Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Best all round primary handgun of the Great War


80 replies to this topic

#26 chrislock

chrislock

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,749 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:In the shadow of St Martin's cathedral, listening to the Peregrine falcons!!
  • Interests:Founder: Tank Memorial Ypres Salient
    &
    The Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

Well I blasted an entire magazine as fast I could with my Smith & Wesson M39 at a 1m square target at 25 meters during the last time out but by Jove, did I scare the crap out of the guy in the next booth to me. :w00t: On retrieving the target I found I had scored once out of 9 rounds (full mag and one breech fed) probably with the first but without doubt, the target must have also been scared witless given half the chance. :lol:

I believe the Webley would have also scored a first round hit but probably another also, maybe! :unsure:

Again in the mud of the battlefield and for simplcity itself, I would pick the Webley as first option.

Chris

#27 truthergw

truthergw

    Lieut-General

  • R.I.P.
  • 10,178 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:03 PM

I did army training with a .303 ( sorry guys, that's what we called them) I was also trained with the SLR. I was given a few hours with a .38. I cannot recall being asked if I had a preference. They just assumed that I would do the best I could with what was on offer. Very few British soldiers would have carried a pistol and for day to day work in the trenches, I doubt if anyone would have asked to trade his rifle in for a hand gun. I have seen an old pistol with a ' bayonet ' fitted but again, I think a decent sized one on the end of a rifle would have got most votes. To tell the truth, I have a notion that a lot of men wished they had never seen a firearm of any description and couldn't wait to get shot of the one they were lugging around( pun intended).

#28 Garron

Garron

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,299 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:South Wales
  • Interests:Firearms and Bayonet of WW1
    10th & 13th Welsh at Mametz Wood 1916

Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:08 PM

No doubt changing magazines can be quicker but I said magazines meaning the ones you had, Im not sure how magazines were standard, the US pouch holds 2 plus one in the pistol only equals 21 rounds in the very unlikely situation you fired them all, what then? was my point.

Then again if the choice was a heel catch (Browning M1910) or a revolver, I'd defiantly take a revolver over that style mag release.


Gaz

#29 MikB

MikB

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,893 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redditch
  • Interests:Military/Naval history, Engineering history, old telescopes, ballistics.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:38 PM

But just for the sake of stirring the pot a bit - if the .45 cartridge is preferred to the .455 and the revolver's reliability to an semi-auto -- how about throwing the Colt/Smith and Wesson M1917 into the ring?
Loading can be sped up too with half moon clips?

Chris

I think there were (Prideaux?) speedloaders for the Webley too. The 1917's a good revolver, but no sideswing can be certain to dispose of all the empties as quickly and positively as a break-top - and insertion of the new rounds whether individually or by speedloader is faster too, with the unrestricted access to the cylinder rear.

Regards,
MikB

#30 Old Tom

Old Tom

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,484 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hampshire, UK
  • Interests:Tactics and technology

Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

I will not enter into the technicalities of pistols. I could hit very little with the pistol revolver - a Webley I think - I carried about in the 50's and was little better with the Browning 9 mm in the 80's. However as this forum deals with the Great War when, as far as I known British soldiers (i.e not officers and MPs and the like) did not carry pistols. I think Americans did - at least Sergeant York did in the film.

Old Tom

#31 TonyE

TonyE

    Major-General

  • R.I.P.
  • 3,648 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London SW19
  • Interests:British military Small Arms and ammunition.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:54 PM

There were indeed Prideaux loaders in WWI Mik, and they were actually quite fast to use. I think Chris's suggestion of a M1917 is a good compromise between calibre and weapon but I tend to agree with you about swing out cylinders. No doubt our North American cousins will disagree, so perhaps it is a cultural thing. We were all brought up on break-tops so that is our natural choice.

I understand that there are repro Prideaux loaders available at present, coming out of Vietnam, but they are asking several limbs for them 650 Euros was a price I was told!


Regards
TonyE

Attached Files



#32 4thGordons

4thGordons

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,490 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:(longterm) 4th Gordon Highlanders.(more recently) 33rd "Prairie Division" AEF and American Field Service 1917-18

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:06 PM

I will not enter into the technicalities of pistols. I could hit very little with the pistol revolver - a Webley I think - I carried about in the 50's and was little better with the Browning 9 mm in the 80's. However as this forum deals with the Great War when, as far as I known British soldiers (i.e not officers and MPs and the like) did not carry pistols. I think Americans did - at least Sergeant York did in the film.

