Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Old guns still in the saddle?

How many of you either use, or know someone who uses, an old gun for CCW or home defense?

And by "old gun", I don't mean a 1st Generation Glock or even a Series 70 Colt; I mean a Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless or a Colt 1903 in .32 or an Iver Johnson "Owlhead" top-break? Something pre-WWII at least.

I'm just curious.

86 comments:

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I was leaning toward using a Colt Pocket Hammerless, but just went with a modern snubbie.

But I didn't reject using the Colt because of the age. I'd prefer it over a KelTec or Elsie Pee.

B.S. philosopher said...

I keep a Colt model 1903 in .32 in the top drawer of my dresser. My wife has trouble racking the slide on my 1911.

It was either that or my WWII Webley, and I'm all out of .38 S&W right now.

Nick Pacific said...

I used to carry a 1903 pocket hammerless, I think manufactured in 1914 (notes at home). My grandfather carried it as a BUG when he was an agent. (I'm 28, it's not an old guy thing)
For various reasons I switched.
As a rule all weapons in the house must be ready to go with proper ammunition and mags so I would still use it for home if I had to, but it's third or fourth down the grab list for now.

Joanna said...

If I had my druthers I'd use a blunderbuss. Mostly just because it's fun to say.

/I'm obnoxious like that

Mossyrock said...

Well, not as a PRIMARY, but I have a Colt 1917 and a Webley Mk IV in 45 AR loaded and ready to go...not to mention a mid-40s Model 12 Winchester Riot Gun loaded with low-recoil 00 buck.

Nathan said...

I know a prominent Indianapolis lawyer who has a Colt 1903 in .32 that as of Christmas last year he was planning to give his wife for self-defense.

I rather lusted after it. It was in great condition and those little .32ACP bullets were so cute...I'd love to find one for myself.

Lokidude said...

Pictures from my wedding will show me toting a 1913-vintage Colt 1903. I don't pack it often, as I prefer 11 rounds of .40 to 8 of .32, but it makes a dandy door-answering gun, and is also good for when I'm restricted to lighter cover-wear.

staghounds said...

The New Departure is a perfectly good carrying gun and I use one for that now and again. There's a Mk. I Webley in the desk drawer.

And the behind the door rifle is an M1. From 1942, but the design is pre '39.

And, Miss Hinter, I'll put the contest up next Saturday.

Doug said...

I carry an Argentine-made 1911 that I'm pretty sure is pre-WWII. My brother carries a Remington-Rand .45 that Granpa "aquired" during WWII. I have a friend that carries a 1908 Colt as a backup. My grandma's "church gun" is an old Colt double action revolver, .45 Colt, 4" barrel, nickle-plated, pearl-handled and originally carried by her aunt when she ran a whorehouse. My Marlin .22 gopher gun is over a hundred years old and will out-shoot me. My son killed his first deer with a Marlin 1893 rifle in .30-30 that originally belonged to his great-great grandfather. I killed my first coyote with an 1891 Mauser. My brother and his daughter have each killed their first deer with the same 1891 Mauser.

rickn8or said...

Brazilian Contract Smith and a cut-down elderly (ca. 1950) Winchester Model 12 in the house.

Otherwise, it's a Chief's Special all day.

Retired Spook said...

It's not a primary, but I've been known to turn-to in the wee small hours with a Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt clutched in my sweaty little hand.

Don't feel particularly under-gunned, either.

Tam said...

Yes, but neither the Vaquero nor the company that manufactured it existed before WWII. ;)

BobG said...

My mom has a little .25 Colt that she keeps by her bedside; she's had it close to 60 years, and it was not new when she got it.

Chas S. Clifton said...

My nightstand revolver until recently was a Smith & Wesson Victory Model from the 1940s. Is that old enough? I carried it a few times, walking the dogs at night, when I had seen a mountain lion around or we had an escaped convict in the area (thirteen prisons in the adjacent county).

