Every since the first time I was able to get my hands on an alleged Nazi belt buckle pistol, I have had a hankering to collect photos of as many of them as I can, and start a catalog of the different examples. The vast majority are undoubtedly post-war fakes (I have a background post discussing how I came to this conclusion), and I am curious what information might come to light if one is able to see a large sampling of them side by side. It is possible there are some real ones out there (I have yet to see photos of the ones actually described in the ATF’s Curio & Relic list, for instance), but if I were a betting man I would wager they are fake to the very last one.
Anyway, since my last post on this subject I have come across two more examples; numbered 4 and 10. So, for anyone else who is interested, here are detailed high-resolution photos of both:
Number 4 (.22LR, 4 barrels)
Number 10 (9x19mm, one barrel)
Hmmm….a cottage industry is out there building fakes. Amazing. Any connection between #4 & #10 regarding current ownership or publication of the photos?
The “BLN”, etc, on both was almost certainly hand-stamped due to the misalignment of the characters. I’d venture to say that the same set of stamps was used on both, the only difference being the missing pediment on the “B” on No. 10, which with the greater depth of its head indicates that the “B” stamp wasn’t held perfectly vertical relative to the surface when struck.
The “eagle” on the front has a poorly-shaped head, more primitive than I’m used to seeing. I suspect that it was cast in a relatively “soft” mould, that didn’t pick up fine detail too well when carved, or else the carver’s skill wasn’t up to it.
Put it all together, I call “fake” on both.
Other than collectors, who buys these things, anyway? Bike gangers? They’re heavily into Nazi iconography and “disguised” weapons, in my experience, like this;
Back in the Seventies, we were taught to be very suspicious of any hex-head bolt on a “hog” that looked like it was just there for “looks”, and/or seemed to just be turned in “hand-tight” instead of being torqued up.
Especially one on or in a sissy bar, or one on the handlebar assembly that seemed to serve no obvious purpose.
From this photo, I think you can figure out why.
“and “disguised” weapons”
In fact disguised weapons (like shooting walking canes, umbrellas, pens etc.) has very long history, see here: http://www.littlegun.info/curios%20et%20antiquites/a%20a%20images%20curios%20et%20antiquites%20gb.htm for examples like Colt T-12 pen gun
Here is a video of a US veteran talking about capturing a Nazi officer that attempted to use one of these, for what it is worth. http://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn504743
I don’t suppose you recall where in the interview he discusses the incident?
If you look at the .pdf it’s on page 18. I skimmed through the transcript and I don’t know how much of this man’s story is true and how much is fiction as portions of it doesn’t seem plausible. Also his description of the “belly” buckle guns (large brass covers) isn’t anything like the Marquis patent and considering this would be the only “documented” instance of running across a legit wartime/combat found buckle gun I don’t believe this guy’s memory was all there doing the interview.
Now looking at #4 above I don’t see how the barrel block can swing out smoothly without the brass “strike plate” that was present on the one that was in the recent auction. It looks like it would hang up on those wire tabs holding down that crappy eagle on the front lid.
If one was VERY interested in verifying the authenticity of whether something was made in 1940s Germany or not:
Aren’t there metallurgy tests? They only used but so many steels at that time and place, and subsequent fakes would be made of something contemporary.
As far as I know, all Nazi belt buckles were one-piece sheet metal, with decorations having been applied to them by stamping. It is very fishy that all “Belt buckle pistols” are made of blued metal, with a casted eagle attached to the front. If something like the belt buckle pistol existed, the makers would for sure have used original belt buckles as front cover. The cast pot-metal eagles look just like something a home gunsmith would attach to a fake to make it look WW2-like.
