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Volume ll Issue 124

Published by
Orbis Publishinq Ltd
@ Aerospace Publishing Ltd 1985
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Editorial: Trisha Palmer
Chris Bishop
Chris Chant
lan Drury

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der of British Land Forces during the
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Pistols rcmain in widespread military sercice, despite their
Iimited nnge and the lncreasing handiness of sub-machine
gms. In the USA their desigm is a matte r of national pride but,
su4risingly, the Italian firm of Beretta won the competition
to supply a new pistol for the US Army.

For many years milttary prophets have forecast the demise of the Two Portuguese so,ldr'ers dem onstrate that carrying a side-arm is still no
military pistol in both automatic and revolver forms, Such prophets have guarantee of personalsafety. Given their lackof range and acctttacy. pistols
a case: in an era dominated by the ever-increasing firepower of assault often serye as much in asymbolic as in apractical role;nevertheless.-
manufacturers strive toimprove their designwith larger magazines and more
rifles and machine-guns lt would appear that this weapon no longer has a r e liable s afety device s.
viable combat role and indeed, when the operational requirement is
considered objectively, it is difficult to find one. Yet the pistol conttnues Most of them involve the ever-increasing use of a salety mec:la:-:- -:
to flourish, prevent the pistol firing when dropped or other mischances ci -:- :;e
The short answer to the question of why this should be the case is that Modern trigger mechanisms can now be called upon to conrr:- __::_:=-
although there is no longrer an operational field requirement for the bursts of fully automatic fire (usually three rounds) as a mears c. r::--;=:.-
ptstol, there are still many other roles it can cover. Many mrlitary person- ing ordinary automatic pistols into powerful close-range -,'!-eac,::.
nel, even in the front line, are unable by the very nature of their dutres to Weight can be saved by usrng light alloys or plastics to replace s:==_
carry any other weapon. Personnel in this category include tank crew, components, and so on.
signallers, commanders and many others who wou-ld have to venture The importance that the pistol still possesses can be gauged:rcr:t:-:
tnto battle areas unarmed unless they carried a pistol. great interest and investment in the American milrtary ptstoi irlais i.-j
Thus the military pistol survives and continues to be produced rn as over the last few years, The US armed forces have made a consiCel:i-=
wide a variety of forms and shapes as ever, As wrll be seen rn thrs study allocation of defence capital to ensure they have a pistol surtabje fcr :=:
the revolver continues to make its presence felt, although many of the requrrements rnto the next century. If the Americans are thtnking ir s:::-
potent Magnum rounds (rounds with a particularly heavy propellant terms it rs certain that others are too, so it seems that the militar,r c'.--_
load) have yet to have any marked effect on the front line combat scene, will be with us for some time to come.
for reasons that will be unfolded in the various entries. The automatic
pistol continues to make use of all the technological innovattons that The BrowningHigh-power is one of theworld's mostwidely usedpistols;
arrive, and whrle it would seem that the whole spectrum of changes that today it is in sewicewith over 50 countries.Its L3-round magazine capacity
gives theweapon abulky buttgripwhich does not detractfrom the handiness
could be effected to the automatic were made long ago, a short perusal of the gun.Introduced by Fabrique Nationale in 1935, it renains one of the
of the contents of these pages wrll reveal that changes are sti1l possible. moslsuccessful pistol designs ever produced.
lT[n"tr automatic pistols
The most important of the post-war pistol is the Model D MAB Unlike the hammer, and this allows the weapon to barrelI 12 mm (4.4 in)
French automatic pistols has been the MAS which fires the 9-mm (0,354-in) be carrred in a pocket without any dan- Muzzle velocity: 354 m (1, 161 ft) per
mle 1950 MAS which was manufac Parabellum cartndge, the Model D ger of the hammer catchtng in clo- second
tured at both St Etienne and Chateller- MAB fires either the 7.65 mm (0.30l-in) thing. Despite its small size the Model Magazine capacity: 9 rounds
ault. It ls no longer in productron but ts or 9-mm Shofi (also known as 0,380-in D MAB still uses a nine-round box
still a standard pistol of the French Auto). These less powerful rounds are magazine, and a feature of this pistol is ModelDMAB
armed forces and it has also been sold used as the Model D MAB was orLgi- that it can be converted from 7.65 mm Calibre: 7.65 mm (0.301 in)
to many ex-French colonial forces. nally desrgmed for police use where to 9-mm Short simply by chanqnnq the Weights: empty 0,725 kg ( 1.6 1b);
The MAS uses a standard swLnging- more powerful ammunition such as the barrel, no other alterations betng loaded0.B25 ks (1,82 lb)
link Iocking mechanism and a virtually 9-mm Parabellum is not normally necessary. The cartridge flred by the Lengths:overall 176 mm(6,93 in);
standard trigger system wlth all the needed, Some mrlitary sales of the Model D MAB is the 7.65-mm Longue, barrel 103 mm (4.05 in)
usual safeties. The trigger mechanism Model D MAB have been made, which rs used only by the French. Muzzle velocity:365 m (1,197 ft) per
uses an externai hammer and the ham- however, as it rs a handy little pistol The Model D MAB is strll in produc second
mer can be lowered without flring if with good accuracy. It has no external lion. Magazine capacity: 9 rounds
the safety catch is set to 'Safe. When
the pistol is in the firing condrtion a red The pos t-war 9-mm M odel I I 50 MAS
dot appears next to the safety catch, The9-mm PAI5 MAB is thecurrent Specification selt- lo ading p is tol (m ade by
Nine rounds can be loaded rnto the service pistol of theFrench amy. in MAS Chatellerault as the MAC) used the
box magazine. All in all the MAS is a production at Manufacture d'Armes Calibre: 9 mm (0.354 in) basic M 1 9 1 1 Colt mech anis m with
fairiy straightforward pistoi with few Automatiques in Bayonne. The bulky Weights: empty 0.BG kq ( L896 lb); modifications to its sa{ety
frills or items of particular note. grip of this delayed blowbackdesign loaded 1,04 ks (2,3 lb) mechanism. It remains in French
Anothe. posr war lrench auromauc holds up to 1 5 Parabellum rounds. Lengths: overall I95 mm (7.677 in); service.


SIG-Sauer P220
For very many years the Schweizeris- One desrgm feature of the P220 ls that Specification The magnificent SIG-Sauer P220
che Industrie-Gesellscahft (SIG) has it can be supplied rn any one of four Pistole 75 resulted from a collaborative
been producinq excellent weapons at calibres, These are the usual 9-mm Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in) venture between the Swiss SIG
its Neuhausen Rhinefalls factory, but (0.354-in) Parabellum, 7.65-mm (0.301- Weight: empty 0. 83 kg ( l. 83 ]b) company and JP Sauer und Sohn to
has always been restricted by the in) Parabellum, 0.45-in ACP (11.27- Lengrths: overall 198 mm (7.8 in); barrel produce a pistol for export,
strict Swiss laws governing military ex- mm, ACP standinq for Automatic Colt 112 mm (4,4 in) unfettered by Swiss government
ports from makinq any sigmiflcant over- Pistol) and 0.38-rn Super (g-mm not to Muzzle velocity:345 m (1,132 ft) per restrictions. It is available in 0.45
seas sales. By joimng up with the West be confused wrth 9-mm Parabellum). It second ACP, 9 -mm Parabellum, 7.65 -mm

German J P Sauer und Sohn concern is possrble to convert any prstol ft'om Magazire capacity: 9 rounds Parabellum and even.22 LR.
SiG was able to transfer production to one calibre to another and lrts can be
West Germany and gratn access to provided to convert any pistol to fue
more markets, and thus SIG-Sauer was 0.22-inLong Rrile (5,59-mm) for tram-
formed. ing purposes. Usingr 9-mm Parabellum
One of the first military pistols de- the maqazine holds nine rounds, but
veloped by the new firm was the SIG- when firinq 0,45-in ACP only seven
Sauer P220, a mechanically-locked rounds can be accommodated.
single- or double-action automatic pls- The excellence of the P22O has re-
tol, When dealing with the P220 it is warded SIG-Sauer with a stream of
dilf,cult to avoid superlatives, for this is orders, To date well over 100,000 have
a truly magnificent prstol in many ways, been produced, one of the larqest
Its standards of manufacture and finish orders cominq from the Swrss qovern-
are superb, desplte the extensive use ment who ordered a batch of 35,000
of metal stampingts and an aluminium weapons. The P22O is now in semce
frame to keep down weight and cost. with the Swiss army. which knows it as
The pistol handles very well, being the 9-mm Pistole 75, a desiqnation
one of those weapons that immediately which sometimes provides Ihe P220
feels right as soon as it rs picked up. It with the name Model 75,
N accurate, and the overall design is There is a later version of the P220
such that it is difficult for dirt or dust to known as the P225 which is slightly
find its way into the rnterior and cause smaller and chambered only for the
stoppages. Despite this the pistol is 9-mm Parabeilum cartridge, This ver-
easy to stdp and maintain, and has all sion has been selected for Swiss and
rhe usual pistol safeties. West German police use as the P6,

TheAutomcrtic Choice?
Thepros and cons of self-Ioading (automatic) pistols and
revolvers have become lessnofable srn ceWorldWar II as the
reliability of automatics has steadily increased. Police forces
requireunfailing reliabilily,which has led many to favour the
revolver, whereas the military generally prefers the large
magazine c ap acity of an au tomatic.

