SHOT Show Followup: Forgotten Weapons Edition

I took most of last week to head to Vegas for the annual SHOT Show, and while it is mostly a giant sea of AR15s, there were a few things there that might be of interest to folks here…

First and most exciting, I got confirmation that EL BE Tac will be importing German-made reproductions of an entire range of German WWII small arms. The first ones up will be the MP-44/StG-44 and MP-38. They are of course semiauto only, and ATF has approved the designs of both. The last remaining hurdle is approval of importation permits, which is currently in progress. Unlike the previous batch of reproduction MP-44 rifles brought in by PTR (the PTR-44), these new ones will be heat treated to modern spec to avoid breakage problems. It will also use original MP-44 magazines. The MP-38 reproduction will be closed-bolt (of course), and will be sold as a pistol with a correct length barrel and a stock fixed in the folded position. Anyone wishing to fix that will be able to file SBR paperwork and make the stock usable again.

Reproduction semiauto MP-44
Reproduction semiauto MP-44

Northridge is making polymer charger clips for the K31 and Schmidt-Rubin rifles (G1911, K11, G96/11). About time someone did this! The originals were meant to be disposable, and are remarkably difficult to find these days. The polymer ones look good, but are still prototypes (I tried hard, but couldn’t get the booth rep to let me take one to try out). They should be available in a couple months, and I will be getting a few to test out and let you know how they run. Price is planned to be $14 each or 2 for $20. That’s not much less than original, but at least they will be available…and hopefully the price will drop over time.

Northridge polymer K31 charger clip
Northridge polymer K31 charger clip

Colt is re-introducing the Model 1903 Pocket, possibly for the sole purpose of proving that they can do something like this and have it work, unlike certain other gun companies. They will be making approximately 2500 1903 pistols, including 500 in a “General’s series” which uses the original serial numbers (with a prefix to prevent counterfeiting) of the 1903s issued to General officers – each of those will come with a fact sheet about the General who originally got the pistol. The other 2000 will be identical copies of the standard 1903, available in either blued or parkerized finish. Price is about $1300. These will be made under the direction of Curt Wolf, who is responsible for the extraordinary Gatling guns currently marketed by Colt.

Colt's new Model 1903
Colt’s new Model 1903

And speaking of Remington, they had a revised version of the R51 at their booth. They claim to have fixed several issues, including tweaking the extractor design, nickle-boron coated the locking block to reduce friction, and replaced the aluminum trigger with a polymer one to prevent it from damaging the frame. What they have not done is change the fact that the action uses a steel block locking against an aluminum surface. The booth rep claimed this would not be a problem unless you shot 50,000 rounds, but we will see. No specific date when the new guns will actually be released (they are moving production facilities from Charlotte to Huntsville, and this is the explanation given for the lack of date), but vague notions of the coming fall. Hopefully someone will get one when they do (perhaps even me!), measure and document the headspace, and track/document it through something like 500 rounds of firing.

Revised prototype Remington R51 pistols
Revised prototype Remington R51 pistols




  1. I assume that 1903 will be in .32 acp but my understanding is that when they were given to officers (General Patton)they were the 1908 model in .380 acp.Maybe they’ll step up to 9mm like the R-51.That would be a sweet little gun in 9mm.

    • I am assuming that the General’s guns will be in .380, but I didn’t think to ask anyone at the booth. As for 9mm, I would be very surprised if they did that. The 1903 is a blowback design, and it cannot handle 9×19 without significant modification.

  2. Oh Colt… I love the Pocket Hammerless, but I can have an original officer’s model for that price. Or a perfect vintage blued one. Or a well loved one for about a third.

    I want to love the R51 too, but… I’m scared now.

    Pricing has gone insane on some things. $5k for that MP.44 clone? Unglaublich!

      • I am no longer mollified when someone says, “but something no longer made that’s just like it is substantially more expensive” when something costs 2-4 times what it should.

