Handguns Of World War 2


Part 1: GERMAN P08 "LUGER"

Luger P08 9mm pistols were considered the best souvenirs by American troops in the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) during World War II. That’s because no firearm is more identified with the German military than the Luger.

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Part 2: Japanese Type 14 9mm Nambu

As with so many Americans during most of my life, I felt nothing but disdain for Japanese firearms. In fact in the pages of American Handgunner I’ve written that “I’m not about to spend my hard-earned gun’riter bucks on a Nambu pistol!”

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Part 3: The British Enfield No. 2 .38

A statement I’ll make about the British Enfield No. 2 Mk I .38 revolver is one I’m not willing to make about any other British weapons of World War II. That is, “It’s delightful.” By military handgun standards it is almost petite, but unfortunately so is its caliber. We’ll get to that point soon.

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Part 4: The U.S. Model 1917 .45 ACP
(Colt Verson)

Without a doubt the U.S. Army’s adoption of Model 1917 .45 ACP revolvers was a “make-do” situation. And also without a doubt it “made-do” very well.

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German P38

Part 5: The German P38 9MM

Next to the Luger, Germany’s most recognized World War II handgun was the Walther-designed P38. It’s credited as being the first military pistol with a double action trigger pull.

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Part 6: The Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector, 2nd Model .455 Webley

When Britain jumped into World War I and dragged Canada along, as usual their military outfits were woefully short of weapons. In those days the United States was a firearms manufacturing colossus, so Britain turned to various American arms factories for weapons.

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Part 7: U.S. MODEL 1911/1911A1

American fighting men anywhere in World War II could have been issued one of two basic .45 caliber pistols. The primary one was the Model 1911A1, and its slightly different predecessor the Model 1911.

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Part 8: The French Model 1935A

That French 7.65mm Long cartridge’s story itself it quite interesting. Most readers will have heard of the World War I Pedersen Device that could be installed on specially built US Model 1903 “Springfield” rifles.

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Part 9: Smith & Wesson Model 1917

Perhaps the British could claim at least a small amount of credit for the advent of Smith & Wesson’s Model 1917 .45 Auto revolver.

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Part 10: The Webley MK V1 .455

Some folks hold the Webley Mk VI .455 revolver in near reverence. I’m not one of them. To me it’s big, clunky, ugly, underpowered and worst of all I don’t think it is a very accurate handgun.

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Part 11: Soviet Handguns

It’s perhaps true more people were killed by Soviet handguns in World War II than by those used by any other combatant nation. At least eight, and perhaps nine, of every German soldier killed in the war fell on the eastern front.

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Part 12: Reloading For World War II Handguns

Now that we have covered the particulars of what I consider the most significant handguns used by the major combatant nations of World War II, it’s time to take a look at ammunition.

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Part 13: Powders For Reloading World War II Handguns

My attitude is the major handgun cartridges which saw significant combat in World War II in the hands of infantrymen number seven.

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