@ ricknb8or: "a cut-down elderly (ca. 1950) Winchester Model 12"

That's not elderly. My one and only shotgun for years was a Model 12 made in 1919. It was my grandfather's behind-the-door gun during the 1921 Tulsa riots. Fortunately he was not an active participant, or I wouldn't be admitting to its history. ;-)

Blackwing1 said...

One of my friends who farms up north regularly carries a gen-you-wine Colt SAA in .45LC as his tractor gun. He's dispatched quite a few woodchucks with it, and even the occasional coyote.

It's got almost no finish left on it, the grips are some kind of wood-like stuff, and cracked all to heck, and it's got more dings and scratches all over it than my old truck. But it seems to shoot his handloads (some really lightly-loaded wadcutters he likes for varmints) exactly where he's aiming.

It doesn't really qualify as "CCW" or "home defense", since he's got other arms for those purposes, but that's as close as it gets for anyone I know.

elmo iscariot said...

<a href="Yes, but neither the Vaquero nor the company that manufactured it existed before WWII. ;)</i>

So modern replicas are out. What about "vintage reissues"?

The gun that lives in my computer desk is a Browning 1955, which as you know is the postwar American release of the FN 1910. It's at least 40 years old, made by the same Belgian manufacturer, and substantially identical to the antique. Can I squeak by on points? ;)

elmo iscariot said...

Whoo... That's one borked italics tag, ain't it?

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while, a Colt Army Special [1922] or the Colt 1917 [1914]. Both do fine.

West, By God said...

There's a guy at one of my local (Tampa, not Iraq) gun shops that carries a 1940s vintage m1911. The previous owner of my Colt Army Special kept it as his glove-box gun.

CB said...

My very first handgun was a bringback 1918 Erfurt Luger that was passed down to me when I turned 18. For a few years it was kept loaded in the nightstand, although my Mossberg was the primary bedside gun.

The gun functioned flawlessly with ball ammunition, and although less than ideal for personal defense, it was what I had.

Shermlock Shomes said...

Well. . .I've a Remington Model 11 (12 ga.) and a Model 81 (.35 Remington) both manufactured in 1940.

Matt G said...

Two of my roommates had old .38 Spl breaktops serving house duty. One was a probably WWI vintage, nickled Iver Johnson, loaded with "Super Police" 200g LRNs that probably left the 2.5" barrel at velocities only somewhat greater than a dead run.

The other was a very nice pre-war Webley Mk IV, non-wear finish. This was that roomie's primary, and to the best of my knowledge, still is after 10 years of marriage.

Jim said...

Once in a while I'll slip my reliable Spanish copy (c. 1920) of the 1903 Colt under the waist band. No special reason; it's just something different. The puny .32 pill is okay because I don't get to high-threat areas much any more.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was gonna chime in with my '54 Cobra that is my daily carryon, until I noticed the WWII qualifier...

I hope your defintion of "old guys" is the same as for "old guns" 'cause my Colt and I are the same vintage. :O)

I've got a feeling it'll still be around doing its thing when I'm way past done doing mine, though. My son has his eye on it, so it'll probably be a piece of me that can keep taking care of and protecting him when I'm dirt.

AT

Caleb said...

I used to roll with a S&W 1917 Brazilian Contract .45 ACP wheelgun in my glovebox, that was a cool gun. I felt like Indiana Jones every time I shot it.

Lewis said...

Dang, TamFans likes us some 1917s, don't we? Slap a T-grip on it and it's all the fun-shooting .45 ACP a fellow needs. (Although not all the fun shooting .45 ACPs a fellow has, you'll understand.)

Anonymous said...

Tam,

the Colt 1903 .32 is currently the bedside stand armory. It is now 100 years old (1910 production) and will probably be doing the same thing for the next 100 years.

It was the car/carry gun til I went to work on the border last year. Then I upgraded to the TT-33 7.62x25 and put the 1903 on house sentry duty.

woerm/THR

wv= disiesim what 7.62x25 does to bodyarmor

Anonymous said...

I know its not pre WWII but my primary carry gun for years has been an ex NYPD square butt model 36 Smith. When I bought it in the early 80's it had a lot of holster wear but had hardly been fired.
$102.28 including tax.

