The First German Assault Weapon: The Lange Pistole 08

Get Entered to WIN this original Artillery Luger rig!
DEADLINE to ENTER is 07/28/23 @ 11:59pm (PST).

The Lange Pistole 08 (long pistol), or Artillery Luger as it is commonly known today, has an interesting history. It was originally developed as a personal defense weapon for German field artillery and air crews. While the foot artillery had been issued carbines, the field artillery were mounted and highly mobile, and needed something smaller than a carbine. The LP08 was to replace remarkably old black powder 1879 and 1883 Reichsrevolvers for them. With its detachable shoulder stock, it could serve as a handgun or a faux carbine.

The LP08 was adopted in 1913, but significant production wasn’t pushed until World War One began, and deliveries took some time to really get moving. About the time substantial numbers were able to be issued to new artillery units, troops in the trenches were recognizing just how well-suited the weapon was to the patrols and trench raids of the static warfare of northern France. In 1916 a drum magazine with a 32 round capacity was designed for the LP08, using Freidrich Blum’s patent originally intended for an aviator’s drum magazine for the Mondragon rifle. With a stock and drum, the LP08 was arguably the single best existing weapon for close-quarters fighting.

Incidentally, a fully automatic version of the Luger was tested (mostly for air crews) but rejected because its rate of fire was simply too high to be practical.

In February 1918, a German High Command order first used the word “sturm” in an assault context, describing elite “sturmkompagnies” that were to be issued artillery Lugers and drums for close combat. These would be replaced late that year by new submachine guns (the MP-18,I) as they became available, but the LP08 was the original specialty weapon of the Sturmtruppen.

What I find doubly interesting is that this sort of story would repeat itself many times over the following century. A light and handy weapon was developed for rear echelon or support troops, and became embraced by elite special forces, often to the exclusion of its original intended users. Notable examples that come to mind are the MP7, P90, and M1 Carbine.


  1. I’m always surprised that this isn’t done routinely. Even a basic service pistols level of accuracy can be substantially improved by the provision of a fairly basic stock to give three points of contact.
    Admittedly it needs to be a reasonably well designed stock, but that’s not exactly a difficult challenge.

    • I agree completely. Militaries spec service pistols for 50m, and mechanically they’re all capable of adequate accuracy at that range; an expert is too, but the categories of troops who receive pistols as their only PDW are the least likely to be selected or trained for small-arms expertise.

      We never held quals at that range, and extrapolating from the quals we did, only a handful (either hobby shooters, or people who would also be issued rifles) would have passed. Conversely, almost anyone who ever picked up a shoulder-fired weapon would perform adequately at that range with one.

    • We almost got back to serious experimentation w/ the stocked pistol, but ATF’s brace ban has killed it again, just as the NFA & the end of the Chinese civil war did in the 30’s & 40’s.

    • Here’s the thing: The pistol “mission” is “easily carried immediate self-defense”. You’re not taking a pistol into a gunfight, you’re taking a pistol into a fistfight. If you are expecting a firearms-centric combat action, and you take a pistol into it? Darwin has an award waiting for you…

      As such, the idea of a stocked pistol makes very, very limited sense. By the time you get the stock out of the carry harness, onto your pistol, and into action…? You could have gotten, in theory, to your rifle/carbine, which is actually the superior solution. The only damn time a stock on a pistol makes sense is for a pilot or vehicle crewman who might have time to get the pistol out and stocked-up before action, and even then? They would be a hell of a lot more effective with a real carbine than a pistol-caliber weapon.

      Pistols are not weapons meant for gunfighting, TBH. They’re last-ditch, in that role. Where they’re meant to be functional is as a substitute for fisticuffs. You’d employ one as an officer concerned about being captured via being manhandled, or for when negotiations or something go seriously wrong. It’s a close-quarters rapid-deployment tool for ending non-firearms combat. As such, the stock is pretty much an extraneous nuisance.

      I’d be willing to bet good money that the number of times a stocked pistol was used, when there were effective alternatives like an MP18 available? Close to non-existent. You’d only put up with the problems and awkwardness if there wasn’t something else to hand that could fill the role of an SMG…

      Do note that the HK VP70 went nowhere, and I think that’s the last time anyone seriously tried using a stocked pistol as any kind of serious weapon. The idea is sexy, until you start working through it.

      Pistols have a place. It isn’t as impromptu SMG- or PDW-roled weapons, in my view. If you’ve got nothing else in the armory, welll…. Yeah. Maybe.

