’t want a pistol that holds 21 rounds and can shoot super-fast, flat and accurately when you’re on duty?” (Photo: STI)

Now it seems that Staccato is seeing wild success in the past two years with LE customers, and now some 250 agencies are using them.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Sig Sauer Now in the Nightmare Business

With the tagline of, “Darkness brings out the best,” New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer has given the Nightmare treatment to three of their classic alloy-framed P-series pistols.

The new Nightmare series in 9mm P226 and P229 as well as the .45 ACP P220, all feature a blacked-out Nitron-finished stainless steel slide and alloy frame with Custom Works engraving and nickel-plated surface controls. Additionally, the pistols are the first with Hogue Classic Contour SL G-10 grips. Sig formerly used the Nightmare treatment on their P239 and 1911 line, but they didn’t come with the same grips or sights.

Speaking of which, all three models have a double-action/single-action trigger equipped with X-Ray 3 day/night sights, typically an upgrade you see on Sig’s Legion series, and two magazines.

They are pretty easy on the eyes.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Der Langenhan FL-Selbstlader? Ja!

The firm of Fredrich Langenhan’s Gewehr-und Fahrradfabrik, the FL-Selbstlader was never a household name but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an interesting and collectible design.

Langenhan, located in Zella St. Basil, Germany, was founded around 1842 by a family of gunsmiths that dated back to the 18th Century and made bicycles and firearms– a common set of products at the time. For example, Fabrique Nationale–FN–used to be a big name in the bicycle game. When it came to boomsticks, Langenhan GmbH specialized in single-shot scheibenpistole (target pistols) but also branched out into hunting rifles, air guns (which is a whole ‘nother story), umbrella guns, and even landed a military contract in the 1870s for S&W 1 1/2 revolver clones for the Royal Saxon Army.

Speaking of military contracts, when the Great War snuffed out the lamps across Europe in 1914, the rapidly expanding German military was desperate for weapons, to include sidearms for officers.

I give you, the Langenhan Heeres-Modell, known primarily from its markings as the FL-Selbstlader. Just rolls off the tongue.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Battery Free

Official caption: The crew of medium endurance cutter USCGC Northland (WMEC-904) conducts a live firing of the MK 75 76mm weapons system while underway, September 20, 2020, in the Atlantic Ocean. The cutter returned to its homeport of Portsmouth, Virginia, Wednesday after a 47-day patrol conducting counter-drug and migrant interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo 200920-G-G0105-1003)

Once the standard main gun for all U.S. Navy warships smaller than a destroyer in the 1980s and 90s, the OTO Melera 76mm/62 caliber Super Rapid was at its height carried by 51 Perry-class FFGs, 6 Pegasus-class PHMs, and 25 Coast Guard cutters. The first MK 75 gun produced in the U.S. was delivered in August 1978, with U.S. production handled by FMC.

Today, with the PHMs and FFGs gone, just 13 Bear-class 270-foot cutters such as Northland and two remaining 378-foot Hamiltons are the torch carriers for the system.

Built at the by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company of Tacoma, Washington, Northland was commissioned on December 17, 1984, making her 36 years young in a few weeks.

Let me tell you about my favorite nostaligic gun

Over at Guns.com, we recently compiled stories from among the editors on guns that spark nostalgia in us in a “my first gun” kinda way. For me, I chose my downright ancient Remington 11-48 Primer, for what I see as a bunch of good reasons. My tale is as follows:

Growing up in the Gulf South way back in the pre-internet days of the 20th Century, guns and hunting were essential rites of passage from an early age. As a single-digit-midget, somewhere around the time you learned to draw your name in crayon, you got a pellet rifle. Pump that bad boy up enough and you could part a cloud. Nothing quite teaches you rudimentary holdover and Kentucky windage like a $20 air gun and no adult supervision.

Once you got to where you were learning cursive– yes, I was imparted with that ancient skill, now so quaint as to be considered some sort of dark art– you got a rimfire plinker. Just an old bolt-action .22LR, in my case a milsurp Mossberg 42 whose rifling was shot nearly smooth by the time it reached me, but a quantum leap from the humble .177. Along with it saw much closer education from the designated family elder in charge of basic marksmanship instruction, a Korea and Vietnam-era retired master sergeant that I was to simply address as Paw Paw.

