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RIA – Spanish FR-8: the “Cetmeton”

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The FR-8 is a Spanish rifle manufactured in the 1950s as part of Spain’s adoption of the CETME semiautomatic rifles. Spain was not only moving to their first semiauto rifle, but also changing from 8mm Mauser to the new 7.62mm NATO. It was not possible to immediately equip everybody with the new rifles, so […]

RIA: Alkar Cartridge-Counting Pistol

Alkartasuna SA was a company formed in 1914 by a handful of disgruntled Astra (well, Astra was still called Esperanza y Unceta at that time) employees. This was a difficult time for the Eibar gun industry – demand was low, their reputation for quality was not good (the lack of a central proof house […]

RIA: Webley 1905 Pocket Automatic

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William Whiting was an engineer who spent his entire adult career with the Webley company, and was responsible for all of their in-house self-loading pistol designs. This work initially focused on a behemoth of a pistol, the Model 1904 intended for military contracts. The gun proved insufficiently attractive to the British military though, leaving […]

RIA: Gewehr 1898 – Germany’s Standard WWI Rifle

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The Gewehr 1898 was the product of a decade of bolt action repeating rifle improvements by the Mauser company, and would be the standard German infantry rifle through both World Wars. Today we are looking at a pre-WWI example (1905 production) that shows all the features of what a German soldier would have taken […]

RIA: Pond .32 Rimfire Revolver (Video)

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Lucius Pond was one of 4 major manufacturers successfully sued by Rollin White on behalf of Smith & Wesson, for infringing on White’s patent (exclusively licensed to S&W) of the bored-through cylinder. Pond had designed a hinged-frame .32 caliber rimfire revolver with some good and bad qualities, and made in excess of 5,000 of […]

RIA: Smith & Wesson Model 1913 Automatic Pistols (Video)

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Smith & Wesson’s first venture into the autoloading pistol market was done under the leadership of Joe Wesson, Daniel Wesson’s son. He was quite the automatic pistol enthusiast, and made an agreement to license patents of Liege designer Charles Clement for adaptation into a pistol for the US market.

The resulting Model 1913 featured […]

RIA: Little Tom – the World’s First DAO Automatic

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The Little Tom pistols designed by Alois Tomiška are notable for two particular features: their unusual reloading system and for being the first commercial DAO automatic pistols. Made in both .25ACP and .32 ACP in the 1920s (the .25 versions are much more common than the .32s), these beat out the Walther PP as […]

RIA: Star Model 1920

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The Model 1920 was Star’s first locked-breech pistol, basically a combination of features from the Colt 1911 and their traditional Eiber blowback .32 pistols. It was tested by the Spanish Army in 1920, with inconclusive results. The Guardia Civil, however, found it to be suitable and adopted it after those tests. Only 3850 were […]

RIA: Darne 1892 Rotary Shotgun

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The most popular shotgun made by the French Darne company was their 1897 sliding breech side-by-side, which saw sales and use worldwide. Before that, however, Darne invented a rotating breechblock system – first a series of external hammer varieties in the 1880s and then this hammerless Model 1892. It is a great example of […]

RIA: Spanish “El Tigre” Winchester 92 Copy

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Spain was historically a major center of patent infringement in firearms manufacture because its patent law left open a big loophole: patents were only enforceable if the patent holder actually manufactured their guns in Spain. The major European and American firearms manufacturers were not interested in setting up plants in Spain, and so their […]