Thursday, December 15, 2011

I keep trying to think, but nothing happens.

I've got a big old post in my head that just won't come out, no matter how much I shift and fidget and pace.

I want to talk about holsters.

Also I want to write about John D. Pedersen.

Also I've been ruminating on various military handgun philosophies. For example, people decried the move from the M1911 to the Beretta M9, but look at the M9: It's still a great big hoss of a pistol, holding 15 rounds of what is, in the grand scheme of things, one of the more potent military pistol cartridges of the last century. Now compare that to, say, the Makarov, which is little more than a badge of rank by comparison. Both America and Russia have histories of people riding around on horseback shooting at each other, and yet we shy away from bitty little handguns and they don't...


Tango Juliet said...

Happens to me all the time. You'll get used to it.

Joseph said...

My guess would be that the Ruskies don't really consider the pistol as a combat weapon. One look at the Mak's chambering will tell you that. Don't they just use them for motivating conscripts by shooting one of their buddies in the back of the head?

Anonymous said...

I suggest that, when one rides around on horses shooting at courageous, armed and deadly Apaches, Cheyenne, Sioux, and Moros rather than at helpless kulaks, it gives him a thorough appreciation of the phrase, "Bigger is better"!

Anonymous said...

Write about Ugly Bald Guy Holsters, worth a look just because of the name of the company. And nope, they don't consider pistols as combat weapons, and their own weren't even all that good in the past. The chief Katyn executioner ( used Walthers because he felt them more reliable than Russian weapons. He ought to have known, since he reportedly shot 7,000 with his own hand over a four week period....nice guy. Current Russian weapons are much better, so their philosophy has changed somewhat.

Tam said...


The Russians rode around on horses and shotTurks and Kurds and Pashtuns with .44 S&W revolvers before going to the puny .30-caliber Nagant near the end of the 19th Century (and they used those and Bolo Mausers to shoot each other during the 1920s...)

Heroditus Huxley said...

Meh, can't speak for the Russian Makarovs, but my CZ-82 is a spectacularly nice little gun. And I like the round better than I do the .380. And shot placement matters more than size of round--I'd rather hit with a Makarov than miss with a .40 or .45.

Tam, speaking as a writing instructor, have you tried starting the post you want to write with a pen or pencil and a legal pad? That usually fixes writers' block for me.

Lewis said...

Tam, you should write about Baron Ungern-Sternberg and the Russian Civil War. Dude was definitely off his meds, like a psychopathic Buddhist weasel.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

"a psychopathic Buddhist weasel"

Now there's a vision to start the day with, and no mistake.

Anonymous said...

If you get around to writing about Pedersen, I hope you talk about his neat-o Remington pump rifles. I had the opportunity to handle a Model 25 some time ago and have wanted one ever since. And lo and behold, there is one (along with a Model 14 1/2) on an auction near me on New Year's Day.


Lewis said...


If you don't know about Ungern-Sternberg, hmm. How can I explain? Imagine Marlon Brando's Col. Kurz in Apocalypse Now, played by Clint Eastwood and starring in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Although not technically a weasel, he certainly checked both the psychopathic and Buddhist boxes.

Borepatch said...

I greatly enjoy shooting the Makarov. The Beretta, not so much. Maybe it's just like that line in the Hitler 1911 vs. Glock rant:

I just want to shoot something that doesn't look like a brick."

Probably shallow of me.

Brandon said...

+1 for the Stooges reference.

Tam said...


If I've got bad guys in the wire, I'm not so concerned about what the gun looks like. I just want more bullets and bigger bullets.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"I've got a big old post in my head that just won't come out"

This is like a Food Post from Brigid. Now I am hungry and unsatisfied and eagerly await to opportunity to remedy same in the near future.

With fingers crossed the block fades...

thornharp said...

Somewhere in the Remington archives might you be able to find the dimension drawings for the Model 53 pistol and its tooling? And then find a sponsor ...

Fred said...

Just like me and those 100+ photos of the FN-49 I need to sort through, edit, and write up a decent post about... just not getting the motivation.

Rob Reed said...


Here is my fix for writers block. Write this down and tape it in front of the computer:

"Remember, it doesn't have to be good. It just has to be done."

If nothing else, that can help get a draft down that can be edited (to be "good") later.


Ed Foster said...

Thornharp, I've been thinking along the same lines. I'm wondering if the toolroom exibit up at the Springfield Armory might have one.

Sadly, the Director's tour is the only way to get into the tool/pattern room, and that only happens 3 or 4 times a year.

Or, I know some ammo development guys at the Remington facility in Kentucky. Maybe I can get an earworm started.

I know somebody who would jump at the chance to make 53's, assuming I could lighten up the zillion pound trigger.

Keads said...

Well there is much to say about John D. Pedersen if you decide to go that way.

Drang said...

I know for a fact that you were the one who pointed out that an Army revolver (as opposed to a Navy revolver) was in "a caliber that started with 4" so you could be sure of killing your horse if necessary. Not sure if it was here or at the Arms Room. I was looking for it when I wrote my own post on handgun philosophies & the use of handguns as badges of rank earlier this week.


Kristophr said...

Pederson sounds like a good Cosmoline and Rust post.

global village idiot said...

My British buddy spent his last hitch in a Territorial field artillery unit before emigrating.

He tells me he was issued a sidearm - specifically an ancient Webley revolver - whose sole reason for residing on his belt was as a reminder to the gun bunnies under him that "command authority" was more than merely academic. He says that the QFSR (Queen's Field Service Regulations) to this day give a BC express permission to ventilate an artilleryman who abandons his piece.

