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Old September 6, 2022, 05:15 PM   #1
SIGSHR
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Relying on vintage firearms for SD/EDC

I have seen this posted on some other boards, naturally what is "vintage" is subject to debate. One poster came up with some good criteria:
1. Nothing from a long vanished manufacturer with spare parts either extremely scarce or non-existent.
2. Nothing made in Germany or German occupied countries 1942-1945.
3. Nothing with poor ergonomics, say poor grip-frame angle-the Tokarev, e.g. , difficult to engage safety-the Mauser 1914/1934, the CZ-27, perhaps heel clip magazines.
4. Nothing exotic-Mauser Broomhandle. e.g.
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Old September 6, 2022, 05:39 PM   #2
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Vintage firearms? Better ask yourself how you would feel to see Grandpa's Colt 1903 (or insert your current vintage gun here) kicked across the parking lot after the police tell you to throw it down, then see it bagged and tagged and sit in an evidence locker for 3-4 years.

Older gun with no parts available? Do you want to know real terror? At your moment of great need, you draw your little treasure (which you chose because some actor used it in some movie) and point it at the rapidly approaching bad guy and it goes click. click. click click.

Poor ergonomics? You mean like a Glock? No, you probably didn't mean that. Yeah, that old Beretta or Steyr or Bernardelli or nameless Spanish 32, if you have to fumble to release the safety you don't want it. If you can't find the moving parts in a split second, you've got the wrong gun. That's why a 1911 or a Glock are so popular.

As far as Mauser C96/Broomhandle goes (you could include Lugers or Tokarevs if you want), it was never a good option, even when it was new, so why would you carry something like that? Sure, you'll look cool when they take your picture, right after they draw the chalk outline around you.

As far as strange locations for mag latches, I go back to Cooper: if 7 rounds of 45 haven't solved your problem, you've made a serious tactical error. Not only 45, just about any cartridge, 22, 25, 32, 380, 9mm, etc. I don't usually carry spare magazines because I don't envision getting into a firefight with a drug cartel, so heel mag latch or button mag latch makes little difference. It's a self-defense gun. For a century or more, 6 rounds was sufficient, I don't see why I need to go out and about loaded down with 3 extra mags. Now, if I'm going out looking for trouble, that's a different matter.

My two cents worth is: choose a relatively new firearm in a good state of repair that you are intimately familiar with, loaded with new ammunition as a defensive handgun.
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Old September 6, 2022, 09:38 PM   #3
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This one could be FUN!!

First off, can we agree that looking at the past with 21st century goggles distorts the true image? I think it does.

ok, here's my reaction to the various statements, and is no reflection on the authors in any way, only on what was stated.

Quote:
..naturally what is "vintage" is subject to debate. One poster came up with some good criteria:
1. Nothing from a long vanished manufacturer with spare parts either extremely scarce or non-existent.
I can understand this, but I'd like to ask, what about models that have been discontinued by companies that are still in business? Does that make them "Vintage"??

Quote:
2. Nothing made in Germany or German occupied countries 1942-1945.
I would consider pistols of that age "vintage" but why single out German and those specific years???


Quote:
3. Nothing with poor ergonomics, say poor grip-frame angle-the Tokarev, e.g. , difficult to engage safety-the Mauser 1914/1934, the CZ-27, perhaps heel clip magazines.
Poor egronomics can be the result of poor design, or (and particularly with firearms) it can be the result of misunderstanding the fundamental design philosophies of the creators.

what you consider a flaw might make perfect sense and not be a flaw, to them. With things like safety and magazine release placement and type, American designers tend to do things one way, Europeans do it another.
(we can discuss this in detail, later on....)

Quote:
4. Nothing exotic-Mauser Broomhandle. e.g.
Certainly Mauser Broomhandles are vintage, none has been made in a long time. And it would hardly be the most practical choice in the US today (or for a long time previously)

I am however left with the impression that "vintage" pistols are to be considered unsuitable because they are vintage pistols, and not because individual designs of certain pistols are suboptimal by modern standards.