Stuart the Viking said...

While it doesn't exactly qualify, at times I carry a postwar P-38 knockoff just for giggles.

s

jbrock said...

My 1949 M&P square-butt snubby doesn't quite count, but hey, at least that general model was in production well before WWII.

Andy said...

Colt Hammerless in .380

Rabbit said...

My late father-in-law kept a M1917 Savage in his nightstand drawer. It was a neat little .380, although getting that first shot off required a little concentration because of the spur hammer.

My grandmother kept a S&W I frame in .32S&W in her nightstand. It has one known round through it.

Anonymous said...

A close friend uses a pre-1900 Colt SAA in .45 Colt as his primary carry gun. Filled with full-power LSWC handloads, it's good for about anything.

And because he usually wears western boots and hats, most folks assume it's part of his "costume" when he open carries.

sv

Ed Foster said...

My former father-in-law carried a turn of the century Belgian knockoff of the Webley pocket revolver with folding trigger. Bitty little thing that would fit in any pocket and give 5 rounds of .32 short goodness.

You had to pull the cylinder to reload it, and use the axle pin to push out the empties. Come to think of it, I have it somewhere downstairs, minus a spring or two.

Oddly, the only time he had to defend himself with a firearm, the weapon used was an 8mm Mauser. Funny story that.

Andy said...

Hmmm... my P6 is a relatively youthful 80's make, but Dad's pair of Webley's (.455 and .38S&W) qualifies.

Though, runnning anti-squirrel duty is a ~1946 era (it was right after WWII, but I've never researched the serial numbers) single shot 12ga.

Crucis said...

My Mother carried a WW1 era S&W M17 in .45acp for a number of years (1920s). It was a "war souvenir" and a gift to her by my Grandfather.

DirtCrashr said...

I keep my Colt 1909 loaded with .45 hollowpoints for around the house.

Mike W. said...

The oldest gun I've carried is a P6 made in 1979. Doesn't fit your criteria but it is older than I am.

gandalf23 said...

My dad has his granddad's Colt .38 S&W revolver in his sock drawer, as it has been ever since I was a kid. I'm not sure what model it is, or when it was built, but I'd guess it's from the 30s.

Right now I have a Spanish Ruby .32 semi-auto in my nightstand. Of course on top of the nightstand is my 1911, but the Ruby is there :)

CAR said...

Although I own a few older guns, my go-to weapon is a SIG-Sauer P-225.

It's hard for me to consider older guns for defence over what has come out since WWII, with the notable exceptions of the M1911, FN GP, and the Walther P.38.

Retired Spook said...

True, neither company nor firearm was made before WWII, but the basic design (single-action, side-gate loading, etc.) hasn't changed much, except for the transfer bar and metallurgy, since about 1873

Weer'd Beard said...

Buddy of mine for a good while carried a S&W Pocket Hammerless "Lemon Squeezer" as his carry gun for a number of years. "1888" is stamped on the barrel.

He now reaches for a Sig 226 with some very slick Crimson Trace grips on it if something goes bump in the night.

Mark said...

A 1903M .32 & a vestpocket Colt see regular pocket/backup duty, had an early '30s Remington mod 11 that made a dandy burglar alarm until a friend just had to have it... 18.5 inch solid rib barrel and fiber optic sights, sports a parkerized finish.

Anonymous said...

Does a Hi-Power (FN, in this case) count? Though the individual pistol wasn't made before WW2, the design is older...

Jon B.

Tam said...

Retired Spook,

"True, neither company nor firearm was made before WWII, but the basic design (single-action, side-gate loading, etc.) hasn't changed much, except for the transfer bar and metallurgy, since about 1873..."

I probably should have been clearer, in that I was curious mostly about the age of the actual firearm itself, more than its design.

Although it would be interesting to find out what people are carrying that's outside of the usual Glock/SIG/1911/KelTec/S&W spectrum, too. Maybe I'll run a post to that effect...

Robert Langham said...

