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Old April 28, 2014, 02:26 AM   #1
gringo987
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Handguns used by U.S. agencies in 1975

Good morning Gents, I’m hoping someone on this site from the U.S. can help me with a couple of questions - for a novel that I’m writing, set in 1975 - about weapons held by certain U.S. agencies. Would there have been a standard issue personal weapon (handgun) that CIA operators would carry in the early 70’s ?? Or would there have been a choice of handguns? Secondly, I have U.S. Secret Service agents from that period armed with .357 Smith and Wesson Magnums, which I’m fairly certain is correct, but if anyone cares to correct me please do so. Thanks.
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:26 AM   #2
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I knew several people at CIA then but only one, a pouch courier, carried a pistol. It was a small frame .38 revolver, Colt or S&W. None were what one would call a "agent". My neighbor did clandestine work overseas, but he was not armed. Unarmed was more normal than armed for actual employees.
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Old April 28, 2014, 08:28 AM   #3
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Thanks PSP, that's useful info to know, appreciate your help and answer.
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Old April 28, 2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...vious_firearms
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Old April 28, 2014, 10:17 AM   #5
DaleA
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Quote:
-standard issue personal weapon (handgun) that CIA operators would carry in the early 70’s ??
We could tell you but then we'd have to...oh you know the rest.

You got a good answer for the Secret Service but if nobody gives you a definitive answer for the CIA you could 'cheat' and claim the agent got special permission to use whatever you give them, or that the special situation, whatever it is allows them to use whatever weapons you give them. Just make sure the weapon was actually available in that time period.

Kudos for trying to authentic!
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Old April 28, 2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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The "ultimate" clandestine carry handgun for an "operator" in 1975 would have to be the ASP-converted Smith & Wesson Model 39.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASP_pistol
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:48 PM   #7
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S&W model 19's ( .357 Mag revolver, K frames) were common ...but alledgedly, there were some agents that were sill carrying 1911's as well.

To some extent, I think it depended on what they qualified with - and maybe their rank or status.

FBI, Secret Service....were similar based on what I knew...
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:54 PM   #8
gringo987
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Thanks all above for your useful replies, much appreciated.
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Old April 28, 2014, 04:13 PM   #9
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Bear in mind that the CIA operates abroad, and in secrecy. Very, very little of their work actually involves gunplay, despite what the movies tell us.

In reality, if there was a need for violence, an agent would most likely recruit a sympathetic local. Said local would arm themselves with whatever was convenient and available in that place and time.
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Old April 28, 2014, 08:41 PM   #10
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Gringo,

My cuz was in the secret service in the early 80's and had a beautiful 2 1/2" Model 19 with those pretty S&W combat grips. He would have loved to have been able to keep that little gun.
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Old April 28, 2014, 10:57 PM   #11
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Revolvers don't leave spent brass or whatever...casings. Leaving .45 brass behind might be conspicuous in some locations. In '75 a 9mm x19 or x25 may be more discreet. I suspect they considered as much.
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Old April 28, 2014, 11:35 PM   #12
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By then 1911's would have been all over the world, and you can't put a silencer on a revolver (or at least it wouldn't help that much).

The short answer is few agents were "allowed" to use/have guns, and only in the most extreme cases. On the other hand, many probably ignored the rules and carried whatever the wanted to, or could get their hands on.
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Old May 1, 2014, 01:58 PM   #13
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Many thanks to all that have posted replies to my query, in open forum and by pm.....I have no doubt I shall request your expertise again soon!
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Old May 3, 2014, 11:50 PM   #14
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I'd say either model 10's 19's or a 1911
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Old May 7, 2014, 11:44 AM   #15
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I actually know a guy that went out of the country working for "the Government" in the very early 80's to the south American area. He had been given a .45. It was an absolute piece. Mismash of parts. Colt slide, Essex frame. But it worked. I'm quite sure it was, for all practical purposes, untraceable and, off the books. He was told not to bother bringing it back, just leave it there, throw it in the ocean, whatever.
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Old May 8, 2014, 12:35 PM   #16
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I don't know anything.

Whew. That feels good to get off my chest.


However, I will be like many internet gurus and offer my advice anyway!


Why no mention of BHP?

In 1975 it was probably one of the most widely used [internationally] handguns, reliable, accurate and use of it was not directly connected to USA interests the same way a 1911 would be?

It seems likely that a few operators overseas carried those, due to the availability and ease of blaming it on someone else. Also, the ease of access to 9mm ammo.

Silencer option: check. It would work.

Yes, it leaves brass. But it can be blamed on so many people in 1975.

Depending on where the action is happening, why not have your agent beat up someone and take their brand-new CZ75? That would make a GREAT plausible deniability handgun in the late 1970s. Came out in 1975, so maybe he/she takes a prototype?
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Old May 20, 2014, 02:01 AM   #17
gringo987
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Thanks, Jmstr/sgt127 for your latest posts, all much appreciated. You guys certainly know your stuff.
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Old May 20, 2014, 02:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
You guys certainly know your stuff.
Yeah...keep that under your hat or ours won't fit anymore.

Also drop us a line when your book gets published.
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Old May 20, 2014, 03:19 PM   #19
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what, no invisible guns?

i recall a Clancy novel, one character used a Colt Woodsman to off some guys on the streets of Baltimore. relatively quiet gun, good for close contact hits.

you don't need a big, loud gun if you can catch your target by surprise.
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Old May 23, 2014, 02:03 PM   #20
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.22s with silencers were favored for assassination type actions, but those types of actions would be rare for most CIA folk to do directly. From my understanding, a lot CIA people armed themselves similarly to the police detectives of the day. I imagine a short barreled revolver in a shoulder holster would have been standard fair if they went armed at all. I think this rig is perfect for sitting at a desk and typing reports, and there was/is no shortage of that in any law enforcement/federal agency. Take my opinion for what its worth, I wasn't even alive in 1975, but I love history and talking to folks that were there.
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