Old Tom


Well, trench raiders were sometimes equipped with handguns only and machine-gun and tank crews too were often armed with handguns as opposed to long arms. But clearly your point is valid - the vast, vast majority would have been armed with a rifle.
Chris

#33 smleenfield

smleenfield

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:10 PM

No doubt changing magazines can be quicker but I said magazines meaning the ones you had, Im not sure how magazines were standard, the US pouch holds 2 plus one in the pistol only equals 21 rounds in the very unlikely situation you fired them all, what then? was my point.

Then again if the choice was a heel catch (Browning M1910) or a revolver, I'd defiantly take a revolver over that style mag release.


Gaz


I have read that the normal load for the revolver was 6 in the pistol and 12 in the pouch which adds up to only 18. Of course you could carry more if you wished to. Under normal circumstances very little use of the pistol in actual combat would be seen. Re. only 21 rounds for the .45 you fail to mention the one in the chamber which now adds up to a whopping 22 rounds. More than enough to conquer the world with a M1911.

#34 The 26TH Yankee

The 26TH Yankee

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 39 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New England, U.S.A.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

I agree Chris. It all just comes down to personal preference. What you feel better with.

There is no right or wrong answer.

#35 The 26TH Yankee

The 26TH Yankee

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 39 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New England, U.S.A.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:24 PM

Well I blasted an entire magazine as fast I could with my Smith & Wesson M39 at a 1m square target at 25 meters during the last time out but by Jove, did I scare the crap out of the guy in the next booth to me. :w00t: On retrieving the target I found I had scored once out of 9 rounds (full mag and one breech fed) probably with the first but without doubt, the target must have also been scared witless given half the chance. :lol:

I believe the Webley would have also scored a first round hit but probably another also, maybe! :unsure:

Again in the mud of the battlefield and for simplcity itself, I would pick the Webley as first option.

Chris

The odds of having to shoot at an enemy 25 meters away with a handgun are extremely slim. They aren't made for that. they are for close up and personal work.

No offense meant Chris but, it sounds like you could use some more time at the range if you only hit it once out of nine times.

#36 smleenfield

smleenfield

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:44 PM

The odds of having to shoot at an enemy 25 meters away with a handgun are extremely slim. They aren't made for that. they are for close up and personal work.

No offense meant Chris but, it sounds like you could use some more time at the range if you only hit it once out of nine times.


When I worked as an instructor and range safety NCO we would demonstrate just how accurate the M1911 could be by shooting at full size silhouette targets at 100 yards scoring most if not all rounds fired on target. After the demonstration we asked for any volunteer that thought you could not hit anything with the .45 auto to stand his ground at 200 yards and allow one round fired offhand at him. The funny thing is that we never had anyone with enough faith in the "inaccuracy" of the .45 auto to prove it. The normal answer was "you might get lucky". I for one would not want to encounter a good marksman armed with the Webley, Luger or M1911 at 200 yards. They might just be skilled enough to ruin your day. Corporal York (at the time of the encounter) managed to stop seven charging Germans with his .45 with one round each.

#37 bigjohn

bigjohn

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 217 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chester

Posted 23 February 2012 - 06:55 PM

Matthew,
. The most dangerous thing ever known to a soldier is an Officer with a Map.

#38 chrislock

chrislock

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,749 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:In the shadow of St Martin's cathedral, listening to the Peregrine falcons!!
  • Interests:Founder: Tank Memorial Ypres Salient
    &
    The Friends of the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient.

Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:20 PM

The odds of having to shoot at an enemy 25 meters away with a handgun are extremely slim. They aren't made for that. they are for close up and personal work.

No offense meant Chris but, it sounds like you could use some more time at the range if you only hit it once out of nine times.


:lol: No offence taken but in my defence, if anyone out there has nevered fired off a full mag as quick as possible at 25m then I can tell you this, 1 out of 9 is pretty good going in my book...... but I can tell you this: if that target had been a person, he would have dived into the nearest shell hole pretty pronto. :D

By the way, the range length is 25m and is not my chosen distance for maximum rounds on target. I guess with my pistol I'm pretty lethal on barn doors but such fun!!!!

#39 Peter Mc

Peter Mc

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 150 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:20 PM

Just out of interest, this is a close up of Capt John A M Faraday MC (Irish Guards) taken after the war, wearing both a 1911 Colt and a service Webley. Guess he was applying lessons learned in his recent military service to full use.

Posted Image

#40 Bombadier

Bombadier

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 629 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portsmouth Hampshire England

Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:23 PM

I have fired a few hand guns in my time, ranging from .44 Remington percussion revolver to a Browning hi power, only at paper I must emphasise.

