Controls Long Past

Guns are like vodka. The better and better new ones get, the more indistinguishable they become, as they get closer and closer to that Platonic ideal design. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, really – we have had enough experience to figure out which characteristics tend to work best for the most people, and so designers can’t be faulted for chasing that design down to the last tenth of a percentage of efficiency. There is still a question of whether to use a DA/SA exposed hammer or a DAO striker system, but other than that most new service pistols are as close to indistinguishable as most new 4-door sedans. If they have a manual safety, it will be up for safe and down for fire. The mag release is a button on the left side of the frame where the trigger guard meets the grip. The action will be a short-recoil Browning type. The magazine will be a double-stack, single-feed design. It will eject out the right side, using an external extractor. The recoil spring will be located under the barrel.

It has not always been this way, though. In the early days of self-loading firearms, nobody really knew what would work best, and there were a lot of ideas competing for standardization. Let’s take a minute to consider the firearms controls that have fallen by the wayside, for reasons good and poor:

  • Magazine cutoff. Initially inspired by the novelty of bolt action repeaters, the magazine cutoff was a feature on a great many early military designs. The brass were quite concerned about how the troops would just blow through crate after crate of expensive ammunition if they didn’t have to manually reload after each shot. So they demanded a way to hold a rifle’s magazine in reserve and force troops to single-load until an emergency justified use of those 5 rounds in the mag. Then they realized that the extra firepower was worth paying for more ammunition, and mag cutoffs disappeared after WWI.
  • Semiauto cutoff. Any general who was concerned about ammo consumption when his troops got bolt-action rifles must have just thrown up his arms in despair at the idea of a semiautomatic rifle. The answer? Incorporate a way to cut off the self-loading operation of the mechanism and turn it into a straight-pull bolt action until that emergency rolled around. The 1907 Mondragon is a good example of this. Later, the same sort of idea would resurface for the much more practical purpose of launching rifle grenades without breaking gas systems.
  • Heel magazine release. Okay, so this one is still around to a much greater degree, especially on non-military pistols. But there used to be plenty of martial designs that opted for the simplicity of a hell-mounted mag catch over the speed of a button near the trigger guard.
  • Blind-magazine pistols. Backing up further, how about the pistol designs that used stripper clips in place of detachable magazines? It seemed like a good idea for a while, because it eliminated the possibility of losing your magazine, or denting its feed lips. No such problems with a Steyr-Hahn or C96 Mauser or any of the other myriad early pistols that chose this system. You just have to accept that your reload won’t be as fast. And you can’t really make the system practical with more than 10 rounds.
  • Trigger as bolt release. This was an idea more common than you might expect, about 100 years ago. Why add an extra control to release a held-open bolt when you can just have the trigger do it? The Farquhar-Hill worked this way, as did the Czech ZH-29. While today we are much more rabid about trigger safety, this system did make sense in many ways. It’s simple to train for and remember – load a new mag, pull the trigger to close the bolt, and pull again to fire.
  • No bolt release at all. The next logical step along that thought path would be to totally remove the need for a bolt release. The British EM-2 bullpup did this; the bolt would automatically close (chambering a round in the process) when you locked a magazine in place. Again, while nerve-wracking to a shooter today, this did have its merits. Of course, it was implemented in a way that added a bunch of complex bitty little parts to the magazine, and that wasn’t so great.


  1. On a larger scale, the British Admiralty, removing breech loading Armstrong guns from ships and returning to muzzle loading naval guns as soon as the state sector arsenals were able to catch up with production…

  2. Actually that had technical reasons, the Armstong design did not have good obturation due to its screw design. Too many of them blew up.

    • While that’s true, it wasn’t the only reason. RN gunners of th 1850ies and 60ies were essentially taught on the job. This wasn’t really an issue with muzzle loaded guns since there were plenty of experienced gunners around. Unfortunatly none of the gunners had any experience working with the more complicaetd breach loaders which led to a numerous user errors.

  3. Similar to the EM-2, a Browning A-5 shotgun will automatically load the first round you put in the magazine from a locked back bolt. Makes reloads for a 3-gun match that much faster. It has a bolt release too though.