        Even if the price is actually reasonable, it’s not what it SHOULD cost, dangit!

  3. Neat stuff, Ian, hope you are recovering from ARitis! I see from the link drPhibes posted that SSD (not EL BE Tac) even makes an replica MP3008! I’d actually love to have a replica STEN, semi-auto, perhaps with the fire selector turned into a crossbolt safety. Per unit cost in 1942 was about $10, which is less than $150 today. Even at triple that price it would be cheaper than anything but a Hi Point or a Kel-Tec, cheap enough that the $200 tax stamp for an SBR would still bring the total to less than most pistol caliber carbines.

      • I think the ATF isn’t too keen on open bolt guns. They are too easy to convert back to full auto. And making a Sten into a closed bolt sort of does away with the simplicity of the original design and would change the design significantly (it would need a firing pin, hammer, hammer spring, a sear for the hammer, a completely different trigger, etc.) And with real Sten parts out there the receiver would have to incapable of housing the real parts that could make it full auto.

        May as well bring back the semi-auto Sterling if someone wanted something functional in a mid-century British design…which would be fun, esp as an SBR.

  4. Ian, there are a couple of spelling errors in the post, 2 in regard to the R51. Stell clock?
    I don’t like steel VS aluminum, they seem to be asking for trouble…however if the frame lasts 50k rounds without damage it’s likely to be fine for 99% of those who buy pocket pistols.

    • Out of interest, here is a quote from the R51’s Wikipedia page: “Because the action halts cartridge extraction momentarily, the R51 can use higher pressure cartridges than a straight blowback firearm thus allowing Remington to rate the pistol for use with +P ammunition.” I find the “thus allowing Remington to rate the pistol for use with +P ammunition” part somewhat fallacious, given extraction being halted momentarily does not necessarily facilitate it’s functioning with +P ammo. As such an action is a requirement of any pistol, which doesn’t have a slide of sufficient mass for the weapon to operate by the direct blowback principle. And the R51 doesn’t halt extraction as per a more conventional short recoil design, initial extraction is instantaneous, before it is “halted”. Which to me, would suggest it’s pushing it for use with +P loads as the case is partially unsupported even with standard pressure 9mm Luger loads. Particularly as the aluminum locking recess is on the receiving end of “halting” the bolt, in my opinion.

      • I’d swap the barrels of all the ones sold, to a new calibre – .32 NAA and call it quits, it’s 9mm Luger size compatible but with .380acp pressures giving a round that technically delivers better performance.


        It would work better in Space, less drag on the projectile with it having a lesser diameter you see. That’s why it kinda resembles a ray gun, we intended to “future proof” it all along, Zap! Zap! Anti gravity astronaut specification, for life on Mars by 2025.

        If that’s not an upgrade, I don’t know what is.

        Whistle, hum, dee, dee, da, da, dee, dum.

      • Accepting the remaining time of a 7gram discharged bullet within a 10 centimeters barrel being 0.25 milisecond, and its initial velocity is about 380 meters per second, and mass locking slide weight about 380 grams, the distance of free blowback will be about two milimeters which perfectly remaining within the thick web of extracting case back. If the New R51’s free blowback distance stays within limit of those values, the so called hesitating lock is completely useless since it begins at on time when its need ends. In this case, lock mechanism merely is used to stop the high velocity of backward running slide temporarily and thus slowing its complete travel as lenghtening its overall life.

        • The feed ramp design adds to the unsupported portion I think… If that’s what you mean, if not you’ve lost me somewhat.

        • Are you implying it doesn’t lock anything because the bullet has already left the barrel before the slide/bolt/case move rearward?

          Is the slide heavy enough for that then…

          You seem to be inferring the “Hesitation lock” acts as a break for the slide not as a lock for the cartridge.

          • That can’t be right, what creates the movement of the slide etc in the first place then – residual gas, without a bullet in front of it?

          • Well I suppose it could be right, but that residual pressure appears to be to high then regardless, in my opinion.

