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French Model 1935S Pistol, Small Arms Review, J. Huon
In the early 1930s the French military resumed testing pistols for adoption. The testing programme had initially begun in the 1920s with a wide variety of pistols evaluated. The French were impressed by John Browning’s 1911 and its short recoil locking system. The most successful pistol designs of the trials were based on this system.
Manufacture Nationale d’Armes de Saint Étienne (MAS) had developed a string of pistols during the 1920s and 30s. Their work culminated in a pistol which would later become the Modèle 1935S.
The French military appreciated the Colt 1911′s design, and many of its features which they sought to incorporate into their new pistol, however, they disliked the American .45 ACP round. They felt it unnecessarily powerful and in 1927 formalised the adoption of the diminutive 7.65x20mm Longue cartridge.
While the 7.65x20mm cartridge did not necessitate a locked action the 1935S utilised a short recoil action with a breech that locked not with the 1911′s barrel lugs but with the raised shoulder of the barrel’s chamber which engaged with a shallow recess in the roof of the pistol’s slide. This system allows simpler machining and was later used by many modern pistols. Like the Modèle 1935A, the Modèle 1935S had a captive recoil spring and a removable lockwork unit - both stipulations of the Commission d’Expériences Techniques de Versailles 1933 pistol specification.
Like the Model 1935A, developed by Societe Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM), the Modèle 1935S had an 8-round single stack magazine and a slide mounted manual safety. During the 1935 trials the pistols from MAS and SACM beat rival finalists including the FH High Power. The SACM pistol was adopted initially as the Modèle 1935S, but when renewed conflict with Germany began to seem increasingly likely France began to rearm more rapidly. As a result in late 1937, MAS’ design was also adopted as the Modèle 1935S. In September 1938, as relations with Hitler’s Germany deteriorated, the French government ordered 10,000 pistols from MAS.
Colt M1911 Government Model
Manufactured and shipped on New Year’s Eve 1915 to France as part of one of the French army various contracts to arm their tank crews and stretch bearers and machine guns loaders and whatnot with modern semi-automatic pistols.
Serial number C25049, 450 were made for this contract.
.45ACP, seven rounds, short recoil semi-automatic.
Springfield M1899 Krag-Jørgensen carbineDesigned by the Norwegians Ole Herman Johannes Krag and Erik Jørgensen c.1886 and manufactured by the Springfield Arsenal c.1899-1904 for the US Army - serial number 349283 .
.30-40 Krag five-round ‘half-capsule’ fixed magazine, bolt action repeater, magazine cut-off, M1901 rear sights.
The Krag rifles and carbines were not only adopted by the United States, but also before that, with some variations, by Norway and Denmark. They are one of the very few foreign designs adopted by the US Army, and was replaced by the Springfield M1903 which, although a Mauder copy, was technically an indigenous design.
Bent Mle 1886 Lebel military bolt-action Rifle, c.WW1
Although all production of complete rifles stopped in 1904, leaving only spare parts to be manufactured, about 2.500.000 rifles were still operational and used by the French army by 1914. A very robust design, as French guns are wont to be, the acute deformation this piece took in the trenches is a testament of the violence of the Great War, which saw massive use of artillery and cost millions of lives in over a hundred countries.
Enfield No2MkI** dated 1945
Very typical example of late war production revolver. The ** denotes this pistol as having the no spur hammer and being double action only, however interestingly, if you can get a hold of the hammer this pistol will work in single action as well.
Kaiser Wilhelm II’s Springer hunting carbine
Manufactured in the late 19th century in Vienna by Johann Springer for the last Kaiser of the German Empire.
Dual trigger set, bolt action, single shot.
11mm caliber, unsurprisingly since the action is basically that of a Mle 1871 ‘Gras’ rifle in design. Almost all the components of the gun feature extensive checkering and engraving, as well as the imperial seal of Wilhelm II.
Feels weird to see a Dreyse ball bolt handle with the Chassepot-style tail cocking mechanism .3.