  4. Thanks for this interesting piece of information, Ian !

    Though magazine cut-offs seem to have been the norm pre-WW1, I’m having a hard time finding what rifles did have such a feature.

    Here are the ones I found so far :
    Krag-Jørgensen M/1889
    Krag-Jørgensen M/1894
    Lebel Mle 1886/35
    Lebel Mle 1886/93
    Lee-Enfield MLE
    Remington-Keene Repeating Carbine
    Remington-Keene Repeating Rifle Army
    Remington-Keene Repeating Rifle Frontier (also exists without)
    Remington-Keene Repeating Rifle Navy
    Schmidt-Rubin 1889
    Springfield M1903
    Vetterli M1869
    Vetterli M1870/87/15

    Does anyone care to help me complete this list ?

    • It wasn’t just rifles which had mag cut offs, the Webley and Scott locked breech .455 auto pistols adopted by the British navy had 2 notches for the magazine,with the idea that the mag was normally kept too low down to feed, and loaded rounds were hand fed into the chamber.

      • It seems like there was at least one other semi-auto pistol with that arrangement, but I can’t remember which one.

        • Example: You’re out hunting doves and have a gun full of birdshot for the purpose. Then you spot a nice buck or a turkey. Instead of having to fully unload the gun, you just hit the magazine cutoff, eject the chambered round, then throw in your buckshot or turkey-load or whatever directly into the chamber.

          At least that’s how Dad explained it when schooling me on the A5.

  5. “Le Français” pistol DAO in 1914 build by Manufrance (Manufacture Française d’Armes et de Cycles) with French patent 472,505 in 6 August 1913. Safty with not ammo in chamber.

  6. the Mauser pistols (1910/14 series; HSC had that oddball feature of the slide closing only on a magazine – loaded or not – my dad got a 19+14 from a cop in Fort Lee, NJ back in the 60s – before that state became part of the Combloc – the cop didn’t want it because (hr said) it was broken – the slide wouldn’t return to battery…hadda be broken, right???

    CB in FL…BTW – that little mouse gun was dad’s nightstand gun until he passed in ’84

    • Hi, Chris :

      That’s an interesting story. Sorry to hear about your Dad. Do you still have the gun in your collection, and have you fired it? If so, what are your personal impressions? Thanks!

  7. A Keith & Mu :

    You both brought up a really interesting side-topic. It was reported that during the Royal Navy’s bombardment of Kagoshima in August 1863 at the time of the Satsuma War, the Armstrong rifled breechloaders then in service suffered a total of 28 accidents out of 365 shells fired due to obturation and bore-related issues. Armstrong hastily developed a rifled muzzle-loader, comprising a steel gun tube externally reinforced with shrunk wrought-iron coils, as a replacement that was retro-fitted to the affected vessels.

    The French Navy apparently had few, if any, such issues, manufacturing its own successful breechloading big guns at the Ruelle Naval Gun Factory or sourcing semi-completed guns from outside vendors for final finishing at Ruelle. Between 1870-1875, typical construction comprised a steel inner tube ( barrel ) encased within a cast-iron sleeve. The larger-caliber weapons were also reinforced with two layers of external steel hoops. After 1875, all-steel construction was used, in conjunction with up to three layers of hoops.

    It was in the 1880’s that the Royal Navy finally decided to return to the rifled breechloader, taking advantage of newer advances in design, metallurgy and manufacturing technology. This was prompted by an accident on board HMS Thunderer in 1879, when a 38-ton muzzle-loader exploded after being double-loaded ( this could not have occurred with a breechloader ), killing eleven men.

    Altogether, the period 1860-1890 was marked by an enormous number of innovative technological strides with regard to capital ship design, armament, armor and propulsion, and set the stage for later developments that gave rise to the pre-Dreadnought and Dreadnought eras.

  8. What about magazine disconnects, as in the gun cannot fire unless a magazine is present? Are those a modern (and stupid) lawyer/legal requirement or does it have roots going back further?

    • For that matter, there are some weapons with a folding-stock disconnect (weapon cannot be fired while folded) such as the Saiga-12 Police model. This feature is required to comply with Russian gun laws. I believe there are other firearms with this feature but I can’t think of any at the moment.

