Q&A 24: Pistols, Puppies, and Procurement

0:00:37 – The Stoner 63 and value of modular platforms
0:03:37 – Forgotten Weapons on Instagram
0:05:13 – Was the Lebel adopted too hastily?
0:08:42 – Do I read comments on YouTube?
0:11:20 – Branching out to videos on ancillary gear
0:12:28 – Are bipods a benefit to infantry rifles?
0:16:46 – Best firearms museums in the US
0:18:09 – How do gun designers engineer guns?
0:22:33 – Where do I get my ammo?
0:25:48 – How long can Forgotten Weapons last?
0:29:10 – Use of Enfields and Mosins in Afghanistan
0:31:38 – Why no Vickers K on YouTube?
0:32:20 – What alcohol do I eschew?
0:33:28 – How do I plan video scheduling from trips?
0:37:48 – What French guns do I still need for my collection?
0:39:13 – Concerns about lead exposure
0:41:22 – Why did 9x19mm become so universal?
0:43:19 – Caseless ammunition for aircraft guns?
0:44:34 – What if the Mini-14 had competed against the AR-15?
0:45:42 – Focus of a hypothetical NFA collection?
0:47:36 – Home shop construction of a semiauto rifle
0:49:53 – SKS as a collectible and/or a modern gun
0:53:00 – Were there any WWII German small arms “wonder weapons?”
0:55:19 – Tenko MAC-10 rifle caliber upper
0:58:10 – Most overrated historical gun in pop culture
1:00:02 – Is trigger discipline a recent thing?
1:02:41 – What is my firearms background?
1:04:13 – Advice for aspiring authors
1:06:19 – Handguns in combat and M9 vs P320
1:07:37 – Did John Browning have ideas that flopped?
1:09:44 – Why not make last ditch guns in the first place?
1:12:29 – Railguns and coilguns
1:13:00 – Personal pistols in combat, WW1 and WW2
1:15:37 – First smokeless powder pistols
1:16:47 – How I got Dharma, my dog
1:18:39 – Are there any transferrable Type 1 FG-42s in the US?
1:18:56 – Good book on semiauto pistol development?  (Handguns of the World, by Ezell)
1:20:35 – Charger clips vs stripper clips in Mausers
1:22:03 – Release triggers for precision shooting


  1. ” Most overrated historical gun in pop culture”
    My bet: Thompson sub-machine gun as every 1930s gangster weapon.

      • I would go further and say that pistols in general are quite overrated in pop culture. If you watch mainstream action oriented TV shows where some type of modern firearms are used, they frequently put the protagonists with pistols against bad guys with submachine guns or even assault rifles. Rarely do the heroes even try to acquire any kind of long guns for the confrontation and usually having just their service pistols is not depicted as a significant disadvantage against bad guys with long guns. Of course partly that is because of “character armor” (i.e. the heroes can’t die and usually don’t even get serious injuries) and the need of mediocre shows to present their heroes as super-competent.

      • Probably a greater degree today, thanks to games and movies. Lots of millennials couldn’t identify a TSMG to save their rears, but they all know what a Desert Eagle looks like.

        If they’d ever had a real one, as I used to, they’d know that while a technical tour de force, tactically it’s a PoS. In fact, exactly what it’s actually good for is one of the great unresolved questions of small arms design.

        As for the TSMG, I used one quite a bit back in the day, an M1928 to be exact. While the Thompson shot surprisingly accurately out to 200 yards on single-shot (you had to love that Lyman rear sight), the M1 carbine was an overall better weapon, hands down. Doubly so for the selective-fire M2 version. More accurate, lighter, and hit as hard at 300 yards as the .45 caliber weapon did at the muzzle.



        • I meant that myth is Thompson sub-machine gun was most popular weapon among gangsters in 1930s while truth is that it was used by gangster in few cases, like Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, so there is tiny bit of truth in that myth.
          In case of Desert Eagle I am not aware of anyone having combat experience and using it as weapon of choice.

  2. Taking on Ian’s opening remarks about “modular weapon system”. I agree, but only partly. My view is that this is still viable (and desirable) concept providing that the requirement remains within a reasonable boundary, such as we have seen with HK XM8. This set of weapons is within one caliber and therefore it can easily include carbine, rifle and LMG. The Stoner63 is in contrary much more involved since it attempts to incorporate GPMG and TMG. Way over he top IMO.

    Therefore, I believe there is a future for truly modular weapon system in similar or close enough type of ammo use. I give example: 5.56/300BLK, 5.45/7.62×39, 5.56/7.62×39, 7.62×51/7.62x54R and so on.