Charles Petter, a Swiss-born soldier who served as an officer in both the Swiss Army and French Foreign Legion, developed his pistol in the early 1930s and patented it in France in 1935. At the time Petter was the director of the French small arms company Societe Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM). In 1937, the French army adopted his pistol as the Modèle 1935A.
Petter was influenced by John Browning’s short recoil locking system, used in the Colt 1911. Petter’s design, however, utilised two links at the rear of the barrel rather than Browning’s one and a captive recoil spring. His design used the same barrel lugs to lock the breech into the slide when firing but linked the pistol’s lockwork together in a removable unit. This had been stipulated in the French Army’s 1935 trials specification.
While the French military appreciated the Colt 1911′s design, and many of its features which they sought to incorporate into their new pistol, they disliked the American .45 ACP round. They felt it unnecessarily powerful and in 1927 formalised the adoption of the diminutive 7.65x20mm Longue cartridge.
Another stipulation of the specification was a slide mounted manual safety which blocked the hammer. The pistol fed from an eight round, single stack magazine. Like the Colt 1911, the Modèle 1935A, had a push button magazine release. During the trials the Modèle 1935A beat submissions from both FN and MAS. While it proved to be an excellent design circumstances intervened and as renewed conflict with Germany seemed likely France began to rearm more rapidly. As a result in September 1938 the rival Manufacture Nationale d’Armes de Saint Ètienne (MAS) design was also adopted as the Modèle 1935S.
Perhaps 10,000 pistols had been manufactured before the German invasion halted production at SACM’s factory in Alsace-Lorraine in May 1940. Production under occupation restarted in October and the Wehrmacht took the pistol into inventory as the Pistole 625(f). From 1940 until 1944 the SACM’s factory produced perhaps 25,000 pistols. These were most likely issued to forces loyal to the French Vichy puppet government. After the occupation ended the pistols were again issued to Free French forces.
As such the Modèle 1935A saw service with both sides during the war and with the French military during the First Indochina War (1946-1954). Total production reached 84,950 pistols by the time production ended in February 1950. The M1935A and M1935S were both replaced by the MAC Modèle 1950. Petter’s design found greater longevity in Switzerland where Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) purchased the design’s patent rights and developed the 9x19mm SIG P210. This pistol was produced under license and adopted by both Switzerland and Denmark, serving for many decades.
Walther Mod.Polizeipistole ‘long slide’
Manufactured by Walther in the mid-20th century, shipped to Swiss gunsmith Glaser in Zurich as part of a custom order of six guns for professional target shooters, all serial numbers ranging between 779150 and 779160. This is serial number 779150.
7,65mm, 8+1 rounds, straight blowback, custom “BOHLER STAHL ANTINIT” stainless steel 127mm barrel with matching slide, hard chromium finish, gold plated trigger with checkered face.
Simson 1929 semi-automatic pistol Prototype
Manufactured by Simson & Co. Waffenfabrik in Suhl, Germany c.1928-29, serial number 7A.
9mm Parabellum, 8-rounds magazine, single-action, simple blowback.
At time the only German military small arms manufacturer authorized to operate under the Versailles treaty, Simson experimented with what is essentially a toggle-lockless Luger P08 pistol for the rearmament of the Preußische Geheimpolizei, using the same magazine. They however ended up adopting the P08, because it made them look more like badasses, also because there was no point drifting away from the huge stocks of them they already had to adopt a new gun that was more or less the same freaking thing.
“Automat 9mm M.35 Erma”, Yugoslavian order Erma EMP SMG.
Unlike standard model this one had longer barre, tangent rear sight adjustable to 500m and bayonet mount. Bayonet was same as one for M.24ČK carbine and based on M.12 fighting knife.
HB MM34 ‘Royal’ Schnellfeuer-type machine pistolManufactured in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country by Beistegui Hermanos.
7,63x25mm Mauser 20-round detachable box magazine, short recoil full automatic, air cooling fins.
So many copies of the C96 were made, Astra made a Schnellfeuer variant even before the official one came out. This one is yet another variation with a fire rate regulating thingamajig.