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Erika 4.25mm Pistol at RIA

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Today we’re looking an another early European micro-pistol. This is the Erika, developed by Franz Pfannl and chambered for the 4.25mm Liliput cartridge (which develops approximately 1/4 the energy of the .25 ACP).

These pistols were actually carried for personal protection, under the theory that any gun was better than no gun, and that the […]

Braverman “Stinger” Pen Gun at RIA

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The US National Firearms Act includes a category called “Any Other Weapon”, which encompasses a variety of regulated weapons, including firearms which are disguised to look live other everyday objects, such as canes, and pens. R.J. Braverman, however, devised and patented a type of pen gun which the ATF concluded was not subject to regulation […]

Plus Ultra: The Supersized Ruby Pistol at RIA

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The “Plus Ultra” was a variation on the Ruby automatic pistol made by Gabilondo y Urresti (the original holders of the Ruby trademark) just shortly before they changed their name to Llama. The Plus Ultra was a scaled-up Ruby using double stack, 22-round magazines (still chambered for .32ACP). It offered much greater capacity than the […]

Two VG1-5 Gustloff Last Ditch Rifles at RIA


The Volksstrumgewehr Gustloff, more commonly (albeit incorrectly) known as the VG1-5, was one of the few semiautomatic Volkssturm weapons produced at the end of WWII. I have discussed these rifles before, but wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to take a close look at two more examples of the type.

Mechanically the Gustloff uses […]

Gewehr 71 with Experimental Magazine at RIA


The Model 1871 Mauser was adopted as the newly united Germany’s first standard rifle, and it was a good design. However, it was a single shot rifle and soon it became apparent that the additional firepower of a magazine rifle was necessary to maintain military parity. A number of different conversion methods were tested by […]

1847 Walker Revolver at RIA

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The Colt 1847 Walker revolver was a massive 4 1/2 pound handgun made for Samuel Walker of the US Mounted Rifles (he also served with the Texas Rangers) as a way to equip mounted troops with greater firepower than single-shot carbines. The Walker was the first true martial handgun made by Colt, and despite its […]

RSC 1917: France’s WW1 Semiauto Rifle at RIA

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Did you know that the French Army issued more than 80,000 semiautomatic rifles during WWI? They had been experimenting with a great many semiauto designs before the war, and in 1916 finalized a design for a rotating bolt, long stroke gas piston rifle (with more than few similarities to the M1 Garand, actually) which would […]

Madsen LMG Disassembly and Functioning (RIA)

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The Madsen LMG is of particular interest to me because it is both a very mechanically unusual design and also a very early successful design. Madsen light machine guns were first used in combat in the Russo-Japanese War, saw use in both World Wars, and continued to be used by various forces (the Brazilian police […]

Colt Z40 Pistol #1 at RIA

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However, after only 800 had been sold, Colt backed out of the deal and dropped the Z40 from its catalog. Why? Because they had happened to use a Z40 as the base gun for a model “smart gun”, and the public reaction was overwhelmingly negative. In the aftermath, Colt management threw out the Z40 as […]

White Prototype Open-Bolt LMG at RIA

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Along with his two semiauto rifle prototypes, when White went to England for rifle testing he took along a work-in-progress light machine gun. The weapon was trsted by British officials, but found wanting – largely because it was really not a weapon ready for testing. The “LMG” White built was actually semiautomatic only, although it […]