Here’s another excerpt from our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting…
In the year 1911, John Moses Browning, may God rest his soul, invented the most powerful handgun ever to be created – the 1911. 1911 pistols have been known to take down both a Japanese Zero fighter and German Storch observation plane in World War II. In fact, some believe that a stray 1911 .45 ACP round inadvertently destroyed the city of Dresden. Technically, Browning produced a similar design in 1905, but the 1911 was deemed “just about six years better” by industry press.
The Marquis Belt Buckle pistol, also known informally as the Power Pelvis Gun, was conceived by Louis Marquis while interned in a POW camp during World War I. Frustrated by long chow and loo lines, Marquis was consumed by a desire to exert his authority over other POW’s without drawing the attention of guards – hence the idea for a concealed weapon not requiring the use of hands or traditional holsters. Named the Koppelschlosspistole, the design was patented before the outbreak of World War II.
In order to gain approval for broad scale deployment, Marquis had to prove that average soldiers could easily be trained to use the weapon effectively. As the pistol had no sights, and relied entirely on groovy pelvic gyration to aim, it was assumed that biological instincts would overcome any training obstacles. And of course, the natural male instinct to aim for the toilet.
Not so, according to WWII historian Basil Exposition. “Training soldiers to charge, while aiming with their pelvises, proved more difficult than anticipated” commented Exposition. “Not only was it nearly impossible to run while aiming one’s midsection, it really looked quite effeminate. The enemy was not at all intimidated.”
Recent tests have determined that accuracy and effectiveness are increased if Elvis Presley songs are played at loud volume. Unfortunately for the Germans, Presley was not available to train soldiers in proper hip-aiming techniques.
“The Nazis were quite disappointed with early field trials” explained Exposition. “Until they elected to actively recruit accomplished Salsa dancers. However, there were few Salsa dancers in Nazi Germany at the time, and the program was not considered scalable.”
Stories of experimental crotch rockets, hula hoop grenade launchers, monocle lasers, and garter garrotes persist; although surviving specimens have yet to be found.
1914 − 1918
World War I marked the advent of the machine gun. Unlike mythical “assault weapons” lamented by politicians and their press corps, actual machine guns often require complete crews to operate and supply them. While most machine guns were heavy and placed in fixed positions, some more portable automatic rifles appeared at the end of the war.
One example was the Browning Automatic Rifle. Designed by John Moses Browning, may he rest in peace, the BAR, or M1918, was intended to be operated by a single soldier. Make no mistake, BAR’s were still heavy and cumbersome. In addition to being considered total bro’s by their squad mates, BAR men came to war equipped with a cup, as all good privates should. This allowed privates to better protect their privates. Early BAR men were issued an automatic rifleman’s belt with a special metal “cup” between the BAR magazine pouches and pistol magazine pouch. This cup was intended to support the BAR’s stock as the shooter fired from the hip in a concept called “walking fire.”
The idea behind this was to make an automatic weapon portable enough to accompany advancing troops. The Vickers Machine Gun was a tad too bulky and heavy for this use, even by hunks like BAR men, and the Chauchat Machine Rifle, which was portable, was entirely French in terms of reliability and performance. Enough said.
1929 − 1931
The iconic Walther PPK was introduced by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in 1931. The slightly longer and taller Walther PP had been introduced 2 years prior. Considered by many as the one of the first successful double-action semi-automatic pistols, the Walther PPK quickly gained the approval of spy novel author Ian Fleming. Still produced today, the Walther PPK inspired many modern double-action pistols.
Smith & Wesson introduces the .357 Magnum. Is it coincidence that the Black Sunday dust storms that destroyed the midwest occurred in April of that year? We think not. With the .357 Magnum’s muzzle energy exceeding 500 foot-pounds, we think muzzle blast stirred up the dust clouds. Dust storms were immediately banned in all buildings in New York City, with the exception of Department of Motor Vehicles offices.
Stay tuned for the the next phase in firearm history…
The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition is available on Amazon.com now!