Ever since the automatic pistol arrived on the small-arms scene there has been a
constant battle between the advocates of the revolver and the advocates of the
automatic pistol. Apparently endless reams of paper have been devoted to the
arguments produced by both sides, and no doubt more will be consumed in the
future, but the simple fact is that the finer points of both arguments have been
lost in the reality that on the military scene at least the automatlc pistol reigns
virtually supreme.
The word 'almost' has to be used, for even today in an era when virtually every
armed force now makes use of automatics the revolver is still around: tt seems
that the type will not go away. So rather than go into all the old arguments as to
the merits of one type of pistol against the other it might be as well to see how
both weapons have reached the position in which they are today.
The automatic pistol has long since passed the point n its development
where it had an inherent lack of reliability in comparison with the revolver. At one
time the automatic pistol used a bewildering array of mechanisms to make it
work, and these often went wrong or broke. This no longer app ies. The modern
automatic is a robust and reliable weapon, if properly looked after, something
that aiso applies to the revolver. (Generally speaking revolvers take less maintel
nance skill and training than automatics.) Then there ts the magazrne capacity
factor. Most modern dtil,taryautomattcs can carry n ore.eaoy l;-iJSe arr'muni'-
tion than revolvers. lt is difficult to find a large-calibre revolver that can
accommodate more than six rounds, while some modern automatics can
accommodate up to '19 (such as in the Austrian Steyr GB), and in action those
extra rounds can be a definite advantage. As far as handling s concerned the
automatic again scores, for the ammunition stowage in the butt usually makes
the automatic a more rnanageable weapon to aim and handle as most of the
weight balances securely in the hand; on the revoiver it is usually forward,
making the weapon muzzle-heavy. Another factor in favour of the automatic is
that it is now an in herently saf e weapon, some designs having bu ilt-in safetles to
Below: Pistols have been carried by
airmen as sjde-ams since the Right: In many countries the pistol
beginning of military aviation, and remains an instrument of law
theVietnamWar provedno enforcement. Here a member of a
exception, with thewidevariety of Californian SWAT (SpecialWeapons
regulation service pistols carried by and Assault Team) unit snatches a
helicopter crew supplemented by child to safety as her kidnapper is
guns from the commercial market. dealtwith by his co,l.leagrues.
The Automatic Choice?
the extent that nothing will fire them apart from a deliberate pull of the trigger,
and that only comes when the weapon has to be used. The same cannot be said
of many revolver designs (and some of the older automatic pistol designs) for
they have an unfortunate tendency to fire if dropped or if a hammer gets
snagged in clothing or something such as undergrowth.
How then does the revolver survive in military hands? The main reason is
quite simply that it is inherently much stronger in deslgn terms. The basic frame
of a revolver can be much more solid and sturdy than that of nearly all automa-
tics, enabling it to take not only much heavier knocks but heavier ammunition
loads such as the potent Magnum ammunition, Ensuring that automatics can
fire such loads introduces the problems of positive locking mechanisms that add
both complication and weight, whereas most revolver frames only require a bit
more beefing up, if that.
The argument agalnst this is that most military users do not require the
Magnum loads as they are too powerful to employ to their full advantage
without the devotion of an inordinate amount of training time to their use; and
indeed most combat soldiers have enough training obligations already wLthout
having to learn how to handle pocket artillery. Some soldiers consider that the
considerable recoiland muzzle blast produced by the 9-mm Parabellum pistol is
quite enough to handle. and even the smaller and lighter Magnum loads produce
considerably more blast and recoil, making aiming and handling difficult under
combat conditions.
But for security and military police personnel the Magnum loads are ideal, for
such personnel can devote the necessary training time, and they can use their
considerable weapon power to good effect. The combat soldier needs some-
thing that is generally handier and less trouble to use. One added bonus for
police and similar users is that the Magnum revolvers are unmistakable tn
appearance, giving rise to the'Dirty Harry'syndrome where even hardened
felons or subversives are unwilling to consider the consequences of what might
happen when a Magnum round is fired at them. Thus the revolver remains in
military hands, not normally in front line use but behind the lines on important
security and guard duties. where it will remain for many years to come.


An officer of the French Foreign

Legion brandishes a 9-mm PA I5
MAB automatic, a distinctive weapon
identitied by thevery prominent
spur at the back of the receiver and a Below: The revolver may lack the Above:'You have therightto remain
burr-type hammer. The PA I 5 carries magaz ine c ap acity of modern silent'-aMagmum tothe backof the
I 5 9 - mm P arabellum cartridges, automatics, butin trained hands this neckis a powerful argumentfor
which give it avery bulky grip and, is notaproblem. Here aNewOrleans surrender. This bank robber was
unusually for an automatic pistol, it policeman takes cover behind a car arrested after stalling the getaway
has a delayed blowback action. during ashoot-out. cat at ajunction.

Modern Combat Pistols
Left: The 5.45-mm PSM is currently
beingintroduced to thepolice and
internal security forces of the
Warsaw Pact countries. A small,
notably slim pistol, it fires around
with low stopping power (unless it
has been designed to tumble in

Right: The weapon made Iamous by

C lint E astwood's' Dirty H arry' films
was the mighty 0.44 Magnum, made
by Smith and Wesson. The fashion for
revolvers of incredible stopping-
power was followed by many armed
forces at the beginning of the
century; it remajns fobe seen
whether modern military service s
will do so once again.

Below: A drugs raid in Miami

involves animpressiye
demonstration of police firepower.
Revolvers remain perhaps the best
armamentfor regular police and
par amilitary wor k, w here
ruggedness of design and reliability
are more important than the ability to
carry a large number ofrounds.
The Automatic Choice?

Above: A Luger automatic and a

silenced revolver form part of the
personal armament of French
gangster Jacques Mesrine, killed by
policein 1979.

A bank security camera in

Cologne records the shooting o! a
policeman (centre).

Smaller automatics make suitable weapons for temale personnel, although

the 6.35-mm 'Baby Berettas' held by these Italian policewomen are hardly
noted for their stoppingpower.To defeat an armedenemywith such a light
cartridgewould demand a high standard of shooting.

Above: South African women

apparently take a more businesslike
attitude to firearms; lfirs curious-
shaped holster was designed to
accommodate a snub nosed 0.38
revolver in awoman's bra.ln a
timing testconducted by the
manufacturer awoman drew and
fired in three seconds.

Left: The bra holster proved

unpopular due to its interesting
ef{ect on the figure; this is the
replacement. The recent upsurge in
urban violence in South A{rica led to
arise indemandfor ammunition, but

Right:Heckler & Kochdesigned the

P7 automatic specifically with police
use in mind: first issues to theWest
German army are going to the
military police.The gunfeatures a
recoil-braking sys tem which allows
steadier shooting.

: r:o
a+l IMI Desert Eagle Modern Combat Pistols
-The automatic pistol produced by
Israel Mrlitary Industries and known as
the IMI Desert Eagle was originally an
American design proposed by M.R,l
Limited of Minneapolis, Minnesota
The basic concept has been de-
veloped rn israel to the point where the
Desert Eagle is an extremely adv-
anced and powerful weapon.
The Desert Eagle can be converted
to frre either the 0 357-in Maqrnum (9-
mm) cartridge or the even more
powerful 0,44-in Magnum (10,92-mm)
round; the latter cartridge is one oithe
most powerful pistol rounds available,
All that is required to convefi the pistol
from one cahbre to the other is the
replacement ofa few parts To ensure
complete safety when using these
Iargre rounds the Desert Eagle uses a
rotating bolt for a maximum locking
actron. The safety catch can be en-
gaged by either the right or left hand,
and when in position on 'Safe the ham-
mer is disconnected from the trigger
and the flring pin is immobilized,
The pistol uses a 152-mm (6-in) bar-
rel as standard, but this basic barrel is
interchangeable with barrels 203 mm
(B in), 254 mm (10 in), and 356 mm
(14 in) long, The extended barrels are
intended for long-range target shoot-
ing and may be used with a telescopic steels, but an aluminium frame can be lities to be realised. Thus pistols such IMI have entered the pistol field;r,::
slght fltted to a mounting on top of the supplied. as the Desert Eagle seem destined to the'Desert Eafle', an automattc
receiver, No special tools are required To date the Desert Eaqle has been remain in the hands of special police chambered for the ever-popular
to change the barrels marketed wrth the civrhan targret shoo- units and enthusiast who srmply want 0.357 Magnum cartridge. Militar';
Several other options are available ter or enthusiast in mrnd, but it could the best and most powerful hand-guns in teres t rem ains specu/a rive.
for rhe Deserl Eagle The rrigger can also make a very powerful military or available.
be made adjustable and several diffe- police weapon. However most milit-
rent types of frxed sight can be fitted ary authorities usually frown upon the Specification
The trtgger gn-rard is shaped to be used use of Magnum cartridqes as they are Desert Eagle
with a two-handed grip although spe- really too powerful for general military Calibre: 0.357 in or 0 44 rn Magnum
cial grips can be fitted if required The or police use and require a great deal Weight: empty 1,701 kq (3,75 lb)
normal construction rs of high quality ofcareful trarnrng lor their best capabi- Lengths: overall with 6-in barrel

