Strange Guns

By Annika R.

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Silenced Sten Mk II(S) with Night Vision
Caption reads: “This MkII(S) Sten SMG could kill silently at 30 yards - and in the dark. As World War II ended, infra-red sights were beginning to be developed, but this equipment never saw operative service. So effective was the silencer that there was no sound a few yards away except the action of the bolt. Single shot fire only.” -War Monthly magazine, Issue #34, 1976.

Silenced Sten Mk II(S) with Night Vision

Caption reads: “This MkII(S) Sten SMG could kill silently at 30 yards - and in the dark. As World War II ended, infra-red sights were beginning to be developed, but this equipment never saw operative service. So effective was the silencer that there was no sound a few yards away except the action of the bolt. Single shot fire only.” -War Monthly magazine, Issue #34, 1976.

Filed under Guns firearm smg sten silencer night vision WWII History vintage

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The Factory Silenced, Rotating-Barrel Grand Power K100 Whisper

Rotating barrel pistols are not very common, this despite the fact that many regard them as possessing high inherent accuracy potential and as being very pleasant to shoot.

An issue that the owners of rotating-barrels pistols have encountered is that the design presents a challenge with regard to silencer mounting. The violent twisting of the barrel during cycling tends to either over-tighten the silencer mount on the barrel threads, making dismounting very difficult, or to loosen the silencer, depending on the turning direction of the barrel and the direction of the threading (an issue demonstrated in this SilencerCo video). 

The Slovakian manufacturer Grand Power seems to have addressed this problem with the design of the K100 Whisper system. Unfortunately, the specifics of the design seem not to be available, at least in English. Comments by a reviewer of the Whisper on a Russian-language forum indicate that the silencer utilizes a special booster which allows the body to twist somewhat in addition to the standard booster’s backward-and-forward movement. Close up photos of the silencer booster/mount certainly do nothing to disprove this suspicion. A video showing testing of the K100 Whisper seems to show a low-recoil, highly functional system, although I’ll let the viewer decide what she thinks is going on, mechanically speaking.

Interestingly enough the base firearm used, the 9mm GP P1/K100, is available for purchase in the US through J&G Sales. A quick look at some of the reviews of this SA/DA pistol indicate that it is a perhaps surprisingly well thought-out and executed design, featuring a number of desirable attributes, especially for the price. Fans of larger calibers will also be glad to hear that Grand Power hopes to sell .45, .40 and 10mm Auto pistols in the US soon. It’s always nice to find out about one more strange gun that’s actually obtainable. Of course, as it stands, if you want a factory silenced K100 Whisper then you have to go to Slovakia and obtain a special permit from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

I’m planning on writing a letter to AAC and perhaps a couple other silencer manufacturers to see if any of them intend to release a silencer specifically designed for use with rotating barrel pistols, or perhaps more realistically an adapter mount for use with existing silencers (especially since the list of contemporary rotating barrel designs is only growing). If I get back any interesting responses I’ll post them here. I think having something like that would just be a lot of fun, and as Grand Power founder/owner Jaroslav Kuracina says: “Pistol is not just a weapon. It is also a toy for big children“ (!)

Filed under GUN Guns firearm pistol strange rotating barrel silencer silenced suppressed handgun Grand Power K100 Whisper gunblr

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"The perfect P7 for when you might have to accurately shoot through your windshield.  Special extended sights and barrel extension couple with the windshield component to allow shooting through the glass during those running gunbattles, without one having to hang out the side!" -hkpro.com

"The perfect P7 for when you might have to accurately shoot through your windshield.  Special extended sights and barrel extension couple with the windshield component to allow shooting through the glass during those running gunbattles, without one having to hang out the side!" -hkpro.com

Filed under GUN Guns firearm pistol Retro handgun hk ...what?

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Adler Semi-Automatic Pistol.

The Adler was an interesting German pistol built in very small numbers from 1906-1907. The most notable feature is that the design uses a bolt housed completely inside the frame, similar to most long guns, rather than the usual external slide arrangement. A rear notch-sight is formed into the vertical charging handle. Otherwise the shape is a bit unusual (it has been commented that the ergonomics were similar to those of the Borchardt c-93) but the action is simple blowback.

It is thought that less than 100 of these were made. Also, the pistol was chambered in a proprietary 7.25mm Adler bottleneck round, examples of which are now more rare than the pistol!

See historypistols.ru for more pictures.

Filed under GUN Guns firearm pistol Antique vintage rare German

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HAFDASA .22 / Armator SA Zonda

These attractive little pistols both feature an internal bolt housed within a tubular frame (rather than an external slide), both are chambered in .22lr and both fire from an open bolt!

The manufacturer of the first pistol (shown in the top 4 pictures), HAFDASA (Hispano Argentine Fabricas de Automoviles SA) is most famous for producing the Ballester-Molina 1911 clone. In fact, the diminutive .22 shown above is sometimes called the “Ballester-Molina model HA”, although strictly speaking this is not accurate. The name of the pistol is simply HAFDASA. The bolt arrangement and its method of firing are the most remarkable features and it is said to have been a very reliable, well-built firearm. Charging the weapon is achieved by gripping the serrated portions of both sides of the bolt through open ports on either side of the frame. The HAFDASA .22 was one of the last firearms produced by the manufacturer in the 1950s before going out of business.

