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Old 06-02-2020, 03:20 PM
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Default Okay, "Watershed moments in handguns"



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This quote in the "1911s are archaic . . ." thread got me thinking (and I give this less than a page before it goes off the rails)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astronomy View Post
. . . The introduction of the G17 was a watershed moment in the history of handgun development. IMHO, as important as the introduction of Sam Colt's repeating percussion revolvers.
I will agree with this statement. The G17 showed that a polymer framed semi-automatic pistol would work.

So, with that, here are the major watershed moments in handgun development, according to me:
  • 9th century AD: Invention of gunpowder
  • Mid-17th Century: Flintlock pistol
  • 1836: Colt Paterson caplock revolver
  • 1872: Colt Single Action Army
  • 1911: uh, the 1911
  • 1982: G17

I don't claim this to be exhaustive, as I'm not trying to be exhaustive and show the entire evolution of everything.

Were there earlier caplock revolvers? Yes, probably, but as influential as the Colt Paterson?

Should the S&W Schofield rate as more important than the Peacemaker? Maybe, but the SAA quickly surpassed the Schofield in military (and civilian) use.

Were there other semi-automatic pistols? Sure, but were any as successful and long-lived as the 1911?

Were there any other polymer pistols? I suppose, but did they reach the ubiquity of the G17 and it's progeny?

Are there any "watershed" moments that should fill in the gaps? Did I include something that isn't really "watershed"?

I welcome your discussion.
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:14 PM
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You need to replace the G17 with the HK VP70 (I still kick myself for passing one with 6 mags for $400 in a pawn shop) which they made in oddly enough 1970.

Like Henry Ford Gaston Glock is the originator of exactly nothing.
(Ford didn't invent the assembly line) they were both just smart enough to make it popular.

You also need to add firearms carriages , Centerfire primers, and smokeless powder.
(Possibly double stacked magazines.)

Eta:
Oh, and you need to replace the 1911 with, or AT LEAST add before it the Borchardt C-93
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
You need to replace the G17 with the HK VP70 (I still kick myself for passing one with 6 mags for $400 in a pawn shop) which they made in oddly enough 1970.

Like Henry Ford Gaston Glock is the originator of exactly nothing.
(Ford didn't invent the assembly line) they were both just smart enough to make it popular.

You also need to add firearms carriages , Centerfire primers, and smokeless powder.
(Possibly double stacked magazines.)

Eta:
Oh, and you need to replace the 1911 with, or AT LEAST add before it the Borchardt C-93
I was going more for universality. The VP70, while first, never became as pervasive as the G17.

Do you add the C-93, or should we look at the more commercially successful Mauser C-96? But even with either of those, are they as "important" as the 1911?

Primers and powder: are those watershed moments for handguns, or firearms in general?

I thought about double-stack mags, and was going to throw the Hi-Power in there . . .
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Old 06-02-2020, 05:52 PM
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The 1911 wasn't designed in 1911, it was adopted by the army in 1911. JMB designed it in 1908 (without a safety), based off an earlier design of his.

The pepper box revolvers of the late 18th century are important IMO.

Then you have the Lefauchex in the mid 19th century that was the first revolver to use a self contained metallic cartridge. Also the volcanic repeater as well as the 1st double action revolvers all came out around that mid to late 19th century time frame. Auto loaders like the Mauser & Luger came out at the end of the 19th century. All big steps forward.
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:02 PM
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I'd agree that the Browning High Power was a globally successful baton carrier for the "high capacity pistol" concept. A niche it dominated for over 35 years.

I'd kinda define a watershed development as being one that takes off in terms of global adoption and major production numbers. Where a specific design becomes the universally recognized exemplar of the type. One which gets emulated (or simply cloned) by most competitors.

For instance, the limited production WWII StG 44 was arguably the first successful Assault Rifle. But to the AK-47 goes the honor of being the watershed example. Due to its early introduction, extraordinarily massive production, and continuously long service life. Today, the MP-44 is a collectible rarity. Meanwhile, the AK is on national flags... and found in your local gun store.

The one I'd have difficulty in picking is the definitive DA revolver. So many late 19th century contenders for the crown... S&W, Colt, Enfield, MAS, Webley, Tranter, etc. Maybe the S&W Hand Ejector of 1899 (in terms of sheer production and continuous service).
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Old 06-02-2020, 08:32 PM
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AFTER 1911.. NOTHING of consequence ever happened again as far as handguns.

After 1956 nothing of note happened for MBRs or any other combat rifle.
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Old 06-02-2020, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW GUY View Post
AFTER 1911.. NOTHING of consequence ever happened again as far as handguns.

After 1956 nothing of note happened for MBRs or any other combat rifle.
I bet I can make you admit you're wrong:


1924.

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Old 06-02-2020, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area Man View Post
I was going more for universality. The VP70, while first, never became as pervasive as the G17.

Do you add the C-93, or should we look at the more commercially successful Mauser C-96? But even with either of those, are they as "important" as the 1911?