The difference in sidearm philosophy can be answered completely by simply looking at whom the sidearm is intended to be pointed at.


wv: exili - marginally preferable to a bullet in the back of the head in the Lubyanka basement.

Matthew said...

Is there anything about military pistol caliber choices to be gathered from whether your cavalry kept lancers around after revolvers came into use?

Off the cuff I don't think we deployed lancers after the Civil War, and the saber became the secondary arm about then too, right?

It seems to me other countries didn't go to the pistol as completely as we did for horse soldiers. Who in practice were really more "dragoons" anyway.

Don M said...

What a fun idea! I would love to read it!

US Militia acts of 1792/1795 require militia cavalry to have pistols. Russian counterparts?

Cavalry tactics background: French charge vs. German Carracole vs. Infantry squares.

Longstanding controvery over sabre vs. lance for cavalry.

Texas Rangers Walker Colt: Took a big bullet to empty a Comanche saddle.
Civil War cavalry resolves controvery in favor of large caliber repeating pistols. Cavalry advances were the most significant operational advance of the Civil War. Colt Navy .36/.44, Colt Army .44, Remington.
Sheridan: "infantry with 4 detachable legs"
Stuart: LeMat revolver or Tranter?
Bedford Forrest: Wizard of the Saddle

Metallic Cartridges: Smith and Wesson, Colt single action, Reminton, SW Number 3 (russian sales) Why did the Ruskies want the little spur on the trigger guard?

US during Phillipine Insurrection.
.38 (actually .36) revolvers inadequate
.45 revolvers brought back to stop Moros

US use of .45 ACP in WWI
M1911 (in trench, shooting up)
Revolvers in moon clips

Soviet Tokarev in WWII
7.62x 25 PPSh-41 et al Smgs
comparison to 7.63x25 Mauser

US motorized Armor/Cavalry in WWII
Russians eating horses during time of famine?
Soviet Cavalry in WWII

Soviet transiton from Tokarev to Makarov 9x18 "most powerful that could be handled by straight blowback". Fixed barrel, heel release.

US "Leather slap" competition. Dominance of M1911.

Don M said...

Yarygin Pya MP-443 Grach ends up about where the Beretta is.

Then look at the 1911 in .38 Super.

Boy, you rock kid!

Angus McThag said...

It might be as simple as the Cossacks were disarmed by the government while cowboys weren't.

Anonymous said...

Tam - The Russians rode around on horses and shot Turks and Kurds and Pashtuns with .44 S&W revolvers before going to the puny 30-caliber Nagant near the end of the 19th Century (and they used those and Bolo Mausers to shoot each other during the 1920s...)

As I understand it, the selection of a 30-caliber round for the Nagant revolver was less a matter of choice than necessity: the Russians, having adopted a 30-caliber round for their new service rifle, had a ready capacity for making 30-caliber barrels and it was easier to stay with the same bore size. (I confess that this explanation has always sounded dodgy to me; please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

When the reds finally got around to finding a replacing the Nagant, they stayed with a 30-caliber round, perhaps from habit and perhaps also from their experience with the 30-caliber Luger and Mauser rounds that you write about.

By the time they got around to finding a replacement for the TT after World War II, the days of shooting Turks from horses were (more or less) gone. I can only suppose that they found the small, fast 7.62TT less than adequate for shooting nazis and kulaks and hence wanted a heavier bullet.

In contrast, our Army was not quite so bound by (alleged) manufacturing problems and could have any caliber they wanted, and when the new pistol was adopted in 1911, they had very recent experience with needing a BIG bullet.

So, it comes down to timing and recent combat experience.

On a somewhat related note, why did Colt adopt the 36-caliber ball for his first revolvers? Given the fetish for elephant gun-sized bullets in the first half of the 19th century, I would have thought he'd have chosen something more (cough) manly.

Anonymous said...

You have a good point. Two PPSh-41s were often made from cutting a Moisin-Nagant in half.

Anonymous said...

I think the U.S. wants its officers and heavy weapons operators (machine guns, mortars, etc.) to have a means of dropping enemy combatants at more than arms length and so trend toward larger calibers, hence larger pistols/revolvers. Sub machine guns and the M1 Carbine were an attempt to make the officers, non-commisioned officers, and heavy weapons folks more combat effective, with mixed results.

Tam said...


"the Russians, having adopted a 30-caliber round for their new service rifle, had a ready capacity for making 30-caliber barrels and it was easier to stay with the same bore size."

That was endemic at the dawn of the Smokeless Era. Witness France ditching their Chamelot-Delvigne-pattern sixguns for weaselly little 8mm revos...

Anonymous said...

RE: French 8mm revolvers

Ah, I see. Learn something new every day.

Thank you.

Drang said...

Matthew: Off the cuff I don't think we deployed lancers after the Civil War,
We never really were into lances.
In fact, my reading (hardly exhaustive) indicates that the only Mexican units that consistently gave US forces trouble during the Mexican-American War were Mexican lancers, because they had reach on their US cavalry and dragoon counterparts.

Larry said...

Only problem with the M9 is the kinder gentler FMJ the military is forced to use.

Matthew said...


I didn't think of the Mexican War. Didn't the revolvers just come into use then, wasn't the issue firearm a single shot still?

Wonder if the Colts changed the odds against the lance, assuming you didn't try to charge pistol against spear?

Thomas Smith said...

Do a write up on the Gyrojet pistols and rifles.