Buenos Aires Police contract 1961 stamped Belgian Highpower is my car gun. Sometimes it gets in the camera bag. Might be a Colt 1903 .380acp pocketmodel in the camera bag at any given time. Upstairs rifle is a sporterized Jap T44 bolt action carbine in 6.5X50. First doetag last year was with a 30-40 Krag. I like using old guns.

Anonymous said...

Remington Model 51 .380 (circa 1924)

kitchen drawer as the main home guns are in the bedroom

Joel said...

Nobody I know carries old pistols. But I've got two neighbors who're never far from their cut-down, rechambered M1s, and one who prefers a .303 Enfield. No accounting for taste.

Oldest pistol I have is a commie Makarov which sometimes does CCW duty, but it's not nearly old enough for your criteria. I don't really like carrying it because it seems to me it's only suitable for shooting uppity proles in the head at close range and I don't get much chance to do that. Everyday pistol's a 1911 but I don't think it's even 20 years old.

Skip said...

The better half has my grandfathers S&W .38 Spl in 4" in her desk drawer. I'm not sure how old it is but he carried it as a cowboy in the '20s. Good shape,tight, timing still good, and shoots fine.

Geodkyt said...

I used to carry a Baby Browning as a "I'm not wearing enough to conceal anything" gun. One of my roommates named it "The Warmth" -- as in, "That's not big enough to count as packing heat."

One of my girlfreind's father's used to rely on a Smith M1917 .45ACP revolver as his house gun -- he could make soda cans dance at 50 feet one handed. (This was a little demonstration he used to do for ALL of her boyfriends.)

Dr. Feelgood said...

My scattergun is a pre-WWI Ithaca 37 20-gauge. And even though it doesn't count for your poll, I sometimes carry a S&W 39-2 made in the mid-70s (a.k.a. "Before I Was Born").

WV = unbrome; as in, "Stop calling me that, Todd."

Less said...

.32 Colt Hammerless from early 20's.

.25 Vest pocket from the .20's

.38 1950's M&P S&W - I still shoot that one in IDPA.

Joe in PNG said...

My main carry gun is a Baby Browning .25, and my main pistol is the rather popular S&W 1917.
I don't know how old either of them are, but the designs go back a ways...

Old Windways said...

A Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless (1912 manufacture) in .32 usually rides as my car gun.

A Colt 1908 Vest Pocket Hammerless (1919 manufacture) in .25 is my pocket backup, and goes everywhere. It prefers the company of a .45, but sometimes that becomes impractical.

-Old Windways

tanksoldier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
8Notch said...

My first pistol which at times serves as a "pack of smokes' gun, not that I smoke cigarettes, but everyone understands the concept, is a 1942 Nagant revolver. Not a great firearm, but it does slip right into an overcoat pocket. Also, since it is effectivly single action only, due to the ludicrous double action trigger, catching the hammer on a pocket is not so much of a problem.

mariner said...

My dad has (among others) a Beretta .22LR semi-auto of indeterminate advanced age.

Kristopher said...

When I carry my turse, it's got a 1903 Colt in it.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I forgot the home-defense shotgun. 1940's Remington Model 11

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Wow, you got a coupla comments out of this one Tam.

Matt G said...

I'm surprised that LawDog hasn't mentioned this SAA, which his mother used to perforate a fellow with, a few decades back. It's still in LD's rotation, though rarely. :)

James Nelson said...

Stashed by the computer desk in the front room is a Colt New Service 5&1/2 inch barrel in .45 Colt loaded with factory rnl loads. The build date on the old girl is 1916 and it has the stag grips. I bought from an estate and don't know its history, but it has been reblued. It is tight and accurate, don't think it was ever shot much. It is a little too big to carry, but I take it shooting now and again. I have faith in it and the cartridge.

RevolverRob said...

My dad has a 1895 Nagant loaded with .32 H&R Maggies stashed in the night stand as well as a Winchester Model 25 riot gun in the closet loaded with 00 buck, the gun dates from 1952 I think, so it's not quite pre-war. The Nagant is a nice 1917 model.

