I will admit, in the aftermath of my video on the “Nazi” belt buckle pistol I have gotten a bit interested in them. Not because of their historical significance (which I am pretty well convinced is non-existent) but because of the variety of phonies that have been created to bamboozle collectors. Call me strange, but I think it would be fun to create a nice online reference source detailing all the different variations. With that in mind, here is an example I recently got photos of:
This one shares the same basic mechanical design as the standard version, with the same firing pin, trigger, and recocking setup. It only has a single lever to open the barrels instead of two, and the cover plate is not spring loaded. It has solid cover plates extending to both sides of the main action to hide the actual belt connections. It has 4 barrels, in .22 caliber (presumably .22LR).
What is also interesting to see, and totally gives this away as a fake (as it the
parrot eagle on the front cover plate isn’t enough) is the markings. Whoever made this one decided to cover all their bases, by marking it with both commercial firearms proofs (well, sort of), Waffenamt marks, and RZM marks. The RZM (or Reichszeugmeisterei) was a national material control office, responsible for a lot of soft goods, like armbands, belt buckles, and much more. They were quite specifically exclusive from WaA, though – nothing legit will have both WaA and RZM markings. And, of course, there is also the minor issue of the RZM stamp used here being incorrect – it has no crossbar on the Z. The Waffenamt marking used is WaA358, which was probably just an easy stamp for the faker to procure. It suggests that the belt buckle gun was actually made by Walther, which is definitely not true. The one other mark, an eagle holding a swastika, is clearly a crude reproduction when viewed up close. Here are detailed photos of the various markings:
I don’t know if it is funny or sad that this would probably bring several thousand dollars on the market. These devices have basically built an entire collecting sub-genre, and even the ones unanimously accepted to be totally fake sell for exorbitant amounts. I hope the buyers are simply people with too much money, and not overly gullible collectors who think they are actually genuine WWII artifacts.
This is probably a dumb question, but has anyone ever tried to actually test-fire one of this widgets?
From a rest, naturally, not while actually wearing it. It would be a genuine pain to mount in a Ransom Rest, and I’m seriously thinking that the heat-treatment of the metal might not be up to even .22 RF pressures.
I’ve dealt with “improvised weapons” professionally, and in my experience even the ones that are machined (as opposed to being bits held together with friction tape) aren’t necessarily made of materials I’d trust for the job, IYKWIMAITYD.
Yes – the fellow I spoke with who picked up a couple in Germany in the 90s did shoot them (or try to). His assessment was that “they don’t work for shit”. Unreliable ignition and a tendency for the cartridges to slip out of the chambers while moving around.
No SS markings, so it’s probably the party leader version 😉
A’DOLFS BELT BUCKLE! HAVE SEVEN THOUSAND BUCKS, IT’S BOUND TO BE WORTH TEN!!
I’m thinking the mechanisms in these whatchamacallits may have been “inspired” by some of the various ‘alarm guns’ and ‘trap guns’ that were around before World War One.
Quite a few of those used triggers that were pressed downward to sear off, because they were intended to be put under the door of a hotel room like a door-wedge to give you a very loud warning if someone tried to sneak in while you were asleep.
Ones that fired at right angles to the “wedge” trigger were fairly common, as were ones that folded to be put in your kit. And the most numerous ones were chambered for .22 RF.
Whether genuine Nazi-era artifacts (unlikely) or postwar fakes (very likely), the mechanisms of these “buckle guns” could have had their start with those cheap “alarm guns”.
Just a guess.
Interesting. There’s a memoir of a German spy captured by the FBI in 1945 called “Agent 146” by Erich Gimpel. He mentions such a belt buckle gun in a description of a spy v spy action in Norway. So all the fakes are based on at least one prototype.
I would take memoirs of single individuals with a very large grain of salt unless corroborated by other eyewitnesses or physical evidence…
The concept seems to have existed previously in the early “anti-garrotter” devices using an enclosed flintlock or percussion mechanism, although the barrel faced rearward (ironically the percussion version was patented by an Englishman named Ball…which is where the .50 caliber bullet would have likely hit the attacker!)and was designed to protect the wearer from being strangled from behind, as if this was such a prevalent threat that it would require a weapon designed specifically for the purpose. Although these are extremely rare, a boxed an labeled example does exist, whereas there is no such provenance for any of these Nazi belt-buckle pistols. One would think that, if these were authentic, that at least one German officer presented with this device would have gotten a chuckle out of it, then tossed it in a drawer with the box and instructions and strapped on his trusty Luger (or PPK or whatever), only to have it discovered by some lucky collector 70 years on. It seems like the true design intention of these novelty weapons is to separate the gullible from their money. P.T. Barnum would be proud.
You could probably find a gunsmith in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan to make all of these you wanted and with whatever markings you so desired.
No doubt. Those guys are very creative, and I’ve seen examples of their work that were of decent quality.
Good idea with the online reference, you should tag the post you did some time ago with fake markings on rifles (can’t find it at the moment) with “fake” as well. Maybe have a section for it on the left menu.
If these things are modern inventions rather than historical relics, aren’t there some potential legal impact for the buyers?
Personally, I think the historical context for faux-nazi bet buckle guns is more interesting and historically important than genunine war vintage belt buckle guns would have been. Not important enough to warrant the prices they’re currently going for, though.
First I want to say your site is the best.
I want to make a comment about revealing all the counterfeiters mistakes, they will learn!
Seriously, counterfeiters have improved their craft by reading forums, such CMP’s and correcting their mistakes.
Please keep the articles coming they are great. If you are ever in the Memphis area drop us a line.
Thanks, Richard – I am cognizant of the need to balance informing potential buyers against the potential to drive better fakes. In this case, though, I am pretty well convinced that all belt-buckle pistols are fake, so I’m not worried about improvements being made to them.