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Weapons of the Spanish Civil War


The Spanish Civil War is a relatively un-remembered conflict here in the US, but it is a fascinating event for firearms enthusiasts because of the huge variety of arms used. Both sides were supplied by a variety of other sympathetic nations, including Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, and Poland. The military aid supplies included both […]

Kalashnikov vs Sturmgewehr


The German Sturmgewehr and the Soviet Kalashnikov are widely and rightly considered the two most influential and iconic of the modern military rifles. While the German rifle certainly influenced the Soviet design, the two were designed with different intentions and goals. The Sturmgewehr was an attempt to blend the roles of rifle and light […]

RIA: Russian M1870 Galand Revolver (Video)

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The Galand was an innovative revolver design created by Frenchman Charles Francois Galand and patented in 1868. It is most notable for using a long lever system to eject cartridges by throwing the cylinder and a separate cartridge retention plate forward. It was also one of the early adopters of centerfire ammunition (a .45 […]

RIA: Prototype W+F Bern AK44 Copy of the SVT

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The Swiss factories of SIG and W+F Bern both produced a remarkable number and variety of experimental self-loading rifles in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Nothing would be adopted by the Swiss military until the StG-57, but these two firms were continuously working to develop a military self-loader for either Swiss or foreign […]

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 […]

Vintage Saturday: Finnish Militia

Finnish red guard militia members posing for the camera some time during the civil war.

Finnish red guard militia members posing for the camera some time during the civil war (click to enlarge).

The woman at the front right has a Winchester 1895, almost certainly of Russian contract origin in 7.62x54R. The others appear to have Type 30 Arisaka rifles, which would have been sold to Russia by Japan […]

RIA: Soviet SVT-38 Self-Loading Rifle

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A lot of people think that the US was the only country in World War II to mass-issue a semiautomatic infantry rifle, but that isn’t true. While the US was the only country to issue *everyone* a semi auto, both the Soviet Union and Germany produced large numbers of them. The Soviet rifle in particular […]

RIA: Polish Ng30 Nagant Revolver

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The Model 1895 Nagant revolver is pretty common in the US thanks to large imports of Russian revolvers, but we rarely see Polish Nagants. These were adopted as a sidearms for police organizations under the designation Ng30, and manufactured at FB Radom through the 1930s. Typical of FB Radom production, the quality is superb.


RIA: Predecessor to the Mosin – the Russian Berdan II

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Before adopting the M1891 Mosin-Nagant, the Russian Empire (like most major militaries) used a large-bore single-shot rifle as its standard infantry rifle. In this case, a .42-caliber rifle designed by American General Hiram Berdan (yes, the same guy who invented the Berdan primer). As with other Russian small arms of foreign design, the initial batch […]

RIA: Russian Winchester 1895 in 7.62x54R


The Winchester 1895 was the last of Winchester’s lever-action rifles, and has an interesting place in a couple different parts of world history. On the one hand, the 1895 in .405 Winchester caliber is known as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Medicine” for safari hunting. On another, it was the object of the largest military lever-action purchase […]