Live on “America Armed & Free” Radio Today

I’m happy to announce that I will be live with Charles Heller on “America Armed & Free” discussing firearms history and whatever else the conversation wanders into today, from noon until 2pm, Arizona time. It you’re in Southern Arizona, please tune in to AM 1030, KVOI to listen live – and I’ll add the link to the recorded show once it’s available.

I’m bringing a couple guns along to the studio to talk about, including an Israeli Mauser, a 1915 Mosin-Nagant made by New England Westinghouse, a Schwarzlose 1908 blow-forward pistol, and a Frommer 1910 long recoil pistol. If you’re listening in now, here are a few pictures so you can see what we’re looking at in the studio:

Israeli Mauser – note the Hebrew crest and small Nazi marking on the bolt. Rifle was originally in 8mm, and later converted to 7.62mm NATO by the Israelis.
Mosin-Nagant rifle made in the US by New England Westinghouse. This rifle was used by Russian forces, captured and reused by the Finns, and later exported back to the US as surplus. Along the way it picked up parts from Russian and French arsenals.
Left, Hungarian Frommer 1910 pistol – unusual for have a long-recoil mechanism like a Browning A5 shotgun.
Right, German Schwarzlose 1908 pistol – one of only 3 commercial handgun designs ever to use a blow-forward mechanism.


  1. These three blow-forwards being Schwarzlose, Mannlicher 94 and Hino-Komuro, right? Any else somebody knows of?

    • I don’t know of any other actual blow forward pistols, but the basic Schwarzlose layout with the addition of a slide lock was resurrected as the manually operated semmerling in .45ACP.

      The Schwarzlose layout certainly offers better scope for a really compact pistol than the Browning slide does (look at some of the really compact browning style pistols, the portion of the slide behind the breech face is longer than the barrel on some of them.

      a forward moving barrel and a fixed standing breech also seemed to be pretty popular set up for manually repeating 19th century “magazine pistols”

      IIRC both Mannlicher and Ross had patents for forward acting semi auto rifles, and SIG got as far as prototypes of their AK53

    • It also should be remembered Grant Hammond’s Gas Operated Blow Forward Pistol
      patented in May 4, 1915, SN l,l38 378. Only a few made for prototype chambered
      for .32 ACP.

    • The Schwarzlose sold in some numbers through the Sears mail order catalogue. I’m not sure whether it ever turned a profit for its manufacturer though, I don’t think many semi auto pistols ever did.

      There was a rumor a while back about a couple of crates of un used Hino Komuro pistols being found in a depot in Japan. The rumor continued that as they didn’t have paperwork, they had to be destroyed (tick box, do not, under any circumstances engage brain)… it’s sort of believable.

      I gave a fair bit of thought to the idea of a blow forward compact semi auto. The patent for the Simmerling (that .45ACP pistol is still available new ) mentions the posibility of using a Williams type floating chamber to assist semi auto operation.

      You’ll see from the position of the extractor, how short the standing breech of the Simmerling is, particularly compared to the conventional semi auto below it. It also allows for the bore line to be much lower in the hand than other semi auto layouts – and without biting the web of the thumb – not that the Mannlicher blow forward took advantage of that, with its decidedly revolver like ergonomics.

      The down side comes with recoil

      Reducing size hopefully reduces weight, and also reduces moment of inertia – so perceived recoil increases in proportion.

      a conventional semi auto compresses the web of the hand and joints of the hand and wrist before the slide begins to move, the movement of the slide before its impact at the rear of its travel, spreads out the impulse over a longer time, slightly dampening the perceived recoil.

      with a closed bolt* blow forward (especially one with a floating chamber)everything is acting against the standing breech (and your hand), you not only get the recoil from the accelleration of the bullet and the powder gasses against your hand at the same time, you also get the reaction to the floating chamber accelerating the barrel forward too, so recoil will be even worse than with a snubby revolver of the same weight barrel length and chambering.

      *Hino Komuro fired from an open “bolt” – well, open barrel.

  2. You need a post on that Israeli Mauser. I’ve heard conflicting reports as to whether it was built in 7.62, or was built in 8mm and converted later. I picked one up recently and I find it very interesting.

  3. How similar is that Frommer 1910 to the Frommer stop. I dont know why but even though ive never held one i am facinated by frommers designs.

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