Savage Couldn’t Beat Colt’s M1911
Even though it lost out to Colt’s M1911, the Savage Model 1907 was undoubtedly one of the finest commercial pistols of its day — well-designed, finely-manufactured and revolutionary in many respects. In the early 1900s, Elbert Searle of Philadelphia began working on a series of semi-automatic pistol designs. He... Read more
The Gun That Started World War I
Gavrilo Princip’s killing of Austria-Hungary’s archduke Franz Ferdinand is perhaps one of history’s best known assassinations. It catalysed the political, bureaucratic and martial wranglings that led to World War I. The gun Princip used to kill Ferdinand — an FN-Browning M1910 — is therefore one of history’s most significant... Read more
Aimo Johannes Lahti Personally Rearmed Finland
Between 1922 and 1940, Aimo Johannes Lahti designed some of Finland’s best small arms, including pistols, submachine guns, machine guns and anti-tank guns. Until the end of World War I, Finland had been an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire and, as such, relied on Russian small arms. The Mosin-Nagant... Read more
As World War I Loomed, the British Army Finally Took Its Machine Guns Off Carriages
In the photograph above, the machine-gun section of the 8th Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) poses with its machine guns. In that photograph, the Machine Gun, Maxim, Mk.I is mounted on a carriage while, in the photo below, it’s on a tripod and deployed in a trench during a field... Read more
An Egyptian Copy of a Swedish Gun Became an Assassin’s Weapon
In the early 1950s the Egyptian government acquired the production license and manufacturing equipment and plans for the Swedish m/45 submachine gun — the “Swedish K.” The state-owned Carl Gustaf factory had developed the m/45, a blowback submachine gun chambered in nine-by-19-millimeter, in 1944 and ’45. The Egyptian ministry... Read more
La ametralladora MG3 de Alemania resulta insustituible
Alemania Occidental se convirtió en miembro de la OTAN en mayo de 1955. Seis meses después su ejército se convirtió en la Bundeswehr (Fuerza de Defensa Federal de Alemania). A finales de los años 1950 y principios de los años 1960, la Bundeswehr inició un importante programa de rearme.... Read more
Evolution of the Landship
At the outset of World War I, the British Army possessed a motley collection of motor vehicles including staff cars, trucks and a handful of artillery tractors. The early fighting on the Western Front compelled the British to hastily deploy rudimentary armored cars. And as the front lines became... Read more
This Snag-Proof Pistol Never Caught On
In September 1918, inventor John Morrison of Spokane, Washington patented a simple adaptation for sidearms that ostensibly made them snag-proof. The modification also elongated a weapon’s sight radius. Morrison’s patent claimed to “provide a pistol embodying a simple and inexpensive appartenance designed and adapted to provide a considerable distance between the... Read more
A Medieval Knight Was Surprisingly Nimble
It’s a popular misconception that a medieval knight, once knocked off his mount, could barely move and was thus vulnerable to more fleet-footed light infantry. An October 2016 exhibition at the Swiss Military Museum at the Castle of Morges helped to disprove this myth. The museum organized a race... Read more
Colt’s Underslung Grenade Launcher Was Too Complex
Since the 17th century, infantry have tried to shoot grenades from their firearms. Until the 1960s, this almost always meant some kind of muzzle attachment or a grenade that could be fired from the end of a rifle’s barrel. In May 1963, the U.S. military called for a new... Read more