    • It goes WAY earlier – magazine disconnects were very popular in early 20th Century. Some of these were quite ingenious in design (Mauser M1910, Browning Hi-Power), others quite blunt and brutally simple. The World Champion in this class was Belgian Lepage of 1920s. In point of fact, the Lepages lacked a proper “magazine disconnector” – it was the magazine that was a “connector” rather, with the magazine body acteing as sort of trigger bar, transferring the pressure from a loose swiveling trigger to a sear mounted behind the magazine, keeping cocked hammer. No magazine – no shooting, as the linkage missed connection…

      • 1914 Mauser magazine disconnector is a triangular shaped rotating lever working
        also ejector and slide stop. When the magazine is taken out it rotates into
        magazine well and a lug at its back blocks the sear movement, if the slide is
        taken back, another lug at its rear top enters in a notch under the same as
        retaining at the rear. if the slide is taken back with an empty magazine in, it
        is the follower that holding the slide at back and in case of empty magazine to
        be taken with considerable force, the slide moves forward very little until being
        caught by the magazine disconnector’s top lug. When an empty or loaded magazine is
        inserted, magazine body forces the whole lever to rotate backwards as releasing
        the slide to go on battery position. If the magazine is loaded, the beveled front
        face of magazine disconnect lever forces the top cartridge a little forward with
        camming action to the front of breechbolt face and eventualy chambering it after
        being separated from top lug catch. The front tip of magazine disconnect lever also
        works as an ejector and in case of being sharply formed, it slightly enters into the
        primer pocket of the top cartridge in the magazine and locks it in the pistol with
        no force capable to take it out, only remedied by chambering the round, or taking
        the slide manualy backwards to a distance where top lug rotates backward and frees
        the top round in the magazine. However, the ejector mission of magazine disconnect
        lever is nearly useless since the tip of firing pin also acts as an ejector.

        Another little pistol, CZ 45 has an interesting magazine disconnect which formed
        as a simple torsion spring that the lower arm of which resting on the trigger bar
        and forcing it down as separating from cocking notch under the hammer. The whole
        triger action is covered by a side plate fastened onto its place with a screw, and
        in most cases, that magazine disconnect spring easily got lost through, even the first dismount and the pistol goes on its work without the magazine disconnect.

        • Lapage is a single row high capasity magazine blowback pistol of heavy
          construction and it has another interesting feature that it needs removable
          handle backstap to be taken out to start the field stripping. Safety lever
          also acts as back strap retainer.

        • Strongarm, thanks so much for the concise step-by-step description of the mechanical action of the Mauser. It makes things much easier to visualize.

          • Sounds awfully complicated for a pocket pistol in .25 ACP (later .32ACP)…my dad as I mentioned previously, got one from a Fort Lee Cop in the early 60s – prolly ’61 or ’62 – because the cop thought he’d broken it…I believe the cop brought it back from Europe after the War – as a souvenir…I lost it to a pawn shop in the mid 80s after dad passed away and I lost my job…been kickin’ myself inna arse ever since…

            CB in FL…I remember shooting it at an indoor rangewith dad

  9. Semi-auto cutoff still soldiers in several (mostly Italian) police trombone/automatic shotguns, like Beretta M3P, Benelli M3 or Franchi SPAS 12 (BTW – SPAS 12 also has another “long gone control” – the magazine cut-off). The reason is of course different pressures while shooting riot rubber slugs or teargas canisters, but one can hit the “auto-off” button at any given time and use the shotgun as a pump-action. A friend of mine used that feature quite frequently on his Benelli, as autoloading shotguns were off-limits for several major Polish practical shooting competitions (for hardware unification – most entrants had pump-actions. Later on the autos competed in a separate class of their own).

    • Leszek, would you be so kind as to enlighten the rest of us about the shooting competition rules in Poland? I’m guessing at this point that they are somewhat different from what we have here in the United States, although I might be wrong. Thanks in advance!