      • Recognizing everything Leigh Ratcliffe and I noted above, the military created the revolutionary M1 Carbine yet completely failed in their original purpose of replacing pistols. Many thousands of troops in harm’s way (not just vehicle crews) need a PDW that isn’t three feet long, and (Darwin-award-worthy as it sounds) still get nothing but pistols 80 years later. I was one, on two deployments.

        No one, here or anywhere, is advocating for a plank you have to “get out of the carry harness” and screw to the backstrap. Numerous setups are (or can be made) attachable to a pistol and still leave it holsterable, with big strides (as Backbencher noted) in the recent brace window. Not winning rifle matches, but much better than holding a pistol at arm’s length.

        • Take a moment and think about it… Where would you have kept that shoulder stock, when you were deployed only carrying a pistol? Would it have been on your person, 24/7? Or, far more likely, would it have been kept about as conveniently to hand as your M4 would have been, had you been issued one…?

          Either you somehow come up with a way to make that stocked pistol an item you carry all the time, like the Czech Skorpion was, or you’re basically acknowledging the fact that something like the M4 carbine is a superior solution.

          My belief is that the rare occasions where a stocked pistol would come in handy are ones where the even better solution of an M4 would be appropriate…

          And, honestly? It’s also my heartfelt belief that if you aren’t armed and ready to conduct basic infantry operations at the literal drop of a hat, you and your job would be better handled by a non-combatant civilian contractor. Sad fact, but true: The only real way to handle the likely non-linear battlefields of tomorrow is for everyone to be trained and ready to fight whatever and wherever the enemy presents himself. There is no longer any real room for the dichotomy of “combat arms” and “combat service support”. Were the Russians actually capable of following their own doctrine, these days, deep battle far behind the current Ukrainian lines would have been a “thing” from 24 February, 2022: With all the implications of that. Just because they’re no longer capable of pulling that sort of thing off is no reason to presume that someone else won’t…

          • somehow come up with a way to make that stocked pistol an item you carry all the time

            I have not only done several before, but am actually in the middle of building a new and improved version right now. The point would stand even without my own humble projects, since (as noted in my previous comment) such things already exist. You mentioned one yourself!

            Your last para inspired some thoughts too, but they’re lengthy and it’s time to get my butt into the shop for a while.

          • I honestly don’t see how you can overcome the sheer bulk of whatever solution you can come up with. The classic Mauser Broomhandle stock/holster solution is almost inescapable, if you want to package your solution for full-time carry. Any other skeletal-stock solution would suffer from the same issues of prep time vs. utility.

            My take on things remains: A pistol is a tool to fight your way to your rifle, which your silly ass should have had on your person in the first place… Anyone taking a pistol-caliber weapon into a firefight, one that isn’t fed from a minimum 30-round magazine? They’ve suffered a severe lapse in judgment. A pistol is for those moments when and where you’re effectively unable to carry or deploy your primary weapon, and are faced with combat against people who really aren’t serious about killing you, and would prefer to capture or incapacitate you physically. If they’ve got rifles, you’ve only a pistol? Odds are very, very much against you.

            And, note that I speak in general terms, not the edge-case ones of someone who has managed to attain Delta Force-level proficiency with a handgun. The average staff officer? The average medic? We give them pistols as an exigency move, not with the intent that they’re ever going to take a fight to the enemy.

            When you say you’ve come up with solutions, all I can picture is this one:


            Which I’ll point out suffers from the same essential issues of mass and carryability, to coin a term that apparently ain’t in my browser’s dictionary…

          • fight your way to your rifle, which your silly ass should have had on your person in the first place…

            I was going say “Well, if my silly ass set arming policy” – except the arming policy isn’t silly. A lot of people (besides vehicle crews) need their hands for tasks other than keeping a carbine from smacking their junk, and/or are FOBbits who aren’t looking for firefights – yet need to remain prepared in a deep battle environment (as you noted). It makes little sense to give them all carbines, and they wouldn’t (couldn’t) keep them handy even if you did.

            Stocking a pistol involves balancing a few basic physics problems, all with numerous satisfactory (if not optimal) solutions:
            1. Not blocking the ejection port or the sights / optics
            2. Not making the pistol too bulky to holster
            3. Not making the contact points too narrow and painful, though this issue diminishes with a smaller and lighter-recoiling cartridge.
            The solutions are all over the web, including a few right here. I guess I don’t see what a man of your experience and expertise doesn’t see.

          • The stock and weapon were be carried fully assembled on a leather shoulder sling .

