firearms design

WWII Firearms in Iraq Part 2

Part 1 // Part 3

In the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation by American forces, history wormed its way into the hands of insurgents, who used whatever weapons they could lay hands on to fight the invaders. It was not uncommon to find firearms better suited for the museum than the battlefield.

PPSh-41. The Soviet Union’s primary submachine gun of World War II. With a rate of fire up to 1000 rpm, the PPSh gave Soviet soldiers volumes of firepower that German soldiers couldn’t compete with. Some six million PPSh’s were manufactured by the USSR between 1941-1947, and China made several million more, making the PPSh one of the world’s most produced firearms. No wonder it can be found in most conflicts.

TACTICAL.

With 1000 rpm, you can really saturate a room.

SQUAD UP.

StG-44. The world’s first assault rifle, the Stg-44 was the pinnacle of German firearms technology at the time. The StG-44 had a rocky start, firearms designers forced to call it a submachine gun in order to thwart Hitler, who did not care for the kurz bullet concept and only wanted more SMGs. However, when Hitler finally saw the StG-44 in action (under the guise of MP44) he gave his consent for its full manufacture and christened it the “Sturmgewehr:” storm rifle. Although the StG-44 could not turn the tide of battle, it was the basis for every combat rifle today.

This could be in 1991 or 2003. 

Photographic quality was kind of in a nebulous area around those time periods.

MG42. A true general purpose machine gun, the MG42 was one of the outstanding weapons of the war, with proven reliability, durability, simplicity and ease of manufacture. To this day the MG42 sees service as the MG3, and is virtually unchanged.

MG42 with a M1919, RPK, SG-43 and PPSh.

MP40. Of course.

Wz. 35. If I’m not mistaken, this is THE Wz. 35; a Polish anti-tank rifle that was so secret that until mobilization in 1939, the combat-ready rifles were held in closed crates enigmatically marked: “Do not open! Surveillance equipment!” Unlike other anti-materiel rifles of the time, the Wz. 35 did not use an armor-piercing bullet with a hard core, but rather a lead core, full metal jacket bullet. Due to the high muzzle velocity this was effective even under shallow angles, as instead of ricocheting, the bullet would “stick” to the armor and punch a roughly 20 mm diameter hole.

Less than 10 examples of the Wz. 35 still exist, making this an extremely rare and valuable firearm to both collectors and museums.

3

The German Reichsrevolver,

After the unification of Germany in 1871 the newly formed German Army sought to standardize all weapons and equipment. Before unification Germany consisted of a collection of independent states and kingdoms, each with their own small arms, artillery, and close quarter weapons. The German Army began by standardizing their rifles, then their artillery, then their cavalry equipment. At the bottom of their list, and certainly their lowest priority was the creation of a standard side arm.

The Model 1879 Reichsrevolver is not a complex revolver, a surprise considering that Germany has always had a reputation for producing revolutionary weapons designs. It was a simple and robust revolver, but unfortunately the M1879 was far outdated before it even hit the drawing board.  It was a six shot single action revolver, meaning that the hammer had to be cocked before each shot. Loading was done through a loading gate on the right hand side of the pistol, basically the user would half cock the hammer, which would allow the cylinder to spin freely. The user would hand rotate the cylinder and insert cartridges one at a time.  Incredibly, the M1879 lacked an ejector rod, typically a spring loaded rod that was integrated with the pistol which was used to eject empty cartridge casings from the chambers. Instead the user carried a separate rod in an ammunition belt and used it to punch out empty casings by hand.  Another interesting feature of the Reichsrevolver was a safety, located on the left hand side of the pistol. When activated the hammer could not be cocked. Such a feature is rare on single action revolvers because it is very difficult to accident cock such a pistol. The Reichsrevolver’s safety mechanism makes it an oddity among other single action revolvers. Another problem with the M1879 was that it’s ergonomics were terrible. It’s a big honkin’ pistol that really wasn’t designed to fit the hand very well. Even a German with larger than average hands may have a hard time aiming, cocking, and firing the revolver comfortably. 

The Model 1879 Reichsrevolver was a very quaint and dated design for it’s time. By the late 1870′s Belgian, French, English, Austrian, and American gun designers were making revolvers, both single action and double action, that were far better than the M1879 and had many unique and revolutionary design elements..  A good example was the Colt M1873 Single Action Army, the classic cowboy gun which shares the same features of the Reichsrevolver.  Despite being introduced years earlier, it was a far better pistol with better ergonomics, better weight and balance, and of course it had an ejector rod. The Colt 1873 is the simplest example, by the late 1870′s European pistol designers had created double action models, swing out cylinder models, top break systems, and even auto ejectors. 