Quote:
Older gun with no parts available? Do you want to know real terror? At your moment of great need, you draw your little treasure (which you chose because some actor used it in some movie) and point it at the rapidly approaching bad guy and it goes click. click. click click.
I don't think I'd be in any more terror than the same situation with a pistol in current production with plenty of parts available that did the same thing.

Quote:
If you can't find the moving parts in a split second, you've got the wrong gun.
I agree, but then, I am an American with American attitudes about such things. For most of the 20th Century European gun designers thought differently.

For a long time I could never figure out why they did such "dumb" things with safeties you couldn't easily reach, heel type magazine catches and holsters that were built like luggage with straps and actual buckles...

Then I met a German who explained those things from their point of view. (and their view of ours )

Start with holsters, and to keep things a little simple, look only at police and military holster for now.

Americans prefer a holster that allows rapid draw and immediate use of the pistol. According to that German guy, this evolved from our wild west gunslinger days...fast draw, and all that.

The German viewpoint was that if you thought there was a possibility you needed your pistol then it should already be made ready, and in your hand.

There is (or was) also a wide spread school of thought that safeties were something to be operated by the non-shooting hand. Being able to operate the safety with the hand holding the gun and maintaining a firing grip was not a priority, and in some designs, not even a concern.

and as to heel clip magazine releases, the speed reload Americans (and many others today) demand was simple not something considered important.

The heel clip release is fully ambidextrous (equally inaccessible to either hand, ) and is very positive, and almost impossible to accidently release.

back in 80, I got a Browning BDA 45 (Sig P220) it had the heel clip release. Played a few local combat shoot games with it, and it taught me some things. I was always a bit slower on the reload than the guys running guns with the pushbutton release, and of course I was never happy about that.

Until I did some thinking about what might be the case in a real world (especially the classic survivalist disaster situation) in the long run, which would also apply to combat situations where there was no timely resupply.

The guys who trained to drop their mags to the ground and keep going, MIGHT not be able to go back after and pick them back up (or even find them). The poor smuck stuck with a heel type release would be a couple seconds slower on the reload, but then the empty mag is in his hand, and can be dropped into a pouch or pocket for reuse later, and not be lost.

Back closer to topic, there are some vintage pistols I would trust my life to, and some I would not. Individual guns, guns I own and have used and who have proven how well they work, or don't.

And, since this is in General Handguns, shouldn't we be discussing "vintage" revolvers as well??
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Old September 6, 2022, 10:11 PM   #4
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I keep a 1952 S&W pre-Model 10 in my desk drawer at work. Does that count as vintage?


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Old September 6, 2022, 10:29 PM   #5
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If it works, I'd carry it. If I found a 1911 from the roaring 20's why won't I carry it. Same with a 357 mag from the 1940's, or a 9mm from the early 1900's. If they work, they work.

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Old September 6, 2022, 11:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kenny53 View Post
If it works, I'd carry it. If I found a 1911 from the roaring 20's why won't you carry it. Same with a 357 mag from the 1940's, or a 9mm from the early 1900's. If they work, they work.

Just because something works now, doesn’t mean that thing works tomorrow. Time and how something is cared for over that time play a big role. I’ve seen what I guess would be called “vintage” firearms that are practically pristine. I’ve seen similar firearms that look like they’re one fired round away from becoming a person’s bad day. And sometimes the difference at the exterior level doesn’t reflect what’s going on internally. I’d add this isn’t just true of vintage firearms, but what might be considered newer firearms as well. I’ve bought newer used firearms that obviously had a rough life.

I have a number of firearms older than my father, much less me, and some are in better condition than others. If you’re going to own and use those firearms for self defense I think you need to have a bit of a higher degree of understanding how they work so that you can confirm continued function. That’s not to say newer firearms can’t and don’t have issues from the factory, but hopefully fatigue of parts and springs is less of a concern with a newer firearm (within reason).