One night I left my Colt 1836 Navy Replica out on the night stand, loaded with the hammer down on an empty chamber. I didn't feel under armed. Besides, I figured once I was done setting the guy on fire with it, I could club him with it.

-Rob

Nick said...

I have from time to time been know to carry an early fifties vintage Beretta M1935, lovely little 32 that you can't not love to shoot. I also keep around a pre 1900s 22 rolling block for light pest control.

Ritchie said...

1911 from the 1917 s/n block, with a Remington Rand slide (thanks to a friend) after the original cracked. Added a few modern conveniences like Pachmayr Signatures, ambi safety and visible sights. IWB most of the time, sometimes I think about adding the M1927 for balance.

fast richard said...

I sometimes carry a little Beretta 1934 .380acp which also frequently does nightstand duty. It was the first certerfire handgun I ever bought, thirty plus years ago, but is no longer my only option.

Bob in Houston said...

J.P Sauer & Sohn 1913 on the nightstand right now but with plenty more modern stuff in other places about the house if that counts.

og said...

Have a client who-despite living in Mordor- has a 1908 .25 he carries daily.

Keads said...

I will occasionally stuff a Colt Model 1908 Model Hammerless .25 in the pocket for quick trips to the store or whatever. Works great!

John said...

There are three hammerless, topbreak Smith .32's in the family, of the requisite age.

Two were actually used to dissuade mugger/bullies by a great uncle,that he and his bicycle route to work were not going to be a healthy place to practice their arts.

When I was living in a 'distressed student' neighborhood, the little poppers were welcome company, while walking or at the bedside. Never had to display them, as the native residents were very quick to note whether a person was a potential victim or whether their own safety might be an issue whilst pursuing violent fiduciary gain.

Those were follwed during my bicycle days with a mint little solid frame H&R nickle revolver with rosewood grips and a carton of .22 hi-speed shorts.I had twenty mile round trip commute plus extensive rural pleasure riding. The gun was quite an accurate little thing,and served well for pests around the trailer, or assorted rural dogs who were discouraged by near intentional misses.

As an accoutrement to avoiding unwanted social interaction during late night or remote occasions with strangers who thot that bicycle mebbe equated with entertainment, it's unspoken and unseen presence injected a sense of uncertainty on those occasions that seemed to deflect aggression into more harmless avenues.

The third on was a 2.00 pistol in the Sears and Roebuck 1903 catalog. We always called it "Uncle Fred", due to his family having sawn off the hammer spur somewhere in the NW Ohio oilfields around the time of it's purchase.

The gun was handed down with a 'history', albeit non-specific, of certain events involving 'shots fired' defense. However,the gun's inexpensive construction and hard in-pocket life had rendered pretty much as a relic, which became non-firing when I filed off the pin. It lives in a trunk in the attic until it's time to further bequeath.

As for actual 'antique gun 'defense?' Well, a loaded .45Colt USFA is my household secondary gun,along with a pump shotgun. And, a short-handy Storekeepers Model by the same company goes for walks with me and the dogs. But for instant 'in the hand' zip, a New Vaq Montado comes out of my hip pocket better than anything I own. Great 'flash sight & shoot' piece at defensive ranges.

Anonymous said...

WW1 Brit proofed S&W .45 Hand Ejector converted to .45LC (4" bbl) is in the night stand. 1915 S&W .38 Hand Ejector (6" nickle) is in the book case. Pre WW1 S&W .32 Hand Ejector is in the closet. 1904 Colt SAA in .45LC is in the desk. 1920 Colt New Service in .38-40 is in the other book case. M1917 revolvers, Colt & S&W, 1 each, in other hiding spots. 1944 BYF P38 in the computer desk.

Don said...

No, but close . . . an Ithaca 37 Featherweight made in 1953.

Stretch said...

