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.
So recently I have been researching one downright weird friggen wheel gun.
*20-shot cylinder with a loading gate.
*11mm/.45cal (ish) chamber.
*No grip or stock.
*A long pry-bar shaped trigger with a rope hole in the bottom.
*Belgian proofs that date between circa 1893 and 1911.
I was able to find two clues throughout gun history where other people have encountered such a beast in the wild.
A 1927 Bannerman’s military surplus catalog listing to a rare revolver “found in a Paris gunshop.”
And a 2007 Hermann Historika listing in Germany of an “Unbekannter Grabenrevolver(?),” which translates roughly to an unknown trench/turret revolver (?). Other than the fact it is a top break, it is a dead ringer.
You know when they use the term “unknown” in a two-word title, and end it with a question mark, something bananas is going on.
So what is it?
Good question, more in my column at Guns.com.