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Old September 7, 2022, 12:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
If you’re going to own and use those firearms for self defense I think you need to have a bit of a higher degree of understanding how they work so that you can confirm continued function.
if, by higher degree of understanding you mean more than what "bullets go where" I agree. but I also think that should apply to every firearm a person owns, and especially if its for defense use.

I think, perhaps we should separate the question into "can you" and "Should you" use a vintage firearm for defense /carry.

From a functional point of view, I'm ok with vintage guns I know and trust and would use them at need at home, if one was the first thing to hand.

I would not use one for carry, because I tend to care about my vintage guns more than new, new-ish guns in current production that I could easily repair or replace with just money.

I would also point out that, in their day, those vintage guns were new and sometimes cutting edge tech and many folks were quite happy with them, at the time. I understand Winston Churchill thought well of the Broomhandle Mauser that saved his life when he was a young LT....
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Old September 7, 2022, 06:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
if, by higher degree of understanding you mean more than what "bullets go where" I agree. but I also think that should apply to every firearm a person owns, and especially if its for defense use.
I don’t disagree, which is why I included a following, clarifying sentence that you excluded in your quote and earlier warnings that newer pistols can have issues too. General understanding of firearm function is important.

By higher degree of understanding I mean knowing which parts can and will wear out from use and how to check them and replace them as with an older firearm it may be more likely that those parts have reached that point. I’ve owned vintage firearms that had issues from day one, but in some cases those issues were simply springs that were fatigued. Knowing which springs to replace and how allowed me to get those firearms working in much better order. Other vintage firearms I owned had complete parts breakages. As I said before I’ve had issues with newer pistols as well, but in terms of percentages my experience showed it wasn’t the same.


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Old September 7, 2022, 07:01 AM   #9
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I would guess that the reason for excluding german war 2 guns is to prevent being labeled a nazi by the press in the event it had to be used in a SD scenario.

I can't remember the last time the press accused someone of trying to spread a neo-imperial Japanese ideology, but from a purely political point of view, your better off shooting a home intruder with a Nambu than a Luger produced during war time.
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Old September 7, 2022, 08:38 AM   #10
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Any pistol, new or old can break at the wrong time and cost your life in a SD situation. When it breaks is an unpredictable event, granted proper care and maintenance decreases the odds of it breaking but does not eliminate it. So the notion of parts availability only pertains to repairs later, it has no impact on eliminating a pistol for self defense in the moment it’s needed.
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Old September 7, 2022, 09:03 AM   #11
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There is value to the concept of an heir and a spare that goes beyond just monarchies.
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Old September 7, 2022, 09:54 AM   #12
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I have no problem with vintage guns as CCW or SD/HD. What I do have a problem with is junk, new or old. The What-Iffers will kill you long before bad guys. If you have a quality old gun in top condition what not use it? I’m quite sure my Walther PP is going to work when I pull it out. Cant say the same for a lot of stuff on the market today. You can’t trust it to work out of the box. I would say the author of such scribble didn’t have anything better to do that day.
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Old September 7, 2022, 10:23 AM   #13
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but from a purely political point of view, your better off shooting a home intruder with a Nambu than a Luger produced during war time.
So, would I be better off if I shot a home intruder with my 1936 Luger???

What I don't get is why the years 42-45 were specifically chosen. I just don't see the sense in it, unless it's a typo. 1942?? WHY???

If the point is to avoid association with the Nazis, 42 is the wrong year to start. Nazi rule began in 1933.
IF it is to avoid a "wartime production gun), the war started in 1939.
Nazi Occupied countries? Again, 1939 Poland, 1940, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, France. 1941 the Balkans, Greece, and significant part of the Soviet Union, and forces in North Africa.

IF the point was to avoid guns of declining quality due to wartime pressure because Germany was losing, 1942 isn't the year, either. Nor is 43. 44? I can see the case for that.

I would chose a Luger over a Nambu, (have Luger, don't have Nambu) the 9mm Luger is better than the 8mm Nambu.