frerett. Model I95I

Pietro Beretta SpA has been making
high-quality automatic pistols at Bres-
cia for decades, and as over the years
it has made its mark on pistol develop-
ment in a number of ways rt came as
something of a surprise when in 1951
Beretta developed a pistol that did
away with the company's former use of
a simple blowback mechanism in
favour of a locked breech, In this sys-
tem the breech and barrel are locked
together for an rnstant after firing until
they are unlocked by contact with the
frame after a short recoil movement,
This pistol became known as the Be-
retta Model 1951, and it was also
known at one time as the Modei 95I or
'Brigadier'. It retained the usual Beretta
trademark of an open-topped slide,
but early hopes that this slide could be
made from aluminium did not materral-
ize and most production models use an
all-steel unit The flrst examples of the
Model 1951 did not appear until 1957
as a result mainiy of attempts to de-
velop a satisfactory light slide, In more
recent years the aluminium slide has
become available as an option, Helwan, The Model 1951 is also used in is used for the butt grips, There is an TheBerettaModel 1951 is the
As always on Beretta weapons, the Nigeria and some other countdes, The extenal hammer and the safety catch standard pistol of the Italian armed
standard of frnish of the Model 1951 Italian armed forces also use larqe engaqes the sear when in use. Both forces and has been expofied to a
was excellent and the pistol proved to numbers of this pistol. rear and fore sights are adjustable on number of countries, including Israe:
be ruqged and reliable, It was not long The Model l95l continues to use the most versions of the Model 1951, and Egiypt. Ift rs ts an e x ample
before overseas sales were made, and basic Beretta layout, despite the adop- manufactured in Egrypt, where the
the Model l95l became the standard tion of the locked breech system. The Specification locally produced model is called ke
servrce pistol of Israel and Egrypt. In recoil rod and spring are still located Model l95l Helwan.
fact a production line was estab[shed under the largrely open barrel, and the Calibre:9 mm (0.354 in)
in Egypt to manufacture the Model well-sloped butt holds the box maga- Weight: empty 0,BZ kg ( 1.9 18 lb) Muzzlevelocity: 350 m (1 i48 r p=:
1951: that was during the the
1960s, and zine containing eight rounds, A very lrengths: overall2O3,2 mm (B in); barrel second
Model 1951 is known in Egrypt as the hard type ofblack nylon-based plastic 114.2 mm (4,45 in) Magazine capacity: B rounds
If teretta 9-mm Model 92 series
During 1976 Beretta placed in produc- el 1951. Since its introductron the Mod- on the slide rather than below it as on 7,65-mm calibre and based on the
rion two new famihes of auromatic prs- el 92 series has gnown rnto a consider- the basic Model 92, Thrs allows the Model 92 SB-C and Model 92 SB-C
tols, the Model 81 which used a blow- able range of weapons and it also hammer to be lowered onto a loaded Type M respectively.
back operating system and was cham- seems certain to be one of Beretta's chamber with complete safety as the This array of Model 92 prstols shoLrld
bered for calibres such as 7.65 mm most successful desrgns for one of its firtng pin is taken out of line with the be enough to satisfy just about every
(0,30i in), and the much Iarger Beretta variants, the Model 92F, has been hammer, The Model 92 SB rs essential- military or pohce requirement likely tc
Model 92 which frres the usual 9-mm selected as the US armed force's new ly simiiar to the Model 92 S, but the arise. The selection oi the Model 92F
(0,354-in) Parabellum cartridqre and standard automatic pistol, sltde-mounted safety catch can be ap- for the American armed forces hm
accordingly uses a short recoil system Startrng from the basic Model 92, the plied from each side of the slide, The already led to a number oforders from
very like that used on the earlier Mod- Model 92 S has a revised safety catch Model 92 SB-C is a more compact and other sources, including one from a
handier version of the Model 92 SB, police force in the UK, and more such
The Model 92F was a development orders can be expected, The original
of the Model 92 SB for the US Army Model 92 is now no longrer in produc-
pistol contest, which it won, The main tion but the Model 92 S still is and all
changes from the Model 92 SB are a the other variants are available, Apar,
revrsed tngger gnrard outline t0rsuit a from the American order various forms
two-handed grip (much favoured by of the Model 92 are in service with the
the military), an extended magazine Ita[an armed forces and some of the
base, revised grrps and a lanyard ringr 'compact' versions are used by vadous
The bore rs chrome-plated and the ex- police forces in Italy and elsewhere.
terior rs coated in a Teflon-tlpe mate-
rial to resist wear and act as a non- Specification
glare surface. Model92F
Followrng on from the Model 92F Ca.libre:9 mm (0,354 rn)
there is a Model 92F Compact along Weisht:loaded 1.145 kq (2,524 lb)
the same lines as the Model 92 SB-C Lenqths: overall217 mm (8,54 in);
but using the features ofthe Model 92F, barrel 125 mm (4.92 in)
Usedextensively by the ltalian and also produced along the same Muzzle velocity: about 390 m ( 1,280 ft)
armed forces, the Beretta Model 92 lines is the Model 92 SB-C Type M per second
forms part of the equipment of the which has an erght-round magazrne rn- Magazine capacity: 15 rounds
I talian amy's' F olgor e' p ar achute stead of the ls-round magazine used
brigade. Based atPisa, the brigade on all the models mentionedabove To Introducedin 1976, theModel92 has
i:n. incorporates a parachute battalion ol cap all these vanants there are also proved a logical successor to the
two more modeis based on the Model Modello 195I. This has aframe-
::ris.Effitarypo lice and as an internal 92 series but in a smaller calibre, They mounted safety catch(later models
:seiJ')rityforce). are the Model93 and Model99, both in have the catch on the slide).

ru teretta 9-mm Model 93R

With the Beretta Model 93R one is fingers grasp the forehand grip. For front of the trigger guard. This is so n1c1an to cary out malntenance arlc
back in that no-man's land between additronal assistance in holding the arranged tht the two-handed grrip de- repairs, Once this diff,culty has bee:-
'uue machine pistols and selectle-flre pistol steady durinq firing the end of rived from its use is much steadier than ironed out the Model 93R will no doul:-
pistols, for the Model 93R rs another the protruding barrel is equipped with the usual two-handed grip with both attract a great deal ol attention foor-
modern pistol design intended to flre a muzzle brake that also acts as a flash hands wrapped around what is often a many sources, It would certainly make
three-round bursts, Derived from the hider. bulky pistol butt. Usrng this foregnp it a formidable close-quarter self-
Beretta Model 92, the Model 93R can To provrde even more firing stability is quite possible to provide reasonably defence weapon,
be handled and flred as a normal auto- it is possible to fix a metal folding stock accurate burst fire as both hands are
matic pistol, but when the three-round to the butt, When not in use this can be 'spaced' to produce a longer holding
burst mode is selected the fuer has to carried in a specral holster, and when base and yet are close enough to pre-
rse both hands to hold the pistol mounted on the pistol can be extended vent either hand wavering, It 1s possr- Specification
reasonably steady durinq the burst, To to two lengths to suit the firer, ble to fire bursts wrthout using the met. Model93R
do thrs Beretta has designed a srmple Tlvo type of box magazrne can be al extending stock, but for really accu- Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in)
ald compact qrip system on which the used urth the Model 93F, one holding rate fre (even with single shots) rts use Weights: loaded with I S-round
nght hand carries out its normal func- 15 rounds and the other holding 20. is recommended. magazine I lZkg (2.47 lb); loaded with
rion ofoperating the trigger and grasp- The usual 9-mm (O 354-in) Parabellum As yet the Model 93R is not on the 2O-round maqazine 1, 17 kg (2.58 lb)
rnq the butt, For the left hand a small cartridge is used. open market and is still under de- irengrths: pistol 240 mm (9,45 in); barrel
iorehand grip is folded down from rn The design detail incorporated into velopment, One problem seems to be 156 mm (6. 14 in)
ront of the elongated trigrqrer Euard, the Model 93R is considerable and one that the three-round burst mechanism Muzzle velocity: 375 m (1 230 ft) per
The left thumb is inserted into the front item that will no doubt be seen on fu is rather complicated and at present second
of the trigger eruard and the rest of the ture designs s the use ol t he foregrip in requires the services of a trained tech- Magazine capacity: 15 or 29 rounds

Replccing q Legend
For many years, the United States Army stood aloof from the trend that has seen the
9-mm Parabellum round adopted as an almost universal military cartridge.
Recently, however, the unthinkable has happened; a successor fo the legendary
Colt0.45 has been chosen, it does not use f/re 0.45-in (11.43-mm) Colt cartridge, and
it is not evenAmerican!

