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The Vault

Pedersen Selfloading Rifle at RIA

When the US military decided to seriously look at replacing the 1903 Springfield with a semiautomatic service rifle, two designers showed themselves to have the potential to design an effective and practical rifle. One was John Garand, and the other was John Pedersen. Pedersen was an experienced and well-respected gun designer, with previous work including [...]

Colt Offensive Pistol at RIA

I had the opportunity to visit Rock Island Auction again to check out the guns they have up for sale in their December 2014 Premier Auction, and put together a big batch of videos, which will be publishing daily between now and the auction itself (which is the weekend of December 5th, 6th, and 7th). [...]

Swanström 1882 Automatic Pistol

Today’s post was written by a Swedish reader named Arne Bergkvist, about a very early Swedish automatic pistol I had not been aware of. It is particularly interesting as one of relatively few examples of self-loading firearms designed before the advent of smokeless powder. It never went into serial production, but shows plenty of ingenuity [...]

Prototype Dieckmann P66 Pistol at RIA

The P66 was a prototype .22LR semiauto pistol designed by a German immigrant to the United States by the name of Rolf Dieckmann. It never went into production, but had a number of interesting features, including a removable firing mechanism and a combination extractor and firing pin. In addition to Dieckmann pistol number X3, this [...]

Handmade Auto-Revolver at RIA

This very odd one-off pistol first appeared in a 1958 Golden State Arms catalog, with no description of its history or mechanical design. I have often seen it referred to as an automatic revolver, but this is a misconception – what appears to be a cylinder is actually a rotary magazine, akin to a Ruger [...]

Krnka 1895 Semiauto Pistol at RIA

This prototype 1895 Krnka automatic pistol is another of the items up for sale at the upcoming Rock Island Premier Auction. This pistol, serial number 7, was the first in the developmental line that led to the 1907 Roth-Steyr cavalry pistol.

Mauser 1912/14 Automatic Pistol (Video)

The Mauser 1912/14 automatic pistol was the final stage of a dead-end development track for a military sidearm in 9mm Parabellum made by Mauser. The program began as a plain blowback pistol in 1909, which did not work effectively, and was replaced by a series of different locked or semilocked systems culminating in this, the [...]

Smith-Condit Rifle

Smith-Condit military trials rifle

In the years prior to World War I, the US Army Ordnance Department was already investigating the possibility of adopting a self-loading service rifle, even as the 1903 Springfield rifle was being adopted. In 1904 and again in 1909, the department published the testing procedure that would be undertaken for semiauto rifles submitted for consideration. [...]

Ole Krag’s Experimental Pistol: Made By Norinco

In 1908, Ole Krag (the same man associated with the Krag-Jorgensen rifle) applied for a US patent on an automatic pistol design. This design, along with many others, would be submitted to the Norwegian military pistol trials taking place around that time, and would fail to in them (the winner was the Norwegian copy of [...]

US Model 45A

Model 45A

by Tom Laemlein

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short article for Small Arms Review magazine on the strangely futuristic “Model 45A”, which was the subject of a group of photos by a US Army photographer. Apparently this rifle was a one-off developed by a group of Army Ordnance men stationed in the [...]