      • I’m not sure others would be as interested in it. There was a period when some classes of hardware were (inofficially and illegally, of course, as most police activities concerning the firearms) banned by the police, who issues gun licences, so to avoid unfair advantage semi-automatics were giving to the lucky few who got them before Police stopped licensing them we had to bend and tweak a rule or two. Now we have more or less regular IPSC and IDPA matches, then (10-15 years ago) we were organizing our own rules pretty much doing whatever we liked, based on whatever rules we could find on the net. Nowadays police still tries to strangle firearms ownership, but the shooting movement we paved the way for has got its own momentum. Anyway, this is not a 2nd Amendment country and we regret it much. You keep yours and savour your luck while you can 🙂

        • Thank you for taking the time to reply, Leszek — it is still much appreciated, regardless of who else may or may not be interested. I am certainly cognizant of our good fortune here in the U.S. with regard to firearms and am personally very grateful for it. More importantly, I wish you and your fellow enthusiasts much luck in your endeavours in Poland, as always.

  10. Just a few other guns with magazine cut-offs, that breversa can add to his list are these gun which are in my collection.

    Winchester Lee Navy 1896
    Winchester Hodgkiss 1899 all 3 versions.
    Remington Lee 1899

    This arcane idea was the results of the “POWERS TO BE” either in the ARMED FORCES command structure believing that if the troops would have the use of a magazine it would be detremental to accuracte marksmanship and the amount of ammunition used would skyrocket, causing a logistical nightmere.

    On the last point, the introduction of the semi and fully automatic rifle has show that today it takes over 12,000 rounds to produce a single causalty. In VietNam the MacNAMARA pencils statistically proved that the number was over 15,000 rounds per causalty, I can vouch for this number by sighting numerous communications from higher headquaters that basicaly said that the causualty counts for a unit were unacceptable for the number of rounds expended. We should adjust the counts upward.

    In WWII this number as over 2000 in the European Theater and 4800 in the Pacific. The idea of SPRAY & PRAY has lead to less marksmanship, and more ammunition being expended. On the other hand, in WWII it was estimated that only 20 percent of the troops ever engaged a enemy soldier in a fire fight. Today the SPRAY and PRAY mentality does yeild a increase of troops firing at the enemy, even in VIETNAM you san see the soldiers, and marines sticking thier weapons out of cover ans letting of fully automatic fire at an unseen enemy.

    • I just gave a talk on the SMLE to our collector’s club in West Palm Beach, FL this past month…Early on in the ‘Great War’ the Brits realized the total uselessness of the cutoff and it was dropped from production rifles beginning on 16 Jan 1916 making THAT model of the SMLE the no1 MkIII * – pronounced ‘star’ – meaning w/o the cutoff – or the milled slot for the cutoff…I have in my collection a slotted SMLE that obviously was made prior to 16 Jan 1916, but had the cutoff removed and the * added to the model designation on the buttplate cup…in the late 40s this rifle was given to the Austrian Gendarmerie, had the cutoff added and the ‘star’ struck through by the armorer who did the work. The rifles were part of a ‘secret’ program to arm the Austrian Gendarmerie against intrusions by the Soviets from their occupation sector into the other Allied sectors (and in anticipation of the eventual withdrawal of the Brit, French & US troops. with the expectations that the Soviets would occupy and annex their part of Austria – eventually the Soviets DID leave, but only after Austria agreed to neutrality.

      CB in FL

  11. I have loaded Steyr M1912 and it is not that slower then unloading/loading mag into other weapon, remember that with mag you have to first take out empty mag, then insert new one. In case of heel mounted mag release I would dare to say that stripper clip loading is actually slightly faster.

    Also for concealed guns it would make a lot of sense as there is no way to accidentally hit mag release* in any way and reloading is most often not an issue with backup piece.

    *Local police complain to Czech Vz.50 pistols while those were still in use.

  12. the kropatschek had a magazine cut off + the beaumont vitali + the vetterli vitali + mauser 71/84. basically every blackpowder magazine rifle i have has a cut off. not a control and not missing from most rifles, but why is there still a bayonet lug on even a tavor?

  13. @ Eugene, Eric and Keith :
    Thanks a lot for your inputs ! You can bet I’ll spent my next free time documenting about them.

    Come to think of it, the Mauser version of the Gewehr 41 prototype had a mechanism that could work as both semi-auto or bolt-action, in case of failure of the former (it was a requirement of the Wehrmacht, but Walther decided not to follow it, only Mauser did).

