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Handguns in British Service

what the people making the decisions back then thought were the advantages.
I'm pretty sure reloading on horseback would feature for some armies. Can't remember where I picked that up, mighta been around the Mauser as carried by the young WSC.

Any Fule kno you can't fumble single rounds into an open revolver and ride da pony at the same time.
 
I'm pretty sure reloading on horseback would feature for some armies. Can't remember where I picked that up, mighta been around the Mauser as carried by the young WSC.

Any Fule kno you can't fumble single rounds into an open revolver and ride da pony at the same time.
The question though is whether that was seen as a reason at the time by the people who made the decision.

There were by the way a number of different speed loaders available for the Webley revolver, starting from the early 1890s. Webley even sold one under their own name. They didn't really catch on much however until WWI. If speed of reloading were of such an advantage, then you would think that these speed loaders would have been more popular.
 
The question though is whether that was seen as a reason at the time by the people who made the decision.
Could not tell you, so vague is my recollection.
If speed of reloading were of such an advantage, then you would think that these speed loaders would have been more popular
Given that enthusiasm for sword and lance seem to have persisted among Inf and Cav well into 1914, I wouldn't take anything for granted :-D
 

TamH70

MIA
One has to bear in mind that the primary driving force for the US adopting the .45 ACP bullet mit whatever pistol it came in was their experience fighting Moro tribespeople in the Philippines and finding out that their current pistols - according to Wikipedia the .38 Long Colt M1892 revolver - were not all that effective in planting said Moro tribespeople as they were pissed to their Allan's Snackbar brains on local high-grade intoxicants and adrenaline. As a field expedient, they went back to using the old Colt's Model of 1873, the Peacemaker, as that came in .45 Long Colt and had a bit more stopping power.

M1911 pistol - Wikipedia

Automatic pistols were coming in anyway, driven by the new smokeless powder revolution which had made all previous rifles, carbines and revolvers obsolete just before the turn of the new century.
 

Nomad1382

War Hero
And in the long run, the US found that the best weapon against the Moro's was...the M1897 Winchester Trench Gun. I don't think it was the speed of reloading an auto they were looking at but the ease. It is easier for the hardly trained to reload with a magazine than the half moons or individual rounds. It only took police forces another 70 odd years to recognize the need for another way to load than 2 cartridges at a time from loops or dump pouches.
 
The standard sidearm of the Met from 1911 to 1956 was a Webley semi-auto chambered in .32 ACP/7.65

Tis said that when Walter Thompson became Winston Churchill's close protection officer, the great man took one look at the little Webley and promptly gave him a Colt M1911
 
One has to bear in mind that the primary driving force for the US adopting the .45 ACP bullet mit whatever pistol it came in was their experience fighting Moro tribespeople in the Philippines and finding out that their current pistols - according to Wikipedia the .38 Long Colt M1892 revolver - were not all that effective in planting said Moro tribespeople as they were pissed to their Allan's Snackbar brains on local high-grade intoxicants and adrenaline. As a field expedient, they went back to using the old Colt's Model of 1873, the Peacemaker, as that came in .45 Long Colt and had a bit more stopping power.

M1911 pistol - Wikipedia

Automatic pistols were coming in anyway, driven by the new smokeless powder revolution which had made all previous rifles, carbines and revolvers obsolete just before the turn of the new century.
I believe that people who have looked into the reason for the US adopting .45 say the Moro story is just myth. Once the myth got started then everybody just repeated what everybody else was saying without doing any research to see if it was really true.

As I recall the explanation, the requirements and design for what became the Colt 1911 was driven entirely by the cavalry, and they wanted something they thought would have an effect on horses as well as men. A .45 cartridge was seen as the minimum size for that, although it's questionable whether any realistically sized pistol calibre is going to have an immediate effect on a horse unless it is hit in a vital spot.
 