Grandma kept an H&R break top .32 short in night stand. Granddad (Metropolitan PD, Wash. DC) took it off a street punk who no longer needed it. 1920s vintage. Now a safe queen waiting for some local government to "buy back."
Uncle Jim kept a Beretta 1934 he took off a German officer who no longer needed it. (hum, I sense a pattern). Aunt Ramona now using it as her bed side gun.

Mikee said...

I know a gent who uses a Webley in 45ACP with a moon clip. It and his Mk V SMLE carbine were liberated from a ship he searched off Cuba. Before Castro. The guns were liberated from the gun runner, and everyone in the unit took a sample home.

In his 70's, he went on a tourist trip to Paris and beat up a mugger. He said the old army training kicked in and the next thing he knew the mugger was lying bloody at his feet.

Don't mess with the old folks, some of them have been there and done that and have the souvenirs.

Anonymous said...

Does an 1858 Remington New Model Army reproduction percussion revolver count? I occassionally carry one, or keep it in the truck with loads that resemble 45 ACP ballistics. How about a '51 Colt or a '94 Winchester? -- Lyle

Cybrludite said...

My Dad's primary handgun is a Colt Police Positive in .38 S&W. A good friend of mine's home defense shotgun is a vintage Winchester Model 12, and I know a chick (friend of a friend) who totes a waffen amt'ed Walther P-38. Until I got my Kel-Tec P-32, my main stingy gun was a Colt Vest Pocket Model made in 1920. Of all the stuff I lost in Katrina, that one irks me the most...

Firehand said...

B.S.philosopher, just in case you don't know, the new Lyman manual has a load for a 200-grain bullet that equals the original Brit military load for .38S&W; shoots very nicely in a Victory or MkIV

John B said...

I have a H&R Defender .38S&W I may have mentioned once or twice. I grabbed some star clips and turned the cylinder down to accept 9mm.

Shoots like a champ.

I have about 1500 .38 S&W rounds.

I carry a kel-tec pf9 for everyday.
And a SMIF 457 .45ACP for the right hand.

Anonymous said...

I have a pre-WWI German Mauser - a 1914, I believe, chambered for 7.65 MM - .32 ACP. The serial number leads me to believe that it was manufactured sometime in the mid-1920's.

I also have a Glock 22 since, as much as I love the Mauser, the barrel's shot out and the replacement firing pin makes it unreliable.

amcljr said...

An early IBM carbine and a late H&R M1 are in service here. Don't know if you call those 'old' or not but I do ;] Great question and interesting answers.

Anonymous said...

I've got a Winchester 1897 made in 1903, been in the family since it was new.

No way in hell I'm going to use it for home defense and get it confiscated, locked in some humid rusty evidence room for two years before they return it to me.

I keep an AK loaded with a white light and a red dot sight.

mcthag said...

My first carry gun was my grampa's H&R "Automatic" top break in .32 S&W Long. I carried it for two years before I could afford something better that was concealable.

A Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless! Because of this blog, in fact. A post where Tam talked about grabbing one and dropping it in her pocket to check the mail or something.

I still carry it from time to time.

Sadly(?), one JMB has lead to another. I now have a 1908 Vest Pocket, 1903 Pocket Hammerless and an FN 1905 Vest Pocket. The .25's have been known to ride in a watch pocket from time to time.

Darren said...

I used to carry a 1964 East German Makarov and will sometimes drop a Post-War Manhurin PP in my pocket.

_ said...

Long frame Detective's Special, Argentine Colt Sistema, and 6" Colt .357. The three five seven was made in 1953, iirc, but it's close enough for government work, and was the first handgun I ever bought for myself :).

Ian Argent said...

Closest I'll come to the criteria is if the Ruger Mk.I of my father's ever makes it into my hands. I can't think I'd use it as a carry gun, though.

(Nice piece, but has a nasty habit of FTE/FTF if you load more than 5 or so in the magazine)

C Sherman said...

How about a .380 Makarov? Sure it's a recent manufacture (Baikul), but the design is about 70 years old and not changed a bit.

Big enough for my hand, but small enough to conceal, and heavy enough to tame the recoil that even that itty-bitty .380 generates...which can be a handful with other smaller .380 autos!