I am sure that I would be happier if it didn't go bang when I wanted it to, I knew all I had to do would be to pull the trigger again or possibly pull back the hammer and pull trigger again. Automatic takes two hands and more time to get it back into action.

It doesn't matter which is the most technically advanced weapon, it is the one which saves your life which is the best one.

Nigel

#41 khaki

khaki

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,258 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA.

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:37 AM

Maybe a handgun was a more familiar item to the average 'doughboy' than it was to the average 'tommy' or Soldat for that matter. Particularly for those Americans who were recruited from rural area's and states where the wild frontier was not that far distant in time. I am sure that I have read that pistol training was far more extensive in the US army and Marines. Its a while since I read his book but I think Captain McBride CEF a US citizen who joined the CEF to get into the war,evaluated various pistols including the Colt and Webley but found the 1911 to be a superior pistol. Please correct me if I have read it wrong.
khaki

#42 Tom W.

Tom W.

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,544 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:37 AM

Have you ever fired a full auto handgun? :wacko:

The first shot might go where you wanted it to but the rest might as well be anti-aircraft fire! They are all the same, Mauser Schnellfuer, Star, Llama etc.

Short bursts. Say, three rounds per target, the way this guy does it.



#43 Tom W.

Tom W.

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,544 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:48 AM

No doubt changing magazines can be quicker but I said magazines meaning the ones you had, Im not sure how magazines were standard, the US pouch holds 2 plus one in the pistol only equals 21 rounds in the very unlikely situation you fired them all, what then? was my point.

Americans were allowed to purchase privately manufactured trench magazines for their .45s that gave the pistol a total capacity of 15 rounds.

Attached Files



#44 The 26TH Yankee

The 26TH Yankee

    Sergeant

  • Members2
  • 39 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New England, U.S.A.

Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:51 AM

Tom, if I remember correctly, those 1911's with that mag were only issued to short guys so that they could use it as a monopod when firing.:lol:

#45 khaki

khaki

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,258 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA.

Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:55 AM

I presume the original prideaux speedloader had a pouch, what did it look like? has anyone seen a photo of it being worn during the war??
khaki

#46 khaki

khaki

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,258 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:USA.

Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:45 AM

I will not enter into the technicalities of pistols. I could hit very little with the pistol revolver - a Webley I think - I carried about in the 50's and was little better with the Browning 9 mm in the 80's. However as this forum deals with the Great War when, as far as I known British soldiers (i.e not officers and MPs and the like) did not carry pistols. I think Americans did - at least Sergeant York did in the film.

Old Tom



The movie Sgt York with Gary Cooper, "Coop" did his pistol shooting with a Luger, I think the real Sgt York used a 1911 .45,
khaki

#47 Tom W.

Tom W.

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,544 posts

Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:51 AM

By the way, American trench raiders weren't limited to only two magazine pouches for their .45s. I assume they could also carry extra magazines in their pockets, too.

Attached Files



#48 smleenfield

smleenfield

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:19 AM

Re. By the way, American trench raiders weren't limited to only two magazine pouches for their .45s. I assume they could also carry extra magazines in their pockets, too.


Magazines carried in the pockets would have the tendency to make noise unless wrapped securely. That would slow the time it would take to reload. More magazine pouches on the belt would make more sense. Also the individual shown above does not appear to have had magazines in his pouches in a long time as they are much too flat.

#49 smleenfield

smleenfield

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 83 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 24 February 2012 - 03:29 AM

The reason he used a Luger in the movie was because the prop department could not make a .45 operate properly with blanks. The other mistake in his firearms was that they had him firing a Springfield instead of a M1917 Enfield. But when did hollywood ever care about getting the facts straight.

The movie Sgt York with Gary Cooper, "Coop" did his pistol shooting with a Luger, I think the real Sgt York used a 1911 .45,
khaki



#50 TonyE

TonyE

    Major-General

  • R.I.P.
  • 3,648 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London SW19
  • Interests:British military Small Arms and ammunition.

Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:25 AM

Americans were allowed to purchase privately manufactured trench magazines for their .45s that gave the pistol a total capacity of 15 rounds.


Tom - I don't know where you found that picture, but one thing I can promise you is that it is not an American privately purchased Magazine.

It is in fact a British Beesley patent magazine as supplied to the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915.

If you enlarge the picture you posted you will see that the escutcheon on the base is identical to this one. This is the ealier version with the "PAT. PROV." marking. The later version after the patent was granted simply has "PAT." on it. The magazines were issued in a long pouch that held two magazines.(see below).

Regards
TonyE

Attached Files