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Old August 23, 2012, 01:19 PM   #35
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
I doubt very much that there was any intention of U.S. soldiers using those pocket pistols in fighting. In theory, I suppose some general officer could have shot it out with a German Feldmarschal, Colt 1903 vs. Walther PPK, western movie style, but it didn't happen. Those guns were primarily issued to people who needed a concealable handgun or as purely defensive handguns. I know of no evidence or pictures of their use in actual combat on any front at any time.

As to the locked breech pistols, the locked breech was/is necessary with more powerful cartridges unless the slide is made very heavy. Browning's first dual link recoil operated pistols, the so called "parallel ruler" guns in .38ACP, had a serious defect. If the gun was assembled without the slide stop (which is the term used for the part sometimes called a "wedge") the slide would come straight back in the shooter's face, causing some degree of unhappiness. Not all guns made that way were .38's; the Model 1905 .45 caliber was a two link pistol.

The Model 1911 is a fine gun, but it did not suddenly come into existence by some miracle. And some of its better features were the result of a mililtary demand, over the resistance of Browning. (Browning opposed the manual safety, for example, contending that the half cock, combined with the inertia firing pin, was sufficient for safe carry. He was overridden by the cavalry, who wanted to be able to make the gun safe while controlling an unruly horse.)

Jim K
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