China Spent Decades Trying to Build a Better AK-47
In the mid-1960s, the Chinese military began to seek a replacement for its assortment of Soviet-licensed small arms, including the Type 56 semi-automatic rifle, the Type 56 assault rifle and the Type 56 light machine gun. The result was the Type 63, first issued in 1968, which combined characteristics... Read more
The Hotchkiss Portative Made For a Decent Tank Gun
Laurence Benét and Henri Mercié designed the Hotchkiss Portative light machine gun at the turn of the 20th century. It was a gas-operated, air-cooled, select-fire weapon that fired from an open bolt. A number of nations adopted the weapon, including France, Belgium, the United States and Britain. The United... Read more
I Learned How to Make My Own Bullets
Widener’s sponsored this post. Longtime readers probably won’t find it shocking that I enjoy firing guns. Of the weapons I’ve fired, the World War II-era Thompson submachine gun is my favorite. Not the Tommy, with its large barrel and gangster connotations, but the M1A1 with its long magazine and .45... Read more
The Giant Cannon Is the Bigfoot of Modern Tank Design
This article was first published on Sept. 28, 2014. For decades, Western analysts have predicted that Russia would introduce a giant new gun for its tanks—one that could blast right through the armor on U.S. and allied fighting vehicles. To this day, the terrifying cannon has never appeared. But rumors... Read more
The U.S. Army Is Repainting Its Tanks Green—Hint Hint
American tanks returned to Europe to deter Russian military adventurism in 2014, and the war machines are there to stay. But the speed of the deployments, coupled with the crews’ busy schedules, left little time to repaint hundreds of M-1 Abrams still colored in desert tan. Their appearance was a... Read more
En un principio la pistola AR-15 parecía un chiste malo
La pistola AR-15 pasó muchos años de mala racha en el mercado de las pistolas y las armas de defensa personal . Todos los comentarios al respecto solían ser muy críticos o incluso despectivos. Algunos incluso se reían abiertamente de este arma por su supuesta falta... 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
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 AR-15 Pistol Seemed Like a Bad Joke at First
For years the AR-15 pistol had a rough time in the handgun and personal defense weapon markets. Reviews tended to be critical or even dismissive. Some even openly mocked the weapon for its supposed impracticality. The public wasn’t very interested in it other than as a novelty gun. There... Read more
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