      • What about the FN P90?

        There are a lot more potential solutions for the role of the PDW, than something like a 9mm Lange Luger or a .30 M1 Carbine or a 5.45mm Krinkov. What about so-called “cheek pistols”?

        Arguably any modern military establishment needs more PDW than any other types of small arms, even more numerous than infantry rifles (the M1 carbine demonstrated that). That PDW should be cheaper and easily mass produced, plus easier and cheaper with which to train raw recruits into a minimum level of accuracy and safe handling.

        Introducing a new firearm designed for the PDW role, might limit PDW caliber to a cartridge already entrenched into the existing supply stocks. So a 9x19mm caliber PDW isn’t out of the question. At least ammunition that low powered could be cheaper to manufacture (aluminum casings), easier to provide shooting training facilities for, as well as aid a cheaper made PDW.

        • Brad,
          Not a bad choice, though bulkier and heavier than it needs to be. Inverting a P50 (same capability, but 5″ shorter and half the weight) is on my project list, but has fallen behind some others.

        • Procuring and issuing a PDW indicates a disconnect with reality, I am afraid.

          Here’s the issue: The linear battlefield of yore, wherein you had set combat areas and could safely say “Yeah, that guy? There? He’s never going to see actual combat… We can give him a half-ass weapon ‘cos he’s never going to need something serious…”

          Did anyone pay attention what happened to the Russians on their little convoy to Kyiv? Are the implications of that whole situation just flying over your heads?

          You cannot predict where and when you’re going to have to engage the enemy, nor can you predict who is going to be in contact. Does 507th Maintenance Company ring any bells, for anyone?

          How hard does it have to be spelled out? There are no “rear areas”. Not any more. Did you miss the Ukrainians assassinating that sub captain…? He was basically in the same mode as the majority of our drone operators are, living at Nellis AFB and diddy-bopping between some suburb of Las Vegas and work on the base. What do you suppose the odds are that there are infiltrators, even as we speak, who’re paying attention to their social media posts, and who have sights on their houses and families?

          War ain’t what it was. Even in WWII, on the Eastern Front? It wasn’t linear battle so much as it was total war, everywhere, all the time, between everyone. The Germans learned that the hard way, and had to up-arm and train all their rear area troops because nobody in the East controlled more than what they could see and patrol.

          The idea that you’re going to have first-class and second-class combat soldiers is delusional. If you’re in uniform, in a war, you’re a target. You need to ready and able to defend yourself as though you were a grunt, because those enemy forces attacking you in a non-linear way? They’re not going to hang around for the “real combat troops” to show up; they’re going to do their best to kill you, and then evaporate when someone with the mindset to kill them shows up. You want to win wars? Here’s what that means: You engage whenever and wherever the enemy raises his head. Whether it’s a guerrilla or a Spetsnatz team, you encounter him, you smoke him. At the least, you keep his sorry ass fixed in place until more combat power shows up.

          You go into that sort of engagement without the full range of what the infantry has? You’re gonna die; you need to be trained and equipped exactly the same as the infantry, with an infantry mindset. The Marines have it right; every man a rifleman, period. Anything else is basically murdering your troops.

          That’s the way it is, I’m afraid. Linear battle is dead, dead, dead. If you haven’t picked up on that fact, you’re not paying attention. There are no “safe areas”, not even here in the US. Mostly, thanks to feckless policy decisions made by idiot politicians, but that’s still an environmental factor you need to take into account.

          I’m dead set against the concept of the PDW or some half-ass stocked pistol. If it’s too much trouble for you to bother carrying or using an M4, maybe your job shouldn’t be performed by someone in uniform in the first damn place…

          The US military is due for a wake-up call regarding this, and when it comes? It’ll be damned ugly.

          • That’s not even factoring in “irregular forces” in the pay of, or just sympathizing with, the enemy.

            Joke about “La Resistance” during WW2, but they succeeded in making life miserable and often short for German soldiers in France. One reason there are still so many 7.65 Browning automatics of odd makes with Waffenamt stamps around today is the huge numbers the Wehrmacht and etc. had to scrounge, to issue to even non-combat personnel in occupied France, in case they got hit by somebody with no connection to any “organization” but who had a “Mort au Boches” mindset.

            On the political side, we no longer have effective control of most major American cities along the coasts. In a wartime situation, that is only going to get worse. Those cities are critical to logistics. I predict that in the “next war” we’ll need to garrison them the same way we did Baltimore MD and NYC during the Civil War.