    • Since when you can’t use a G41(W) as a repeating rifle? It’s just that it is not a bolt-action, but a two-stroke, but it will function allright. I know, I did it – the only ammo we once had for the 41W we were shooting was some very weak handload, unable to cycle the action and we had to cycle by hand. But it worked! And Wehrmacht did not require a bolt action (as defined by a four-stage manual rotating and sliding the bolt) but what is called in Britain a MOR (Manually-Operating Rifle) capability. And Walther obliged – otherwise it would never get any orders for it.

  14. I kinda like both heel mag releases and trigger bolt releases, but I am strange. I can see why the later is distressing, but as to the former, I really have no trouble with it and have even modified guns from pushbutton to heel.

  15. I thought that the magazine cutoff was due to old tactics such as bayonet charges still being used occasionally and that most of the original bolt actions had to be reloaded one round at a time instead of with clips which would make it about just as quick to load one round and shoot as it would be to reload the gun completely.

    • It has nothing to do with bayonet or no bayonet – it was conceived rather as means to conserve ammo and not let the boys get overexcited before the other guys come storming with their bayonets on. Then the officers were to issue orders to disengage the magazine cutoff and start rapid fire. The idea was actually grandfathered from the times of tubular magazines, which took forever to load (anyone ever loaded a Lebel rifle?)to make sure everybody has got a full magazine when the assault comes. With the advent of the stripper clip loaded rifles, the cut-off became obsolete overnight, only adding another thingy that could go wrong in a fight – and that’s why the British discontinued it. And they still used their bayonets many years later – as a matter of fact the last bayonet charge so far on the record was in 2008, when the British charged with bayonets on Iraqi ambushers outside Basrah.

    • For any gun I’m going to carry and might need to reload quickly, I very much prefer a thumb release. But I suppose with practice you can change out mags with a heel release pretty fast too.

  16. the auto 5 magasine cut off
    If the hunter was on duck hunr his gun, would be loadet with shells, for this purpose. If he heard some geese comming up, h couldengage the cut off kill one more duck and load a shell, with larger pellets for the new target, quit sensible, buhawe you ever notised mistakes by J M Browning.

  17. .455 Webley pistol had “sort-of” magazine cut-off, mag had two notches and could be held lower in the grip and pistol loaded round by round.
    “That way it is possible to fire whole 12 rounds per minute. Magazine is used for emergency”

  18. A question about weapons with the dual-notch pistol magazine set-ups as described by Bojan, Big Al, Keith and Magus :

    Wasn’t there a distinct possibility that the magazine would get pushed into the upper notch position ( i.e., full magazine engagement ) due to movement and the rough-and-tumble of the battlefield? Was the lower notch engagement so positive ( or possibly equipped with a manual lock-out that required physical manipulation to release the magazine into the “high” position ) that this was unlikely to happen?

  19. re:

    Heel magazine release. Okay, so this one is still around to a much greater degree, especially on non-military pistols. But there used to be plenty of martial designs that opted for the simplicity of a hell-mounted mag catch over the speed of a button near the trigger guard.

    The butt release can be a rational design decision for a pistol, which is by definition a secondary or tertiary weapon.

    According to Datig, in the Russian trials of 1938-39 the authorities specified a heel release, because they’d had some issues with inadvertent mag drops in the TT-30/33, which has a nicely positioned and easy to actuate (too easy?) Browning-style release. The weapons that placed first and second in the trials (Voyevodin’s and Priluchkin’s I think) both had a butt release, but the war intervened before the Tokarev could be replaced, and both it and the Nagant revolver stayed in production, the Nagant only till 43 or so, and the TT until at least 1949.

    After the war, Russia adopted the Walther-inspired PM. But while the Walther PP and PPK have a Browning-style release, the PM has a butt catch. I wonder about the design history of the larger MP/HP/P.38… was its butt release also the result of issues with the P,08;s Browning-style release? Was it specified by the military as the Russian change was?

    In Russia, the postwar APS and the competitor APK (otherwise, a double-stack 9×18 Walther PP knockoff with a full-auto switch!) both had butt releases.

    The initial Beretta 92 and 92S models had a butt release that was a Browning-style push button. I owned one of these and the first Berettas used by a US military unit were this style. It worked perfectly well if you accept the pistol as a two-handed weapon.

