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Action Shooting History Part 4; Semi Automatic Pistols, Gas Operated Handguns & More

For the first early years of firearms, handgun action was the same as those on rifles. Wheel guns, flintlocks and cap locks. The revolver was a giant stride forward for a repeating handgun. Although many attempts were made earlier to provide multiple shot handguns, the invention of the cap led to the revolver. Except for cartridge loading with the bored through cylinder, not much would be different from a gun wielding gun slinger of the 1860’s to the modern Smith and Wesson double action, swing out cylinder revolver. Even speed loaders would be readily acceptable and understandable to a late 19th century pistelero. The British break-top Webley could utilize speed loaders, and it was a double action revolver. Yeah you might need Popeye like forearms, but it was double action.

Semi Automatic Pistols

Late 19th to early 20th century the first workable semi-auto pistols where introduced. The broom handle C96 Mauser was introduced in 1896. A darling of the Chinese warlords, and carried by Winston Churchill in the Second Boer War it was a successful firearm. Hans Solo’s Star Wars pistol is a reworked design with cosmetic changes, broom handle Mauser. The C96 Mauser was a recoil operated pistol, as are most semi-auto pistols. The Mauser loaded via a 10-round stripper clip, while some later models used a box magazine. Its early chambering was the 7.62 Mauser, and later the 9mm Parabellum. In Germany the Bergman-Bayard pistol came on the scene and was chambered for the 9mm Largo around 1901. By 1904 the venerable Luger made its debut. Chambered for the 7.65mm and 9mm Parabellum this gun was a magazine fed, break top recoil action pistol, designed by Georg Luger.

Recoil Operated, Top Slide, Magazine Fed Pistols

1911 the Browning designed, Colt manufactured pistol in 45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), was a recoil operated, top slide, magazine fed pistol was designed for the US Calvary. It served the US as the official sidearm from 1911 – 1986, and is still favored by many of the special operations units. Most of our modern pistols are recoil, top slide magazine fed pistols, and basically the same handgun. Lower pressure ammo allows many pistols, like the Walther PP series of person protection guns to be blow-back weapons. The mass and inertia of the slide is all that contains the cartridge.

Gas Operated Handguns

Few gas operated handguns have been a commercial success, and most have faded from the scene. Chamberings from the low .25 ACP to the mighty .50 AE (Action Express) power our semi-automatic pistols. The .22 long-rifle is a more effective defense round than the 25 ACP, but is not a centerfire cartridge. Revolvers range from the 22 rimfire up to awesome 500 Smith & Wesson, the most powerful commercial handgun loading available. Dirty Harry would be jealous.

Custom Shooting Ranges for Practice & Training

Details like double column magazine, cartridge C-clips or Moon Clips and other means to feed the handle gun and facilitate rapid reloading are the modern details that contribute to the use of handguns. “May you live in interesting times” is true for the modern pistelero. We have numerous ways to pursue firearms sports, hunting and personal protection. Interesting times indeed. Shooting Range Industries offers convenient portable custom indoor shooting ranges. Contact us to learn more today!

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