            Say hello to ANG troops not being available for overseas deployment. And every one will need a rifle, not just a sidearm.

            Can you say, “Failing the Roman Empire Test here”?

            clear ether


          • Taking away carbines and replacing them with less-effective PDWs would be as tragic, as justifying it with “safe rear areas” would be stupid.

            But, no one does or wants that. *

            The PDW idea is about giving the many troops who now have only pistols a more effective means of defense, specifically because there are no safe rear areas.

            *No one is coercing troops who have no say in the matter, but ironically SOF with their pick of cool toys seem to choose certain PDWs more often than I’d’ve guessed.

          • Look, Mike… With all due respect, but you’re so invested in your idea of the PDW and stocked pistols as being relevant that you’re either allowing the point I’m making to go right by, or you’re actively being obtuse about it.

            This is the fact: You cannot half-ass infantry actions; if your maintenance team is out recovering broken equipment and gets “into it” with a roving enemy element, the fact that they only have a PDW-class weapon with which to fight back is going to lead to that maintenance contact team becoming very, very dead… Along with the equipment they had, the equipment they were trying to recover and all the rest.

            You can’t shortchange this stuff. Anyone on the battlefield, which is now every-f*cking-where, needs to be able to fight, period. This means, sadly, that all y’all who were used to being able to count on “safe rear areas” are now subject to facing the same risks that the line grunts were always facing. If anything, you’re more vulnerable, because the enemy ain’t stupid; they’re not going to pick the heavily-armed, well-equipped, and aggressive hard-charging line combat troops as targets; it’s gonna be that “soft underbelly” of logistics and support troops.

            This is a paradigm shift, and if we don’t make it, we’re gonna have an endless succession of failed actions filled with things like what happened to the 507th Maintenance Company.

            I’m sorry that that offends a lot of support folks, but that’s the fact: Y’all are gonna have to get used to doing at least as much of the fighting as the line bubbas up front. That’s exactly what happened on the Eastern Front in WWII, and we’ve been sticking our fingers in our ears and singing the Star Spangled Banner while ignoring that ugly fact and its implications.

            If it’s any comfort to you, you should be happy to note that the Soviets apparently walked into the same mess we did. The KGB was training all those insurgents and guerrillas around the world in their tactics of attacking logistics and infrastructure, while the conventional Red Army discounted the effects what those troops had accomplished in German rear areas during the war. They also ignored the effect that they’d had on the “Wars of Liberation” in Asia and Africa, so when they went into Afghanistan in the 1980s, they had exactly no idea how to counter the exact same tactics and techniques being used against them by their erstwhile Arab clients… So, they got their asses handed to them, in a lot of ways. Same as we had experienced, and experience to this day.

            War ain’t what it was. The idea of “conflict zones” is ludicrously out of date, and if you plan/equip with the idea that there are any such things, you’re doomed to defeat in detail while your exquisitely armed and highly trained combat troops stand idle. All of your half-ass “affordably equipped” logistics troops are going to be dying in penny packets up and down your lines of communications, likely not even able to call for help because the “expense” of giving them sufficient communications gear was deemed too high…

            Watched it, lived it, and am sickened by the continuing observation that nobody else seems capable of even identifying the lessons that are there to see clearly.

            The fact that some SOF guys adopt PDW-class weapons for specialized missions and roles has nothing to tell us about the wisdom of arming a considerable chunk of our forces with them. Special troops for special roles doing special missions are not something you can then safely apply to general operations.

          • And you’re so invested in fighting the strawman of “y’all who were used to being able to count on “safe rear areas”” – who not only isn’t me, but isn’t anybody after 20+ years of GWOT, plus Vietnam, etc. etc. And yet again, I already told you no one is talking about taking carbines from maintainers recovering a vehicle in the field.

            The rest is less about guns than human nature – the classic “is – ought” dilemma meets the bell curve and the labor market. You’re right: specialist troops who aren’t good infantry have no chance fighting alone against good infantry (the exact scenario that bred the P90). It is equally true to say that running backs will be destroyed if they have no one to block monster defensive linemen except quarterback specialists. One could derive from that a Moral Duty for quarterbacks to become capable linemen; Coach Kirk could pound the table about how every coach, player, and fan who “fails” to see what he sees is blind.

