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RIA: Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag” Revolvers (Video)

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After making their big break with the adoption of the Model 1871 Mauser rifle by the newly unified German government, the Mauser brothers, took a shot at getting the handgun contract for the military as well, with this revolver, the Model 1878. It is often colloquially called the Mauser Zig-Zag because of its conspicuously […]

RIA: Prototype Mauser HSv Pistols (Video)

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When the German military finally could no longer tolerate the expense of the P.08 Luger in the late 1930s, they held a trial of possible replacements. The three main entrants were BSW with a gas-operated pistol, Walther with what would ultimately be accepted as the P.38, and Mauser with it’s experimental HSv locked-breech design. […]

RIA: Prototype Gustloff 206 Rifle

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German arms development during World War II was quite the chaotic mess, in many ways. While it is not uncommon for different service branches to have independent procurement systems, in fascist-era Germany this was coupled with the close collaboration between industry and the Party structure. This led to competing and conflicting policies between military […]

RIA: Real vs “Fake” Wheellocks – What is “Fake”, Anyway?

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When someone makes a “fake” historical gun, they can do so with the intent to deceive or be up-front with the gun’s new manufacture. Those acknowledged reproductions are a great option to have – guns like Uberti reproduction revolvers give us an excellent opportunity to shoot antique designs without the cost of true originals […]

RIA: Himmler Presentation Sauer 38H for Snipers

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Note: I debated whether or not to use the Nazi flag in the thumbnail image, and opted to put it in there because it was in fact the German flag when this pistol was made. It is a powerful symbol, but hiding the symbol does not do anything to change the history that has […]

Mauser M1915 Selbstlader Infantry Rifle (Video)

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The Mauser Selbstlader M1915 was the result of many years of work by the Mauser brothers to develop a semiautomatic rifle suitable for military use. They tried many different types of operating systems, and this one is a particularly unusual recoil-operated mechanism.

Only about 600 of these rifle were made, with about 400 of […]

Vintage Saturday: Life and Death in the Mud

French soldier standing over German dead. Souain, France, ca. 1915.(Bibliotheque Nationale de France Francois-Mitterrand)

World War One Soldiers’ Loadouts

The kit of a French Private Soldier in the Battle of Verdun, 1916

A reader sent me a link to a pretty cool image gallery showing the basic clothing and equipment of five different major combatant powers from mid-WWI. I have re-uploaded the individual photos in case the original links go dead (click to enlarge each photo).

The kit of a French Private Soldier in the Battle […]

RIA: Ortgies Pistols

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The Ortgies is a pistol whose interested aspects are often overlooked on the assumption that it is just another identical .32 ACP blowback pistol. Well, it is that – but it is also more.

Mechanically, the Ortgies has a rather unusual grip safety mechanism that is quite different from what we expect to see […]

RIA: The Jager Pistol and its Complex Reassembly

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The German military used a lot of different small-caliber pistols during World War One, and the Jäger is one of the most interesting of them. Its unique design was the result of needing to build pistols for the war effort on machines and tooling that were not suited for pistol production. The answer? Replace […]