View Full Version : The SPQR

September 22, 2005, 10:32 PM
Anyone ever hear of this one-the SPQR-Special Purpose Quiet Revolver. I recall reading about this in one of the gun magazines (Guns & Ammo?) in 1974
or so, have never seen another reference to it. It was designed for the tunnel rats to give them a weapon that not would blind or deafen them in the close and cramped environments they fought in. It was built on the S&W N-frame, had a short (2" or so) smoothbore barrel. The real secret was in the ammunition, not regular cartridges but specially designed ones. They had steel
cases, they were loaded with buckshot over a steel plate, the cartridge was so designed that when it was fired, the powder pushed the steel plate forward propelling its load of buckshot down the barrel, but the steel plate was retained by a lip in the mouth of the cartridge so the noise of the blast
and the flash were retained inside the shell case. In effect, the ammunition was silenced, not the weapon. The article did not have any pictures and I have never seen another reference to it since. You know full well that at least
one GI would have figured out how to smuggle one home. Interesting concept,
curious to see if it actually works, or just a product of a writer's imagination
fired by a veteran's stories, perhaps?

September 22, 2005, 11:16 PM
No the guns really existed.
They were built by S&W as a very limited production experimental.

The gun was one of a series of devices intended for Vietnam tunnel rats.
Among others were electronic hearing devices similar to today's electronic shooter's muffs, various night vision goggles, a series of "people sniffer" devices that could "Smell" the presence of humans, and other equipment to give a tunnel rat an edge.

The gun, like most of the other experimental gear, didn't pan out and all of the guns were removed from service.

Although some of the gear were good ideas that in later years were developed into usable equipment, the conditions under which they were used in Vietnam caused most of it to break down.

Apparently, several of the S&W revolvers were lost or stolen.
Several examples are in museums, one at West Point I think, and I believe S&W has several.

The same piston cartridge idea has been used several times with some success, including on several underwater weapons made for the Navy SEAL Teams.

September 25, 2005, 05:08 PM
Many thanks for your prompt reply and clearing up a mystery for me. 2 more
Vietnam era mystery handguns. 1 . The "Hush Puppy"-supposedly this one was
developed for the Navy Seals though it was nothing more exotic than what was eventually sold as the S&W M-59. 2. The "Deer Gun"-supposedly this was basically a Vietnam version of the OSS Liberator pistol of WWII chambered in the more ubiquitous 9MM. Like the Liberator it was essentially a
mass produced "zip gun" with nothing to identify as of U.S. origin. To the question of why it was not chambered in the ComBloc standard of 7.62 Tokarev I note that U.S. troops in RVN were told not to use enemy weapons and ammmunition due to a succesful covert operation called "Eldest Son" or "Elder Brother" or something like that, we were sabotaging enemy munitions by replacing the gunpowder with plastic explosives or something like that. Ouch!

4V50 Gary
September 29, 2005, 07:24 AM
Darn if you don't learn something new everyday. The Senate & the People of Rome is now a gun!

September 29, 2005, 02:01 PM
The SEAL "Hush Puppy" was nick-named that because it was ostensibly to be used to shoot enemy guard dogs.

The actual use was to also shoot enemy personnel, but that was considered non-politically correct by superiors, so the stated purpose of shooting animals.

The gun was actually the S&W Model 39.
The gun came in a case complete with a silencer, spare "wipes" to replace the inserts in the silencer which burned out, rubber plugs to waterproof the gun, spare parts, and special, sup-sonic 9mm ammo.

The gun had a special long slide stop.
When in the down position, the gun operated as a semi-auto.
With the stop in the up position, it locked the slide shut for best efficiency with the silencer.

The CIA "Deer Gun" was even more a secretive gun than the WWII "Liberator".

Nobody is certain exactly where it was made, or by who.
It had an aluminum main body with a screw-off tapered barrel.
As one report stated, "Cooler heads prevailed, and the Deer Gun was never passed out, almost all being destroyed".

The idea of sabotaging enemy munitions was used with great effect in Malaysia, during the "Emergency" when Chinese guerrillas attempted to seize the country.

The British SAS began "salting" caches of munitions, and as the guerrillas began to loose, and have difficulty getting ammunition, they increased the percentages to the point where MOST of the enemy's grenades would explode the instant the arming lever was released.
The British even developed means by which weapons themselves could be invisibly altered to explode on firing.

The US Special Operations forces in Vietnam did this under a variety of code names, including "Elder Son" "Bolo Beans", "Italian Red", and "Italian Green", among others.

The early sabotaged ammunition was by pulling bullets and filling cases full of Bullseye ball powder.
Grenades were altered to explode as soon as the arming lever was released, mortar shells exploded upon being dropped down the tube.

Later, more effective means of altering ammo were developed, and munitions were altered or even manufactured in Taiwan and other Asian countries for SOG and other Special Ops unit's use.

Special Ops people like SOG, SEALs, Ranger and LRRP/LRP, Special Forces, and others were so active, that all US personnel were specifically warned NOT to fire any enemy ammo or use any munitions.

Special Ops actually had 7.62x39 ammo manufactured in Taiwan for their own use, due to the danger of using enemy ammo.

September 29, 2005, 06:58 PM
You're right Gary. You see the SPQR signs all around Rome !! :rolleyes:

September 29, 2005, 08:40 PM
It's nice to know there are still people with knowledge of the Classics.

September 29, 2005, 09:00 PM
I knew that SPQR meant Senate and the People of Rome, but does anybody have the Latin phrase? I was just curious what the Q was?

September 29, 2005, 09:37 PM
Senatus PopulusQue Romae-The Que means "and", was tacked on as a suffix. Took latin in High School-40 years ago, egad!

September 30, 2005, 12:41 AM
I often read the old Nobel Roman Jeffus Gaius Cooperus.

He wrote a lot about his .45 caliber Gladius which he used against the warriors of the mysterious East beyond Cathay.