While the Reichsrevolver was lacking in most areas, there are some advantageous features. First and foremost the Reichsrevolver was a simple and robust pistol. When you cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger it went bang, and it could take a beating and still keep going bang.  It was also very easy to mass produce. Finally it was chambered for a 10x25mmR cartridge which was essentially a clone of the Smith & Wesson Russian,which was a very hard hitting cartridge.

Despite these advantages the Reichsrevolver is kind of disappointing because Germany could have done better, but pretty much made an active decision not to. Germany had a long history of firearms design before then, going back to early wheel-lock rifles, to flintlock jaeger rifles, the revolutionary Dreyse Needle rifle and Krupp artillery. Germany certainly had the know-how, technical ability, industry,and resources to create something much better, but they didn’t. The German Army got what it wanted, a simple, functional, and rugged revolver that was cheap and easy to produce with no frills, bells, and whistles.   It’s interesting to note that a generation later, Germany would suddenly spead ahead at warp speed with semi automatic designs such as the Borchardt, Luger pistol and Mauser Broomhandle 

In 1883 Germany would introduce a new model of the Reichsrevolver called the Model 1883, which featured a smaller barrel, smaller frame and a smaller better shaped grip to fit the hand. 

Collectors typically refer to the M1879 as the “Cavalry Model” and the M1883 the “Officers Model”. However those are just collectors designations and neither was exclusively issued to cavalry or officers. Interestingly, a number of smaller firms would take up the design and produce their own versions for the commercial market. These designs upgraded the Reichsrevolver with double action variants, pocket revolvers, and of course the addition of a proper ejector rod.  One of the most interesting designs was a pocket revolver called the “Baby Reichsrevolver” which featured two triggers, the first which rotated the cylinder, the second which fired the revolver. It also featured a proper ejector rod.

The Reichsrevolver would serve the German Army throughout the 1880′s and 1890′s, being officially retired in 1908 with the adoption of the Luger semi automatic pistol. However, the outbreak of World War I brought the Reichsrevolver back into regular use as the war created a shortage of pistols. They were quickly taken out of storage, dusted off, and typically issued to secondary troops such as supply, artillery, and reserve units. Supposedly they were even issued to Volkssturm units during World War II, although I’ve never found any hard evidence supporting this.

5

Nock pepperbox musket

Manufactured by Henry Nock’s company in London c.~1800 - no serial number.
.44 ball, smoothbore manually indexed six-barrel cluster, self-priming flintlock.

A considerable upgrade on his 1779 seven-barreled volley gun, Nocks uses the revolving technology of American gunsmith Artemus Wheeler and adds to it a self-priming mechanism of his own design, which would later be the basis of Elisha Collier’s famous designs. This firearm would allow its user to fire a shot, lock the barrel cluster into its next position, cock the hammer, lower the frizzen and take another shot, up to six times in a row. It was a considerably faster rate of fire than any musket at the time.

The Old Iron: The M1 Garand - .30-06 Springfield

Wars are a gruesome affair, this is a fact known to most people. Blood, sweat and gore accompany a conflict, and if one wishes to win it, they must first have necessary manpower, supplies and arms. And an icon of that is the M1 Garand. This WWII-era battlerifle has managed to become an icon of America, both of the war effort and far past it. 

The Garand begins life with it’s Canadian-American designer, Jean Cantius Garand, more commonly just called John C. Garand. A fan of machining and target shooting, this melded into firearm design and Garand’s first design was a light machine gun developed in 1918. While it lost out to other designs, his work soon caught attention of Springfield Armory, and they hired him.

By the 1930′s, there was a craze in the world for a semi-automatic battle rifle to replace older bolt actions. These led to a flurry for new designs, many of which ended in development limbo excluding a few like the SVT-40, G41 and Ljungman. In America, the trials boiled down to two main designs, the Garand rifle and the Pedersen rifle.

The Pedersen rifle was developed by Remington’s main designer John Pedersen, relying on a toggle-lock action and waxed ammunition. Garand’s rifle was a gas-operated rotating bolt. Both chambered in the prototype .276 Pedersen cartridge, concern began to brew on the logistics of the new ammo. Seeing an opportunity, Garand managed to work his rifle to use standard .30-06, something that Pedersen could not. This led to Garand and his rifle winning the trials.

And just at the right time, as the Second World War soon began and the US entered it with the Garand.

The M1 Garand was the US Armed Forces rifle of choice alongside the older M1903 Springfield. And while the rest of the world used bolt-actions or had semi-automatics in low production, the Garand was standard issue and gave US soldiers a giant fire power advantage in the field. 

However the Garand was not without flaws, the loading mechanism used metal en-bloc clips and used a spring meaning the clip would be flung out of the gun when empty, famously making a metallic “ping”. While its actual impact on the battlefield is fairly limited, it showed many flaws with the Garand design and the rifle was not due long in the ever advancing Cold War years.