Somewhere between going out for peewee football and memorizing the preamble to the Constitution (go ahead, I still have all 52 words down pat), it became centerfire time. This meant chasing deer with a sporterized 8mm Mauser about as tall as I am and hitting the dove fields with a 12 gauge. The shotgun I was introduced to was a time-tested (southern for hand-me-down) Remington 11-48 Premier. I have no idea how old that semi-auto is, but it hailed from Big Green’s prime era that coincided with black & white TV shows and was sandwiched in the production line between the WWII-era Model 11 and the later Model 1100s and 1187s.

It was with that gun that I hit the soybean and cornfields of family friends to clean out crows (don’t get me started), guard the family pecan trees from wide-bodied nut-thieving squirrels, and was instructed to leave loaded in the closet for those weeks spent in the dark after hurricanes long before FEMA was a thing. In high school, I would have it in the trunk of my time-tested car, so it was ready to head to the woods with friends during dove season right after class. Barring said souped-up pigeons, it clocked in smoking hand-thrown clays because if you bought a case of No. 8 shot, you shot a case of No. 8 shot. I dropped it once off a boat on the river while heading out for hogs and didn’t feel bad about getting soaked to retrieve it. I pawned it once in college because I needed gas and didn’t feel bad about going hungry to get it back out of hock.

Today, after replacing the long-ago busted furniture and a couple of worn-out springs, I still have it in the safe. One day, my own grandson will have it in his.

Coast Guard picks up even more FRCs, go Glock

If you have followed me here for even a minute, you know that I am a fan of the Coast Guard’s 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter program.

Sept 24, 2020: Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) arrives in Guam, where four of her class will form a squadron in the U.S.’s most forward-deployed territory, so to speak. 

The $27 million-per-unit FRCs have a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art C4ISR suite, a stern launch and recovery ramp for a 26-foot over-the-horizon interceptor cutter boat, and a combat suite that includes a remote-operated Mk38 25mm chain gun and four crew-served M2 .50 cals.

The addition of other light armaments, such as MK-60 quadruple BGM-176B Griffin B missile launchers, MK19 40mm automatic bloopers, and MANPADs, would be simple if needed, provided the Navy wanted to hand it over.

Based on the Dutch Damen Stan 4708 platform with some mods for U.S. use, Louisiana’s Bollinger Shipyards won a contract for the first unit, USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC-1101), in 2008 and has been plowing right along ever since.

Speaking of Bollinger, the yard just announced the USCG has exercised the contract option for another four craft, bringing the total number of hulls to 60, not an insignificant number.

It is thought the ultimate goal is to have 58 FRCs for domestic work– where they have proved exceedingly capable when operating in remote U.S. territories such as Guam, in the Caribbean, and in the Western Pacific– and six hulls for use in the Persian Gulf with the Coast Guard’s Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, a regular front-facing buffer force with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Changing pistolas

Guardsman on patrol somewhere along the Atlantic coast shown in the new uniform of the U.S. Coast Guard Mounted Beach Patrol, 1943. Note the M1917 revolver holster  S&W Victory Model in .38 Special and Army-pattern tack 

While under the Treasury Department, from 1790 to 1968, the Revenue Marine/Revenue Cutter Service/Coast Guard most commonly relied on pistols for their day-to-day work in countering smugglers, pirates, and other assorted scoundrels. These guns usually came from commercial sources. In fact, the old Revenue Cutter Service was one of the first organizations to buy large numbers of Mr. Colt’s revolvers, long before they were popular.

By WWI, the Cuttermen started using more standard handguns in line with the Navy, switching to .45ACP revolvers and pistols, which they utilized until switching to Beretta M9s in the mid-1980s– becoming the first branch of the military to be issued with the new 9mm.

In 2006, with the Coast Guard transferred to Homeland Security, they went with the then-common pistol used by the Secret Service and Federal Protective Service (the old GSA Police with better funding)– the Sig Sauer P229R DAK in .40S&W.

Fast forward to 2020 and the USCG is now using Glocks, piggybacking off the recent CBP contract, rather than go with the Sig Sauer M17/M18 as used by the rest of the military. 

The Coast Guard is now using the Glock 19 Gen5 MOS in 9mm as their standard handgun

Say it with me: Alto Tu Barco!

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