With His Grenade Launcher, a Lone British Soldier Beat Back a German Tank Attack
On May 6, 1944 during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, Francis Arthur Jefferson, a soldier with the British Army’s Lancashire Fusiliers, engaged a German tank with a Projectile Infantry Anti-Tank grenade launcher, or PIAT. The action made Jefferson famous. But fame wouldn’t spare him a tragic fate.... Read more
As America Mobilized for War, Pres. Woodrow Wilson Fretted Over Silencers
On March 30, 1917, just days before the United States entered World War I, Pres. Woodrow Wilson directed his personal secretary Joseph Tumulty to write to the Department of Justice requesting that the agency look into the threat German fifth columnists might pose if they used Maxim silencers to... Read more
The Remington Nylon 66 Was the First Plastic Gun
This story originally appeared on Nov. 21, 2016. In the late 1950s, Remington took advantage of its parent company DuPont’s expertise in industrial chemistry and developed a revolutionary new firearm. The Nylon 66 was the first mass-produced, widely-marketed polymer firearm. Remington designers requested a synthetic material that had a high tensile-impact... Read more
The U.S. Marine Corps Is Getting a New Rifle
The U.S. Marine Corps has picked the Heckler & Koch M27 as its new infantry rifle. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller confirmed the selection in an interview with Military.com. The new rifle is part of a wider overhaul of the Marines’ infantry gear. Jarheads are also... Read more
In 1964, the U.S. Treasury Seized a Virtual Museum of Machine Guns
In June 1964, agents of the U.S. Treasury Department staged a seven-day sting targeting what news reports described as a “mysterious warehouse” in Ridgefield, New Jersey. What they discovered was startling. 517 guns. A few quite interesting. And some … illegal. A photograph in the New York Journal-American newspaper... Read more
After the AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov Pushed an Automatic Pistol
In the late 1940s, Mikhail Kalashnikov — the Russian gun-designer behind the then-new AK-47 assault rifle — produced an automatic handgun called the APK. Busy completing the AK-47, Kalashnikov reportedly lacked the time to truly refine the APK. In the end, the Red Army preferred Igor Stechkin’s own APS... Read more
Madre mía, este fusil contracarro finlandés era gigantesco
El descomunal fusil contracarro Lahti L-39, diseñado por Aimo Lahti ─el mayor diseñador de armas de Finlandia─, les prestó un buen servicio a los finlandeses durante los años 1940. Solo el cañón del fusil contracarro semiautomático de 20 milímetros ya medía 130 cm. de largo, y todo el arma... Read more
The XM174 Grenade-Launcher Was Too Fragile for Vietnam
In the early 1960s, American advisers in Vietnam asked the U.S. Army to supply them an automatic grenade launcher. In September 1963, the Army asked industry to submit designs for a low-velocity 40-millimeter automatic grenade launcher. The new launcher had to weight less than 12 pounds — half the... Read more
France’s FAMAS Rifle Is Simple and Compact
In 1967 the French army requested a new infantry weapon to replace both the MAS 49/56 rifle and MAT-49 submachine gun. Three years later, the French military standardized on the new 5.56-by-45-millimeter cartridge. With requirement and cartridge in hand, Paul Tellie, Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne — MAS — began... Read more
The Soviet DP-28 Was a Brute-Simple Machine Gun
In the mid-1920s the Soviet military realized it needed a new, locally-produced light machine gun. Vasily Degtyaryov had anticipated the demand. He began developing the DP-27 light machine gun in the early 1920s. Following trials and some modifications, the Soviet army adopted Degtyaryov’s gun in 1928 as the DP-28.... Read more
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