Updated Web Site & Special Offer

Our friends at (Allegheny Arsenal) have rebuilt their web site with a much nicer new layout, and are offering a month-long special to go along with it. You can get anything and everything they offer with free shipping by using the coupon code “ALLEGHENYFREESHIPPING” at checkout. Cool!

Allegheny has parts and accessories for a wide variety of machine guns, including a bunch of parts that would be excellent spares for owners of live full-auto or semiauto such guns – DPs, RPDs, Maxims, Vickers, Brens (including the Bulgarian ZB-39), and many others.

And hey, here’s a neat item for your collection – a cutaway display Liberator!


  1. That is neat, I’d like one of those as a novel collectors piece. Interesting idea the Liberator pistol, you make lots of pistols as cheaply as possible “single shot, smoothbore, etc” then parachute them over enemy held territory, in the hope oppressed civilians find them and use them to shoot enemy soldiers up close and steal there weapons hence why it need not be a particularly good weapon on it’s own.

    As is my understanding of it, fair concept I suppose. Mind you, you would have to be pretty brave. Perhaps they should have made them silenced, to encourage use…

    • The Liberator wasn’t really very practical from an operational standpoint if you intend to use it to attack enemy infantry. You would be unlikely to find a soldier wandering about on his own in hostile occupied territory. An attack on a sentry post or checkpoint requires careful planning and coordinated action from multiple well armed people unless you are on a suicide mission (in which case, why not use a bomb?).

      However, as an assassination weapon for use against unguarded civilian collaborators it had some potential. You could walk up to a mayor or other official in a restaurant, shoot him, drop the pistol, run away, and hide in the crowd. That is something that you would be less likely to do with a “proper” firearm that you can’t afford to lose.

      The limited role for it may have had something to do with the decision to scrap them. If you are going to go through all the trouble of air dropping weapons with all the inherent risks involved, you may as well just drop Sten guns.

      • Yes you might as well have just dropped Sten guns, didn’t think of that. I suppose these would have been cheaper to make than Stens, so that’s probably why they dreamt it up.

        It wouldn’t be so practical for attacking enemy Infantry for the reasons you suggest he he, still like you say assignation etc.

        If new weapons were to be made now in similar circumstances “hypothetically” for the same reasons, and with similar attributes what would be the way to go in your opinion. These or, something else? Say Stens were to expensive.

        I’m thinking of a cross between the liberator and the M6 Air Crew Survival weapon, but with a double silenced smoothbore 9mm barrel. A longer barrel even a smoothbore would give it more range/accuracy in conjunction with a stock, and being silenced with two shots you could perhaps stand off a bit and still have a reasonable chance of shooting a sentry etc. Have the barrels swivel, over and under turn over for each shot. Or something, just thinking the Liberators action looks quite cheap so that’s good.

        • Sten – Quality, Liberator – Quantity. Was perhaps the logic, in regards the shipping problems etc
          So personally I think a carbine Liberator would give it more quality i.e. More bang for the buck via having more roles which it could be suitable for, while still being cheap.

          • Completely different tactics and distribution plans. Arms drops (STENs, Lee-Enfields, captured German weapons, explosives, radios) went to established Resistance groups that were in contact with or under the control of the OSS or the British SOE. This was especially true in France, where there were both “Free French” (DeGaullist) that had allied support and Communist Resistance groups that were on their own. Of course, after D-Day everyone in France had been a member of the Resistance; the truth is that collaboration was the order of the day and resistance was the exception. Anyway, the SOE and OSS tried to make sure that the drops of STENs, et al went to the Gaullist groups in carefully controlled deliveries. But the plan for the Liberators was to scatter them willy-nilly like plastic doubloons from a Mardi Gras float across France, Belgium, Holland, and Denmark on the eve of the invasion. Probably as much a psychological weapon as anything else… striking fear in the hearts of the Germans and collaborationist police that everyone MIGHT be armed. As mentioned, De Gaulle freaked out over the thought of hundreds of thousands of untraceable pistols scattered across post-war France in the hands of God knows who… especially in the hands of French Communists, who had actually done the heavy end of Resistance lifting with very little support from the Western allies.

          • You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when a STEN gun is the high quality option.

          • Hi Jim,
            There’s an interesting one about the commies in the low countries and France.

            Apparently they were under orders from Moscow to be helpful and friendly to their [national] socialist brethren

            or at least they were up until Mussolini finally showed up (fashionably late) for Barbarossa.