Sometime later a group of former HAFDASA employees came together to found Armotor SA. One of the items Armotor produced was a slightly modified version of the HAFDASA called the Zonda (shown in the bottom two photos). Several changes were made, the most obvious being the omission of the left-side frame port. Charging the Zonda appears to be slightly less intuitive in that the only place where one can find purchase on the bolt seems to be the protruding ejector. The most striking mechanical feature of this weapon is the unique safety arrangement: engaging the safety slides the entire magazine down slightly so that the bolt cannot make contact with the uppermost round; disengaging the safety moves the magazine up into the feed-path. For a pistol where any accidental release of the bolt would result in a round firing, the chosen system does seem to be the safest. Sales of the ZONDA were poor and it was not long before the model was removed from the market.

You can watch a Youtube video made by a HAFDASA .22 owner here, and a documentary video (not in English) showing operation of the Zonda here. Thanks to tonnel-ufo.ru for the photos.

Filed under GUN Guns pistol .22 handgun firearm vintage cute

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Francotte 6.35 Automatic Pistol

This adorable little pistol is unusual mostly for its bolt/slide arrangement. When fully assembled the appearance is not unusual, however, what looks like the rear of the slide is in fact a fixed, hollow part of the frame. What appears to be the exposed barrel is actually a rounded portion of the slide, which contains the bolt and recoils into the above mentioned hollow section of frame. The front of the slide is what it looks like and is where you would grip when charging the weapon. I can’t think of any performance enhancement that this arrangement might achieve, but it is somewhat original.

Check out littlegun.be for more info.

Filed under GUN Guns pistol firearm pocket pistol small gun vintage Antique cute

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Yet another Austrian double submachine gun!

I guess they just wanted to cover all their bases. This awkward weapon was made by mounting two Steyr M12/P16s (a select-fire variant of the Steyr m1912 with an extended internal magazine capacity of 16) together on a stock along with a centrally mounted sight. “Only” about 200 were made, although the fact that even that many were produced strikes me as odd.

The bottom photo is a magnified section of the same photo already posted here a bit ago. I would have never noticed the two hammers indicating two pistols on that stock!

Photos and description from mpopenker.livejournal.com

Filed under GUN Guns weird strange submachinegun double-gun steyr vintage Antique

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The “other” Ehbets Pistol - Another Strange Guns Exclusive!

A while back I posted an exclusive look at the Carl J. Ehbets prototype pistol, a very early 1897 patent automatic with a lot of weird features. At that time I knew that Ehbets had a few other patents out for various other firearm designs, but only recently discovered that he had actually built a prototype of his even earlier “gas-operated magazine gun”!

This weapon is a locked-breech piston-actuated design, with the patent filed in 1894 and granted 1896, making it one of the oldest automatic handgun designs. The overall layout is more characteristic of most of the early European automatics with a small magazine well in front of the trigger guard, a swept-back grip and a long exposed barrel. Nevertheless the action is gas operated rather than short recoil or delayed blowback like many of the Euro guns, and the shape still manages to cut a distinctively American profile, something you could almost imagine a tech-savvy cowboy carrying on the plains.

Locking in this action is achieved by a lock-bolt that sits in and extends laterally through both sides of the breech bolt, fitting into a “mortise” on the left side of the frame and a “shoulder” on the right. When fired the gas piston travels a short distance before sliding the lock-bolt to the right via cam action, disengaging it from the frame contact points and allowing the breech bolt to recoil.

Unfortunately I don’t know what caliber the produced prototype was chambered in or if any military branches ever considered adopting it.

Check out US patent 570388 for more details on the design.

Filed under GUN Guns firearm Antique vintage pistol american steampunk prototype History Ehbets

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A Strong Family Resemblance

For the longest time I’ve wondered what the Clair Brothers’ automatic shotgun “L’Éclair” looked like… as it turns out, it looks a whole heck of a lot like the Clair pistol!

For those who don’t know, the Clair is one of the top contenders for the title of “earliest semi-automatic pistol”, making it a firearm of extreme historical significance, even if it actually falls a bit short of that mark. Everyone likes to argue about when the first Clair pistol was built or when the design was finalized, dates range from 1885-1893. There is, however, mostly agreement that the L’Éclair is the first semi-automatic shotgun, with the usual year being given as 1898. The other weapons manufactured by the Clair brothers (at least one double-action revolver, an obscure semi-auto rifle and perhaps others) have all but been forgotten, although they are significant in their own right. Even if few actual Clair designs have survived, the legacy of the Clair brothers certainly had a lasting effect: they were said to have inspired the creation of the RSC M1917 and 1918.

Both the Clair shotgun and pistol seem to use the same locked-breech gas operation in which “the breech is locked by a pivoting wedge that locks into a shoulder cut in the bottom of the frame” (quote from Forgotten Weapons). Both seem to follow the same overall layout as well, it looks as though the shotgun loads through the bottom of the receiver in front of the trigger guard and into an internal magazine running back through the stock, with the empty shells ejecting through the top. The shotgun is reported to have been chambered for 12 ga and hopefully would have been loaded with all-brass shells using semi-smokeless powder (I doubt that paper shells or rounds using black powder would have functioned properly in the action). Form evidently followed function very closely considering the aesthetic kinship between the two guns.

Find out more about the Clair pistol at ForgottenWeapons.com, and thanks to the Vintage Semi-Automatic Sporting Rifles forum for photos of the L’Éclair shotgun! For more close-up pictures of the shotgun and its components from various angles see tircollection.com.

Filed under Guns GUN firearm shotgun pistol Antique vintage clair early automatics history