The Americans have always been highly rndr impression on many generations of American
vidual when it comes to hand gmns, Not only do servicemen. To them it has come almost to
they have a clause rn their constitution that epitomlze Amencan military service, and so
(when taken out of context) a1lows them to car- attached to the M19l l have many servlng and
ry flrearms, but they have devoted a great deal ex-serving officers and men become that the
of their national technological expertise over mere idea of replacing the pistol was unthink-
the years to designing and developinq some able, Even when the rest of the military world
superlative pistols, many of which are strll re- adopted the 9-mm (0 354-in) Parabellum car-
garded as world leaders. This has been parti- tridqe as an almost universal round the Amer-
cularly true of the pistol that has been rn US icans looked away and retalned their M19ll
servrce for well over 75 years, the 0.45 in wrth its biq and powerful round,
(1143-mm) Colt M]911 and M19l1Al automa- To many observers the attachment of the
Lrc Americans to the Mlgll was understandable
This venerable pistol was developed during but wrong, especially when NATO standar-
the flrst decade of this century to provide dization of calibres and weapons became one
American troops with a weapon ihat would of the priorities of the post-war alliance. At a
knock over any attacker at short range, the time when all the NATO nattons except the
unfortunate but fanatical Moro tribesmen from United States were adopting the 9-mm car-
the Philippines being the specifled targets, trrdge the Americans stuck to their non-
The Colt MI911 with its heavy bullet was the standard 0.45-rn round. There were other
outcome, and after World War I slight changes questlons being asked as we1l. One was that
were introduced to produce the M191]A1. training wrth the large and powerful M1911 The BerettaModel92was thoroughly adapted to
Many of the ofiginal M]91ls remain in use to took much longer than wtth the equivalent 9- meetUS requirements. The safety catch has a lever
this day, Thereafter, despite technological in- mm pistols, for the 0,45-in cartridge in some on both sides of the slide, to allow left- or right-
novations introduced elsewhere the M1911 has ways heralded the objecttons to the later Mag- handed firing, and the magazine release catch can
be fitted facing either left or right immediately
been the standard service pistol ol the Amer- num rounds in that rt produced a violent recoil beneath the trigger gaard.
ican armed forces, including the US Coast and was so noisy that many recrutls were quite
Guard, and it has been produced in hundreds frankly terrified of it and ihus took much longer The Beretta is much less of a handful to fire than the
of thousands. to train, The other objectton was that by the venerable Colt, and the smaller round allows a
The Mi91l has also made a considerable 1970s the Ml9ll was outdated as a desiqn, It much larger magazine capacity.

:=- +



:, l,
Replacing a Legend

has none of the safety features introduced into lost to the Europeans. Since World War 1l many Although the Colt and Beretta are of similar size, as
the modern prstols and it can be used only by European small-arms manufacturers have de- seen above, the difference between a gun
rtght-handed firers, Then there was the matter voted a great deal ol effort to developrng mod- introduced in l9 I I and one developed in 1976
ol the magazine capacity, for the M191i holds ern materrals lor the design of pistols well in becomes evident when performance and
only seven oi the bulky 0,45-in rounds while advance of anything the Americans had been durability are tested under extreme conditions.
most 9-mm pistols can carry far more (often making. Employrng high-grade sieels and hght
lwice as many), meials, and introductng hard plastics to func- 102 mm (4 in); the magrazine had to hold at 1eas.
What finally decided the US mrlrtary author- tions where once they had been unthinkable, 1O rounds, the magazine baseplate being re-
itres to seek a new pistol was none ol these the Europeans had been able to manufacture movable for cleaning and marntenance; the
technicalrties but a practicality, for many of the pistols that seemed ahead of therr time by com- rear sight was to be fixed but with some capa-
o1d M1911s were worn out, Many had been parison with American contemporartes. brlity for fine adjustment; after the last round
virtualiy rebuilt from spare parts several times Sensing larqe coniracts the Europeans had been flred ihe shde had to remain open
over durrng therr service lives, and the time rushed to enter the American selectron contest and a manual shde stop feature had to be rn-
'was well past for many to be reburlt yet again. for what was tentatively named the XM9 prog- corporated; ambidextrous operation would be
The M1911 has not been manufactured for ramme lalrhough .ha designation now appears an advantage; and 9-mm Parabellum ammuni-
many years, and although numerous firms in to have lapsed). From the USA both Smith and tion was to be used
ihe USA and elsewhere can make a qood living Wesson and Colt put fonr'rard designs they felt What the entrants were not told was what
churning out M19l I spares and conversions, a sure would u''rn Smrth and Wesson were parti- form the tests would take, The usual firing and
point was belng reached where the pistols cularly confrdent ior thelr entry, the Model 469, strrpping tests were rndeed carried out, but a
were simply too worn to be renovated. had already been selected by the US Arr number of others were also introduced. One of
Force. Colt eniered a model known as the SSP, these rnvolved clamping the pistol in a
Newselection Unfortunately ior alj the entrants, none of the machine that then vibrated at a hrgh rate Any
When the decisron to select a new pistol was plstols oflered -",as selected as all failed to parts that came loose or iell off were deemed
announced during the early I980s a storm of satisfy at leas: cne of :he criteria 1t was thought faults and any protest was met with the answer
protest rose lrom the assembled ranks ol the necessary thel' snould meet, The paper re- that the old M1911 could pass this test: the fact
armed forces and veterans. A11 manner of quirements -,vere iarrly straightlorward and that the M1911 had none of the ambidextrous
alternatives were proposed from puttrng the although some were slightly changed at one operating levers and extra safeties was simply
M1911 back into production to converting ex- stage or another they came down to the follow- ignored, Ammunition stoppages were also re-
:sirng pistols to 9-mm calibre. It did not take ing: the weight ci each prstol was not to exceed garded as faults,
-ong for the authorities to overcome those argu- i 3 kg (2 866 lb) irlly loaded; length was not to The results of thrs frrst serres of tests left
nents, but having said that it rmmediately be- exceed 221 mm (8 3 tn) hetght with magazine many olthe Europeans with the impression that
lame apparent that the Americans'once-over- inserted \ ras noi to exceed I47 mm (5 787 tn); the well-known American NIH (Not Invented
''..'helmrng lead in handgun design had been the barrel had .o have a mrnimum length of Here) syndrome had been invoked: they felt

BerettaModel92 Modern Combat Pistols
front sight
rifling (six grooves, right-hand twist)
125-mm (4.92-in) long batrel
firing pin spring

recoil spring
recoil spring guide

-:*-E- *ri-:

tngger sprng
the tests had been unfair, badly conducted and
tnconclusrve but, to their credit. many in the
USA felt the same way. The armed iorces were trigger pin
sttll without a new pistol so a new test serles triggerguard
was started in 1984.
By lhe time the second conlest was under trigger
way the Europeans were more than ready,
They had a much better idea of what to expect
and geared themselves and thelr products for But the longterm beneflts for Beretta will be
lt, Walther entered a design known as the P88 substantial. The lu]] contract for 315,930
based on its P5, Heckler & Koch entered its weapons is worth $53 million and will cover
PZAl3, a version of the P7M13, Steyr entered its five years, In Lhe first year 52,930 pistois will be gnpscrew
GB, and FN ofiered a version of the Hlgh-pow- produced in Italy. In the second year 57,000
er known as the DDA, High in the list of prstols will be assembled and tested in the
favourites, SIG-Sauer entered its P226 and Be- United States at the Beretta USA plant at
retta entered a version of the Model92 S known Accokeek, Maryland. During the third year
as the Model 92F, It was noticeabie that manv of frames, slides and barrels will start to be manu-
the Europeans had made changes to their sub- faciured in the Unrted States to the rune of
missions to cater for the American test criteria, 72,000 pistols. For the final two years all pro-
duction wiil take place in America, 72,000 pls- _e
Legaldisputes tols berng produced in the fourth year and
magazine bottom magaz:ae

By contrast Smith and Wesson submrtted its 62 000 in the fifth

E-,-:: l:r
Model 459M, a variant of the previousty-
favoured Model 469. while Colt once more put
forward ils SSA; a rumoured entry from Sturm.
Ruger did not materlalize. To everyone's sur-
prise the two American entries were the flrst to
be elimrnated, leadrng almost immediately to
legal action by Smith and Wesson, For a while
the SIG Sauer P226 seemed to be the clear
favourite, but when the frnal result was
announced in January 1985 rt emerged that Be-
retta had won with the Model 92F.
Once agarn legal actrons followed but got
nowhere. All sorts of claims as to the conduct
and findrngs of the tests were aired, and at the
trme of writing all legal submrssions have been
unsuccessful, though rt is doubtJul rf the iast of
ihern has been heard. It seems that the SIG-
Sauer P226 was indeed in the final running, but
Ln the end costs won the day and one authority
has claimed that all that the directors of Beretta
',vill get out of the American contract is enough
::r a good lunch.

