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RIA: Japanese Army Pedersen Copy Trials Rifle

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The Japanese military was interested in finding a new self-loading rifle to adopt in the 1930s. The development project began with a request to retired General Kijiro Nambu who designed a gas-operate,d rotating bolt rifle but could not bring it up to the standards demanded by the military and opted to abandon the project […]

RIA: 1929 Simson Prototype 9mm

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In the late 1920s, German Ordnance hinted at an interest in replacing the P.08 Luger pistols with a less expensive handgun design. This prompted a number of submissions from hopeful companies, including this design from the Simson company of Suhl. It is chambered for the 9×19 Parabellum cartridge (as requested by Ordnance) but is […]

RIA: Nambu 15-Shot Type A Experimental

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Before the Type 14 Nambu pistol was developed to replace the “Papa” Nambu, Kijiro Nambu experimented with a high-capacity design with a 15-round magazine. This pistol was called the Type A Experimental, and was designed around 1920. Only 15 or 20 were made, and they show elements of both the Papa and the Type […]

RIA: Thompson Model 1923 Autorifle

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One of the very early entrants into the United States Ordnance Department’s semiauto rifle trials was the Auto-Ordnance Company, makers of the Thompson submachine gun. For the rifle trials, they designed a .30-06 rifle using the same Blish-locking principle as had been applied to the SMG. Since the Blish principle doesn’t actually work, this […]

RIA: CZ Model S Prototype (1929)

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This CZ Model S rifle is one of many prototypes made between the world wars in Czechoslovakia in an effort to develop a military semiautomatic rifle. Similar efforts were underway in most other countries at the same time (basically every place that had a mature arms industry), and a huge variety of ideas were […]

RIA: Reifgraber .38 S&W Automatic

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Designed by Austrian immigrant Joseph Joachim Reifgraber, this is a prototype gas-assisted short recoil pistol in a .38 rimmed revolver cartridge. While this version did not see any serial production, the Union Firearms Company of Toledo (Ohio) did market a slightly smaller model in .32 S&W (and .32 ACP). The gas-assist, as described in […]

RIA: Walther P38 Development

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The Walther P38 was adopted by Germany in 1938 as a replacement for the P08 Luger – not really because the Luger was a bad pistol, but because it was an expensive pistol. Walther began development of its replacement in 1932 with two different development tracks – one was a scaled-up Model PP blowback […]

RIA: Japanese Type 100 Paratrooper

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The Type 100 (sometimes called the Type 0) was one of the initial Japanese experiments in paratroop rifles. Manufactured from standard Nagoya Arsenal Type 99 rifles, the Type 100 used a set of interrupted lugs at the chamber to allow the rifle to be broken into two short sections. Only a few hundred of […]

RIA: Walther A115 Prototype Rifle

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The Walther A115 was one of the semiauto rifles developed in pre-WWII Germany. Apparently only three were made, and it uses a neat combination of sheet metal construction with a rotating bolt and annular gas pistol like the later G41 rifles. This particular example was examined by Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1955 (you can […]

RIA: Yovanovitch Model 1931 Pistol

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Lazar Yovanovitch was a Serbian native of Yugoslavia, born in Belgrade. He left engineering school to design firearms, and developed a couple .22 and .380 caliber pistols. None were adopted by the Yugoslav military, but he did use his .380 in international competition at the 1933 ISSF 25m rapid fire competition and the 1936 […]