Despite its age, the Garand lasted fairly long after the war. The rifle served into Korea and even the early days of Vietnam, though many had been replaced by that point by the later M14 and M16 rifles. Many nations both inside and outside of NATO used them, some still using the Garand today for ceremonial purposes. 

The IRA were famous for using Garands, even well past the introduction of AR’s and AK’s, many police departments used them after the war and even to this day, the Garand is a favorite in both 1st, 2nd and 3rd world.

And with over 70 long years of use, many Garands are still in operation across the world. Many countries still use them for ceremonies such as Veteran Parades, Honor Guard and Volley salutes. The gun’s age makes it common to find in many gunshops across the world and even still, militias still use Garands to fight their foes.

With the rifle’s fame in the world, it is no wonder the Garand is a very common sight in movies. Everyone from Dean Martin and Don Haggerty to Heath Ledger and Clint Eastwood have wielded the Garand. Almost every movie set within World War II or Korea features it, many movies in Vietnam feature it as a throwback and modern movies tie it in. Nothing quite says “Get off my lawn!” than an M1 Garand.

And it is these same WWII themed movies that help begin the FPS genre. Films such as Saving Private Ryan and more had a wide impact in the media at large, and video games are no exception. Many series began with WWII and this massive influx of 1940′s combat games lead to many portrayals of the arsenal of the era, Garand included.

Call of Duty, Brother in Arms, Battlefield and many other franchises began with simple WWII first-person shooters, and these helped propel the Garand to fame on the computer screen. But as the WWII-era game faded away, the Garand seemed to disappear. But the rifle was not done yet, as many games still feature the rifle. Some use it as a throwback to their earlier games, others attempt to paint forgotten areas like Korea and Vietnam,  even some set in a world inspired by the 1950′s and 1960′s feature the rifle. The Garand seems to deal just as well on the computer screen as it does on the silver screen. Where there is video games, there will be a Garand.

And that is the long history of the M1 Garand, the warhorse. Despite being out of service since the early 1960′s, the Garand is still famous. While it has some flaws, the gun is simply unstoppable. From the seas of France to the jungle of Vietnam, the Garand has kept on going and going far past any expectation. When you need a gun that could work in anything, you go for the Garand.

anonymous asked:

How feasable and/or effective would it be to eject an empty handgun magazine and kick it (accuratley) towards an opponent from mid-fall during a close quarters fight (say a melee attacker rushing down a corridor towards the kicker)?

No, and no.

So, first thing is that, depending on the handgun, the magazine may not drop freely. This is a preference feature. Some people prefer to release the magazine and pull it free, while others prefer to allow the magazine to drop freely into their hand when ejected. There isn’t really a, “better,” option here. Both positions come down to what the user finds more intuitive and comfortable.

If you’re wondering, this isn’t something that’s likely to trip up an experienced shooter. Anyone who’s spent time on a variety of firearms should be able to adapt to the gun they’re handling. You can also tell if the magazine will drop away when you load a magazine; based on the amount of friction experienced.

Even with a pistol where the magazine can drop freely, you’re not going to want to literally drop the magazine on the floor, or kick it. Handgun magazines are expensive; Depending on the model of handgun, those could cost anywhere from $10 to over $100 (on some rarer pistols). (I was specifically looking at a Bren Ten magazine for the upper end of the spectrum, if anyone’s wondering.) If anyone’s thinking back to the Desert Eagle post from a couple months ago, those magazines will set you back a little under $50 each. You do not use these once and discard them.

You also don’t, usually, want to eject empty magazines. Much like your car, you never want to run a gun dry. While it’s fairly easy, in a controlled situation, or on a range to keep track of how many times you’ve fired, and to know the exact state of your weapon; this is much more difficult in a real firefight.

You reload when you think you might be getting low, or when you’ve got time and ammo to spare, you put the partial magazine in a different pocket from your fresh mags, and replace it with a fresh one. The last place you ever want to be is in a situation like the one you just described: staring at someone who wants to kill you with an empty gun in your hand.

Fresh mags are heavy. That is to say, depending on the gun, a fully loaded magazine can easily weigh more than a pound. Most of that weight comes from the loaded rounds; the magazine itself is just a thin plastic or metal shell to hold and feed them into the firearm. They’re really not designed to take much abuse, and depending on the magazine, may be somewhat fragile.

Under controlled circumstances, kicking a falling object is something that a practiced martial artist should be able to do easily. Putting it in the rough vicinity of where they want it is also quite doable. Being able to do either of these things in an actual combat situation, not so much.

