An Ambitious New Project for Forgotten Weapons

Forgotten Weapons began as an archive for historical firearms data – photos, manual, trials reports, and more. Over the years it has evolved into a daily video channel, but I would like to expand back towards my original vision for the site. However, I have no available time to put into sourcing, curating, and organizing a significant archive, because I am continuing to produce daily video. So, I would like to be able to hire a professional curator to oversee a new incarnation of, complete with a budget to pay researchers. This is an ambitious goal, and the financial cost of providing a competitive salary for a qualified person as well as a budget for paying researchers is pretty daunting.

In theory, this could perhaps be financed through advertising. However, I would much prefer to keep the site an oasis of ad-free content in an internet that is awash in popups and banners. From the other side, most major online ad networks aren’t willing to work with sites that focus on firearms. Considering both of these issues, I would much prefer to have the project funded directly by those of you who want to see it happen.

I have made a couple tweaks to the Forgotten Weapons Patreon page to reflect this project. I don’t have specific perks for supports figured out yet – I need to consider what will be valuable and desired without compromising the fundamental goal of making the archive information all freely, readily, and easily accessible.

If you think this is a project worth doing, let me know and please consider showing your support directly via Patreon.



  1. Ian, this is Jim from and If you are putting together a list of researchers it’s what I do. I’m somewhat limited in mobility at the moment but have resources and documents that may be of help. Consider me a volunteer for anything I can help with. No credit necessary. Anything U.S. carbine related I can draw on our group and their experience. No expectations, just an offer.

    Keep up the great work. I understand overloaded and don’t know how you manage it all.


    • I am willing to help out in any way possible. Researching is definitely up my alley so if I can help in any way I am game. I’ve helped before on translating books for you so there is no questions in the willingness to help. My email will be submitted if you have further instructions or think I could be a good fit for this.

      • P.S. not that it’s a qualifier but I do have a double BA in multimedia communications and history. Just stating it’s a passion to research.

  2. Dear Ian,

    I am Benjamin, a military historian from germany. My BA-Thesis had the title “The genesis of the Assault Rifle” and I am a collector as well.
    If you need any help, feel free to contact me. Research, translations of german sources, what ever you need.

    And of course, you still got no Video of a PTRS anti tank rifle. I got a german demilled one, but it’s still possible to work with and disassemble it.

    Thanks for your work!


    • Ben… You posted while I was writing the post below. Maybe you’re a guy I could talk to about the inter-war era MG question…?

      Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I made acquaintance with an American who’d spent most of his working life from the early 1950s to the late 1970s as a Department of the Army civilian in Germany. He’d a bit of an obsession with the German machinegun practices and theories, and had spent a bunch of his spare time vacuuming up anything he could find in print or other media. When I met him, he had a display of a bunch of stuff he’d put together at the Lake County Gun Show in Lake County Illinois, and it was impressive. I got to go through a bunch of it, including WWII-era German training films, and I wish I’d gotten copies of it all. He told me he was working on a book, and I got contact info from him for that, but when I came back from overseas on my subsequent tour, I tried contacting him again to no avail–He’d apparently died unexpectedly, and I couldn’t even find his next-of-kin.

      He had a lot of stuff I’ve never seen or heard of before, and it outlined a very obscure (to most Americans, anyway…) and fundamental difference between how the German Army viewed and used machineguns vs. what the Allies were doing. I think it’s a still significant, and well worth studying and preserving. I have no idea where the volumes of stuff he’d collected went, but I’m sure that copies still exist somewhere in Germany and Austria.

      Unfortunately, I lack the fluency and the money to do the research. Ah, well… Maybe if I win the lottery, it would be possible to hire someone. Or, perhaps, Patreon…?

      Other question is, how could one get a copy of your thesis? 🙂

      • Thats a really big topic to talk about – unfortunately, I will be on vacation from today to the 20th of July.
        Feel free to contact me via mail: benfrahm @ web . de

        My thesis is written in german, but by the number of requests for a copy from english speakers (You are not the first one) I will have to translate it. I thought about writing a book about this topic, maybe as my doctoral thesis, and than in english.

        Since Ian and Co founded Headstamp Publishing, my goal is to write a book for the series, too.

  3. It’s funny, but I was just thinking the other day about this very subject, and I was kind of sad that Ian’s success with the video end of this whole thing had kind of warped what I thought was the original intent of the site. I mean, I enjoy the hell out them, but I kind of miss the old format of posted manuals and all the rest.

    I’ll tell you what I’d like to see, and what I’d happily pay for, and that would be a DVD compilation of all the text resources we’ve got here from the old days, and what’s hopefully to come. It is nice that it’s on the internet, but as we’ve seen with all the demonization of firearms lately, the internet may not be forever. A digital archive on a more permanent format like the Milleniata M-Disc would be comforting in the (possibly) coming dark ages for firearms.

    Not to mention–I’ve often commented that I would love for someone to go through the various archives and dig up exactly what is actually available for the tactics and operational side of German inter-war era machinegunnery. I wonder if there’s some way we could put together a Patreon or something to finance someone to go digging…?

    I’m pretty sure there’s a bunch of stuff out there that’s not commonly available… I’ve seen it in the hands of a guy who told me he was working on a book, but he apparently died before ever completing it. I never could find out what happened to all the stuff he had, but it’d be nice to recreate it and get something out there–I think there is a major difference in how the Germans viewed and used their machine guns, and the rest of the Western armies. A re-examination and consideration of what that consisted of, and why they did it would be useful.

  4. This is a great idea. There’s so much incredibly interesting stuff out there but having it all in one place would be like heaven. Just for my own pleasure I’m trying to research the international trade in ex-military rifles in the late C19. It’s proving to be fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. I’m sure I heard your father say on the livestream he’d been involved with archives during his career – was that right?

  5. why not to keep on showing FW ? What’s the deal to “modify” or to “develop” if everything comes out of a real passion for FW !

  6. Ian, it sounds good, and I’ve upped my contribution. How much specifically are you looking to raise in addition per year, and @ what point do you say, well, that’s not happening, guess I’ll just get my SOT & a mill instead?

  7. Bravo for attempting a work of scholarship in the firearms field. Nice to see a serious contribution to counter the “mag dump, blow it up” sophomoric BS so common on the web. Happily just subscribed to support your work.

  8. I messaged you with an old forgotten weapon that has not yet been covered.
    I am the owner of the gun. It is from 1904 Smith & Wesson model 1891.

    Contact me if you woukd like to use it for a video

  9. As a reader from nearly the beginning and been missing the written articles since it mostly moved to videos, I most definitely support this motion. 🙂

  10. Well, some time ago I subscribed to because of the very valuable archive material they published. In the second or third year they switched from useful reports to totally useless clippings from Soviet propaganda journals. I would hate to see that happen here.
    The Patreon web site does not reveal who handles credit card payments. At least not prior to signing up. PayPal continues to flood my inbox with unwanted mail, although I took the necessary steps (under EU law) to sever any connection with them. If supporting means to again become a coerced member of PayPal, I am sorry to not being able to support you.

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