            And yet even in the NFL, paying 500x starting soldier salaries, it ain’t never gonna happen. No significant portion of the human population, even at that elite level, possesses the aptitude or inclination to master such widely disparate skillsets. And even if they did? Time is zero-sum. Every minute you’re making Tom Brady hit the sled, he’s neglecting what the team actually recruited, trained, paid, and depends on Tom Brady to do. Diverting him to train for the .1% possibility comes at the direct expense / acceptance of certain failure in his core skillset. Team strategy and resources would be far better spent on reducing the .1% to .01%.

            If that analogy is too far out of the box, the military has direct experience with trying to recruit and train people to become masters of all trades, in SOF. It pays them far more than it can ever afford to pay the masses, frees up their time via massive support organizations, and still struggles to retain them in even the small numbers required.

            P.S. RE: your response to Brad, PDW max effective range may compare unfavorably to AKs’, yet compares very favorably to the range at which a cook can hit (or, more importantly, properly identify) anyone – even with the best match rifle on Earth (which, BTW, he isn’t going to carry when he’s cooking). The point is that he’s going to have a much greater max effective range with a PDW than with an M17, and a better chance with anything he’ll actually keep on his person than with the M4 left in the armory or his CHU.

          • Oh contraire. The point of a purpose built PDW is to enhance the individual combat capability of non-rifleman, not to slough it off.

            The M1 carbine, the first purpose made PDW, was a recognition of the reality of the dangers of the non-linear battlefield, and a desire to do something practical in solution. The lightning success of German offensives in 1940 and of surprise paratroop attacks freaked out the US Army, with the M1 carbine program as one reaction to that fear.

            Prior to the M1 carbine, typical personal weapons issued by typical militaries to non-riflemen were cut-down carbine versions of standard rifles (with nasty muzzle blast) or of handguns or even of obsolete firearms. The M1 carbine in contrast was an attempt to issue a first rate PDW. There’s even evidence Germans thought highly enough of M1 carbines to prefer taking them over other captured American weapons.

            You could argue that every single soldier should be issued a full sized infantry rifle weighed down with the standard day/night optics. But historical experience suggests that would be wildly impractical, as well as too expensive.

            Trying to arm and train every single person in the military to a baseline competence equal to an ordinary infantry unit rifleman is bad economy of training and unrealistic.

            Besides, the real firepower for rear area security is going to come from MG (most of those vehicle mounted) not from individually carried firearms.

            As to current US military practices regarding rear area security, I certainly agree about the inadequate attention. The numerous deaths from several terrorist attacks inside the US, especially the one at Fort Hood stand out to me. I can only imagine how much worse the Fort Hood incident could have been if the attack was from a small team of men instead of a lone traitor officer.

          • Brad… Sweet Jesus, but are you missing the point.

            Let us do some math, here: What is the max range of the MP7 and P90? For the MP7, it’s listed as 150-200m. For the P90, similar ranges are listed.

            What, pray tell, is the maximum effective range of the most likely weapon that these weapons would face? AK-74 has a maximum effective range of 500m, which leaves 300m of space where the fire of your PDW is essentially ineffective against a weapon that has superior range and sighting. This may seem insignificant to most people, but let me tell you, get out in the open like at the NTC? LOL… Your ass is grass; saw it every single goddamn rotation when the OPFOR light infantry lit up the Brigade Support Areas; those guys had rifles that hadn’t been tuned with the MILES gear the way the infantry did theirs, so for all practical effect, they had a PDW. That range mismatch was deadly; the mechanics and truck drivers would be shooting back, not hitting sh*t, and the OPFOR guys would be picking them off like they were little ducks in a shooting gallery.

            Putting a PDW-class weapon into those guy’s hands would have basically just done more to set them up for failure. I’d agree that if the most they had to worry about was someone breaking the perimeter of the BSA and attacking them inside the wire, then maybe a PDW would be adequate. However, that ain’t at all realistic. If you’re in a combat zone, you need to be equipped to fight as infantry, with the proper mental tools and attitudes to do it.

            I only ever saw one effective defense of a BSA while I was an Observer/Controller, and that wasn’t even a real BSA: It was the Regimental Support Area for 3 ACR. Those bastards were hardcore; the CW4 who was senior warrant officer for the element I was the O/C for was a pure badass; he did better and more detailed OPORDs than the line units did, and he had his guys trained to a “T” for doing their jobs and running defensive operations. The one time they got lit up by the OPFOR, they did such a number on the OPFOR that they never came back. I’m here to tell you, you ain’t lived until you’ve seen a bunch of mechanics and cooks running around the RSA with a telehandler that they were using to spot and shoot at the OPFOR bubbas who’d made the mistake of getting inside the wire. Those poor bastards thought they were safe in a wadi; up comes the telehandler with a cage on the forks, and three guys with M249s who lit them up before they could even process what was happening. I’m not even gonna get into the way they were hauling ass around the inside of the wire with guys hanging off of those things like a bunch of deranged howler monkeys with rifles; the OPFOR tried that one time, and were so traumatized by the experience that they left the RSA the hell alone for the rest of the rotation.