A grun cannot serve for three-quarters of a century

without arousing much devotion and imitation.ln
spite of being replaced in US service, the Colt has
inspired weaponssucl as tft e Spanish-built Star
automatic pistol.
Smith and Wesson revolvers
Smith and Wesson has been making the person mthout too much danger,
revolvers for well over lO0 years, and but a stud over the hrdden hammer
during that trme rt has produced just allows the prstol to be cocked for sing-
about every type ofrevolver it is posst- le-action shooting. The cylinder holds
ble to make. Amonq the company's only five rounds, and the No. 38 uses an
prohfic output have been many miiit- aluminium body; the otherwise simrlar
ary revolvers, but today Smith and No. 49 uses an all-steel body,
Wesson do not make any revolver spe- Pistols such as the No. 38 and No, 49
crfically for military use. This does not are not [ke1y to be used rn front-]ine
prevent many armed forces from ustng combat, but they can still be found on
Smith and Wesson revolvers for many the inventories of many armed forces.
roies, but from the outset it has to be Pilots carry them (or prstols very simi-
sard that lt is unlikely that any armed lar to them) on missions over enemy
icrces are likely to use Smrth and Wes- territory, and the weapons are often
scn revolvers in a front-line capacity. issued to mrlitary personnel operating
Instead they are to be found wtth milit- in plain clothes in areas where the loc-
a:y and security police and other such al population is hostile to their pre-
mi-Litary agencles, sence. It seems that there will always
Top of the curent list come the be a need for weapons such as the
Magnrums, For reasons explained else- small Smith and Wesson revolvers,
-,'rhere in this study such weapons are
'xiually conflned to special purpose un- Specification
-is. one of them beingvery special for it No.3SBodygnrard
one of the most powerful revolvers Calibre: 0,38 in (9 mm)
available today. This is the No. 29 0.44- Weight: 0,41 I kg (0,9 ]b)
-: Magmum (10,92-mm) which was first Lenqths: overall 165 mm (6,5 in); barrel
-rtroduced in 1955, The No. 29 rs too 51mm(2 in)
::uch of a handful for most users since Muzzle velocity: 260 m (853 ft) per
--s recoil is prodigious, so the No. 57 second
-,ras introduced in 1964 to use the less Chamber capacity: 5 rounds
potent O.4l-in Magrnum (10.4]-mm),
lris has the same overall dimensions
.. the No, 29, is rather more manage- Smith and Wesson 0.38 -in (9-mm)
:Dle yet still retarns its massive striking revolvers arein common use with
!ower. police and military forces
But to most observers of the pistol worldwide. The typical snub-nosed,
s:ene Smith and Wesson means 0.38- double-action weapon ( top) is mos t
-:: (9-mm) revolvers. There are many of widely seen, but the more
-:ese still on the Smith and Wesson specializedNo. 38 Bodyguard has no
:::arketing lists, a typical example external hammer and can be
:ei:rg the No. 38 Bodyquard, This small brought rapidly into action from a
pocket or holster without danger of
--:b-nosed revolver has a shrouded
:3::mer to allow it to be concealed on snagging.


Colt revolvers
lb) but thrs weight
hearry (1.16 kq/2.56
makes the revolver a very steady
weapon to aim and fire, and also makes
it very strong, so strong tn fact that it
can wrthstand the very worst rigours of
a long mrlitary life. The Python is avai]-
able in two barrel lengths, 102 mm
(4 in) and 152 mm (6 in),

One advantage of the revolver is its

capacity to remain in operation after
h ars h tr e a tm ent. P owerful w e apons
such as the ColtPython would be
extremely valuable to a Central
American guerrilla, with guns,
rounds and spares provided inmany
cases by interested parties in the

Coit revolvers (continued)

Another Colt revolver is the Troop-

er. Although no longer available, the
T?ooper f,rst appeared in 1953, agarn
tn a variety of"barrel lengths and in
various calibres, most of them tending
to the healT side, and with many en-
dng up in military use, althouqh mostly
ur security rather than combat roles.
The Trooper has now been replaced
by the Lawman Mark III, which is pro-
duced only ln 0,357-in Magnum and
-vrrth barrels as short
as 51 mm (2 1n),
Agarn, manyof these are inmilitaryuse
all over the world,

Calibre: 0 357-in Maqnum (9-mm)
Weight: L 022 ks (2.253 Ib)
IJengths: overall 235 mm (9, 25 in);
barrel2 or4 in (51or 102 mm)
Muzzle velocity: about 436 m ( 1,430 ft)
per second
Chamber capacity: 6 rounds

Colt revolvers are available in a

number of calibres, with the.357
M agnum rou nd ( actu ally of g - mm
calibre) beingused in the powerful
Lawman Mk II I. The Colt Cobra
(bottom) is similar to thePython, but
is chambered for the 0.38 Special
round instead of the Magnum.

:l Ruger revolvers
The armaments concern of Sturm, Ru-
ger and Company Inc. of Southport,
Connectrcut, produced its flrst prstol,
an automatic, in 1949 and thereafter
nas never looked back, The company
iwe a great deal of its success to the
astute obseruation that there was sttll a
large market for single-action revol-
'rers in the USA but that Colt, the ob-
-,rous choice for such a weapon, was no
:cnger rnterested tn making them,
Stwm, Ruger and Co. decided to fill
ire qap and have been makrng revol-
-..ers (amonq other types of weapon)
evel slnce.
Before srmply copying the old Colt
iesigns, Willlam B. Ruger decided to
:xamine the fundamental design
-pects of the revolver in all its forms
came up with what was a
=d soon
';ery modern version of a weapon that
:,ad been around for nearly a century.
liew types ofsteel and other materials
:specially springs) were introduced
=d the manu-facture
was de-
into a modular system where
:rmponents could be added or sub- rels, The tdgger actions of both are Above : Ruger'sSpeed-Six rs Jrnorzn
racted to form any particular model, single- and double-action, Some Ru- tothe US Army as is
l:e pornt has now been reached ger revolvers fire nmless 9-mm Para- made in two versions: one for 0.352
i;:ere Sturm, Rugter and Co, produces bellum ammunition, so for loadinet Magnum/0.38 Specialand onefor g-
:;erywide ranqe of modernrevolvers these rounds special 'half moon' clips, mm Parabellum. The g-mm is rimless
': meet lust about any requfement, each holding three rounds, have to be so three round half-moon clips are
:,-,,tary or civil, used. used fo ensure ejection.
i.uger'revolvers are today pro- One partlcular Ruger revolver
:::ed in various barrel lengrths and in caused quite a str when rt was first
;1,'ing finishes, including stainless introduced in 1955, This was the
The revolvers are also available famous Ruger Elackhawk that could Weisht:0 935 kq (2,06 lb)
:- --'vide range of calibres from 0.38-in fire the very powerful 0.44-in Magnum Lenqths: overall23S mm (9.25 in);
:!--cial (9-mm) up to the Magnums, (10,92-mm) round, makrnq the Black- barrel 102 mm (4 in)
. -:cuqh the Magnums are not usually hawk one of the most powerful revol- Muzzle velocity: 260 m (853 ft) per
.=-:cted for ordrnary military use vers obtarnable, This was too much of a second
--.-:-cal of the seruice revolvers cur- handful for most users, so the Black- Chamber capacity: 6 rourids
:=:-Jy on offer rs the Service-Six cham- hawk rangre has now been extended to
:::ed for either the 0.38 Specral or include oiher less potent cartridqes MostRuger pistols inUS military use
- ::Z-in Magnum (again 9-mm) car- and it is stlll in grreat demand by many are in the hands of military police or
::ges. The Sewice-Sx can be fltted pistol enthusrasts, security forces. These roles require
r:: either a 70-mm (2,75-in) or 102- familiarity with and training in
:_.- (4-in) barrel, while the generally Specification handling powerful handguns so that
.,:,-iar Security-Six, intended for 0.38-in Service-Six the c ap ability of M agn u m or S pecial
;--le use, can have even longer bar- Calibre: 0,38-rn Special (9 mm) calibre pistols is not wasted.

Cil ii"ll* FN Hish-power
The Browning High-power pistols
were first designed in 1925 by J.M.
Browning, the famous weapons desig-
ner, but they are strll in production and
sewice to this day, The main producer
is still the Belgian Fabrique Nationale
(FN) of Herstal,although spares are
being made in Canada following
World War II production in that coun-
FN now makes several variants of
the High-power in addition to the basic
military version, All use the same basic
Browning short recoil method of op-
eration, and can easily be recogmized
as coming foom the same stable, One
variant is the High-power Mk 2, which
can be regarded as an updated ver-
sion of the original with more modern
finish and grip shape but still un-
changed rnside. There are also three
versions of the standard military mod-
The basic milrtary model is now
knoum to FN as the BDA-9S, The smal-
lerBDA-9Muses the same ftame asthe
BDA-9S but it is combined with a shor-
ter slide and barrel, also used on the
compact version of the family, the
BDA-9C, The BDA-9C is a very small
pistol for its calibre, and has a much
shortened butt holdinq only seven
rounds instead of the r-sual 14 of the
other models, It is intended to be a
'pocket pistol' for use by plain clothes Above: Many of the greatJ.M.
police units and for specialist roles Browning's desigms have proven
such as VIP protection, exceptionally long-lived, with the
In recent years other versions of the Browning High-power pistol being
High-power have appeared, some no exception.This example has an
wrth specially-lightened slides to re- advanced'red spot' sighting deuice,
duce weight and some with compo- and custom non-slip grips.
nents made from light alloys, again to
reduce weight. All these versrons fire model the butt rs rather wide to
the 9-mm (0.354-in) Parabellum car- accommodate the double-stack box
trrdge and all have found ready magTazine. However, this has not pre-
buyers, even in a world market sated vented the High-power being used as
mth more modern pistol designs. a target pistol by some enthusiasts,
One factor that has consistently sold
the FN Hiqh-power pistols has been Specification
the series' extreme robustness, The FNHigh-power
pistols are capable of accepting very Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in)
hard use and will fire under the most Lengrths: overall200 mm (7.874 in);
adverse conditions, always provrding barrel 1lB mm (4.645 in)
that (as with any weapon) they are Weights: empty 0.882 kg ( 1.944 lb);
properly maintained and are loaded loaded 1,04 ks (2,29 ]b)
wrth decent ammunition, The High- Muzzlevelocity:350 m (1,148 ft) per Above: Developed from the High-power to provide a genuine pocket pistol
power can be a bit awkward to handle second capable of firing full-power rounds, the Browning Compact has a very short
as on all but the BDA-9C Compact Magazine capacity: 14 rounds butt, although the shortened slide r's /ess obvious.