          • Most of Locked Breech cartridges have, at least, five milimeters thickness at rear from back face to powder charge. In the barrel, most leave the extracting groove section which occupies a 2-3mm section from the bottom, outside or unsupported and two milimeters section remaining within the tube as supported. For practical purposes, this is enough for any type of service pistols to be made in blowback fashion as using
            this thick web to be recoiled back freely within the time when highest chamber pressure presents inside the barrel. The unpleasant section at this case is, the high speed of slide gained as resulting to impact to the frame with violent force as giving pain to the shooter and making the pistol sights highly deviated from the point where aimed at as getting need of more time for follow up shots, also shortening the service use of the gun. It seems, current R51 is made not to provide a lock system for 9mm cartridge but, only to soften the recoil impact of slide, and original R51 using low powered .380″ACP round was made, merely not to fight with Browning’s patent rights.
            Unfortunately “Hesitating Lock of remade R51 may be reused simply to get a recall of old fame as a selling point.

          • Oh right, in essence your saying the R51 functions as a .380 blowback with the bolt acting as a slide delaying mechanism. Because all blowbacks, blow a bit of cartridge out of the chamber in this context. I hadn’t thought about it like that, I am hardly an expert.

            But for that to work more effectively, the slide probably should be heavier as it’s in 9x19mm, and therefore is operating at a higher pressure – In order to delay this “blowing” out until the bullet is nearer to the muzzle.

            Is that right?

          • Well, what I mean is… In a short recoil system, the “slide delay” is achieved by the bullet leaving the barrel prior to unlocking thus lowering pressure, this doesn’t work like that does it – It might do more or less in the original because the pressure was less, were as in this you’d have to compensate for that with a heavier slide.

          • Current R51’s barrel lenght is roughly 8.6 centimeters, shorter than above calculated 10 centimeters that means, bullet remaining time within the bore is shorter, therefore,
            the should be blowback distance also shorter than two milimeters and if the cartridge back is flush with the barrel’s back face, that is, remaining more supported blowback distance using the five milimeters thick rear case web, there should be no need for any kind of lock mechanism for safe discharges and the all the need to be done is to provide comfortable slowed action of recoiling slide to get less wear and tear. So called “Hesitating Lock” appearently is provided for that purpose; just slowing the slide backward travel with cammed impacts at path of journey. However, a case back flush with the chamber rear also needs a special extractor cut camming the fore tip of extractor off the chamber just like being present on .22″ auto pistols or auto shotguns.

          • Interesting stuff, he he… Well something was up with the last version anyway, perhaps it just needed oiling etc who knows. I do wonder why it hasn’t been done before though, even originally.

          • M51(If I understood correctly, old .380″ACP Reington ), is already “No lock needed” pistol and shares every mechanical spects of R51 in a more detailed form. Sole purpose of that gun being made such in a way, should be
            creatıng a different embodiment not interfering into Browning patent rights of Model 1903.

            Model53, the experimental .45″ACP version of M51, is another story. İnitial velocity is slower, barrel is longer and slide is heavier. It needs a locked breech. But, the cartridge case is parallel sided, can manage to
            seal the backward thrusting gasses and according to the
            photos, the case more deeply seated within the chamber and thick web at its rear finishes the necessary blowback travel as supported within the chamber walls. The hesitator device again works solely to slow the violently recoiling slide velocity.

            It seems sence, Pbd?..

          • Yes it sort of makes sense now Strongarm thank you 🙂 in explaining the use of the term “hesitation” in regards how this particular method of operation functions.

        • Why hasn’t anyone done it before then in 9mm Luger if that’s the case… If chamber pressure isn’t relevant to the timing of the slide staying shut because said relatively light slide in comparison to a blowback 9x19mm one, manages to hold it closed long enough for the bullet to exit.

          That’s not a rhetorical question, I don’t know? He he.

