‘Shock Troop 1917’ Is a Brutal War Film … From 1934
Hans Zöberlein’s 1934 feature film Stoßtrupp 1917 — Shock Troop 1917, in English — depicts German stormtroopers fighting on the Western Front during World War I, slogging from the Aisne to Champagne to Cambrai. The film is deeply nationalistic — and was hugely popular in its time. Compared to... Read more
The U.S. Army Tried Really Hard to Replace the M1911 Pistol
Starting in 1948 the U.S. military made a valiant but futile effort to replace its World War I-vintage Colt M1911A1 pistol. The U.S. Army approached several companies to submit bids. Ithaca declined to bid. High Standard, Colt and Harrington & Richardson all submitted proposals, but the Army quickly rejected... Read more
In the 1980s, U.S. Troops Almost Got a Killer New Shotgun
In the early 1980s, the U.S. military wanted a new combat shotgun. The Close Assault Weapon System program aimed to produce an automatic shotgun with greater range and more firepower than a conventional shotgun possessed — and which could engage targets between 100 meters and 150 meters with a... Read more
Some Pretty Weird Prototypes Preceded the P90 Submachine Gun
In the mid-1980s, Belgian firearms-maker Fabrique Nationale began working on a new personal-defense weapon. In time, it evolved into the iconic P90. But not before producing several rather bizarre prototypes.   In 1989, NATO issued a specification for two personal-defense weapons — one a pistol and the other a shoulder-fired compact... Read more
France’s Fall Didn’t Make Any Difference to Gun-Maker MAB
Frenchman Léon Barthe established Manufacture d’Armes de Bayonne in 1920. While named in the style of France’s great national arsenals — MAS, MAT and MAC — MAB was actually a private enterprise. Apparently, profit motivated Barthe to keep right on producing pistols even after his country fell to the Nazis.   MAB brought... Read more
The Lightweight Rifle. Source Carbines proved better for overburdened troops in World War II by MATTHEW MOSS In 1943, Canada’s Long Branch Arsenal began developing a lightweight version of the Rifle №4 that, at six pounds and 10 ounces, was three pounds lighter than the standard №4. The need... Read more
If You’re Going to Use the PSM Pistol, You’d Better Get Close
The 5.45-by-18-millimeter Russian Pistolet Samozaryadny Malogabaritny — “compact self-loading pistol”—is a small pistol for concealed carry. Emphasis on small. The Tula Design Bureau designed the PSM in the late 1960s as an alternative to the standard Makarov. Developed for use by general officers and intelligence operatives, the PSM was accepted by the... Read more
Germany Skirted a Major Treaty to Produce the Modell 30 Machine Gun
by MATTHEW MOSS In 1929, German firm Rheinmetall purchased the Swiss manufacturing company Waffenfabrik Solothurn with a specific goal in mind — to sidestep the restrictions the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control had, after World War I, placed on Germany’s production of firearms. Production of German designs in Switzerland began almost... Read more
The Suppressed M3 Was America’s Quiet Commando Submachine Gun
The U.S. Army’s M3 submachine gun from World War II drew inspiration from the British STEN. Likewise, the suppressed M3 followed the suppressed versions of the STEN — the Mk. II and Mk. VI. The U.S. Office of Strategic Services formed in June 1943, modelling itself on the British... Read more
The Walther P38 Was Germany’s Most Popular Wartime Pistol
In 1929, German gun-maker Waffenfabrik Walther began developing a new nine-millimeter pistol for military use. The development violated the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, so Walther kept it secret. Early Walther attempts focused on scaling up its “PP” line of pistols to chamber the larger nine-mil... Read more
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