This is the kind of stunt you’d expect to see in a John Woo film, (I’d be slightly surprised if he hasn’t done some variation of this), and I know I’ve seen it on film before, somewhere. It’s in that range of slightly ludicrous that plays well when you’re working with characters that are (at least) slightly superhuman. But, if you’re dealing with normal, mortal, characters, this is neither feasible nor effective.

-Starke

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3

The Berdan II bolt action rifle,

Col. Hiram Berdan is best known to history for the founding of a regiment of sharpshooters for the Union Army during the American Civil War. However, he was also an inventor, engineer, and arms designer who would invent an important Russian rifle overshadowed today by firearms such as the Mosin Nagant and AK-47. 

After the American Civil War Hiram Berdan began work on a number of firearm designs, including the Berdan primer and the Berdan I rifle. The Berdan I rifle was a simple breechloading trapdoor design similar in function to the Springfield Trapdoor rifle. However the rifle failed to garner much interest in the United States, both from the military and the civilian market. However, the Russian Army was interested in the design, purchasing 30,000 in 1868. This gave Hiram Berdan a foot in the door of Czarist Russia, where his famous Berdan II rifle would become his most lucrative design.

The Berdan II is a single shot bolt action rifle with a split bridge receiver, which was primarily used by the Russian Army from 1870 up to 1895. It was designed to be a competitor with two other common bolt action designs of the age, the French Chassepot and Prussian Dreyse needlefire rifles.  However, the Berdan II surpassed both designs in that it utilized a self contained metallic cartridge, the 10.75x58mm Berdan cartridge which also was Berdan primed. With Russia’s adoption of the Berdan II in 1870, Russia was one of the few countries in the world to use a metallic cartridge firearm as a standard infantry service rifle, let alone a metallic cartridge bolt action. The only other metallic cartridge bolt action infantry rifle I can recall that was a standard issue weapon at the time was the Swiss Vetterli.  Thus, the Berdan II gave Russia an edge in firearms technology, if only for a very short time. The Russians were also impressed by the rifle’s simplicity and rugedness, traits which Russians demand of their weapons to this day.

Around 3 million Berdan II rifles were manufactured. Initially they were produced by American firms such as Colt and Winchester, then British Small Arms. Eventually they were produced by the Tula and Ishvesk Arsenals in Russia. The Berdan II was featured in prominent use by the Russian Army in the Russo Turkish War of 1877. In 1891 the Russian Army adopted a bolt action repeating design called the Mosin Nagant, thus the Berdan II began to be phased out until it was completely withdrawn from frontline service in 1895. It remained in used as a reserve weapon during the Russo Japanese War and World War I, with many being converted to 7.62x54R Nagant. Around 30,000 were sold to the Ethiopian Army during the First Italo Ethiopian War in 1894. They were also used as a reserve weapon by the Bulgarians, Serbians, and Greeks in World War I, and by the Finnish up to the Winter War and World War II.

Stand Name: 「IT’S NOT UNUSUAL」

Stand Master: Carlton Banks

Stand Type: Midrange

Destructive Potential: A
Speed: C
Range: B
Durability: D
Precision: B
Developmental Potential: C

Stand Cry: 「WOULD YOU MAKE ME A SANDWICH?」

Stand Appearance: Humanoid. 「IT’S NOT UNUSUAL」Resembles an angel in some regard, as it is clad in white attire, resembling a trenchcoat, with gold highlights (think Tron lines) While it also has long, shoulder length golden hair, it has no mouth or nose. It does however have four piercing golden eyes. Additionally, it has four fingered hands, wearing pure white gloves.

Stand Abilities:

「WE’VE GOT TO ATTACK HIM」: The Stand can fire off consecutive “Bolts” of energy that explode upon impact. The range for these bolts is about 15 meters. Additionally, it can charge up a shot to double the range and power.

「WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT」: A short distance Sound based attack that can disrupt the abilities of another Stand. It takes time to prepare, but does no physical damage to Stand nor user.

「IT’S CARLTON」: 「IT’S NOT UNUSUAL」takes control of Carlton’s limbs to perform a hypnotic dance, which causes anyone viewing to join. The effect continues as long as Carlton continues to dance.

「NO MORE HUGS」Opening a panel within their chest, 「IT’S NOT UNUSUAL」reveals a firearm of inhuman design, essentially a concussive blunderbuss, and prepares to fire it. However, it has a range of about 3 meters, so Carlton must get very close to his intended target. Additionally, while it can deal incredible damage to humans, it also ignores armor of any sort, including protection from a very durable Stand.