  2. Actually, although a million or so were made very few if any actually made it to the Resistance. DeGaulle in particular was not enthusiastic about having lots of pocket .45s interfering with his plans for post-war France. Because the short smoothbore barrel made them illegal for surplus sales to US civilians the vast majority of them were melted down in new condition, which is why they are so rare and valuable.

    I was visiting an elderly neighbor whose fondness for “Antiques Road Show” bled over to include the pawnshop-based reality TV shows where customers try to sell strange old items, which usually involves bringing in an outside expert to drag the show out. Anyway, we were watching one of them where some idiot with a mullet haircut came in with a Liberator he had picked up in a poker game. He told the pawnbroker “Well, I had a hundred bucks in the game, so I’d sure like to get that much out of it if it is worth it.” Boy, you could tell the pawnbroker was cursing the camera that made him be honest with the guy and tell him what an original Liberator is worth… if it hadn’t been for the crew that would have been the fastest $100 gun purchase in history.

    • Oh I didn’t know they never delivered them all, I just read they weren’t particularly utilized by said “oppressed populations” say if it had a rifled barrel but rifled like that of the Taurus Judge, and were in .45Lc/.410 maybe they would sell today as curiosity/self defense weapons. I do think a suppressed version would have been better though, because if you happen to find an isolated target the bang would alert his chums. And instead of being able to run off with their Mp40 you may have had, had to work out how to use it then and there sort of thing under fire.

      • Some actually were delivered, but to the Philippines. They were used by the Philippine resistance exactly as intended, to terminate a lone sentry, etc, and appropriate his weapon. After which, the Liberator would be passed on to another resistance group member to repeat the process.

        This, BTW, was a time-honored tactic in the culture, going back to the Spanish period; it was also common during the Insurrection against the “new” U.S. colonial authority in 1899-1910 or so.

        The Philippines have a long tradition of improvised and modified firearms. What we would call “hand cannon”, black-powder, smoothbore muzzle-loaders with bronze barrels and wood “stocks”, were used as late as WW2; they were commonly called “Cigarette Guns” due to the usual method of lighting the priming powder.

        The Liberator fit very well into this tactical environment. It was made especially useful due to the Japanese policy of arming collaborationist authorities (police, local politicians, etc.) with either “second-line” Japanese-issue weapons or captured American ones. A lot of .30 M1917 rifles and .38 caliber S&W revolvers were “inherited” from those elements by the resistance, sometimes with the help of an FP-45 Liberator.

        Postwar, the Liberator saw at least some use with the Philippine Constabulary, I suspect as a “hideout” gun, rather like a derringer. Its relatively small size (for a .45-caliber weapon) and single-shot capability would be appropriate in that role. Although I suspect that most officers who had one kept it strictly as a backup to their issue .45 auto or .38 revolver.

        BTW, as far as I know, no Liberators were ever “deployed” anywhere else during the war. In fact, it’s debatable if they were even seriously considered for use in the ETO. Most obviously, due to the .45 ACP caliber; the only other weapons dropped to the resistance groups in Europe that used it were the Thompson SMG and Colt 1911A1 auto. The latter were delivered in substantial quantities to the FFI (according to Pierre Lorain in Clandestine Operations, 1972), but the Thompson was dropped in only very small numbers due to the needs of U.S. and Commonwealth forces on the front lines, notably in the Pacific and Mediterranean theaters, not to mention the buildup to Overlord.

        Lorain notes the M3 and M3A1 “Grease Guns” in .45 ACP, and that they could be dropped with a conversion unit to use 9mm ammunition and Sten magazines, but the original M3 was a late arrival, making its combat debut with U.S. paratroops on D-Day; its major use was by postwar occupation forces in Germany. The M3A1, of course, really only saw extensive use in the Korean War and later. (It was still issued to U.S. tank crews in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, believe it or not.)

        The “representative” pistol of the French resistance may have been the Colt .45, as Lorain says, but the standard SMG was the Sten. The Liberator really didn’t fit into the FFI TO&E, even if DeGaulle hadn’t worried about its potential for arming a large number of French citizens without “proper licensing”.



  3. Well Thiel, there was a war on. Resources were tight etc, it was a quality design in the circumstances i.e. it was cheap. Even the U.S went with the Grease gun rather than the Tommy gun, for reasons of simplicity etc.

  4. Kinda makes one pine for the days of the “Zip guns” made from car radio antennas….most folks today have NO IDEE what a car radio antenna is or was…I used to own a Nissan Sentra with the antenna in the driver side door frame…it would work only when you held/touched the antenna with your left hand as you were toolin’ down the highway…God forbids you hadda take your hand off the antenna while makin’ a turn during a close play at the plate…Do they even broadcast baseball games on radio any more???

    CB in FL

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