    • @Kevin RC O’Brien
      Even Tokarev used a heel magazine release in his staggered row magazine prototype of 1942 – deleted because it would cause too much disruption on the production line to introduce at the times of desperate need for the basic model

      Nagant revolver stayed in production until 1945 – the handgun shortage was immense, and the captured pistols were commonly worn throughout the war, as well.

      Both PP and PPK had heel release – in 9 mm kurz variants, as the bullet was too fat to clear the catch protruding through the magazine body. The 9 mm x 18 ‘Makarov’ round had similar hemi-spherical bullet tip – and hence the heel release. BTW – the PM could have been inspired by PP, but it was not a direct copy. For once it had a flat hammer spring which was a step backwards compared with the PP/PPK helical hammer springs. But on the other hand – it was way easier to bend the lower end of that spring into a heel release, than it was to harness the stiff hammer spring to operate the pivoting heel release in 9 mm PP/PPK

  20. A few other things that have been consigned to the scrap heap of history, but were common in the early days of auto pistols:

    1. Detachable shoulder stock. Borchardt, Luger, Browning 1903 and HP, and who knows what else. (Of course, there are still such stocks in production for Glocks, and drop-in chassis for several short guns, but they’re out of the mainstream).

    2. 3-round burst control. A 1980s answer to short training budgets. Principally pushed by H&K and the US military. The US Army has consigned it to the dustbin of history as M4s are rebuilt… the Krag magazine cut-offs better make room in there (one reason the Krag won the competition was that mag-cut-off operations were heavily advantaged in the weighting).

    3. Grip safeties. No surprise these were gone, as their principal proponent was the US Cavalry.

    4. Magazine safeties (which at least one other commenter has mentioned already). Apart from the problem of being dry when you’re reloading, there’s the fact that the mag safety usually interferes with the mag dropping free, complicating and delaying a reload.

    5. The flechette-firing infantry weapon. It was the gun of the future in 1955, and it still is.

    Of course, when I was a kid I expected the Dardick “Tround” pistol to catch on, so what do I know?

    • Good observations, Kevin. Up until fairly recently, CheaperThanDirt was still selling military-surplus small-arms flechettes by the pound to reloaders who wanted to try them out. I haven’t seen them in CTD’s inventory lately, though, so I guess they’re sold out, at least for now.

    • Dont forget that in time stock were popular for handguns there were practically no viable semi-auto carbines so those looked good from some user perspective – better to have pistol/revolver with slightly longer barrel and detachable stock (which most often doubled as holster) then to carry another weapon.
      Also, some period revolvers were heavy and with long barrels (Gasser Montenegrin, 1.7kg with 10″ barrel) and could double as small carbine – above Gassers were very popular due the use as hunting weapon also, something that it’s quite impressive 11x36mm round (312gr @ 250m/s is quite a feat for 1870s handgun) helped a lot. Good shooter with above combination would be hitting easily at 100m if he knew how to adjust for range (which most probably did), which was decent for any solt of self-defense.

    • detachable shoulder stocks would still be popular if it wasn’t for the stupid 1934 nfa law in the U.S. that made it hard for people to own short barreled rifles, my glock 19 has a detachable shoulder stock.

      • Yeah, while the idea of a “pistol-carbine” for military applications has long since fallen by the wayside, for civilian use it’s a different matter.

    • almost forgot, grip safety is still common, most colt 1911 designs/clones still use it as does uzis and croatian xd/hs pistols.

      • The grip safety really is only still common because of the enduring popularity of the 1911. Current-production 1911 clones basically just have it because the original did. The HS2000/Springfield XD is the only modern design I’m aware of that uses it.

    • The 3-round burst controller is long from dead in the US Army. It’s only the SOPMOD M4A1 and the Marine Corps’ M16A3 that have the 0-1-30 FCG, the others are still 0-1-3 and retain the abysmal Colt rotary reducer to make it even worse. The idea, especially if added as a fourth option and mechanism made resettable (like FNC or Polish Tantal/Beryl) was actually not that bad, but M4 and M16A2/A4 are burdened with a mechanism that 1. can’t be switched off to fire a burst if needed, 2. is not resetting, so if you fire one or two rounds and release, next time your rifle would fire just the number lacking to three, and 3. the trigger weight is different for first, second and third shot, if not shot in a burst that is. I can understand US military’s clinging to a DI AR-15, after the initial teething problems got solved, it transpired into a decent enough rifle – but burdening one’s own soldiers with a piece of crap like this burst limiter, that I don’t understand.