2

The Roth Steyr Model 1907,

An invention of the Czech firearms designer Karl Krnka, the Roth Steyr Model 1907 is famous for being the 2nd semi automatic pistol to be officially issued to any military, and the 1st semi automatic pistol to be issued en masse to the common soldier.  Unlike many pistols, which make use of a recoiling slide, the Model 1907 utilized a retractable bolt.  When the pistol was fired, recoil energy would be transferred from the barrel to the bolt, causing it to retract backward.  The extractor on the bolt would eject an empty casing, then a spring would drive the bolt forward, which would cock the firing pin while stripping a new cartridge from the magazine.  Thus, the Model 1907 was also one of the first striker fired semi automatic pistols developed.  To prevent accidental discharge while a round was chambered the Model 1907 featured a very heavy trigger pull, which tended to effect its accuracy.  Regardless the Model 1907 was not drop safe.  The Model 1907 also lacked a detachable magazine, a common feature of future semi automatic pistols.  To load the pistol the user inserted a ten round stripper clip into the magazine, through the open breech.  It was chambered for a unique cartridge called the 8mm Roth Steyer (8x18mm).

The Model 1907 became standard issue to all cavalry units of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 20th century up to the end of World War I.  Between 1908 and 1914, 99,000 were produced for the Austro-Hungarian Army.  Several hundred were also sold on the civilian market.  After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the supply of Roth Steyer pistols was divided up among the successor nations of the empire.  Others were exported to Italy and Poland after the war.  As a result, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, and Poland fielded the M1907 throughout the interwar period and during World War II.

Lefaucheux Mle 1854 revolver

Designed and manufactured by Eugene Lefaucheux in Paris, France - serial number 21218.
12mm pinfire six-round cylinder, double action, side loading gate and manual ejector rod.

Eugene Lefaucheux’s father, Casimir, patented pinfire cartridges in 1835 to fit his previous patent, the break action layout for long arms. Improved in the 1840′s by Houiller, this early design of clean-firing metallic cartridges allowed for a multitude of breech-loading firearm designs to pop up in France, Belgium, Germany… you know any country that didn’t have a patent on bored through cylinders or just wasn’t full of stuck up idiots.

anonymous asked:

I've seen you write some really great in-depth things about firearms and most of it goes way over my head. There are words that I recognize as having to do with guns, and I have no idea what they mean. Any chance you could give kind of a brief Guns And Characters That Shoot Them 101 crash course for those of us who might work with characters that use guns and don't want to sound like idiots while writing them, but aren't necessarily going into the nitty-gritty details of gunfighting scenes?

Let’s see what I can do. Fair warning, there’s probably going to be a few very minor technical inaccuracies. I’m typing this off the top of my head.

Gun: pretty much any gunpowder based weapon. This includes both hand weapons and artillery. It does not (normally) include weapons that fire self-propelled ordinance, such as a missile launcher.

Gunpowder: This is actually a catch all term. Early gunpowder (now called “black powder) was mixed from saltpeter (potassium nitrate), charcoal, and sulfur. Modern firearms use variations of smokeless powder, originally developed in the late 19th century. Black Powder is still used with some antique and replica weapons.

As an academic distinction, it’s worth pointing out that gunpowder isn’t actually explosive, it just burns very aggressively, which results in the expansion of gas and bushing the bullet into motion. Unburned powder that remains in the gun is a persistent headache in gun design, and why guns need to be cleaned frequently.

A tiny amount of an explosive, called the Primer, is used to get the powder burning. Historically this has included substances such as picric acid and nitroglycerin. I believe modern primers use lead styphnate, but I’m honestly not sure, off the top of my head.

Cartridge: The entire package of a bullet, powder, and primer. In modern weapons, the container itself is referred to as a shell casing. The shell casing can also be referred to as a shell or casing, independent of the other.

Shell casings are sometimes referred to, idiomatically as “brass” because it is the most common material, though aluminum and other soft metals are used.

Idiomatically, shotgun cartridges are referred to as shells. Historically these were frequently made from paper. Modern shells use corrugated plastic, color coded to denote the contents.

After having been fired, a cartridge (or shell) is referred to as “spent.”

Firearms/Small Arms: Firearms, primarily refer to handheld gunpowder weapons. Small Arms refer to guns with a bore diameter (literally the size of the barrel) smaller than an inch.

Bore: This is the literal hole in the center of the barrel, that the projectile(s) travel through.

Chamber/Battery: Both terms are technically correct. This refers to where the bullet resides when the weapon is ready to fire. If a weapon’s chamber is empty, it is impossible to fire it.

Chambered: Both the state of a round being in the chamber, ready to fire, and a term that refers to the cartridge size a firearm has been designed to accept. Examples: “Chambered in .308.” “It has a round chambered.”

Incidentally, “rechambering” a weapon refers to changing the rounds a weapon will accept, removing a round and loading a fresh one is cycling (see below). Rechambering a weapon usually involves replacing the barrel, action, and magazine. Though it can be more involved if alternate parts aren’t available.

