Origin of a Flare Pistol: Shpagin’s SPSh-44

This flare pistol is coming up for sale at RIA on June 23.

After finishing his work on the PPSh-41 submachine gun, Georgiy Semyonovich Shpagin was tasked with creating a simplified flare or signal pistol for the Red Army. They had entered the war with a 1930 pattern type, which was quite nice, but more expensive than really necessary. Shpagin first created the OPSh in 1943, which was made in 43 and 44 and then further simplified the design to this 1944 model. This example was made at the Molot plant (factory 356) where Shpagin was based either during or shortly after the war, as evidenced by its wooden grips and lack of date stamp. Later the design would be widely licensed throughout the Warsaw Pact region, and SPSh pattern flare pistols made in Poland and Czechoslovakia are widely available in the US today.


    • This device confirms Shpagin’s talent to make things simple. OPSh standas for illuminating pistol of Shpagin and SPSh for signal pistol of Shpagin.
      This pattern of flare pistol is typical – top-break in form of pistol, before and during Great War, Russia used various flare guns (devices) often of peculiar (not gun-like shape), see images here: http://ww1.milua.org/signalRus.htm
      Most untypical is possibly Мортирка 4-го калибра (1st photo from bottom, left)
      which was attached either to Nagant revolver of Mosin rifle and used gas pressure to throw flare (similarly to Japanese MODEL 100 GRENADE LAUNCHER of WW2, however Russian devices was used for flares only and can be fired either with live or blank cartridge)

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