            And, that goes to answer the rest of your statement: You absolutely can get support troops to the point where they’re effective infantry, so long as you make the damn effort. Most insurgents in Iraq learned the hard way not to engage Combat Engineer units, because those lunatics took the opportunity to shoot at someone as a flippin’ vacation, and happily dropped whatever tools they were using, and went for broke. The few times that the Engineer units got engaged, they usually responded with a hail of heavy small arms fire, and aggressively sought out whoever was shooting at them, to the point where we were told that the insurgents had been told to leave anything with a castle on it the hell alone.

            That might or might not have had something to do with one of our National Guard units from Alabama that took fire from a rubbled village near their worksite twice. The third time it happened, they’d brought their D9s to the site, and proceeded to use them creatively. No idea what actually transpired, but the Active Army guys went out to that site a few days later, and it was like “Hey, didn’t there used to be a ruined village, over there…?” “No idea, sir, now if you’ll look here at what we’re doing with the road grade…”

            Grapevine had it that the insurgents occupied the village, shot at the NG guys for the third day in a row, and then the NG unit proceeded to bottle them up in the village and turn it into a handy parking lot. Shooting at an uparmor D9 is sort of futile, unless you’ve got good AT weapons…

            It is more than possible to have your support troops trained well enough for effective combat operations. You just have to bother doing it, and spend the money to get them the gear. It’s criminal to leave the guys who’re actually the most likely to make enemy contact any less well-equipped with sights and radios than the line infantry. I know of infantry outfits that had one or two contacts their entire tours during the occupation, and some transportation outfits that had at least one or two contacts every night they were on the damn road. The enemy ain’t shooting at the combat arms guys; that’d get them killed. They’re going after the guys you want to hand PDWs to, which I will continue to maintain is a lousy idea.

            If you made me Chief of Staff for a day, the only way you’d get into the Army or Marine Corps would be by signing up for and completing at least one 3-4 year tour as a combat-arms soldier. Then, as a re-enlistment incentive, you could get into a support job that carried actual civilian trade-school quality of training. My theory is that if you can’t hack being a line infantryman, then you shouldn’t be in the Army, period. If you become broken? Fine; we’ll stick you in support, but only if you’ve proven you can do “grunt” when the time comes.

            The trade-union mentality that I ran into during Iraq was maddening; the bulk of contacts were coming against the logistics convoys they ran every night, yet the loggies didn’t want to either stop and fight the enemy until other combat power could be deployed, nor did they want to integrate combat arms escorts that would do the fighting. Their theory was that if they shot back, they’d piss the enemy off and get targeted even more… And, yes, that was a real thing told to me by a field-grade Transportation officer.

            You don’t win any kind of war, with that attitude.

          • @ Brad

            The M1 was a carbine.
            It wasn’t a PDW, and had never been conceived as a PDW. It was used in the role where every army used carbines. It had been made in a rifle caliber, because the .30 Carbine is a direct derivate of the .30 SL, that was a rifle cartridge. It had not been made in 30-06 because the 30-06 was the wrong caliber, and it was not really “carbineable”. As I said elsewere, had the US Army, instead of tinkering with .276 Pedersen only to decide to stand with 30-06, chosen the .30 Remington, we would have never heard of .30 Carbine, or M1 carbine for that matter. BTW an M1 carbine is longer than a M4 carbine with the stock extended.

      • Sorry folks but you’re prattling on about assault weapons and close action fighting or trench warfare as it
        Was referred to and not once has anyone mentioned a weapon designed and made in 1896 by the Mauser
        Brothers, the Mauser C96 which was designed and provided with a wooden stock which doubled as a
        Holster. During WW1 The C96 was primarily issued to Storm Troopers whose primary purpose was to route opposition troops from their trenches. They were also issued to other branches of the military including the Air Force and Navy. Knockoff c96’s were made by the Chinese who were provided by Germany with C96’s because of the arms embargo placed on them prohibiting the sale of long arms (rifles)and Spainards etc who also made fully automatic versions of the C96 before Mauser cottoned on and started production of the fully automatic version, the M712 which was produced into WW2 and again issued to Waffen SS, Paratroopers and pilots. The C96 and its variants and P08were then replaced by the Walther P38 mainly because the Mauser and P08 were both very intricate and expensive to make.