    • Many assault rifles out there have 3-round burst AND full-auto settings. I believe some versions of the H&K MP5 series do as well. Honestly, I don’t see why the M16/M4 aren’t given such a system. Clearly there are situations where both aimed bursts and full-auto suppressive fire are useful.

  21. Tangent sights for handguns – no surprise there, given the practical limits of a handgun. This goes in conjunction with Kevin’s observation of detachable shoulder stocks with handguns. Combine this with (at least in the US) the NFA, and detachable shoulder stocks just go into a legal quandary unless you get the tax stamp.

    Still, tangent sights on a handgun is pretty neat! Nothing says “practical” than a Mauser C96 Broomhandle that has a 50-1000 meter sight!

  22. ” No bolt release at all. The next logical step along that thought path would be to totally remove the need for a bolt release. The British EM-2 bullpup did this; the bolt would automatically close (chambering a round in the process) when you locked a magazine in place. Again, while nerve-wracking to a shooter today, this did have its merits. Of course, it was implemented in a way that added a bunch of complex bitty little parts to the magazine, and that wasn’t so great.”

    Modern guns still have this feature, my Steyr M9A-1 pistol’s slide will automatically close and chamber a round if i insert a fresh magazine with a little force, i find nothing nerve wracking about it, it would certainly reduce the number of steps when reloading. i wish my glock 19 had this feature.

    • Heh. My Baby Eagle has that feature too, I like it. Humorously enough, the first time I shot a Glock I jammed it up tight by forcefully over-inserting the magazine, thinking that a combat pistol like the Glock would certainly have that feature as well.

      Live and learn…

      • When a very famous and innovative German company
        debuted his first big, polymer framed hammer gun,
        firearm experts thought that the pistol had had
        such a feature since its held open slide going to
        battery position when the magazine slammed inside.
        But later it was understood that it was a fault of
        giving very little contact surface between slide
        stop upper lug and its recess cut underside the
        breechbolt and when the magazine inserted with some
        force, the slide stop would retain its place through
        inertia over the rapidly upgoing pistol as letting
        the slide to run upwards from hold open position.
        The situation seemed attractive by some standpoints
        but was coıncidental and not intentional. A very
        little time later, company corrected the fault as
        giving sufficient engagements between slide stop and
        slide to work in the due course as commanding by hand
        when requıred.

  23. Gun owners and users believing their pistol having the feature of automaticaly
    releasing the slide when a loaded magazine inserted with some force on slide
    held open position should make the following test; insert an empty magazine in
    your pistol and take the slide to “Hold open” position, get the empty magazine
    out of pistol and put a separate place, tap the handle with some force and watch
    what happens to the slide. If it keeps its hold open mode, it is normal, but if it
    runs forward it means that the case is not related with magazine insertion and it
    is better to go to a gunsmith. Please do not forget that, slide hold open mode
    is a safety future and should be left intentionaly when required.

    There are pistols having this feature, nearly all being made over Mauser 1914 base,
    and their magazine taking out with the slide on locked back position needs some
    force since the magazine follower holding the slide at that position, and slide
    moves a little forward after magazine removal. Easier and practical method to achieve that feature needs some additional and costy parts that keeping the gun
    manufacturers away from such a specification for the time being.

  24. The Magazine Lee-Enfield And its derivatives went back and forth on the magazine cut off for quite a while, since it was used to help ensure the chamber was empty in some exercises.
    Magazine cutoffs are still practical for shotguns, or switching to grenade launching blanks.
    The bayonet isn’t all that practical of a weapon when mounted on assault rifles that are almost the same size as some old carbines, but for some reason bayonet lugs are still on a plethora of small arms.
    Detachable stocks, and burst limiters might still have a place. Burst limiters are useful on weapons with a high rate of fire or amount of recoil. Detachable stocks could be useful on PDW type weapons.

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