Primers and powder: are those watershed moments for handguns, or firearms in general?

I thought about double-stack mags, and was going to throw the Hi-Power in there . . .
Your statement was:

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Area Man View Post



I will agree with this statement. The G17 showed that a polymer framed semi-automatic pistol would work.
No it didn't. That had already been done in 1970.

Likewise, per your specs I am not discussing refinement (my earlier 1924 date is the date of the 1911A1.) I would bet few "1911 guys" own a 1911, and most own a 1911A1 instead. Owning both I can attest the A1 is better.




"Watershed moments" are moments, not years of further development and refinement. (Ben Franklin with a Kite)

I 'm NOT claiming the original is "better" than the refined, in almost every case the reverse is true.

Merely following your specs.

An d the first semiautomatic pistol, considering how few carry revolvers would be a "Watershed moment"


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borchardt_C-93

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_%26_Koch_VP70

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Old 06-02-2020, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
You need to replace the G17 with the HK VP70 (I still kick myself for passing one with 6 mags for $400 in a pawn shop) which they made in oddly enough 1970.
If you'd like to shoot my sample at 25 yards, I'll bring beer and a sense of humor.....


.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyinID View Post
If you'd like to shoot my sample at 25 yards, I'll bring beer and a sense of humor.....


.
Oh I've played with them. (Preciate it though)

I have different "layers" in my collection.

"Classics" (my Smith Revolvers etc)
"Collection" (more things I got when I had a C&R. My G 43, FN49, Hakim, Enfield and Mauser collection etc.
"Tools" (savage 24 etc)
"Social tools" (Glocks, AK's, FAL'S etc)
"Anything cheap" (I'm a sucker for a deal. Practically incapable of
Passing up a steal) These are what are typically avalable for trade.

Not that I WOULDN'T sell my NIB S&W59, (I have "shooters") but I don't advertise it.

I picked up a second Lux FN49, and the worse example did what my second 60 no dash is gonna do. (One is typically enough for "collection pieces")

It's like a Luger. I don't really like them, I just don't have one. Well, and it was a good deal.
(Buddy had a artillery luger and a red 9 broom handle I could borrow anytime I wanted, so I never picked up either.)
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Old 06-03-2020, 01:10 AM
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I'd add that the detachable magazine (developed by Arthur Savage in 1908) and the Browning designed pivoting tilting barrel design (developed by JMB for the model 1935 BHP) were probably the biggest inventions in handguns in the last 120 years. They transcend any singular gun design or the use of a polymer frame. Way more important than the 1911, way more important than HK's first innovative use of polymer frames... [See the 1970 HK VP70]

The adaptation of the detachable magazine has impacted probably most firearms made since at least WWII, and the tilting barrel design is found in probably 95% of semi-auto handguns in the modern era and a big % of those since the 1930s.

No doubt the G17 use of polymers was a commercial success, but HK did it first so it's not as innovative as some believe. The G17's use of a striker was also commercially successful, but not the first. In fact striker fired guns were around for a century. The internal safeties were very successful and copied by a lot of gun makers. I'm a big fan of the G17 (and derivatives and other company clones of the features) but let's give credit where it's due.

The reason I say this is as follows:

1. Detachable mags are the clear winner in all semi-auto guns (except shotguns). Period.

2. The tilting barrel design is the clear winner and used in nearly all semi-auto handguns for serious work, with the 1911 and Beretta being the rare exception - and those are certainly losing market share. I believe all or most others, and certainly Glock, Sig, HK, Springfield, SW, Kahr, BHP, CZ and clones thereof, etc. all use the design for improved reliability.

3. Guns can work fine with hammer fired, traditional safeties, and aluminum or steel frames. And many people and professionals prefer a actual manual safety anyway. Yes, the polymer frame is a benefit but not entirely necessary. Weight savings is a luxury, but not as important as design features like I've mentioned.
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Old 06-03-2020, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadcounsel View Post
I'd add that [B]the detachable magazine (developed by Arthur Savage in 1908)
Little off.

You need to watch the video I posted.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:53 AM
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Good points on the C93. You can see that Georg Luger took what he helped develop and evolved it. I thought it loaded like the C96 (stripper clip style). Thanks for the vid. LeadCounsel is right, detachable box magazine is right up there in importance with metallic centerfire cartridges and smokeless powder. Just missed it by 15 years.

But you gotta admit the C96 was more ubiquitous than the C93, or am I just thinking that because Han Solo used one . . .

