The Vault

M1918 BAR – First Variant Photos

The Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR, was a staple of American infantry forces through WWII and the Korean War, and has an outstanding reputation today. The gun was originally developed in 1917 and first fielded in the closing days of World War I, in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. In fact, per an agreement made with John [...]

Vintage Saturday: Desert Watch

Back when pom-poms on hats were cool.

British soldiers manning a post somewhere in Palestine. The Lewis gunner is adjusting his sights, while his A-gunner is ready with a new magazine. Three men in the background looking at something else, and using SMLE rifles. Thoughtful of them to top the rock walls of the [...]

John Inglis and Bren Production

If I say “John Inglis”, the first two things that probably come to mind for a gunnie are High Powers and Bren guns. Inglis was a Canadian company that made a huge proportion of the Bren guns used during WWII, as well as other munitions. At its peak, Inglis employed 17,800 workers…and yet in 1937 [...]

Book Review: Honour Bound – The Chauchat Machine Rifle

I’ve discussed the much-maligned CSRG machine rifle (the Chauchat) previously – it was not the utter disaster that common knowledge would lead you to believe. You won’t find much literature on the Chauchat, but fortunately what has been written is of top-notch quality: Gerard Demaison’s and Yves Buffetaut’s Honour Bound: The Chauchat Machine Rifle. Published [...]

The Huot Machine Rifle: A Ross Conversion

The first serious automatic weapon considered for military service in Canada was the brainchild of Joseph Alphonse Huot, a machinist and blacksmith from Quebec. Born in 1878, Huot was a large and strong man (not surprising for a blacksmith), standing 6’1″ tall and weighing in at a muscular 210 pounds. His personality included a great [...]

Vintage Saturday: Femme Fatale

Women in combat? Preposterous!

Leningrad, 1942, with a DP28 light machine gun. Women served the Red Army in substantial numbers as pilots, snipers, and machine gunners. In light of the controversy over US women moving into combat roles, this seems like it might be a relevant part of the conversation.

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Semiauto Madsen LMG Video

The Madsen light machine gun is note-worthy for several reasons – it was the first military-issue light machine gun developed and it was successful enough to remain in production into the 1950s (long after every WWI-era machine gun was long out of production). It was also one of the most usual machine gun mechanisms ever [...]

Monthly 2-Gun Action Challenge Match

In addition to studying and researching unusual firearms, I enjoy shooting, and like to take any opportunity I can get to get trigger time with the more obscure designs out there. The local 2-Gun Action Challenge Match gives me a great opportunity each month to try out a new firearm in an environment designed to [...]

Quote of the Week: Vladimir Peniakoff

Speaking about his time leading a group of Arab soldiers in Libya prior to his involvement in the LRDG:

We also obtained captured Italian machine guns: these weapons of a new design of extreme ingenuity, light, pleasant to handle and of a good appearance, had only one fault: they wouldn’t fire. I tested many: under [...]

Hotchkiss M1922 LMG

Many people are unaware of just how many different firearms were produced by the Hotchkiss company over the decades – not many of them received the worldwide acclaim of the more well known arms companies. Hotchkiss was actually founded by an American gunsmith from Connecticut, Benjamin Hotchkiss. Faced with the lack of interest in new [...]