Call me a Nazi if you want, ich kenne die Wahrheit, ihre Gendanken machts nichts.
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Old September 7, 2022, 12:10 PM   #14
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I didn't write the criteria or pick which years, I just think it makes sense to disassociate with the nazi party considering how the media loves to play that card. I would avoid using any firearm with the nazi eagle stamp for sd. Just because you know the truth dosen't mean a jury, or the media, will.

I personally wouldn't use any vintage firearm for SD, there are too many high quality, low priced options available. As an example, LE trade in M&Ps are available under $300, while Lugers, P38s, and other collectable types have far more collectors value than their reliability as a basic weapon warrants. If you can't afford a tool, maybe a collectable will do, but I don't think its ideal.
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Old September 7, 2022, 01:44 PM   #15
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I didn't write the criteria or pick which years, I just think it makes sense to disassociate with the nazi party considering how the media loves to play that card. I would avoid using any firearm with the nazi eagle stamp for sd. Just because you know the truth dosen't mean a jury, or the media, will.
I have no intent to pick on any person, I just look at what is stated, not at the author. So I was trying to make sense of why what was said was said in that manner.

I have, on occasion had people be upset with the fact that I have some nazi marked guns. My usual reply was something along the lines of "the fact that I have them means the Nazis DO NOT. They have harmed no one in all the years I've owned them.

I do not espouse Nazi political ideas, and I've reached the point in my life where I no longer give a rodent's posterior about the opinion's of people too ignorant to understand the difference between owning a historical artifact and supporting the ideals of its former owners.

and, re: the media?? I believe they know the truth (or could if they just looked) they just chose NOT to...
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Old September 7, 2022, 03:09 PM   #16
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The idea behind rejecting a WWII German/German controlled manufacture pistol was poor quality control, forced labor, inferior materials, etc.
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Old September 7, 2022, 04:15 PM   #17
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Prior ownership of weapons from some dictator state or Commie country is a non issue with me. A gun is not a living person. Playing into that stuff is just more WOKE BS. Do you think GIs bringing home enemy guns as war souvenirs in some way elevates or supports the evil of individuals. They are trophies over evil. People need to get their heads right, and that means extracting them out of their butts. Trouble with today is a lot of people worry about what Wokes think.
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Old September 7, 2022, 04:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SIGSHR View Post
The idea behind rejecting a WWII German/German controlled manufacture pistol was poor quality control, forced labor, inferior materials, etc.

That’s what I figured. Though the years seem a bit odd to me because I didn’t think the quality had tapered off that early in the 40s. I’m admittedly not a collector of German or Japanese firearms, nor because of philosophical reasons but more it seems more nuanced than American surplus and I felt over my head.


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Old September 7, 2022, 06:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
The idea behind rejecting a WWII German/German controlled manufacture pistol was poor quality control, forced labor, inferior materials, etc.
I considered this, and that is why the choice of 42 was perplexing. I have been a WWII hobbyist for most of my life, and have always been particularly focused on the equipment and arms.

42 was literally the middle of the war, in Europe. Germany had not yet lost, nor were they even being hard pressed at home or in the occupied nations, only on the combat fronts of Russia and North Africa were there the back and forth of attack, and counter attack.

The air war and the bomber offensive that eventually crippled Germany was stil a year away in 42. There were raids, yes, and some damage but no where near what came later on.

The only significant change to German military pistol production in 1942 was the ending of P.08 Luger pistol production. This was done to free up the production capacity (machine tools and men, and above all, time) for use on other more important projects.

A drop in the quality of German pistols from poor QC, inferior materials or slave labor was not a factor in 42, or much of one in 43. In 44 it did show up, but even then most of the drop in "quality" was in the finish, NOT the functonality. One of the more famous examples is the SpreeWerke P.38s. They are notorious for having rough finishes, compared to earlier production at other plants, but this really didn't start happening in quantity until 44, and no where have I run across reports that those rougher finished pistols didn't work.