Left: Latest development from FN is Above : The' G r ande P uis s ance'

the 7.65-mm or I -mm short DA I 40. remains in production after 45 years,
Years of ex perience w ith the H igh- andis inuse in 55 countries.Itwas
power and a collaboration with the first of the large-Capacity pistols,
Beretta of ltaly have produced a and remains one of the most popular.
light, effective pis tol.
Pistols may have ceased to be important
weapons on the conventional battlefield
but they remain in front-line sewice in
Iow intensity operations. In thewar in
Northern lreland they are a favourite
terroristweapon and arewidely used by
the security forces.
Plstols have survived as military weapons be-
cause they are the most easily conceaied of all
firearms, Both the terrorist and his enemies '.s
have need of hidden firepower, and as many
modern semi-automatics are capable of car-
rying up to 18 rounds the handgun seems to
have an assured future, it is true that the new
generation of small sub-machine guns offer
much greater firepower and yet are almost as
easily carried. It ls also argn-rable that if you
envisage having to fire more than a dozen or so
rounds then a sub-machine gun is possibly a
more approprlate weapon, However, SMGs
are not without disadvantages of thelr own.
They purchase thelr firepower only by profli-
gate ammunition expenditure which r-n-ay not
suit a cost-conscious terrorist movement, and
accurate shooting with an SMG is notoriouiy
drfficult to achieve without long practice. Con-
sequently, low-intensity operations provide
considerable scope for the plstol. In Northern
Ireland, pistols are carried by the secunty
forces, terrorists ofa1l persuasions, and by pub-
lic figmres whose safety is threatened by their r,a*#
very prominence, They are even carried by ed by any other armed force in the world. warfare has one th:r:g::
units whose presence in Ulster is an added Casualties on both sides may appear tragically commonwith ordinary soldiering -you hai'e :c z=
source of political frrctron. severe, but wrthout military intervention they an awful |ot of nothing for a great deal of the ::::.e.
There was a time when the Ministry of De- would undoubtediy have been far higher, Unlike ordinary soldiering, however. an
observation post must be ready for actjon i:' a:
fence denied that the SAS was operating in The lrish Repubhcan Army has evolved into instant.
Northern lreland. Now at least it admrts the fact, an extreme ieft-wing terrorist organization de-
but remains coy about detarls, This is raiher dicated to turning all lreland into a 'workers'
peruerse since the MoD knows what the SAS democracy' by the famihar policy of revolution-
are doing, the SAS knows and the IRA and its ary vioience, This varies from attacks on the
irrends know, . ,and so does every major in- security forces proper to simple but indiscrr-
telligence service in the world. Put this reti- mlnate slaughter, The IRA is a disparate orga-
cence down to typrcal Britrsh modesty if you nization led by a small cadre of fanatics, It
hke, but the true reason rs that the government ensures that violence never remains far from
has always been reticent about the action of the political surface and rigorously explorts
'special forces', and their use in Ulster is re- sentrmental and genuine social grtevance to
garded as an especrally sensittve issue, The maintarn a steady flow of recruits, Both the IRA
With amagazine capacity o{ 13 rounds a-ni:a,:-a
'"-ery use of the armed forces tn Northern lre- and its main splinter group, the Irish National century of reliability behind it, the Brown:ng E :g:-
:and has led to continual controversy and ail the Liberation Army, enjoy the support of large powermakes afine personalweapon. ln nat1
army has been able, or rndeed, allowed to do is sections of the population, Experience in cases, however, a sub-machine gun may be
:ght a holding action, This lt has done mag- Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus demonstrated that =cre
apprcpriate, but the pistol can always be abact-
:-rficently with a degree of expertise unmatch- the only long-term answer to nationalist terror- up. ?fteSAS use the Browning in this,a,ay.
InBandit Country
this rnformation has been collated, the decision
is made to send in a two-man SAS observatton
patroi, Luckiiy, the night is cold, dark and with
a torrentral downpour, Four men actually go
out, walking at least 8 km (5 miles) across rough
country to a preselected position in the hills
above the farmhouse, Having arrived, three
men start to burrow out a shallow hide while
the fourth man keeps watch and begdns to acti-
vate the sophisticated electronic surveillance
gear they have brought wrth them, rncluding
perhaps nrght-vision devices and ground
radar. Once the hlde has been constructed,
two men of the patrol slide rnto it and make
themselves as comfortable as possible. It is
now thelr home and they may have to stay in it
for up to three days without moving outside,
The other two patrol members finaily camou
flage the outside of the positron as weli as the
electronic surveillance devices, then leave the
area, but not in the same direction from where
they came, Contact with base wrll be by hrgh-
speed Morse transmissions.
Signs of occupation
There is no sign of any movement at the
farmhouse all the next day, That night another
four-man SAS patrol arrives secretly at the
farmhouse and starts to look, very carefully in
case of booby traps, for the reported arms
cache. The drsturbed area outside turns out to
be where recently-opened food tins have been
burred, Tramps and kids are never that tidy,
and as there are few Boy Scouts in bandit coun-
try it appears that at ieast one terrorist has
spent a day or two rn the location, Inside the
farmhouse there is other evidence of occupa-
tion: an old kitchen table suspiciously free of
dirt and dust, and the ashes of a hexamine
(smokeless fuel) block in the fireplace. A com-
bination oiexperience, luck and a metal detec-
tor leads the patrol to the arms cache, buried
In carefully-planned operations in the dangerous mers, as mmour, as conversations overheard in underneath the sinkr a Colt 0.45-in semi-auto-
areas of South Armagh, the helicopter can provide a bar, from phonetaps, mail intercepts, and matic prstol modified for fully automatic flre, a
mucft assistance in spotting (or notspotting, as from friendly forergn intelligence services (e, g. 0, 38-in revolver, a humane killer cattle gmn, and
lrere) suspeclg as well as flying patrols along the the FBI, CIA, Dewidme Bureau, lnterpol etc). an Ml6 assault rifle. Tucked at the back is a
border and performing communications duties. Known IRA supporters and activists were 0 91-kg (2-lb) pack of plastic explosive, This is
placed under surveillance where possible. not the time to declare the flnd to the world,
the terrorrsts into the area where they felt the The immediate local tactical requirement was however, The four men of the patrol withdraw,
safest, The IRA frequently takes advantage of to discover border crossing points and to some leaving everything exactly as they found it, The
the poor communications between Brrtish extent to force the IRA into using specific areas two-man observation patrol is informed, as rs
security forces and the Garda rn Eire, laun- by increasing the number of uniformed police base, and while the four-man patrol takes up
ching attacks and then fleeing over the border and army patrols and checkpoints in the more temporary ambush positions on the track, MRF
or even firing command-detonated mines from obvious places. Information about arms caches base sets up the next phase of the operation,
.arithin the sanctuary of the Republlc, was also sought; but as we shall see, not every Orders are drawn up by the localmilitary com-
kncwn (or even suspected) arms cache was mander for a battalion 'Search and Destroy'
Newunitdeveloped irnmediately rarded, The actual executtve arm mission, lasting three days, that will start some
Experience led to the development of a new of the MRFs were the SAS (and in some inst- distance from the farmhouse and reach it, in
tlpe of unit cailed a Military Reaction Forcr ances, the Royal Marines SBS and Arctic and theory, by the afternoon of the thrrd day, This
(MRF) When first created it was manned by Mountain Warfare Cadre). To give you some mission will start in 24 hours and notice of it wili
the SAS and Intelligence Corps personnel with idea of how the executive arm worked (or be given to the local RUC, Naturally, no men-
hnks to the Special Branch, The entire opera- works), come with us on a fairly typrcal opera- tron of the arms cache will be macle , , , the
iion was co-ordinated in Belfast, ultrmately by tion, farmhouse just happens to be in the line of
MI6 staff, MI6 continued to be responsible for An unconflrmed report has come in that advance, Naturally the IRA or Provos will learn
its control until sometime in the mld-1970s there rs an arms cache located in an aban- all about the rntended operatlon, and whoever
when MIS assumed control, and the Royal Uls- doned farmhouse deep in 'bandit country', put the glrns, ammunition and PE in the farm
ter Constabulary became,rnore involved. The South Armagh, On the map, the farmhouse is house will, if all goes as planned, try io remove
changes seem to have led to unfortunate lapses seen to be located in a valiey wlth farrly steep the cache as soon as possible,
la security leadrng to eight informers being hrils on each side. Proper access is only by a Before morning the four-man patrol is wtth-
murdered by the IRA in single weekend, But
a single, overgrown road. Aerial photography drawn, whiie another comes out and takes up
rmtially the operation was conducted as if it was (carried out as unobtrusively as possible) better prepared ambush positions. The two-
on loreign hostile territory wtth mtnimal in- shows markinqs on the ground outside the man patrol on observation is left on its own for
volvement with regular police forces, and that farmhouse that could be those of a vehicle; the moment. It has been out there only 36 hours,
only through the Special Branch, certainly the earth to one side of the farmhouse so another day or so will not hurt the men.
Intellgence Corps operatives were re- has recently been disturbed; and infra-red Moreover, since one of the observation patrol
sponsible for collecting and collating informa- photography reveals that a heat source ofsome rs a qualified sniper, they may be able to pro
tion about the IRA and its supporters. The raw kind has been statronary outside the farmhouse vide some valuable firepower,
information or intelligence came in from infor- within the past 24 hows, By 15.00 on the day that Listening devices, capable of iransmitting

