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The Vault

Two More Nazi Belt Buckle Pistols

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Every since the first time I was able to get my hands on an alleged Nazi belt buckle pistol, I have had a hankering to collect photos of as many of them as I can, and start a catalog of the different examples. The vast majority are undoubtedly post-war fakes (I have a background post [...]

Vintage Saturday: Trench Armor

German dugout w grabenpanzer armor

This dugout has a particularly high mustache and bayonet density (photo from Drake Goodman)

Interestingly, one of the German troops in the front row is wearing grabenpanzer steel armor. This was reportedly used primarily for machine gun crews and sharpshooters – soldiers whose jobs were particularly heavy on staying in one place and being [...]

Slow Motion: Mauser 1914 Pocket Pistol

mauser 1914

Mauser’s classic early pocket pistol began as the model 1910, in .25 ACP caliber (6.35mm). It was then re-engineered for the larger .32 ACP (7.65mm) cartridge in 1914, and a final set of modifications too place in 1934. It is a simple blowback mechanism, with disassembly rather different from most other blowback pocket pistols.

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History of the Designated Marksman’s Rifle (Video)

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Today Karl and I are looking at the history and evolution of the DMR concept. This is the idea of a squad force-multiplier in the form of a rifle with greater precision capability than the standard infantry weapon, but without sacrificing the speed and firepower of that standard weapon. If is differentiated from the modern [...]

Vintge Saturday: Holding Things Down

Usually one uses sandbags or ammo cans for this, but when all else fails…

German soldier using his body weight to stabilize an MG34 on an anti-aircraft tripod.

Slow Motion: Interesting Extractor Problem (Schwarzlose 1898)

Many people don’t realize that an extractor is not strictly necessary in many types of pistols – several early blowback models (notably the Bergmann 1896, as well as some later Spanish pistols) did not even have extractors. The residual chamber pressure after the bolt opens is often sufficient to push the case out of the [...]

Mannlicher 1885 Semiauto Rifle

Mannlicher 1885 semiauto “Handmitrailleuse”

Ferdinand von Mannlicher’s Model 1885 self-loading rifle design as a failure, never seeing anything even resembling mass production. However, it was a failure which in many way set the stage for a huge number of the machine guns that would follow for the next several decades, including the famous Browning [...]

Schwarzlose 1898 Pistol (Video)

Schwarzlose 1898

The model 1898 Schwarzlose was a self loading pistol definitely ahead of its time. It was simple, powerful (for the period; it was chambered for 7.63mm Mauser), and remarkably ergonomic. It used a short recoil, rotating bolt mechanism to operate, and very cleverly had one single spring which did the duties of primary recoil spring, [...]

Walther G41 and G43 in the 2-Gun Action Challenge Match

I decided to bring back my Walther G41 for the April 2-Gun match, this time with a reproduction ZF-41 scope mounted on it. My G41 is a bit unusual in that it was originally made with the pair of rails for a saddle-type mount and also the side rail for a K98k type mount. The [...]

Slow Motion: Gewehr 43

The G43 was intended to become the standard infantry rifle for the Wehrmacht (replacing the Kar 98k), but production never ramped up sufficiently, and the concept of the intermediate-caliber Sturmgewehr took over by the end of the war. Mechanically, the G43 uses a flap-locking system copied directly from the earlier Walther Gewehr 41 coupled [...]