And I'll give you the introduction of the polymer frame by HK, but the VP70 was only in production for 20 years, compared to the G17 still being produced. Yes, everything about it has been done before, Gaston just managed to put a group of people together that put all those features together. Well done following my "specs" to the letter :D

And everyone remember, we're talking handguns.
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Old 06-03-2020, 10:02 AM
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I would think the swing out cylinder, double action revolver would have a place on these lists, as well. Preferred choice of Law Enforcement for a long stretch.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadcounsel View Post
I'd add that the detachable magazine (developed by Arthur Savage in 1908) and the Browning designed pivoting tilting barrel design (developed by JMB for the model 1935 BHP) were probably the biggest inventions in handguns in the last 120 years. They transcend any singular gun design or the use of a polymer frame. Way more important than the 1911, way more important than HK's first innovative use of polymer frames... [See the 1970 HK VP70]

The adaptation of the detachable magazine has impacted probably most firearms made since at least WWII, and the tilting barrel design is found in probably 95% of semi-auto handguns in the modern era and a big % of those since the 1930s.

No doubt the G17 use of polymers was a commercial success, but HK did it first so it's not as innovative as some believe. The G17's use of a striker was also commercially successful, but not the first. In fact striker fired guns were around for a century. The internal safeties were very successful and copied by a lot of gun makers. I'm a big fan of the G17 (and derivatives and other company clones of the features) but let's give credit where it's due.

The reason I say this is as follows:

1. Detachable mags are the clear winner in all semi-auto guns (except shotguns). Period.

2. The tilting barrel design is the clear winner and used in nearly all semi-auto handguns for serious work, with the 1911 and Beretta being the rare exception - and those are certainly losing market share. I believe all or most others, and certainly Glock, Sig, HK, Springfield, SW, Kahr, BHP, CZ and clones thereof, etc. all use the design for improved reliability.

3. Guns can work fine with hammer fired, traditional safeties, and aluminum or steel frames. And many people and professionals prefer a actual manual safety anyway. Yes, the polymer frame is a benefit but not entirely necessary. Weight savings is a luxury, but not as important as design features like I've mentioned.
Thank you for a clearly stated perspective.

What Gaston Glock accomplished by adopting modern polymer molding technics in order to reduce production costs, is not much different than what Bill Ruger did with steel investment castings, 40 yrs earlier.

They both produced durable, highly reliable, handguns suited for law enforcement, then offered them to the cops at bargin prices. Both great guns, but the Glock 17 is no more of a design watershed, than tbe Ruger Security Six.

We are specifically talking combat handguns, the real watershed moments in handgun design are:
The percussion black powder revolver. Colt.
The fixed cartridge SA revolver. Colt.
The fixed cartridge DA revolver. Smith, or Colt.
The magazine fed semi auto pistol. Colt 1911.
The tilting barrel, high capacity semi auto pistol. Browning High Power.

You can argue all you want about recent tinkering with the Browning style pistol. But frankly there is very little you can do with your plastic wonder gun, that I cant do with my 25 yr old High Power.

I am still waiting for my plasma weapon. That would be a true watershed.

Last edited by Hick Industries; 06-03-2020 at 10:11 PM.. Reason: Added mention of DA revolver
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad, 2nd View Post
I bet I can make you admit you're wrong:


1924.

I DON'T know if 1911A1 counts or not since all my 1911s had the flat mainspring housings.
BUt
out of cordiality..

I'll give you that one.
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Area Man View Post
This quote in the "1911s are archaic . . ." thread got me thinking (and I give this less than a page before it goes off the rails)



I will agree with this statement. The G17 showed that a polymer framed semi-automatic pistol would work.

So, with that, here are the major watershed moments in handgun development, according to me:
  • 9th century AD: Invention of gunpowder
  • Mid-17th Century: Flintlock pistol
  • 1836: Colt Paterson caplock revolver
  • 1872: Colt Single Action Army
  • 1911: uh, the 1911
  • 1982: G17

I don't claim this to be exhaustive, as I'm not trying to be exhaustive and show the entire evolution of everything.

Were there earlier caplock revolvers? Yes, probably, but as influential as the Colt Paterson?

Should the S&W Schofield rate as more important than the Peacemaker? Maybe, but the SAA quickly surpassed the Schofield in military (and civilian) use.

Were there other semi-automatic pistols? Sure, but were any as successful and long-lived as the 1911?

Were there any other polymer pistols? I suppose, but did they reach the ubiquity of the G17 and it's progeny?

Are there any "watershed" moments that should fill in the gaps? Did I include something that isn't really "watershed"?

I welcome your discussion.
Yes, sounds good. Have not read whole thread, maybe add matchlock if they made small ones.
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Old 06-04-2020, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW GUY View Post
I DON'T know if 1911A1 counts or not since all my 1911s had the flat mainspring housings.
BUt
out of cordiality..

I'll give you that one.
Tisk tisk....

That wasn't the only thing changed.
(I prefer flat and a memory bump on the beavertail.)

And you call yourself an enthusiast!!!
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Old 06-04-2020, 02:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billwilla View Post
The 1911 wasn't designed in 1911, it was adopted by the army in 1911. JMB designed it in 1908 (without a safety), based off an earlier design of his.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:45 AM
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HK might have made the first plastic pistol (too expensive and space age-looking for me back in the day) but Glock put them in Police Officers’ holsters. While I own a few Glocks, I’m not a Glock guy but, as LAV says “We live in a Glock world”.
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