Modern Combat Pistols
. : i 6 km (i mtle av,.ay) have been planteii tant an ideal hne of retreat to a wartrng car. then cautrously enter the farmhouse. The F.: .
::r ihe arms cache inside the farmhouse lf Alternatrvely i1 couid be someone plannlng to tnorneer dc'ochner-ond s' rffer ooqs ir:
: acne does come for the arms, he or she is shoot a Iew rabbits cr even an over-eager com- led up and evenhrally the arms amm*:-.-:,
i--,,<ely to be aione and it is possrble that vaju pany commander anxious to see how hrs men and explosive are removed. At thls p.,: -=
,-:,-: rntelligence will be gained lrom br-Lgginqy ar.e getting on not realizrng he has walked rnto terrorists quretly leave the scene T',..': ':-.---.
. conversatlon an SAS ambush. The rdentity ol the mysterrous walk smartly down the valley to the roai','': = =
',Vaitingtime contact rnrill be rerrealed by its behaviour when d car s:ops'or them .ho car coli :'
the pre advance helicopter flies overhead: if women andno\ ir con:"insiAo.nn a..
.ic-w comes the \ ratitnq. Expertenced sol the person or persons hlde from it then the ples ouL lor a lrive But as 'hey dtL'.'. .'.- ."
. ri y I oi lo koy rlr. -lf os soo ds chances are they are up to no good At mid- inn 'cuous .ooking van pu's ou' c.:': "=
-:y move rnto ambush positions because rt is morning the 'chopper' makes rts scheduled and is s'rll behind ,n hen the, ha . e . : . ,

,r--iicult and trring to marntarn a hrqh level of appearance the pilot having been alerted to roadblock, The roadblock ilseli ar'..::: .'.
. .- aieness ovel a lonq tlme However, they are fly over the suspect area bul nol to hover there suspicion lor sur-h blocks ar- a 'a -- " .."-

:-..rned to snap instanlly to full alert lrom arr He does so and r-oports that there is nothing to Lho occupants oI he car €^pec eo - ---::
. rost relaxed state of mind anci behavrour, be seen whrch means the contact has gone to The van pulls up very close ber-:.: -:,. ..=
.s: like a wilcl anrmal Certainly this particular ground they are probably terrortsts. sLspecrs wair for the sordrers " . :..: . '
--:oush draqis on, and on and. on, No terrorrst The SAS team decrdes to lei them escape routrne check the car rr'rindo-,-'s a:: s-::r=...
.rrr,;eson the flrst nighi or evenon the second vvhenever they want to, and then to pick them blown in by lndustrlal punca:s ---.= .

seems that either the people who put ihe up on tfre road rn therr presumed getaway ,^/omen and rwo men hr-i ---:-.=-"-
.:ns ihere are captuled dead or out of the vehrcle One very real danger is the chance do,nn the oarre-s oi >c .-r,. . ---.. --
'untry, or rndeed ihat they have declcled to that there rs a remote control mine concealed auromdlrcs h^ld by a :.. .- . ..-
-rt and see il the battalion operation discov near the iarmhouse v,rhich rnras overlooked in r idua ls .n an ooo -:S - r -r-:-.
rnjlorn.. Ano her Trdr . :-. ' j-. "

-rs lhe arms. Perhaps they suspect a trap and the origrnal search It may be that the terrorists
:ry sensibly) have decrded not io risk their are not t1-rere just to observe but are planning to -olr-es -n fuon o he .' .... .
- .- ' .

- es and hberty detonate a bomb at the touch of a transmrtter drrec' I dl Lh. n oo : :-.. .

in the small hours of the third day the and then make their escape, All things consr- complete; there is lttle -:rr: ,:- :: - -. l
::servation patrol at last detects some move- dered it is unlikely, but to cornpensate them for .^v- ted Brov r.. -o rr- r . ..... .....
:ni, but not rn the direction that had been any posslble rrsks, the oncominq infantrymen peCiS ore h"--dcu'. : . --:- :. - . '
.,, tctpated. The ground-based. radar reveals wrll be allorn'ed to discover the arms cache. the van on therr,,1 a.,'ic r:.::r,:r.
--: lrresenc,a of at leasi one indivtdual rnoving This is a bonus for the patrol and since the
.he hills opposite the patrol's own posrtron. terrcris:s are probably expectrng it to be disc
: contact moves to a point overlookrng the overed anyffay, no suspicion will be aroused
,,:n and stops. This unknown person or peo that ihe -r,,hcle affair was set up from the begin
: .an now observe the advancin_o battalion nlng
,. iols, and a study of the map shows that a irrn trerr hicle up on the hillside the SAS
, -il rnrcoded valley leads down from this posr ooser.'e rs .,-,'alch the presumed terrorists, who
: io a minor roacl some 3 2 km (2 rnrles) dr-s ri: l-in -,-,etch the lorward patrol approach and


,:.:::, ,:ffa;t=-'l

" a.

.'ta:::::a:::.: ll'rl :. i:-

G tiHffi"' & Koch pistols
Since the early 1950s Heckler & Koch assault rifle, This system uses the re- sion was produced for the American P95
GmbH of Oberndorf-Neckar has been coil forces to force the bollbody to the market, and a special version with a Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in)
one of the major European small-arms rear but at the same time hvo rollers magazine holding 13 rounds, the Weight: Ioaded 1.065 kg (2.348 lb)
manufacturers, and although best are forced into barrel extensrons to P7MI3, can be supplied. The P9S rs Lengths: overall 192 mm (7,56 in);
krown for its range of rifles and sub- prevent further movement until the licence-manufactured in Greece as barrel 102 mm (4.015 in)
machine gnrns the firm has also pro- pressure on the bolt body has dropped the EP9S, Muzzlevelocity: 351 m (1, 152 ft) per
duced a range of advanced automatic to a safe levei. Thrs safe locking system second
prstol designs. allows the 9-mm Parabellum cartddge Specification Magazine capacity: 9 rounds
One of the first of these was the to be f,red from a relatively light pistol HK4
Heckler & Koch HK4 intended as a and to add to the locking safety there Calibre: 9 mm Short* P7K3
small pistol firing a variety of light are numerous others including the Weight: loaded0 6 kg(1 32 Ib) Calibre:9 mm (0,354 rn)
ammumtion varying from 9-mm Short usual feature that allows the pistol to be tengths: overall 157 mm (6. lB 1n); Weisht: loaded 0.95 kg (2.09 ]b)
(0,380-in), through 7.65-mm (0,30]-in) carried safely with a round already in barrelBS mm (3,35 in) Lengths:overail 171 mm (6,73 in);
to 6.35-mm (0.25-in) and even 0,22-in the chamber; thrs safety can be re- Muzzle velocity: 299 m (981 ft) per barrel 105 rnm (4,13 in)
Long Rifle (5.59-mm). A1l that has to be leased by operating a small cocking second Muzzle velocity:35I m (1, 152 ft) per
done to change the ammunition fired is level. The P9S has been sold to many Magazine capacity: 7 or B rounds* second
the replacement of the barrel, the armed and police forces worldwide, (* also other smaller calibres, all using Magazine capacity: B or 13 rounds
bprings and the magazrne. The HK4 is At one time an 11,43-mm (0.45-in) ver- an B-round magazine)
no longer in production,
The much larger P7 K3 pistol uses
9-mm Parabellum ammunition and is
one of the West German 'super safety'
pistols with various built-in safety fea-
tures to meet police requrrements. It
uses a prominent grrip safety to prevent
firing if the pistol is dropped acci-
dentally and the same grrip safety also
acts as a coclong device for complete
one-handed operatron. Lockrng is car-
ried out using a gas-operated delayed-
blowback method similar to that used
on the Steyr GB pistol and the German
Volkspistole of World War Ii, The P7
K3 has been adopted bythe West Ger-
man army and many police forces,
By contrast a third Heckler & Koch
pistol, the P9S, uses a small versron of
the roller and block delay loclong de-
vrce used on the Heckler & Koch G3