I believe that people who have looked into the reason for the US adopting .45 say the Moro story is just myth. Once the myth got started then everybody just repeated what everybody else was saying without doing any research to see if it was really true.

As I recall the explanation, the requirements and design for what became the Colt 1911 was driven entirely by the cavalry, and they wanted something they thought would have an effect on horses as well as men. A .45 cartridge was seen as the minimum size for that, although it's questionable whether any realistically sized pistol calibre is going to have an immediate effect on a horse unless it is hit in a vital spot.
I know several equine vets who are content to rely on a .32 ACP for humane despatch. Admittedly this allows for a well placed near-contact shot in order to kill instantly, but I reckon a .45 would severely wound a horse in close combat, a broken leg for example, and that is all that is required.
 
I know several equine vets who are content to rely on a .32 ACP for humane despatch. Admittedly this allows for a well placed near-contact shot in order to kill instantly, but I reckon a .45 would severely wound a horse in close combat, a broken leg for example, and that is all that is required.
Yes, a shot in the right place such as the brain will drop a horse in its tracks. However, if you shoot it through the lungs for example it could take some time to die from blood loss.
 
I believe that people who have looked into the reason for the US adopting .45 say the Moro story is just myth. Once the myth got started then everybody just repeated what everybody else was saying without doing any research to see if it was really true.
It wasn't a myth, it was the recommendation of the Thompson-LaGarde ballistic tests of 1904.
" Finally the Board reached the conclusion that the only safeguard at close encounters is a well-directed rapid fire from nothing less than a .45-caliber weapon."

It seems to have been less-than-scientific, in that all the rounds of less than .45" were jacketed.

It certainly directed them towards the .45 ACP round. Colonel John Thompson later went on to invent another .45 weapon that became quite famous.
 
It seems to have been less-than-scientific, in that all the rounds of less than .45" were jacketed.
Would that be because the smaller rounds were designed for use in semi-auto pistols ? Whereas the .45 Colt used in the test was the cast lead Long Colt rimmed revolver round ?

The Brits hankered after "man stopper" pistol cartridges throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, and up to about the end of the Great War, resulting in the mighty (but slow) Eley and Webley variations in .442, .450, .455 and .476.
Increased muzzle velocities which came on the back of the introduction of nitrocellulose smokeless propellant, and bullet construction were more important factors than bullet mass, though the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions prevented the military use of the most effective type of bullet. As far as military handgun bullet performance is concerned, there has been no real advance for more than a hundred years.
 
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Niamac

GCM
This is the big one that even the Navy wouldn't touch.

1608650646034.png
Ex-wikipedia.

The captain in charge of tests of the Mars at the Naval Gunnery School in 1902 observed, "No one who fired once with the pistol wished to shoot it again". Shooting the Mars pistol was described as "singularly unpleasant and alarming".

 

Mufulira42

Old-Salt
Given the limited role of handguns in the Army, I don't think there was any great loss in not adopting an auto prior to WW1. The revolvers of the era were simpler, cheaper and safer than their auto contemporaries, and usually only lacked one round in ammo capacity.

I suppose that it should be noted that anything adopted would of course be for issue to other ranks - officers were obliged to purchase their own sidearm, and were free to buy an auto pistol of the service calibre if they so chose.

(I do wonder what happened about officer dress regulations, though. Commonality normally implied a standard pattern revolver holster on the belt, and not some new tech auto pistol gizmo).

Having said that, it is a shame that Webley didn't pursue a line of auto pistols. Its not inconcievable that they could have come up with something to compete with the GP35 between the wars. Perhaps they were boxed in by Browning's comprehensive patent portfolio.
IIRC the Saffie Police were issued Webley auto pistols in a 9mm calibre pre-WWII and these performed quite well!
 