Action: The mechanical systems that clear and replace the bullet in the chamber whenever the weapon is fired. We’ll come back to this with a couple varieties in a bit.

Cycle: The actual process of the action functioning. Depending on the firearm, this can either occur automatically with each trigger pull, or it can require a direct user input.

Receiver: The physical housing that holds the action.

Hammer: a physical component behind the pistol which strikes the firing pin. Not all firearms have one.

Bolt: This is the component that actually locks the cartridge in the chamber, when the weapon is ready to fire.

Firing Pin: This is a small metal cylinder pin which (in modern firearms) strikes the back of the cartridge, detonating the primer, igniting the powder. Usually this is a separate articulated component, though some weapons have a simple stud soldered onto the bolt.

Open Bolt/Closed Bolt: This refers to which configuration the weapon fires from. Technically the bolt needs to be closed in order to actually get the bullet moving.

With an open bolt design, the act of dropping the bolt will detonate the primer. This is primarily used with fully automatic weapons (see below). The bolt will fall, igniting the primer, recoil will send the bolt back, and the return spring will cause it to close, firing again.

Magazine: This is where rounds are stored inside of the weapon, before firing. The action will extract a round from the magazine each time it is cycled. Depending on the firearm, this may be removable.

Clip: A device used to load a firearm’s magazine. This is NOT interchangeable terms. Usually these are short metal strips that grip the base of the shell, though speedloaders for revolvers sometimes qualify as clips.

Clips can be used with modern weapons to quickly reload box magazines, but they’re somewhat uncommon.

If the firearm’s reloading process involves loading the rounds and then ejecting the clip, that’s, well, a clip. If the reloading process involves removing an empty container, and loading a fresh one, that’s a magazine.

Few things will irritate someone with firearms training faster than mixing these terms up.

Rifles: The term actually refers to two separate things. Rifling are mildly spiraling lands and grooves cut into the barrel of a gun. This prevents the bullet from tumbling once it leaves the barrel, and massively improves accuracy. Rifles originally referred to any firearm that featured a rifled barrel. However, the term is no longer inclusive, because handguns and other non-rifles include rifled barrels.

Handgun: A smaller version of a firearm that can be operated with one hand. This term is inclusive of several different varieties of firearm. It should be noted: you should not use a handgun one handed, but it is possible.

Pistol: This refers to nearly every handgun, except revolvers.

Revolver: A firearm that rotates to feed rounds into the chamber. Most often this refers to handguns, though some grenade launchers also use a revolver design. Revolver rifles, carbines, and shotguns exist, but are rare. There is a small gap between the cylinder and the barrel, which tends to vent burning powder when fired, which makes revolvers with a fore grip unpleasant to use. That is to say, they’ll try to set your shirt or arm on fire.

Shotgun: This refers to a weapon designed to handle unusually large cartridges, holding multiple projectiles. These are frequently smooth-bore (see below), but rifled shotguns do exist. In modern combat, shotguns are more characterized by their ability to accept a wide variety of projectiles to accommodate different situations. Shotguns can be loaded with everything from water (disruptor shells), to grenades (FRAG-12s).

Smooth-Bore: A barrel without any rifling. Most common with shotguns. This favors projectiles that will somehow self stabilize (such as flechette darts, yes, it’s another shotgun shell variety), or fire multiple simultaneous projectiles (such as a shotgun).

Single Shot: This refers to a weapon that can be fired once, and then must be reloaded. This includes muskets and some shotguns.

Semi-Automatic: A non-revolver firearm that will fire a round with each pull of the trigger until the magazine is depleted. Critically, the weapon must do this automatically as a result of firing. If a weapon needs to be manually cycled, such as a bolt or lever action, it is a repeater, and not semi-automatic. In any case where “automatic” is paired with another word, it can be abbreviated as “auto.”
Automatic: A firearm that will fire multiple rounds with each pull of the trigger. Also sometimes referred to as Fully Automatic. Idiomatically, semi-automatic pistols are sometimes referred to as “Automatics.” This is incorrect on a technical level, but the actual meaning is, usually, understood.

Burst Fire: An automatic firearm that fires a specific number of rounds with each pull of the trigger and then stops. Three round burst settings are the most common, though two round burst weapons have proven popular in some circles.

Select Fire: An automatic firearm that can be switched between multiple fire configurations. Most often this allows switching the weapon between semi-auto and full auto, or semi-auto and a burst fire setting. Select fire almost always includes a semi-auto setting. It can include multiple other settings, including (rarely) both 2 and 3 round burst settings.