          • I imagine it would be somewhat simultaneous, the bullet leaving the barrel and the bolt contacting the locking ledge “delaying” ledge etc… But I mean, the pressure in the barrel prior to the bolt contacting the ledge “a short amount of travel as that is” is surely higher in a 9mm Luger than in a .45 or .380acp if they have a chamber pressure of 21,000 something psi as oppose 35,000 an odd.

            Therefore the propensity to swell the rear of the case is increased, particularly over the feed ramp area.

          • As mentioned on my former posts and along with known Newton calculations, the free
            blowback distance of R51 is longer than necessary mass locked drag of slide backward travel untill the projectile’s going out of the barrel. That is, it fully happens for projectile side to go off the gun and inside pressure to drop when the separate breechblock impact occurs against to the cam on the receiver. Following sequences happen only to slow the backwardly running slide velocity as precluding the necessity of using strong recoil or return springs. Some Wikipedia statements need a lot search before believing in.

            On the other hand, the shorter than usual lenght of R51 barrel, the greater mass of slide and appearent chamber construction all indicate that, Manufacturer is also aware of this fact. Supplied free blowback provides the necessary time for safe projectile going out and sure unbulged extraction with present infire elements. Therefore, the hesitation lock is used only getting a recall of old R51 as a strong selling point, and easy slide retraction for weak hands as spreading the unit about larger customers.

            In short, the Hesitating Lock is “Much ado about nothing” as Sheakespeare said.

          • Well you clearly know your stuff old bean, Remington has ripped everyone off then – Only this design didn’t work that well so it backfired, I reckon that aluminum ledge will backfire also.

          • Strongarm old bean, could you clarify if you think the “Hesitation lock” on the M51 functions identically to that used in the R51? Before I go off on a wayward tangent he he.

        • “Hesitating Lock of remade R51 may be reused simply to get a recall of old fame as a selling point.”

          I think I get you Strongarm. The R51’s bolt simply “snags” against the frame mounted ledge momentarily, before being forced upwards again. Which slows the slide down by interrupting it’s rearward momentum as the bolt is in contact with the slide, which may be a departure from the original design in itself.

          Because originally it was to lock the bolt in order to provide a moment of hesitation for the bullet to leave the barrel, until the continuing movement of the slide disengages the bolt from the ledge.

          Very interesting theory, if that is what you mean.

          • They’ve reduced the bolt to acting, as if a leaf spring was imparting some degree of resistance to the slide by pressing against it until the slide “pings” free of it by it’s own force – This force being the rate of it’s rearward motion which is now reduced as a consequence.

          • You have got what I mean Pdb. Thanks. Tha barrel lenght, chamber deepness and slide weight of New R51 are all enough to use 9mm round in blowback operation and to cushion the violent recoil force, manufacturer used the hesitating lock construction instead of heavy slide return spring which not suitable for weak hands. A legendary pistol with a powerfull round even its slide rectractable by a woman’s hand. A few birds with one shot.

          • Here is another quote from the R51’s Wikipedia Page Strongarm: “When the breech block contacts the locking shoulder, it stops, locking the breech. The slide continues rearward with the momentum it acquired in the initial phase. This allows chamber pressure to drop to safe levels while the breech is locked, and the cartridge slightly extracted. Once the bullet leaves the barrel and pressure drops…” Which in view of your snagging idea I don’t agree with in regards the R51, because the pressure in the barrel doesn’t drop until the bullet leaves the barrel. The bolt doesn’t stop in the R51 it’s merely dragged over the ledge, snagging on it thus slowing the slide as it’s pushed up into it. So my question to you is, is this different to the M51? – In that the slide lifts the bolt as it passes over the stopped slide, or did both effectively operate by “snagging”

          • I’ve just watched two youtube videos again one on each model, and you can see the design of the M51’s bolt is to facilitate it being lifted by the slide. The R51, to me after having this conversation… Looks like it moves into the cut outs for it the slide, so it lifts itself when it contacts the ledge. Fundamentally different, unless I seeing something which isn’t there now.

