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The Vault

Mauser C96 with Chinese Hand-Made Frame

After posting my video of the oddball Chinese pistol in the recent RIA auction, I received a number of emails from folks with similar sorts of guns. One was from a fellow named Leonardo, who ended up with an interesting Chinese creation courtesy of Fed Ord. About 20 years ago, they were selling really junky [...]

Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA

Many unique and interesting pistols were made in China in the 1920s and 1930s, and this pistol is a good example of them. It is not a copy of any specific Western handgun, although mechanically it works like a Mauser 1914 pocket pistol. It is chambered for .32ACP (the other common caliber for these handguns [...]

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 [...]

North China Type 19

North China Type 19

Many years prior to the attack on the US Navy that marks the beginning of World War II for the United States, the Empire of Japan had invaded China. This war of occupation was a massive effort on the part of Japan’s military, involving more than 2 million troops at its height. When the war [...]

Book Review: China’s Small Arms of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War

I picked up a copy of this book a couple years ago when Bin Shih first published it, but by the time I got around to doing a review it had sold out – so I didn’t bother. Well, a seconds printing run has been made, so it seems that now would be a good [...]

Small Arms of China – Update

Several years ago I had the opportunity to interview Bin Shih, who had just published a book in both English and Chinese on Chinese small arms – China’s Small Arms of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). It was basically self-published, and sold out very quickly. Well, I have been informed by Bin that a second [...]

What I Didn’t Buy Last Weekend

So this past weekend was a Regional auction at the Rock Island Auction house, which I neglected to post about beforehand. The Regional auctions are the ones with typically lots of less valuable guns packaged up into lots of 4, 5, 6, or more. I put in bids on a bunch of lots, but unfortunately [...]

Movie Review: Assembly (2007)

The past year’s lineup of blockbusters from Hollywood has been pretty light on war movies, so here’s one you may not have seen to fill the gap. Produced in China by director Feng Xiaogang, it is Assembly – and it’s a very impressive production.

In many ways, Assembly is a Chinese version of Saving Private [...]

Vintage Saturday: Mausers on the Silk Road

Original caption: Masib, Ahmad, Haji, Abdullah, Kara-khoja outlaws at Panopa shelter huts, Panopa, Xinjiang, China [c1915] MA Stein

Commentary from the photographer:

Full-length portrait of the four men, standing in a line with rifles. ‘While halting for the night I had an interesting opportunity of becoming acquainted with a small party of well-armed outlaws from [...]

Book Review: The Early Arisakas

Are you interested in Japanese weapons and militaria? There is a group you should be aware of – Banzai. Formed in 1982, Banzai has been publishing a newsletter full of Japanese-weaponry-related articles for more than 30 years now, and bringing together like-minded collectors for as long. For decades Japanese military arms like the Arisakas and [...]