Single Action: A firearm where pulling the trigger will not cock the hammer. This is intermittently used as a safety feature on modern handguns. It is also somewhat common among sport revolvers, and antique revolvers.

Single Action firearms often have a much lighter trigger pull (the force needed to draw the trigger and fire the weapon). This allows for greater accuracy. It also allows automatics to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer down, without risk of the weapon firing as a result of an errant trigger pull. It’s still shouldn’t happen with safe weapon handling, but it is another safety feature.

Double Action: A firearm where pulling the trigger will cock the hammer. Almost all revolvers intended for practical use include this. It’s inclusion with semi-automatic pistols varies widely.

The complicated issue with single and double action handguns comes from semi-auto pistols. When the slide cycles, it will recock the hammer, this means a single action pistol can be fired repeatedly, without having to manually recock the hammer.

SAO/DAO: Single Action Only/Double Action Only. These terms get applied to pistols because there are pistols designed to switch between single and double action based on a variety of control parameters.

For example: pulling the slide back ~1/4″ on a Walther P99 will switch it from single to double action, and vise versa. Though it also exists in SAO and DAO variants that remove this feature and lock the action in one of the modes.

Bolt Action: A firearm where the bolt must be unlocked and manually cycled by the user. This allows for substantially heavier loads than any other style of firearm. Though it is a popular configuration for hunting and varmint rifles.

Lever Action: A firearm where the action is cycled by use of a lever, usually mounted under the handgrip. Originally these allowed for faster cycling than a bolt action weapon. These are fairly uncommon now.

Pump Action: A firearm that cycles the action by use of an articulated foregrip. This is normally seen on shotguns, though a few pump action rifle models probably exist.

Machine Gun: This refers to a fully automatic weapon. By itself the term is antiquated. Most often, when someone uses the term, they’re incorrectly referring to an Assault Rifle.

Assault Rifle: A select fire weapon chambered in an “intermediate” rifle round. Usually between 5mm and 6mm. Note: these do not always include full auto settings. The modern M16 variants can only be fired in semi-automatic or 3 round burst.

Battle Rifle: A select fire weapon chambered in a high power rifle round (roughly 7.6mm). This includes the M14 and AK47/AKM. Misidentifying a battle rifle as an assault rifle is… eh. It happens.

Carbine: A shortened rifle. Usually assigned for use in tight quarters, or vehicle crews. Historically these were also issued to cavalry. Sometimes issued to support personnel, depending on the military.

Light Machine Gun: Also sometimes referred to as a Squad Support Weapon is an unusually heavy automatic rifle intended for use in suppression. Sometimes abbreviated LMG.

Submachine Gun: An automatic weapon chambered to fire a pistol round. Sometimes abbreviated SMG.

Machine Pistol: A submachine gun that retains an overall pistol design. Informally, these terms can get mixed up pretty heavily.

Caliber: This is the imperial system of measuring bullet diameter. It’s expressed as a period with a two digit number. (EG: .45 or .38) This indicates the size of the cartridge in 100ths of an inch. So .50 is, roughly, half an inch in diameter. Additional digits beyond the first two denote differences in the cartridge, but not significant changes in the cartridge size. (EG: .308, .303, 30.06 are all .30 caliber rounds, roughly.)

Gauge: The imperial system for measuring the size of a shotgun shell. This one’s a little more idiosyncratic. It’s calculated based on the weight of a solid ball of lead, that barrel would accommodate. So 12 gauge will fit a single 1/12th pound ball of lead. This also means, as the gauge goes up, the size shrinks. 20 Gauge shells are significantly smaller than 12 gauge, for example. This is abbreviated as “ga”, so “410ga” would indicate a 410 shell.

Millimeter (mm): The metric system for measuring the size of a bullet. Usually expressed as a simple value. (EG: 9mm or 5.56mm). When multiple cartridges exist that are of similar sizes, other terms will be applied. (Technically, this also occurs with calibers. For example: .357 Magnum, and .357 SIG.) With metric measurements, the length is frequently added to distinguish two similar rounds, (for example: 9x19mm vs 9x18mm) or some other distinguishing characteristic. (for example: 9mm Parabellum vs 9mm Makarov). Usually you do not need to include both together. For example: 9x19mm Parabellum would be redundant, because 9mm Parabellum is a 9x19mm round.

Grain: The amount of powder loaded with a bullet. (Literally, an archaic unit of measurement.) Bullets in a specific caliber are usually available with multiple grain variants. For example: .45 ACP is commercially available anywhere from 185 grain to 230 grain.

Handload: The act of manufacturing your own bullets. Also a term for non-standard rounds produced this way.

Load: A term for the individual characteristics of a round that go beyond the size of the bullet. This includes the grain, and may include the kind of bullets (see below).