          • Oh I don’t know, it’s all very confusing. On the R51 the bolt falls out but on the M51 you have to pull it back then out suggesting the slide needs to move back in order for the angled surface to contact the bolt, were as the angled surfaces on the R51… Just seems quicker, sort of, like it isn’t waiting for the slide to pass the bolt type thing.

    • “in regard to the R51”
      One of patents of Pedersen titled “Automatic Firearm” available here:
      contain 262 patent claims.
      Was all the claims used in original Remington Model 51?
      If not: was some claims used in new Remington R51 which were not in original Model 51? and inversely: was some claims used in original but not in new R51?
      So far I know Pedersen patent untypical method of fixing grips to pistols because the method of screwing grips was just patent by J.M.Browning, so basically it was done only to don’t infringe Browning’s patent. It’s true? Can anybody of you confirm or deny it?

      • True. The slide of unitary construction takes place at Browning’s 747585 SN, Dec.22,1903 dated “Colt 1903” patent. It appears from Claim 8 and on. Screw fastened handle plates section needs some more research and may not be included in claims, but
        in the patent specification text which affects the future rival constructions.

    • Well anyway, whatever. But I still reckon a wee steel plate or something wouldn’t go amiss, for the bolt to contact personally.

  5. Man it sucks seeing the Remington name dragged through the mud, I’d rather it had died an honorable death than become what it is now.

  6. The problem with making reproduction anything is the cost of tooling. The K31 charger clips sound expensive for what you’re getting, but the manufacturer has to make back the cost of the tooling, plus give the distributors a profit margin, before they can make money themselves.

    The big question will be how many they will be able to sell. If they can only sell 1000 over the next couple of years, then making money will be difficult. If they can sell 100,000 they can cut prices a lot and still make lots of money. Of course, the lower the price the more they can sell, but there’s a limit to that.

    The makers of the original ones didn’t have this problem. They had a contract from the Swiss government to make loads of them.

    If it becomes practical to 3D print these, then the situation will change totally. It’s low volume specialty accessories like this where we will likely see 3D printing, not for making entire rifles.

    • Plastic injection molds are still cheap, especially if you invoke Asia as a manufacturing center. There are large margins in almost anything that can be stamped or molded. For domestic production most of the cost goes into overhead and profit (especially if they are the only supplier).

      3D printing allows the consumer to eliminate both the monopoly charge and the overhead.

  7. I thought company that made SSD rifles (HZA Kulmbach) is no longer in business? Maybe they sell the remaining stock.

    As for remington pistol, by looks, it instantly reminded me on the hk VP70, which is pretty cool,
    but plastic frame texture and color, along with a trigger, gives a cheap, children BB gun looks.

    • HZA went into liquidation in 2012 (according to a thread at, but SSD (who make the guns) were at the IWA show in Nürnberg last march, so unless they have gone belly up during the last year, they should still be in business.

      This is just a wild guess, but EL BE Tac might have taken over the distribution of SSD guns after HZA went bust.

      • Oh, sorry, I made a mistake, I thought HZA Kulmbach were the manufacturors. Good to hear the company is still up and running.
        Worst thing would be if they went into liquidation and sold all their machines, special tools and fixtures into scrap steel, as it sometimes (or always?!) happens with metalworking firms.

        Anybody knows what is the price of their “BD 1-5” rifle ? (to see if its in the same price range as GunLabs reproduction)

  8. Thank you Ian for the K31 charger update. I had just purchased a K31 of my own and was looking at spending $40-50 to eBay a pair of originals that would likely wear out or become damaged with use.

  9. That 1903 is a real honey… but that much money? Really? Even at half the cost, it will be a tough sell. Granted, it’s a classic… but gee… I can buy an old one for less.

  10. Can I get a 1903 satin Chrome plated with mother of pearl grips from the factory? If so, then that would be the best of wall hangers.

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