Savage Prototype Longslide .380 (Video)

Savage made just a few experimental long-slide versions of their pistols (most of the ones out there are fakes made by modifying existing guns). Personally, I think that this version in .380 would have made an excellent officer’s service sidearm for many European militaries at the time. Most did not see a need for a particularly powerful handgun cartridge, and this extended model of the Savage feels excellent in the hand without being overly large.


  1. You could also put raised adjustable target sights on it and make a neat pocket caliber target pistol. I think it would work well in this configuration.

    • In the wake of the 1968 Gun Control Act – which had provisions aimed at banning pocket imports by requiring target sights and such – Browning did a .380 “target” version of the 1910 that had adjustable sights, a long slide and thumbrest grips that were technically illegal to swap out for the ambidextrous issue version. Buddy of mine had one (for some reason I think it was called the M-1971) and it was a fun pond-bank plinker if you got a good deal on .380 ammo, if hardly either a pocket or target pistol but falling somewhere in between.

  2. “most of the ones out there are fakes made by modifying existing guns”

    Since the slide release is a distinguishing feature of this long-barrel model, I’m curious if counterfeiters are faking that too, or are simply passing off the standard short-barrel configuration and hoping that antique buyers won’t notice the glaring deficit.

    To me, some of the most interesting articles on Forgotten Weapons are the ones about fake guns. I can understand, though, the possible concern that putting too much emphasis on fake-spotting might in the end just cause the counterfeiters to improve their craft, therebye fooling [robbing?] even more people.

    I can also understand that anyone with a close association with the antique auction business might be reluctant to “bite the hand that feeds him” — whether consciously or not — by dredging up the potential financial hazards of antique collecting that the industry would (presumably) rather not see come to the surface too often.

  3. Seems a bit large for CCW. Hell of a muzzle blast too. Do they make dual mag carries for spares?

  4. Savage brand of pistols is always subject of my admiration as far as original sleek appearance and quality of finish.

    As I understand this caliber was plain blow back and therefor simpler and cheaper model. I wonder why Czech military did not consider them since both countries were politically very close.

    • Uh, that rotating barrel might put you off if you consider it did little to delay the slide. I’m pretty sure the Czechs had the vz.24, which was a rotating barrel locked breech pistol chambered in .380 ACP.

      Given a choice, which would you use if you had to assassinate some mad dictator in his own castle? Emphasis here is on close quarters encounters and stealth. You are also in disguise as an enemy officer. Don’t blow your cover.

      1. CZ vz.24
      2. Walther PPK (with suppressor)
      3. FN P-35
      4. Nagant 1910
      5. Colt M1917 (or the Smith & Wesson version if you prefer)
      6. KP44
      7. StG-44
      8. Bring down the entire castle with a conveniently placed giant railway gun
      9. Or per the usual, screw the budget and add your favorite toys to this list

      This activity is completely voluntary, so don’t feel pressured to address it.


        • Slight correction: That should be 1895 Nagant. 1891 would refer to Mosin-Nagant rifles. The 1910 model of Nagant revolver has a swing-out cylinder and a gas sealing action (but these didn’t get produced enough to have any significant impact on the world of assassins). But in any case, nice job with dodging the political blame. I’m thankful I did not list a Davy Crockett (or the Assassin’s Straw Box from Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker) as a choice on the list…

      • It is rather difficult to judge events which transpired in times way before we were around. I am not in full detail aware (I guess information overspill is one reason, failing memory is next) as to why Czechs shortly after WWI purchased license of Nickel’s pistol. They could have done just as well or better with any Browning designs in either .32 or .30 ACP. Or as I suggested in previous, it could have been this Savage in .380.

        Just as you correctly mention, there is this perception that they went with a fancy rotary barrel lock while not supported by a sound rational. At the end it was tax payer who paid for that.

        • To explain line about ‘taxpayer’.
          I had once a book which described a thorny way of small arms procurement during years of “1st republic”. I was studded with gouging attempts by industry, in a way working against common interest of country’s defense needs.

          In my mind the Nickel’s design was not a particularly fortunate pick. If it was my choice it would be Browning 1922; in .380cal for military and .320 for police.