      • I do not think so. Reason is that it does not share receiver with its older brother. I believe that any attempt to cover with one receiver 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 version will be met with failure. It is not just matter of more/ less powerful cartridge but stroke due to O/L of cartridge.

        • Take a look at Minini, the reason FN was able to quite easily develop a 7.62 from the 5.56 was that the first Minini prototype were in fact a 7.62 gun but the original development diverged to 5.56 as it was perceived as more commercially viable.
          The Israelis had to got the other way around. Not an easy task!

          • Actually, the 7.62×51 was the first Minimi. It was kept dormant for some time and later was introduced in lighter form. However, it is NOT modular between calibers. I know it for fact.

            With Negev it was as you say different case and they are (either version) not mutually modular, although they may share trigger mechanism, buttstock and bipod. To be modular they’d have to share the receiver.

        • To an limited extend Minimi is modular. You can swap stocks, barrels, feed covers, handguards of various types.
          Caliber modularity is constrained by the receiver lenght. Keeping with 5.56 familly, only barrel and perhaps feed cover change are required.
          Modularity is not so important. Playing Lego with guns is more a trick of special forces. Part commonality is far more useful. It reduce the strain on the logistics. 5.56 and 7.62 Minimi have a lot of common parts. And more have the SCAR H and L.
          The original 7.62 Minimi was never put to the market. When SOCOM requested a 7.62 MG lighter (and more reliable) than the M60, FN responded with the Mk48 as the bigger brother of the Mk46, itself a Minimi variant.
          With the Mk48 getting attraction on the market, FN later developed a new 7.62 Minimi with insights from the old prototypes.
          You may ask why not simply sell the Mk48 to the rest of the world? Simply because of US rules, the technical data package belongs to the government. Same with the SCAR, FN had to design a new TDP to sell it to the rest of the world.

          • “Simply because of US rules, the technical data package belongs to the government. Same with the SCAR, FN had to design a new TDP to sell it to the rest of the world.”
            Wait, what? Does this apply to GAU-21?

    • “viable (…) concept providing that the requirement remains within a reasonable boundary”
      I want to point HK 21 and its family there, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HK21
      it is modular family of machine guns that share the same receiver, trigger group and interchangeable barrels and feed units, consisting of(…)HK11E(…)HK13E(…)HK21E(…)HK23E(…)
      There are also described directly, in link, however, as you might suspect Ordnung muss sein so first digit is feed: 1 for magazine, 2 for belt, last digit denotes cartridge: 1 for 7,62×51 NATO, 3 for 5,56×45 NATO (and missing 2 is for 7,62×39 produced in very limited number according to Modern Firearms query HK 21 and 23).
      Though it is without doubt modular, I do not know how much time you need to convert between various cartridge one machine gun and also if any tools are required to do so. Have anybody such data?

      • HK21 were well designed guns, compact and light. I like them on their technical merits. Well, with machinegun where you have greater mass to start with you can easier absorb such variation. But each version of this gun was designed for specific ammo which is not same as “modular” per see.

    • Modular weapon system could not be achieved without major compromises. For a rifle to become a efficient LMG, it has to be heavier than a common rifle. The FN FALO and the US M15 were never as good as a BREN.
      For a modular caliber weapon, you are right. That is only viable for similar cartridges, otherwise you will be stuck with a bigger and heavier gun when using the smaller ammo.
      One of the reasons that FN won the SCAR contract was because they were able to design a better solution with 2 sizes of receiver sharing 80% of parts than with a single common receiver for the 5.56 and 7.62 variants.

  3. Along with Ezell’s wonderful book I would recommend “John M. Browning, American Gunsmith” by JMB’s son, also named John, and Curt Gentry. The appendix lists every JMB patent, with photographs (he did build a prototype of the gas pistol, along with at least one of everything else). Among Browning’s unproduced duds and semi-duds were a number of pull-forward long arms, a lever-action rifle that yanked the entire innards down and out of the receiver, a few shotguns that prefigured the rib-and-cam locking actions of his pistols, the above-mentioned gas-opening pistol along with a rotating-barrel pistol, and an insanely simple .22 rifle in which the trigger, firing pin, and breechblock were all the same spring-loaded piece of metal. The book intimates that Browning sometimes designed guns, knowing that Winchester would never produce them due to marketing concerns, simply to satisfy his own curiosity.

    • John Moses Browning “an insanely simple .22 rifle in which the trigger, firing pin, and breechblock were all the same spring-loaded piece of metal.”