Trumps :) :

DSCN0066.jpg


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Edit to add: For the geeks:

Dawson precision sights - Glock sights are as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle
Wolf stainless barrel - deals with variable ammo.
Ghost 3.5lb trigger connector - reduces trigger pull weight.
Polished trigger bar - reduces trigger pull weight.
Polished firing pin safety - reduces trigger pull weight.
Talon grip - which I would recommend to anyone who duty carries. It is a micro thin layer of self adhesive silicon rubber shaped to fit the grips. It stops gun slippage when suffering sweaty hand syndrome.

(after much buggering around with firing springs, and a beating from a Glock rep, I am back to the standard weight firing pin springs in my Glocks...........I will admit Glock knows best and I am consistently at a 3.5lb trigger pull)
 
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Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
The R.U.C. used to be issued with Ruger Revolvers at one point, were these ever taken on by the British Forces ?
I remember they were big old things
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
The R.U.C. used to be issued with Ruger Revolvers at one point, were these ever taken on by the British Forces ?
I remember they were big old things
Speed Six in .38" . I eased the cylinder release on one for a copper in XMG in 88.
 
It wasn't a myth, it was the recommendation of the Thompson-LaGarde ballistic tests of 1904.
" Finally the Board reached the conclusion that the only safeguard at close encounters is a well-directed rapid fire from nothing less than a .45-caliber weapon."

It seems to have been less-than-scientific, in that all the rounds of less than .45" were jacketed.

It certainly directed them towards the .45 ACP round. Colonel John Thompson later went on to invent another .45 weapon that became quite famous.
I'm aware of the Thompson-LaGarde tests. I started writing about them in my post but then deleted that bit for the sake of brevity.

What I said was "myth" was that the requirement came from the need to shoot Moros. This was according to an article that I read some time ago that went back to the primary sources and could not find any line of continuity between Moros and the .45 requirement.

Instead the requirement fell out of the Thompson-LaGarde tests that you mention. Opinion seems to be however that Thompson and LaGarde started with the answer of ".45" and then constructed their tests to justify that decision.

As I mentioned in my post, there were tests conducted on livestock (live, not dead carcases). These were part of the Thompson-LaGarde tests and formed a major reason for the .45 requirement. The reason livestock were part of the tests were as proxies for horses. The reason that effect on horses was important was that the requirements were driven by the cavalry. Having a big pistol in a large calibre was traditional for the US cavalry, so in any new pistol they wanted more of the same.

The grip safety also grew out of a cavalry requirement, as they wanted to be able to holster the pistol quickly on horseback and have it made safe without having to manipulate an applied safety.

So, we're not actually in disagreement on this.
 
Having a big pistol in a large calibre was traditional for the US cavalry, so in any new pistol they wanted more of the same.
Delete: Pistol, Insert: Weapon, and Delete: all reference to 'Cavalry' - you then have a nutshell summary for the American attitudes that gave the world 7.62mm and wound up with 5.56mm (itself a sub-optimum combat calibre) being NATO standard to this day.
 

Mufulira42

Old-Salt
Delete: Pistol, Insert: Weapon, and Delete: all reference to 'Cavalry' - you then have a nutshell summary for the American attitudes that gave the world 7.62mm and wound up with 5.56mm (itself a sub-optimum combat calibre) being NATO standard to this day.
The abandoned 280/30 or 7mm Mk1Z as Ugly will attest to, performs most adequately up ranges the 5.56 would dream of. My retirement project is presently under way re-barreling a P17 in 30-06 to 7mm without resorting to lovely muzzle flash and shoulder-thumping recoil -but staying on target and delivering the goods.
This is the big one that even the Navy wouldn't touch.

View attachment 531566 Ex-wikipedia.

The captain in charge of tests of the Mars at the Naval Gunnery School in 1902 observed, "No one who fired once with the pistol wished to shoot it again". Shooting the Mars pistol was described as "singularly unpleasant and alarming".

One can hardly imagine the mechanical trickery and sounding like a railway train at a points crossing " Clickety- Clack, clack clack and eventually Bang and the mechanical clatter all over again!
 

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