  2. Funnily enough there IS a full auto Luger over here in Ireland in the custody of the Irish army.
    There is no history or provenance as to where it came from,who had it,or anything.Its in a nice wood storage box and complete with all the accessories.Only difference is it has a selector that looks rather crude that disengages the outside sear on the Luger for FA fire.
    Ive long suspected that it is a possible George Lebman conversion that was smuggled into Ireland during the troubles in the 1920s
    But now that Ian mentioned that the Germans had an experimental FA version,this throws open a new door as to what it might be.

    • There was another selective-fire Luger that was developed in 1915 by Heinrich Senn, the director of the Waffenfabrik Bern in Switzerland. This was tested by the Germans during the war with various modifications.

  3. That last sentence of Ian’s failed to note the latest and likely, most significant instance of the “light and handy” overtaking the weapon designed by ordnance types for the combatants: The M4 being taken over by the Infantry for their use, leaving the support troops it was designed for carrying the oversized “musket” of the M16A2.

    Which I still say was a disastrous program. Nothing about the “A2” enhancements really did much for the combat soldier; nobody came out of Vietnam saying that the M16 would be improved by making it heavier, longer, and adding an overly-elaborate rear sight system that did nothing to really enhance either close-combat sight picture acquisition or night-fighting suitability. Yet, that’s exactly what they did, turning the M16A2 into the ultimate Camp Perry National Match version of the M16.

    What should have happened was that they did the ballistic testing to figure out the minimum barrel length for maintaining ballistics, followed by a redesign of the gas system to actually match that. The M4 is what it is because they wanted to minimize development, so they glommed onto the XM-177 bits and bobs and used those as the basis for what was supposed to be a second-line weapon for non-infantry types who needed to work under fire as opposed to shoot at people for living. The adoption of the M4 by the Infantry branch as the standard arm for their guys should have never happened, and the requisite ballistics work to overcome that “minor” problem of inconsistent lethality past 200m was never done until enough people complained about it.

    Utter idiocy that a really professional Army would have never allowed to have happen, but here we are: Amateur hour, all the way ’round. The M4 got co-opted mostly because the Infantry officers thought it was sexy as hell, and the enlisted grunts liked it until they figured out it was inadequate past a few hundred meters under all too many circumstances…

    • The IMHO too-short barrel of the M4 apparently came about, not from XM177, but due to the first batch of M4s actually being rebuilt from M231 Fire Port Weapons, which became “surplus to requirements” when the Bradley acquired additional armor that covered the fire ports. So M4 was the result of our increasingly-hard-to-explain IFV program.

      Oddly enough, the Federally-mandated minimum 16″ (~ 40cm) barrel length for “civilian” rifles also seems to be the optimum barrel length for 5.56 x 45mm NATO. The best compromise between muzzle velocity, acceptable accuracy, and tolerable (for the shooter) muzzle signature. Although a proper flash suppressor certainly helps in the latter instance.

      I long wondered exactly where that 16″ figure came from. It turns out that most of the real rifle experts of a century ago, from Philip Sharpe to Elmer Keith, recommended a 16″ barrel as minimum practical length based on the burning characteristics of the common “canister” smokeless rifle powders of the day. They also said that there were only a few cartridges which could benefit from a barrel more than 20″ (~ 50cm) long. One such being the .220 Swift, which only attained its vaunted full 4000 F/S velocity in a 24″ barrel.

      Modern smokeless powders don’t have noticeably different “power curves” from the likes of Winchester-Western 2400, Hercules Reloder7, or etc.

      So similar barrel lengths should result in similar performance.

      As for the M16A2, its primary mission was to give the Marines a rifle which could outshoot an M14 at Camp Perry. Having dealt with the civilian equivalent, the Colt Delta HBAR, IMHO it’s pretty much useless for anything else.



  4. The first stocked Luger before the lange Pistole was the Marinepistole (btw, this is pronounced ‘Pistoleh’, almost like in French, and not ‘Pistol’) introduced in 1904 (btw – the first Parabellum used by the German armed forces and the world’s first series-manufactured model chambered in 9×19 mm), which was issued with the flat wooden stock with elongated leather holster (it was 6-in barreled, as opposed to 4-in infantry model) strapped onto it. The lg.P.08 was first meant to have a Mauser-style wooden carved holster-stock, which resulted in the holster delay – only in 1914 a decision was made to forget the carved holster-stocks and revert to the Marinepistole stocks in order to unclog the supply. AND – save a few bucks. The Prussian military were patented scrooges, which always led them to loose much more money, than by sticking to their original design. In 1908 they introduced the P.08 minus the bolt holdopen – resulting in a series of NDs during field stripping. So many in fact, that in 1911 the BHO was reintroduced to the P.08.