Magnum: A term denoting an unusually high grain load. Most commonly associated with the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum rounds. Though other magnum rounds exist.

Ball: A bullet with a rounded tip. The most common kind of ammunition for handguns.

Hollowpoint: A bullet with a divotted tip. On impact, it causes the bullet to expand flattening. In a human body, this can sometimes sheer apart, and can cause catastrophic internal damage.
While illegal, an individual can add a small high explosive to the tip of a hollowpoint round, converting it into an improvised high explosive round. The most commonly available materials that would react appropriately are primers.

Wadcutter: A bullet with a flat tip. Usually employed in target shooting, to create clean holes in targets.

[Material] Jacketed: Frequently copper, though other soft metals are sometimes used. This is used to partially shield the user from the bullet’s lead, and the associated health risks.

[Material] Core: Most often, the material is steel, though spent uranium (in this case, spent is a nuclear term, not the firearms meaning), is an exotic variant. The core will push through materials that would stop normal bullets. Lead shields the core from the barrel. (Firing a steel slug from a firearm would shred the rifling, so the softer metal contacts the metal.)

Tracer: A pyrotechnic round that ignites on contact with air and shows the shooter exactly where the round went. These are also mildly incendiary, and can start fires if they connect with something flammable on the other end.

I’m not going to give a full list of what you can stick in a shotgun, because it’s a very long list. But, a few quick highlights.

Buckshot: Ball bearings, usually lead or steel.

Slug: A single, solid, bullet.

Flechette: A steel dart, usually with fins to stabilize it in flight. Fired with a plastic sabot system that falls away once the dart is in the air.

FRAG-12: A small, impact detonated grenade, designed to be fired from a 12 gauge shotgun.

Flares: Commercial flare guns fire a low power 12 gauge shotgun shell. While you cannot load normal shotgun shells into a flare gun (it’s not designed for that kind of power, and will explode), 12 gauge flare shells can be loaded into a shotgun and fired. If the shotgun is semi-automatic the flare will probably not provide enough force to cycle the action, so the user will need to do that manually.

Dragon’s Breath: A shell loaded with a mix of oxygen igniting metals. Metallic Sodium and Potassium are most common. This creates the effect of the shotgun blasting flames.

I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface, and I know I’ve missed a few things. I’ll try to remember to revisit this in the near future.

Hope this helps some of you get started.

-Starke

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Reifgraber/Union Automatic Pistol developed by anarchist and trade unionist Joseph Joachim Reifgraber who not only designed firearms, but also published and edited an anarchist newspaper out of St. Louis, Missouri called “Die Parole”.

When people tell you that the 2nd Amendment was written with Muskets in Mind here are a few firearms you can show them that aren’t muskets and are fairly rapid fire. 

The Ferguson was not common but it was used during the Revolutionary War by soldiers on both side. 

The Girandoni, Multiple shot air rifle that hit just as hard as a black powder musket and could fire shots as quick as you could cock the hammer and put a new ball in place. Was powered by an air tank that doubled as the stock. High tech for the time and very much capable of killing someone. 


The infamous Puckle Gun. Swappable cylinders preloaded and able to fire by cranking and cocking. The Gatling gun of it’s time. 

The founding fathers were mostly comprised of engineers and scientists that loved to tinker with designs. Many of them even had a hand in making their own firearms. They knew that firearm design would evolve, it was inevitable. None of them were stupid and all of them were gun owners. Cartridges even existed back then and were routinely used by the standing armies of Europe and elsewhere. 

If you are anti-gun and you use the musket argument you have to ask yourself if you really believe that Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the others meant just muskets when other weapons existed that were far superior at the time of writing the 2nd Amendment. The Musket was the poor man’s weapon. A lot cheaper to produce than a rifle and used to outfit the military because of the stand and fire tactics of the time. 

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Hand Mortar Appreciation Post

A hand mortar was a hand-held device, similar to an oversized version of other contemporary firearms, designed to fire explosive fuse grenades in an arc at medium range. The barrel is usually bottlenecked near the firelock, where the powder would be poured, becoming substantially larger afterward to accommodate the grenade. Due to the inherent unreliability of that primitive ammunition, neither they nor hand mortars were particularly common on the battlefield.

5

It almost feels a little bit dirty putting a a Sig optic on something designed by Heckler & Koch, but nonetheless I have finally got an optic on this. 

Also, I updated the handguard file, so it prints with tighter tolerances making sure it is 100% snug without any play at all. There is some designed added to handguard, if you can tell in the pictures. In the near future, I plan on moving into the Polycarbonate and Taulman 910 when 3d printing parts like these. Even so, I have yet to have any issues with making these out of ABS.

Disregard the fact that the camera gave these photos a fisheye effect.