      Yes! I love this design. I’d love to build one some time. A rimfire .22 version of the Mle. 1854 Mosqueton de Cent Garde pinfire, albeit “insanely simpler.” Practically a zip-gun.

  4. Trigger discipline should be the result of popular range shooting. People seeing the guns in movies being not aware how serious and fatal using them, tried to manage to handle and shoot them with lots of accidents and forced the gun industries and related media to create a discipline to protect those willing people without sacrificing the rising demand. Trigger discipline and two hand pistol shooting should be the activities of this attempt.

  5. Bipod on rifles in not just for more accurate shooting. Just yesterday I have seen video showing French Foreign legion guys dolling up for show at Champs Elysee. They opened bipods on their Famases and lined them up neatly on sidewalk. What will they do with fancy new HK416s? Hang them on tree?

    • One important function of the bipod on an op is keeping the weapon up off the ground and thus keeping leaves, dirt, mud, and etc. out of the workings.

      Anyone who’s ever had to field-strip and clean an M60 that got dumped in mud knows what I’m talking about.



    • You can observe frequency of output on other channels and how they vary. For instance MAC; he has a bit harder going than Ian since Ian does more historical research, but he always comes with something new. But then, some people go more after shooting experience – and that’s what he does. It is evolving market like anything else.

  6. AT around 27:00, the subject is fill for topics.
    I would not worry a bit – next logical step is to enter more of history sites; as far as I know Ian did not visit a location east of Rhine river. How about Battle of Nations near Leipzig? There were some samples already and try were commented upon by readers.

    Next possibility is biographies of designers, plagiarism and similar subjects. In meantime readers will forget what was done 5 years ago 🙂

  7. With regard to carrying personal handguns, if I recall correctly, EB Sledge mentions he carried a Colt .45 revolver sent from home in With The Old Breed, the basis for about half of the HBO series The Pacific. The actor who played Sledge carried one in the show as well, during the battle for Okinawa.

  8. Hi Ian I have fitted release triggers to shotguns in Australia where I live and work as a gunsmith and film armourer. They are almost always to combat trigger freeze where the shooter get so tense they cannot pull the trigger however they seem to be able to happily release it. Surprisingly it dose seem to work. I share your safety concerns and the guns have to be clearly ladled “RELEASE TRIGGER”

  9. Ian, please remember, you did ask the question about bipods.

    Myself? Four years as a US Army Ranger. Two years combat in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, two more in Southwest Africa/Namibia and Angola, one year in El Salvador, and a year in Nicaragua.

    A well designed bipod on a crew served LMG/GPMG is a great thing. Not all of them are. in fact, well designed, but they certainly can be. (Cf. the FN MAG.)

    However, on an individual weapon, (Rifle/carbine), I’m sorry, but bipods are the spawn of satan. If you think about it a troopie can only do two things with a bipod. He can just leave it folded up, making it an awkward, noisy, and expensive barrel weight. Better to just duct tape a lead weight to the forestock. Or he can deploy the thing. If he’s up and moving he now has a dingley dangley brush catcher at the front of his firearm, making travel through even light vegetation a feat of strength and agility. Ah, but what if our hero goes prone? Then, with the butt of the gun at his shoulder, which is in contact with the surface of the earth, that deployed bipod will neatly elevate the barrel line to about 20 degrees vertical, thereby ensuring that when he fires (On full auto, of course.) he will launch a furious burst of projectiles into the treetops, endangering only birds, butterflys, and very low flying planes.

    The worst offender? The Israeli Galil (SADF R4). I swear ta gawd, I think the only SWAPOs killed by R4s were those that got nailed before the troopies got their bipods deployed. Once they were set up in the anti-aircraft role the SWAPOs were safe as houses.

    So, bipods? GPMGs, Si! Rifles, Non!

    Wafa, Wafa. Wasara, Wasara.

  10. As a sidenotification: the comments are a _lot_ better here compared to Full30/Youtube for example.

    Thank you, you many gunobsessed gentlemen. And merry Christmas 🙂

  11. Another work of literature that covers the (especially early) development of semiautomatic handguns would be ‘Die prinzipiellen Eigenschaften der automatischen Feuerwaffen’ by Kaisertreu from 1902.
    I own the facsimile from a W.Braumueller, but I can’t say if it was ever translated.

  12. The bipods on BARs were almost all discarded before or during their combat use in WWII and Korea. If you look at the pictures of troops in training and transport and combat the percentage of BARs with bipods falls from 100% to around 10% and most of the guys who have still have bipods on their BARs have pretty clean uniforms and shaven faces. Unless bipods can be made unremoveable there is no sense in putting them on weapons, at least for American troops.

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