          • “In my mind the Nickel’s design was not a particularly fortunate pick.”
            But they were aware that Pistole vz. 22 is not best design so improved Pistole vz. 24 was created, later simpler Pistole vz. 27 was developed (7,65mm Browning (.32 Auto), blow back) and later new ČZ vzor 38 Louskáček (Nutcracker) for 9x17mm (.380 Auto) was designed.
            According to:
            Pistole vz. 22 has hold-open feature however pistol will close itself as fast as magazine is removed. I don’t know why they want it that way? Any ideas?

          • @Daweo
            From what I read, the process of further development of vz.22 led to vz.24 – mainly in area of manufacturability, not so much of operation. The internal features in slide had to be made by combination of turning and broaching while keeping surfaces at match – not an easy task.

            There is also something I read just recently that some “old school gunsmiths” had their say in acceptance of this design; I am sure there was more we will likely not find out. The next model – vz.27 was quite a success and generally well received worldwide. If adopted in 9mm Browning it would have been likely successful military pistol.

          • @Daweo 2
            The vz.38 was of faulty conception to begin with. Not just its curious appearance made it kind of awkward, but mainly its heavy double action pull and balance were poor. It luckily was not adopted to wide military service.

            The vz.52 which started it life shortly WWII was originally intended (finally!) for 9mm Para, but this intent was overrun be forced adoption of 7.62×25 round. There is a general consensus among Czech weapon aficionados, that this was wrong step and much preferred would have been TT33 in perhaps Czech specific guise. I personally concur with this view.

            The really first meaningful Czech pistol was Cz.75 with its derivatives.

            has nice overview of Czechoslovakian automatic pistols, however notice that some are VEST POCKET category and some SERVICE SIDE-ARM.
            Apparently there was challenger to NICKEL design: Tomiškův armádní model (which if i am not mistaken mean Army Model of Tomiška /designer name/) from 1921 firing 9x17mm and having automatic magazine ejection(?), aesthetic-wise it is close to FN 1910.
            Apparently there is also early version /for troop trials/ of Nutcracker pistol – Pistole vz. 37
            Apparently Nutcracker pistol was also inspiration for post-war prototypes ČZ 471 automatic pistol (1948 year, at least aesthetic-wise) firing 9x19mm and to lesser degree ČZ 481 (also 1948 year, notice trigger guard shape).
            Other pistols from that time: ČZ 482 – 1948 – 9×19, ČZ 491 – 1949 – 9×19, Pistole vz. 50 – 1950 – 7,65×17, ČZ 513 – 1951 – 7,62×25 are more close to Walther automatic pistols aesthetic-wise, when ZKP 524 (7,62×25, 1952) is close to Colt Government aesthetic-wise.

          • @ Daweo 3

            Yes I am aware of number of prototypes, which were created in post WWII period, namely those of 47x, 48x and 49x series. Some look more promising but overall, but nothing to ‘jump over the fence’ for.

            I still believe that a version of Tokarev’s design would have been the best in period between 1950-90 as related to powerful 7.62x25mm ammunition. There is also easy way to convert it into 9mm Para version, therefore weapon could have served for minimum cost to this day. One plausible feature which I like on this design is the self-contained fire-control unit while main spring does not cause undesired grip volume.

            Frankly, I doubt need for DA/SA concept validity for hammer fired pistols in use of military. Hammer is very easy to cock and accuracy of SA in unparalleled; simplicity and reliability are utmost. Police and self-defence pistols are different category and DAO appears to be best approach for shot to shot consistency.

      • If I could not get the conveniently placed railway gun with plenty of ammo (since I prefer to survive the deed), I would choose the P-35 Browning with suppressor and extended 32 rnd mag. If I am going to get close and personal, I want reliability and lots of suppressed fire power

        • Enemy officers in this scenario carry dirks and Steyr-Hahn pistols in cross-draw holsters. Only the knives are silent. Alternatively you could get the Beretta M1951.

  5. The closest parallel to this one-off Savage is the FN Browning Model 1910/22 with its longer barrel and the bayonet-locked slide extension to cover the last inch and a quarter of same. Plus the extended grip frame and longer 9-shot magazine.

    I suspect the Savage may have been made to the same RfP as the 1910/22, which IIRC originally came from the Belgian national police. It would have made a very efficient police sidearm by European standards of that day.



  6. They ought to start making those again, plus versions in 9mm Parabellum. If the action can handle .45acp, it can certainly handle 9x19mm.

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