Tag Archives: Harry Sanford

Top of the Line, in 1978 Deep Carry

Today there is no shortage of compact, sub-compact, and even micro-compact 9mm handguns that are designed to be small enough for pocket or ankle carry. However, in the early 1970s about the best you could get in that size, barring a manually-cycled Semmerling LM4, was a .25ACP mouse gun like a Colt Junior or Browning Baby or a J-frame/Dick Special.

Then came the OMC/AMT Back Up.

I have to admit, I pocket carried this bad boy for years…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Paging hand cannons, paging hand cannons

Recently I’ve been fooling about with some rarely-encountered but nonetheless very cool guns:

The Auto Mag .44AMP of Mack Bolan fame… 

…and a Wildey gas-operated .45 Win Mag of Charles Bronson vintage 

Both are aristocratic hand cannons from a different era. We call it the 1970s and 80s.

With that in mind, I’ll be in Las Vegas for SHOT Show all week, so stay tuned for updates on cool guy stuff.

The Auto Mag is back on the scene

Auto Mag’s president, Patrick Henry, told me it’s the same story over and over. With less than 10,000 original Auto Mags out there, and those numbers declining through attrition every year, the guns are rare and often cherished collectors’ items that rarely get a chance to leave the safe. Therefore, seeing a collection of them– brand new– is a jolt.

“It’s amazing to see guys stop as they walk past and then one will turn their head and gape and then grab their buddy and pull them over to take a look,” said Henry, who has shepherded the South Carolina-based company, reborn in 2015 with the express purpose to bring the iconic gun back from the dead.

And it is one giant gun…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Welcome back, Auto Mag

Designed by unsung firearms genius Harry Sanford, the .44 Auto Mag (44 AMP) was born in 1958 and the gun that shot it has been out of production since 1982.

That may be changing.

With an R&D by Harry Sanford and Max Gera that lasted more than a decade, this huge hogleg was perfected enough by 1969 to enter low rate production.  Billed as the “Aristocrat of Big Bore Handguns,” at the time of its introduction the Auto Mag Pistol (AMP) fired the most powerful production handgun round on the market.

The original Auto Mag was rarely encountered outside the vein of big game handgun hunting, except for the likes of Dirty Harry and Mack Bolan

The original Auto Mag was rarely encountered outside the vein of big game handgun hunting, except for the likes of Dirty Harry and Mack Bolan

Tipping the scales at 57-ounces (yes, that is slightly more than 3.5 pounds); its 6.5-inch barrel gave it a length from muzzle crown to hammer spur of 11.5-inches. Overall it was a hair shorter and about two ounces heavier than the six shot S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum wheelgun, but it also offered better handling, a longer sight radius, two extra shots with a quicker reload if needed and improved recoil.

In 1982, after the company had changed logos (and hands) several times, the line was closed down.

In 2010 a company billing itself as Auto Mag, advertised that they would be selling some of the classic old guns in more or less new production at $5600 a pop—but as of yet none appeared.

Then in 2015 a new company was formed to bring this iconic hand cannon back to the market, Auto Mag LTD. Corp.  This lasted reboot purchased all of the assets and rights to the legendary Auto Mag from the Sanford family and have been quietly working to both put the AMP back into production and offer services to owners of legacy guns.

And it seems like they are almost ready to start production.

Yup, that's a new Auto Mag.

Yup, that’s a new Auto Mag.

More in my column at Guns.com.