So, I'm still in the dark why 42 was chosen as the beginning of the "wartime production to avoid" in the op.
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Old September 7, 2022, 07:13 PM   #20
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Because 42 == * and is The Answer !(bang)
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Old September 8, 2022, 10:49 AM   #21
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vintage. I thought it meant (aged.) ya know, like wine? the older it gets, the better or more popular it becomes? popular, (liked) not a failure.
just a little bobski KISS theory here.
id call that the....vintage class of firearms. (aged and desired)
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Old September 8, 2022, 10:52 AM   #22
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My P38 was made by Spreewerk late in the war, probably 1943. Some surfaces are pretty rough but it is very reliable and as accurate as most military 9mm’s. It would be an unusual choice for me to carry for defense, but I wouldn’t be worried about it failing me.
I also have a 1918 Luger and a Walther PPK, both Nazi marked. I wouldn’t carry the Luger because of the collector value, I would carry the Walther, but I have other less valuable 32’s I could pack if so desired, but neither of those pistols has ever had a failure to feed or fire.
I carry revolvers 95% of the time. A Charter Bulldog 44 Special that is over 45 years old and a Smith Model 66, 2.5 inch, that was made in the 80’s. Only semi auto I occasionally carry is a S&W Shield. I carried a 1911 when I was on duty and still would if I was intentionally going in harms way.
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Old September 8, 2022, 12:33 PM   #23
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I have holsters for them and have carried a couple of vintage guns before. It's kind of neat being able to put a 100+ year old gun back into use. My Colt 1903's are just as reliable as a lot of guns being made today. I was considering one of the new Springfield Prodigies until it was released and it sounds like failure to feeds are pretty much par for the course on this $1,500 gun. Of course I won't argue that the Colt is a better carry gun over my Sig P395.

My old S&W revolvers are just as reliable as their modern counterparts. Just about any part for any common gun can be found with a little bit of searching.

FWIW you can put more wear and tear on a gun in one day of heavy use compared to the amount of use many of my vintage guns have seen in the last 100 years. Just because something is newer doesn't mean it hasn't been used and abused. A lot of the "upgrades" going into newer models is just a cheaper way to make a part.
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Old September 8, 2022, 01:17 PM   #24
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I would venture a guess that it would all depend on what was in your hand at the moment of need. Normal carry for me is a Colt Commander with an S&W M60 as a bug. Two spare mags for the Colt and two speed loaders for the M60. That's normal every day carry. The exceptions to the rule could mean anything from a Colt single action to a Manhurin Walther PP in .32 ACP or anything in between. Whatever works. Try to keep proficient with whatever you're using.
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Old September 8, 2022, 01:43 PM   #25
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since the Op's title was 'relying on' vintage arms, I would add that a concern with metal fatigue and age is a crucial factor in relying on an old gun.
those in aviation understand the boneyard concept, to be a place where old aircraft are retired since the service life of the parts has been reached and the airframe has met its limit for safety.
down at the molecule level is where the concern needs to be focused, much like welders that have their work inspected with x-ray.
old vintage guns in some cases may have reached their limit and are just waiting to fail, putting you in harms way.
heck, when I was in the teams, the sig226 had a rebuild cycle of 20,000 rounds to avoid frame cracks...and at 100,000 rounds it was sent back to the factory and replaced.
old unserviceable rifles in ww1/2 had their bbls welded closed or cut and the bolts bent to discourage owners from reviving dangerous arms.
I collected 1974 Winchester sxm1 shotguns. brand NIB guns failed right out of the box just from sitting. so you cant use the NIB title and be safe either.
as I was taught in corrosion control training in military aviation, 'metal is
constantly returning to its natural state and can only be delayed.'
when you run your hands along a vintage gun at a gun show....do you REALLY know the round count or how abused it may be? some gamble. some don't.
its a crap shoot.
but count me in to depend on old iron, than new...or plastic/alloys.
ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
amen.
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