I have to agree with the “cottage industry” theory. It is possible that there were one or two “originals” perhaps made by private parties during the war that may still exist and provided some of the “inspiration” for these fakes, but the generally poor quality of these items makes me suspicious as to their origins. That being said, I have seen one “in the wild” at a gun shop in New Orleans many years ago. This one had a much finer finish (gold-tone w/a silver “dirty bird” on the cover, along with silver piping along the edge that resembled the piping on the borders of an SS officer’s collar tabs) and was a 4 bbl. .32 ACP version that bore a mechanical resemblance to #4 in the pictures. It was sitting in an octagonal crystal case. I wasn’t able to give it more than a cursory examination, and at $6500 in 1980s dollars, I wasn’t in a position to purchase it. The dealer/owner assured me of its authenticity, but it wasn’t the type of gun he normally dealt with, which were Civil War era. I can see where something like this could rope in a variety of collectors from different disciplines, from gun guys to the more fringe elements of Nazi buffs, so it has a built in market. Combine that with the fact that, like the poster in the “X-Files,” some people “want to believe,” it is a guaranteed moneymaker for the unscrupulous. Even if real ones do exist, the number of fakes would make all of them suspect. Caveat Emptor.
I call fake.
OK, let’s come at it from a different direction. Who were these items made for? Only very high ranking Nazi officials would either want them, be able to procure them or be able to command that they be manufactured. They would not be issued to anyone of lesser rank (even senior army generals etc.). Only th “Golden Pheasants” would be permitted them.
Now, do you honestly believe that with the talented gunsmiths that were available in Germany at the time that they wouldn’t have had the very best of them working on their last ditch self defense weapons? The gunsmiths would neither have turned out shoddy work or been allowed to.
Therefore, any genuine ones would have been meticulously manufactured and finished. The examples above with bird shit and rabbit droppings welding would never have been assembled, even as rejects.
As for putting a Nazi eagle on them, you would think that an undercover, disguised firearm would be as inconspicuous as possible, not advertising itself so blatantly. After all, everyone and their Grandma would want a Nazi souvenir and what better than a nice belt buckle.
Incidentally, I agree with Mel. A “standard” belt buckle would have been the natural camouflage for such a weapon, not the elaborate and distinctive ones illustrated.
Just my 2c worth …
I agree, and also have to ask why, other than as a novelty. The examples are so bulky it obviously isn’t a belt buckle and too cheaply made to be remotely effective. A .25 auto or similar hideout pistol in a front pocket or tunic cuff would be much more useful and effective than this contraption, and those were readily available and proven weapons. The example I saw was better looking, finish wise, than the examples that Ian has tracked down, but I didn’t have a chance to give it a full look-over for mechanical quality or functionality. The design, however, was similar to those in the photos (esp. #4). Occam’s razor aside (fake), they would seem more plausible as something the SOE or OSS would create/issue to operatives or resistance fighters as assassination tools, but then again, their purpose would be obvious to any half-observant German soldier who saw a stranger in uniform wearing one. As a tool to separate suckers from their money, however, I’d say they were pretty effective. Come to think of it, I have a couple of rodeo buckles big enough to conceal a Ma Deuce…OSS Anti-Aircraft Buckle!
Oh, and the reliability of these would NOT be acceptable for their intended use. If they were that unreliable, if used they would provoke anyone trying to capture the wearer to shoot first, investigate later. Not exactly the outcome that the owner would want.
The rimfire versions are prone to misfire as the firing pins are very sharp and resemble a chisel tip rather than a normal rimfire firing pin that’s shaped more of a flat tip screwdriver. Also these buckle guns are very heavy, around a pound and if/when the typical (overweight) high ranking Nazi officer wore it the barrels would more than likely be pointing at a downward angle due to being on a round belly. Also higher ranking officers wouldn’t be out in the field…I could be wrong on that fact but I would think that the Germans would want to protect & preserve their upper echelon.
I know this is an old post, and I have no idea if anyone will see this, but…. I an call fake on these very easily with no need to examine the workmanship or functionality. The “number 4” has SS stamped on it, but the eagle on the front is a Wehrmacht cap eagle. No SS officer would have purchased a buckle with the WRONG eagle on it.
The “number 10” has an SS eagle, but it looks funky, and I doubt it’s period.
Also the lack of a “ges gesch” or “patented” stamp seems off….