Tag Archives: rare gun

Why the Lange Face, Luger edition

I’ve seen hundreds of Lugers come through the Guns.com Vault in the past few years, ranging from Swiss-made Berns to American Eagles, Naval Lugers, Black Widows, and 1980s commemoratives, but the “Artillery Luger” is more of a unicorn.

Officially dubbed the Lange Pistole 1908, or LP.08, while the rest of the Imperial German Army was using the regular 9mm P08, it was decided the cannon cockers of the field and fortress artillery, in 1913, were to be issued a lengthened (lange= long) version with a 7.87-inch barrel and a graduated tangent leaf rear sight marked to a wildly optimistic 800m.

The LP.08 would take the place of both the short carbine and the revolver for the artillery, making it something of a Ragtime-era PDW.

And it is just so friggen cool looking…

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Ever Seen a General Officer Beretta?

Typically, the only way to get one of the coveted and extremely rare General Officer pistols is to become a general in the U.S. military. About that…

The Army’s General Officer Pistol program dates back to at least 1972 when the service’s Rock Island Arsenal began producing M15 pistols for general officers, a gun that led to the now-popular Officer series of M1911s.

U.S. Army issue an M15 General Officer pistol (S/N GO481). The M15 pistols were manufactured solely by Rock Island Arsenal starting in the early 1970s through approximately 1985 when the US Army adopted the Beretta M9 pistol. This gun was sold at an RIA auction a few years ago for $6,900.

Marked with serial numbers prefixed with the letters “GO,” the program switched to issuing M9 Berettas in the 1980s then in 2018, in a story I previously broke for Guns.com, to Sig Sauer M18 GO models.

Other than the special serial number range, GO models are issued for operational use and are essentially no different from standard-issue pistols. However, the average Joe can’t buy his gun when out-processing from the military, whereas generals can.

According to U.S. law, at the end of their service, generals can purchase their issued pistols, which are unfathomably rare, museum-worthy collectibles if not retained by the family. As noted by the Army, famed WWII Gens. Omar N. Bradley, George S. Patton, and Dwight D. Eisenhower all purchased their guns when they left the military

A rarity, the General Officer M9 I’ve been checking out lately was obtained directly from a retired U.S. Army general who had more than thirty years of successful military service spanning the Cold War and Desert Storm, including more than five years with the famed 82d Airborne Division.

Boom

More in my column at Guns.com. 

GWM: The Grizzly Winchester Magnum

Formed in West Jordan, Utah in 1968, L.A.R. busied itself with bolt action rifles and upper receiver assemblies for AR-15 style carbines until SHOT Show 1983, when they appeared in Dallas with eight different caliber conversion units for M1911 pistols, and a gun they tentatively called the Grizzly Winchester Magnum, or GWM. Designed by L.A.R. owner Heinz Augat and Perry Arnett, who held accurizing patents for M1911 style handguns, the Grizzly was something special.

Like 6.5-inch extended barrel, .45 Winchester Magnum kinda special.

How about a 27-pound recoil spring?

More in my column at Guns.com.

What the Glock?

Intended for “an undisclosed foreign government” the contract for the Glock 19 Mariner was not completed and these interesting and very functional collectibles are now filtering out to the market.

I’ve been kicking one around for about a week. Spoiler alert, the ones spotted in the wild in the States are, by and large, standard Gen 3 G19s but have a few, um, maritime changes.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Pardon me, is that a Wiener Waffenfabrik in Your Pocket?

Before there was the Walther PP, Sauer 38, or Mauser HSc, an obscure Bohemian Czech gun designer by the name of Alois Tomiska– Tom to his friends, or so goes the story– crafted a curious little vest pocket .25 ACP that was, importantly, double action, a first for the time.

Meet the Wiener Waffenfabrik Little Tom.

Brass magazine that is inserted through the top? Czech!

More in my column at Guns.com.

That’s one big, goofy revolver

So recently I have been researching one downright weird friggen wheel gun.

Boom

Traits:
*9-pounds.
*20-shot cylinder with a loading gate.
*11mm/.45cal (ish) chamber.
*10-inch barrel.
*No sights.
*No grip or stock.
*All-metal.
*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.

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.

Who wouldn’t want a 12mm Rocket Launcher at their side?

Invented about the same time as The Jetsons were a hit TV show, nuclear weapons researcher Bob Mainhardt and arms designer Art Biehl came together to form MB Associates (after their initials) to explore rocket projects. In addition to a reasonably popular handheld flare projector, they also looked to produce a series or rocket-firing weapons with an eye towards military contracts.

I give you, the Gyrojet Rocket Pistol, which is a real thing that actually saw some limited use in Vietnam.

Gyrojet Mark II rocket pistol

Pop…Whoosh!

More in my column at Guns.com

Hamada Browning

How about a rare Japanese Type 2 Hamada pistol, up for grabs at RIAC?

Designed by Bunji Hamada’s Japanese Firearms Manufacturing Company as a low-cost substitute for the Imperial Japanese military’s Type 94 pistol, the Hamada ended up as one of Tokoyo’s simplified “last-ditch” weapons fielded in the final days of WWII. After a two-year R&D period, just 2,200~ early Hamadas were cranked out in 1944 until production shifted to the even simpler Type 2.

Essentially a bare-bones copy of the Browning Model 1910 with a minimum of machining and internal parts fitment, these blowback action pistols were made in Hamada’s Notobe factory with tooling supplied by the Nagoya Arsenal and then shipped unfinished to Nagoya’s Toriimatsu factory for final inspection, finishing, and acceptance. It should be noted that the FN 1910/22 was popular with Japanese officers, with no less than 3,000 commercial Brownings shipped to the country prior to 1940.

The FN Model 1910, also known as the Browning model 1910, the FN 1922 and the Browning M1955 depending on the decade, was a .380 beauty. The Hamadas were unlicensed and very simplified copies without the distinctive streamlined dustcover.

Some 500 Type 2 Hamadas were contracted although it is not thought all of those were completed.

It is believed just 10 of these six-shot 8mm Nambu-chambered pistols are floating around today.

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