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Vintage Saturday: Short-Lived Nation

Biafran troops, circa 1968

Biafran troops, circa 1968

The Republic of Biafra was supported by Czechoslovakia during its brief existence, and the men here are equipped with a Czech ZB-53 machine gun and what appears to be a CZ-47 or CZ-247 submachine gun.

M1915 Villar Perosa Video

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The Villar Perosa is one of the first small machine guns developed and used by a military force. It was designed in Italy and introduced in 1915 as an aircraft weapon, to be used in a flexible mount by an airplane’s observer. The gun consists of two independent firing actions mounted together. Each fires […]

BSA 1926 & 1929 Thompson SMGs

In the early days of the Thompson Submachine Gun, the Auto-Ordnance Company was looking for customers globally. General John Thompson had personally run a demonstration of the gun in England in June of 1921, which was well received militarily, if not politically. Unfortunately for Thompson, just a few weeks before the trial a plot to […]

RIA: Thompson T2 Submachine Gun Prototype

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The T2 submachine gun was Auto-Ordnance’s entry into the ongoing competition to replace the classic Thompson submachine gun with something more economical to produce. It was a closed-bolt, select-fire design using a progressive trigger and a tubular receiver, along with stand Thompson gun magazines. Examples were made in both 9mm and .45 ACP, but […]

James D. Julia: Czech ZK-383 Transferable Submachine Gun

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The Czech-made ZK-383 submachine gun is a bit of an oddball in the world of submachine guns. It has several design features typically associated with rifle-caliber light machine guns – an integral bipod and a quick-change barrel. In fact, the ZK-383 was designed to be a hybrid gun, usable as either a standard SMG or […]

RIA: MP3008 Sten Copy

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The MP 3008, aka Gerät Neumünster, was one of two German efforts to copy the British Sten gun. The first was the Gerät Potsdam (“gerät” meaning device or project; basically project code name), which was a direct copy of the Sten distinguishable only by a marking details and a few differences in manufacturing processes. While […]

Sidewinder SMG Photos

The Sidewinder is a rather unusual submachine gun designer by Sidney McQueen in the mid 1960s. His objective was to create a weapon which could be fired one-handed with the firepower of a submachine gun rather than a pistol. What McQueen came up with was a good example of the “arm pistol” concept, which can […]

Beretta M1918 SMG Photos

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The Beretta M1918 was one of two simultaneous efforts to turn the M1915 Villar-Perosa machine gun into a more practical weapon. The Officine Villar Perosa (who had manufactured the 1915 gun in the first place) did one version, and Beretta did the other. In fact, Beretta’s version was the work of none other than Tullio […]

Q&A Video #1: H&K G11, Owen, F1, Worst Gun Ever, and More!

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As part of my new fundraising system on Patreon, I am starting a monthly Q&A video series, answering questions from Patreon contributors. The support from you folks is a tremendous help to me in running the site, and I really appreciate it! This month I am addressing:

H&K G11 (and caseless rifles in general) Origins […]

Thompson Riot Ammo at James D Julia

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Did you know that the Peters company made ammunition specifically for riot control for the Thompson submachine gun in the 1920s? And it wasn’t rubber bullets, either – it was paper-wrapped snakeshot. The cartridges were actually longer than a standard magazine would accept, necessitating the production of a special longer magazine to fit them. […]