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RIA: Colette Gravity Pistol

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Colette was a Belgian gun manufacturer that made this interesting parlor pistol. It used a rocketball type of cartridge, in which the powder and primer were encased in the hollow base of the bullet to make a caseless cartridge. The gravity pistol was named for its gravity feed mechanism and its 20-round capacity. Because of […]

RIA: Stocked FN Model 1903

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The FN Model 1903 was a Belgian-made scaled-up version of John Browning’s model 1903 pocket hammerless pistol. The pocket hammerless was made in .32 ACP and .380 calibers for (primarily) the civilian market in the US by Colt, and the FN model was chambered for the more powerful 9x20mm Browning Long cartridge, with military and […]

Vintage Saturday: Classi Alpini

Italian Alpini posing for a photograph

Very classy, with the pipes and feathered hats!

Italian Alpini posing for a photograph with a nice selection of Italian small arms – 1934 or 35 Beretta pistols, Beretta 38 submachine gun, and a 1935 model Fiat-Revelli machine gun.

Francotte .22LR Borchardt Lookalike (Video)

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It’s fairly common today to see .22 caliber versions of larger firearms, marketed to folks who don’t want to spend as much for either the gun or its ammunition. For example, the ATI Sturmgewehrs, the Beretta ARX-160, and the GSG AK and MP5 lookalikes in .22 rimfire. Well, it’s not a new trend – very […]

Hammond Bulldog Pistol at RIA

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Made in Naubuc Connecticut, the Hammond Bulldog was an interesting single-shot rimfire .44 caliber pistol. It used an unusual rotating breechblock, and had the potential to be a fairly strong action. Reportedly prototypes were made in a wide variety of calibers, including a carbine version with a wire-frame shoulder stock, but the vast majority were […]

Elgin Cutlass Pistol at RIA

elgin thumb

In an effort to take advantage of Jim Bowie’s popularity, George Elgin patented a huge knife attached to a single shot percussion pistol in 1837. The idea was simply to offer a dual-purpose weapon, and it proves that human nature never does change much. I suspect that in actual use the weapon would have been […]

Schulhof 1887 Repeating Pistol at James D Julia

Austria was a hotbed of early repeating handgun design, first with manually operated designs and shortly thereafter with self-loaders. One of the men contributing to this development in the 1880s was Josef Schulhof, a farmer-turned-gunsmith who had a number of patents and designs to his credit. His first pistol was developed in 1884, and this […]

Fiala Model 1920 Combination Gun at RIA (Video)

The Fiala Model 1920 was a manually-operated repeating pistol in .22LR caliber that was marketed with the backing of famed polar explorer Anthony Fiala. The guns came as a set of one frame, three barrels (3″, 7.5″, and 20″) and a removable shoulder stock. This allowed the owner to set the gun up in […]

Lady’s (Ladies?) Home Companion at RIA (Video)

The Ladies Home Companion was a pistol (technically) made by the Cobray company on the same frame as their 12ga “Street Sweeper” shotgun. It had no stock or front grip, and was chambered for the .45-70 rifle cartridge, carrying 12 rounds in its fixed drum magazine. It’s kinda like watching a train wreck…you know […]

Khyber Pass Martini Pistol at RIA (Video)

The Khyber Pass is a well known center of arms production, with gunmaking there going back at least 100 years. The quality of craftsmanship varies greatly, from excellent and safe weapons to thoroughly unsafe guns made with little more than hand files and drills. In the last decade or so, much of the production […]