Announcing My New Book: PISTOLS OF THE WARLORDS

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here!

I am very excited to announce the launch of my new book, “PISTOLS OF THE WARLORDS: CHINESE DOMESTIC HANDGUNS 1911 – 1949”. During the Warlord Era and the Chinese Civil War, handguns were made by a wide array of institutions, form huge Western-style arsenals to regional repair depots to simple traveling blacksmiths. Even at the major arsenals, handguns were usually made in quantities too small to justify tooling up a production line, so instead gunsmiths made them one at a time. As a result, no two guns are quite the same.

I had an opportunity to work with a collection of several hundred examples of these pistols, and compiled this book from them. It is divided into four chapters (Unique Chinese designs, Mauser C96 copies, FN 1900 copies, and other copies) and it is more than 500 pages of gorgeous full-color photography. I’ve included specific data on a few of the guns where the data still exists (mostly arsenal-made guns), but this is largely a cataloging effort to present the full range of what these pistols can be.

There is virtually no mention of these guns anywhere else in firearms literature, and I hope that this book can both provide valuable information for those who are interested in the guns and this period of Chinese history, and also that it will spur more research into them.

In addition to my book, we are also reprinting Dolf Goldsmith’s monograph on Chinese Mauser rifles of the period, originally printed in the mid-90s and titled “Arming the Dragon”. Check out the Kickstarter campaign for all the details, plus lots of extras and exciting stretch goals!

21 Comments

  1. Just backed the project. Not a firearms expert but I am a native Chinese speaker. If you need help checking translations etc., I’d be happy to be of assistance.

  2. Ian, the differences btwn the mystery edition and the retail edition are, well, a mystery. Could you provide some clarification?

  3. pledged for a purple one (what else!) and the bull pup book (damn you Headstamp). I got the pre order version of Chassepot to Famas. Do you plan a short thin addition on the Meunier A6? A separate thin paperback version will do.

  4. Out-fing-standing Ian! Hope I can afford it, probably not kick-start it but if there were ever a F/W project truer to your mission, I haven’t seen it.
    Guess Khyber Pass may be somewhere in the queue? No fear ne?

  5. Will this book be available in China? I imagine there would be colloquial or local knowledge of the history of many of these pistols.

    • I doubt there is much knowledge left. Living memory will have pretty much died out by now and there is no gun culture in the PR China. Maybe in some PLA history research institute there may be some eccentric historian knowing a bit about these civil war mystery pistols. Maybe some catalogue listing found guns and such. But not much do I really expect. Guns found around china have probabaly gone to recycling and been smelted down and made into new steel.

  6. I once walked over a market in Central China. One of the street vendors sold colorful plastic toy pistols, and one of them had -I kid you not- written “Mauserwerke Oberndorf” at the side.

  7. tell me how to help. I certainly want a copy but I can;t figure out how to help. Can I – like – sent a check?

    • Wait for the kickstarter to go live. Get an account there on the kickstarter website and transfer the money as per isntructions there.

  8. Gorgeous!
    What’s next?
    “Bible about the pocket and chef’s knives of the peoples of Africa”?
    Or let’s go straight to the epoch-making “Shot shell cases found at various shooting ranges”?
    The volume of material is simply bottomless. LOL

    I understand that money doesn’t smell, but this plot is just an advertisement for outright rubbish.

    • Dude. . . totally uncool, even if you are some sort of foreigner and thus understandably untrained in common decency and good manners.

  9. I received my copy of the American Rifleman this morning, only to find there is an article about pistols of the Chinese warlords! Great minds think alike.

  10. Wow! Very cool idea for a book. I will look forward to when the kickstarter campaign is over and all participants can get their book. Until that moment, I read memoirs and their descriptions at https://studyhippo.com/essays-on/memoir/ where many interesting works are collected. What I liked most was A Long Way Gone written by Ishmael Beah. I recommend this book to everyone. The story of the boy soldier will not leave anyone indifferent. I would also like to add that this resource contains a lot of information that helps me better prepare for college classes

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