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Vintage Saturday: Average Joe

Union carpenter Joe Olson assists the coal miners during the UMW labor strike against CF&I, in Ludlow, Colorado.

Union carpenter Joe Olson assists the coal miners during the UMW labor strike against CF&I, in Ludlow, Colorado.

Interestingly, Joe here appears to be armed with a sporting version of the Gewehr 88 – which means those cartridges in his belt will do little good without some en bloc clips. Good thing he’s also […]

Grant Hammond .45ACP Trials Pistol

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The Grant Hammond .45 pistol is a gun which was too late to take part in the major 1907 US military pistol trials, and which was instead presented proactively to the military in hopes of supplementing or replacing the current issue pistol (the Remington M53 falls into this same category). Unfortunately for Mr. Hammond, his […]

How to Get More Rifles Fast: France, WWI


One of the universal misconceptions about World War One on the parts of its combatants was how long it was expected to last. When war broke out, the prevailing assumption on all sides was that the conflict would be short – troops would all be home by Christmas of 1914. The meat grinder of trench […]

Vintage Saturday: Shipboard Operations

SEAL Team 8 member with his M14 during Desert Storm

SEAL Team 8 member with his M14 during Desert Storm

Note the optic (can’t tell what type), the 1907 pattern shooting sling, and the hand-made vertical front grip.

Perspectives on French Rifle Sight Design

French Berthier sights

Holy moley, is that the most dense and snooty post title ever? I think it might be. However, I think it’s a much more interesting subject than most folks might anticipate, and it’s something that came to my attention largely as a result of shooting 2-gun matches with a couple different French rifles. So, bear […]

Ballistic Nylon as Armor (Video)

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You have probably heard of “ballistic” nylon, but everyone knows that soft armor is made of Kevlar, right? Well, it is today (and other similar fibers). But a few decades back, before Kevlar had been invented, Smith & Wesson was selling soft body armor made using layers of nylon – “ballistic” nylon.

Thanks to Movie […]

The First Maxim Machine Gun

Maxim "Prototype" at the Royal Armouries in Leeds. Note the absence of the rate-of-fire control arm in this version...

I am going to start an intermittent series of posts on the various different types of Maxim machine guns over the next few months – there are a whole slew of them, and I have good photos of a bunch of different variants. Hopefully it will be a good reference for both production history and […]

A Soviet Look at Cold War Small Arms Development

Military Thought (USSR): Some Points on the Status and Development of Small Arms (1965, English translation)

I have covered various elements of small arms development during the Cold War more than a few times – usually involving the contentious process that led to the 7.62mm NATO cartridge being adopted, and the various rifles that failed to make the cut in the process. What I have not posted before, though, is a […]

Savage .45 ACP Pistols – History & Disassembly (Video)

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In the US pistol trials of 1907 that eventually led to the adoption of the Colt/Browning Model 1911, the two strongest competitors to the Browning design were the Luger and the Savage. Luger declined the opportunity to participate in extended field trials, and so the two finalists were Browning and Savage.

Savage had their original […]

Vintage Saturday: On Guard

Man standing watch at the Emmett Mine in Leadville Colorado during labor disputes (source: Denver Public Library)

Armed with a Trapdoor Springfield – with fixed spike bayonet – and a long-barreled Colt Single Action Army. Dated 1890s – back when “labor dispute” meant more guns and fewer negotiators than it does today. Click the […]