    Same goes with TM.08 for the MP.18,I – the military wanted to economize on magazines, and so they made Hugo Schmeisser redesign his SMG to the TM.08 “that are already in the system”. End result: there were 75,000 of TM.08 made before introduction of the MP.18,I – but after ordering 50,000 MP.18,Is they all of a sudden needed 1,100,000 magazines for them (11 drums fielded with each piece plus 11 in storage)! And not some simple sticks, mind you, but the most complicated, heavy (2.5 lb EMPTY plus 32 rounds), difficult to manufacture and expensive as hell snail-drums. What a way to save some buck, gentlemen!

    BTW, the first five air battalions of the Luftstreitkraefte (Imperial German Air Force) were established in October, 1913 – no way they were important enough recipient of the lg.P.08 to decide the introduction of the pistol. On the other hand, the field-artillery, and especially the horse artillery, were front-line units within striking distance of the cavalry charges, and they could use a semi-automatic carbine. They were the true main recipient of the lg.P.08, while the airmen were carrying rifles, (and yes, that included the Gew 98s), and were later re-armed with semi-automatic rifles, the SIG-Mondragon Fliegerselbstladekarabiner 15 in 7×57 mm and Mauser Flieger-Sl-Karabiner 16 in 8x57JS mm. Machine guns were waay too bulky and heavy for the early Fliegende Kisten (flying boxes – that’s what the German airmen called their kites), and apart from some early birds (like Rolland Garros who has become a patron of the Paris tennis courts), they became en vogue only in 1916

    • Although it is commonly claimed that the MP 18,I was originally intended to feed from box magazines, but was changed to Trommelmagazins on request of the German Army, I don’t believe this is true. Lieutenant Colonel Eckhardt (who a leading figure of German maschinenpistole development) and Wilhelm Brandt wrote that four variants of the MP 18 were tested by the Army: the MP 18,I, MP 18,II, MP 18,III, and MP 18,IV. The model ,I was the first model submitted and fed from the Trommelmagazin. The shift to the box magazine did not occur until the MP 18,III, which fed from Mauser-pattern mags (the same type used in the C17 ‘Trench Carbine’). The MP 18,IV was also intended to feed from Mauser magazines. However the Army already decided on the adoption of the MP 18,I before the models ,III and ,IV were submitted. It was recommended, however, that the Mauser magazine should be standardized in future maschinenpistoles as it was superior to the Trommelmagazin.

      Schmeisser’s own box magazine design did not exist until the late 1920s. Schmeisser was still relying on the Mauser box magazine in all his intermediary prototypes between the MP 18,I and the MP 28,II.

  5. “In February 1918, a German High Command order first used the word “sturm” in an assault context, describing elite “sturmkompagnies” that were to be issued artillery Lugers and drums for close combat.”

    Are you sure about this? The terms ‘Sturmbataillon’ and ‘Sturmkompagnie’ already existed in 1917, and there had even already been a weapon that had used the term ‘Sturm’ in this context – the Austro-Hungarian Sturmpistole, which was a copy of the Villar Perosa produced Škoda-Werke.

    • In German, the final ‘e’ is NOT silent; Therefore, the pronunciation of ‘pistole’ is ‘pis-TOL-eh’ – unless it’s a revolver, and then it’s pronounced ‘re-VOL-ver.’

      • “Pistole” apparently derives from the French name for a Spanish coin, the double escudo, dating to the 1530s. It contained roughly 25 gm of gold and depending on where it was minted, was from 16mm to 19mm in diameter. Its value at the time was roughly 26 shillings in English currency.

        What this has to do with firearms is that the handguns of the time, notably “horse pistols”, generally had bores of roughly the diameter of the coin, 16 to 19mm, or about .65 to .75 caliber. So the original derivation may have been “Pistole-bore gun”, i.e. one with a bore about the diameter of a pistole coin.

        As such, the word “Pistole” and the word “pistol” should be pronounced the same in French, German and English. The “e” on the end should always be silent, even in German. The only exceptions should be the word “pistolen” in German and “pistolet” in French.

        Just saying.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.