Above : C onceived as a military Of rugge d and s imp Ie

B elow :
pistol, the Heckler & Koch P9 is construction, the Heckler & Koch PZ
unusual in thatit employs aversion of (PSP) self-loading pistol has been
the roller and block delayed-locking adopfed as sfa ndard by the West
syslem (as used inthewell-known German police and army.lthas been
H ec kler & Koch family of rifle s ). desjgned as a police pistol.

important element in
anynation's armed
forces is that of
nations haveformed
paratnilitary units
forces; amongstthe
most effective of such
ostensibly abranchof
the Border Police.
Modern Combat Pistols
Heckler & Koch 9-mm VP70M
-:e 9-mm (0.354-in) Heckler & Koch
rfP?OM is a rather unusual pistol that at
:::e time mlght have been placed in
-:-e machine pistol category, but for
-,-arious reasons
it cannot be called that
:ir it has only a limited automatic-fire
A true machine pistol can
='e in fully automatic mode, but the
can fire only three-iound
sxsts and then only when the carryrng
:olster is attached to the butt to form a
seoulder stock,
As a conventional prstol the VP70M
-:ses a blowback action allied to an
-:nusual trigger desigm. It uses a dou-
ole-action mechanrsm and requres a
lronounced first pressure when pr.r1-
led back. Further pressure causes the
:iqgrer bar to slip off a spring-loaded
:rinq pin to fire the loaded cartridge,
here rs thus no additional safety catch
- it requues a defirite presswe to fire
-le weapon,
Much of the receler rs made foom
:ard plastics and there are only four
:::oving parts, a number that has been
<ept to a minimum, for when the pistol
-s firing three-round bursts the cyclic
:ate offire is equivalent to 2,200 rounds
:er minute which sets up considerable
,:ternal forces. The three-round bwsts
only be fired when the holster/ shoulder stock capability and could into the wrong hands, but for all that the Keh's W - 7 0 re presens
s::oulder stock is fitted as the selector not be used to fte bursts, It was pro- design features of the VP70M are
H eckler &
one of the mostsuccessfid
::r the burst mode is in the holster. The duced for civilian sales only. alrnost cedain to reappear in future c om pr omis e s fu f ween h aa diingr ald
:-Jck engages in grrooves on the pistol The VP70M caused quite astirwhen pistols. rateof fue.
::ceiver and butt, and to take full it first appeared, and sales were made
-ivantage of the bust mode the maga- to several police and armed forces in Specification I i6 m (4.57 Ln); prsol anC s: :7
::e hoids 18 rounds. Single shots can Asia and A-ftica. But both the VP70M VPTOM 545 mm(21.45 rn)
:-ll be selected when the stock rs and VP70Z are now no longer manu- Qalihys; $ mm (0,354 in) Muzzlevelocity360rnil .:. - :+:
::iached, factured, The VP70M h particular was Weights: empty 0.823 kg ( I.B 14 lb); second
A special version of theVP70M viewed with deep suspicion by secw- p:stolloaded 1.14 kg (2.5 tb); pistoland Magazine capacitln IE r: ::--
c:own as the VP70Z was produced. ity forces in several European nations stock loaded 1,6 kg (3.53 lb) Rate of fire: 3-round burst iq;:-' :
lls version did not have the holster/ who had visions of these pistols falling Lengths: pisto1204 mm (8.03 in); barrel 2,200 rpm


Walther Pl and P5
}e of the most widely-admired and including Porhrgal and Chile, ger rs physically pulled, Another is that
:==spected pistol designs that emerged The Walther PS is a much more even rf the hammer rs released by any
:--m World War II was the 9-mm modem design that was orrginally pro- other means than the trigger the firingr
- 354-rn) Walther Pistole 38, or P38, duced to meet a West German police pin vnll not be struck, The hammer
---is is still in productron to this day at specficatlon that called for a double- itselfhas a safety notch to form the third
:: Carl Walther Waffenfabrik at Ulm, action trlgger mechansm combrned safety feature, and to top it atl the prstol
::: is now known as the Walther Pl, with a high standard of safety, The re- will not fire unless the slide ls firlly
::ugh versions produced for civilian sultant weapon emerged as a very closed with the barrel locked to it.
-+:.tes are still marked as the P3B. compact and neat desiqm with the re- Getting all these safeties into a pistol Specification
fhe main chanqe in the Pl from the quired double action but with no less as small as the PS has been a major PI
r:rtime version is that the modern than four rnherent safety feafures. The desigm accompltshment, but the PS is Calibre:9 mm (0.354 rr)
;i:apon uses a lighter frame rather first is that the firing pin is kept out of an easy weapon to use and fire, and as Weight: loaded 0,96 kq (2. 11 lb)
-:.1 the all-steel frame of World War line with the hammer unless the trig- far as the user is concemed there are Lengrths: overall 2 18 mm (8.58 irrl
- Cthew,nse the only drfferences are no exfra features to worry about, The
-: markings. The Pl remains an ex- Walther's P5 pistol hasbeen adopted PS is easy to arm and shoot, and rts
::-lent combat pistol and it is still used by several European police torces, smooth lines ensure that it is unlikely to The Walther P 1 is stiJl producd
: j- -ie West German armed forces and and has been built to a very high be caught on clothing when beingr commercially as the P.38. This is the
:; ,hose of a number of other nations. safety specification. handled, It continues to use the same P.38K, or shortversion of the pistol.
Walther PI and P5(continued)

bauell24 mm (4.88 in)

Muzzle velocity:350 m (1,148 ft) Per
Magazine capacity: B rounds

Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in)
Weight: loaded 0.885 kg ( 1,95 lb)
Lengths:overall 180 mm (7.09 in);
barrel90 mm(3.54 in)
Muzzle velocity:350 m (1,148 ft) Per
Magazine capacity: B rounds

Weapons fittedwith suppressors are

much in demand for clandestine
purposes. This version of the P l,
known as theP4,was among a batch
seized by Customs to forestall an
attempt to export them illegally to

ru iih* Makarov
The Makarov automatic pistol was de- the Makarov is also used by virtually all Specification
veloped in the USSR durinq the late other Warsaw Pact forces and bY a Makarov 91 mm(3.58 in)
1950s and was flrst notLced by vartous Qrreat many of the Eastem bloc police Calibre:9 mm (0,354 in) Muzzle velocity: 3 15 m ( I ,033 ft) Per
Westem intelligence agtencies during forces as well. it is a sound, rugged and Weisht: empty 0. 663 kq (1,46 ]b) second
simple weapon that can be relied upon Lengrths:overall 160 mm (6,3 in); barrel Magazine capacity: B rounds
the early 1960s, In design terms it is an
enlargred version of the German to operate even under severe condi-
Walther PP, a pistol first introduced in tions, Most accounts state that the pis- An officer of the Soviet Naval Infantry
tol ls rather awkward to handle as the prepares to fire his Makarov 9-mm
1929 and ever since acknowledged to
bun .s rather thick, but thts 1s presum pistol. The Naval Infantry is small in
be one ofthe best ofits type. However,
the Makarov uses a different 9-mm ably no problem for Eastern bloc sol- comparison with most S oviet arms,
(0.354-in) cartridqe to any other in use, diers, many of whom have to wear but for its size is regarded as one of
healry qloves during most of the year, the most effective fighting forces
for it is rntermediate in power between
The Makarov has been manufac- possessedby fh e Soviet Union.
the 9-mm Parabellum and the 9-mm
Short, Thrs allows the Makarov to use a tured outsrde the USSR. One of the
strarghtforward blowback operat-ng Iarqest producers is China, where it is
mechanism without the complications known as the Type 59 and from where
that would be needed with a more iL is being olfered for export in oppost-
powerful cartridQte. The Makarov car- tron to the Soviets who often hand out
tridge appears to have been based on Makarovs as part of their milrtary aid
a World War I1 design known as the packages. The East Germans produce
Ultra which was not accepted for Ger- a pistoi almost identical to the Makarov
man war-time service, but which known as the Pistole M, while the Poles
attracted some attentlon in the West turn out yet another Makarov look-
for a while. The Ultra has not been alike'known as the P-64, The special
produced in the West in anY form, but Makarov ammunitron is also manufac-
the Sovrets took to it and also use the tured rn all three of these coun-rles
Makarov round in the Stechkin
machine prstol, Below:The Makarov is a
The Soviets know the Makarov as s tr aigh tforwar d blowb ack pis tol
the PM (Pistole Makarov) As weli as apparently derived from the pre-war
beinq used by the Soviet armed forces Walther PP and PPK designs.

.d:r'{:-:.. i1;.'