Monthly Archives: April 2014

Media nonsense

The Evening Standard has printed a very inaccurate and misleading report on antique firearms.

It follows on from an arrest in London a few days ago.  I am not going to comment on that case because it sub judice but I am going to comment on the misleading statements in the report, which give a completely false impression of the law surrounding antique firearms.

The author implies that Tommy guns and Browning HiPower pistols may be owned as antiques.  This far fetched nonsense.  These remain section 5 prohibited firearms and absolutely nothing in the antiques exemption changes that situation.  There is no “loop hole” in the law.

The head of Nablis is quoted as saying “Our concern is that at the moment you are entitled to walk down the street with an antique firearm capable of firing real bullets”, a statement which is seriously disingenuous and misleading.  If someone were to be found with an antique revolver in a shoulder holster in a public place, then the “curio or ornament” exemption would be void and the person carrying the gun could be prosecuted, regardless of whether it was loaded.

He goes on to say “We are finding criminals with a knowledge of the law. They recognise that they can carry these weapons with little or no risk of jail.”.  If that is the case then that is down to the incompetence of prosecutors who have the legal tools at their disposal to deal with criminals who carry antique firearms to threaten and intimidate.  I suggest that Clive Robinson acquaints himself with them.

The article is correct that antique firearms can be bought at arms and militaria fairs on the continent.  They can also be bought at arms and militaria fairs in the UK.  The photograph in the article implies that Thompsons, Uzis, sawn off shotguns, Browning HiPower pistols and the like can be bought freely on the continent.  This is seriously misleading and untrue.  They cannot.

The law on antique firearms has stood since the Pistols Act of 1903 and is robust and protects public safety.  It has stood the test of time. The only case we know of where an antique firearm has been used in crime was in the murder of bandsman Lee Rigby, where one of the terrorists was armed with an antique KNIL Dutch service revolver.  When he attempted to use the gun, it blew up taking half his hand with it.  Which rather proves the point that antique firearms are no threat to public safety but may be a threat to criminally inclined morons who try to make them work.

There has been a rush of these fear mongering articles about antique firearms and we wonder whether someone in ACPO has found a new hobby horse to ride after the demise of compulsory identity cards?

Lugers can shoot

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Luger cap pistol (c) www.nicholscapguns.com

I’ve always loved Lugers, ever since I was given a toy Luger cap pistol as a child.  Unfortunately it was played to destruction but I would dearly like to get another in its original yellow box.  The nearest I have come is this photo I found on www.nicholscapguns.com .

I now own three Lugers, all old ones made by DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken).  Two are Swiss Lugers in 7.65 but my favourite is this 9mm 1915 dated pistol, shown in photographs below.

 

Luger 1915

Luger 1915 disassembled

 

What one first notices when handling a Luger is how precisely it is made.  All the parts fit together with the precision of a watch.  The second thing you notice is how comfortable it is to hold.  It is extremely well balanced and naturally points in the direction that one wants to shoot.

 

 

What I wasn’t expecting was how fine its trigger would be.  This is a military pistol.  Its official name was not Luger but Pistole Parabellum, which means “pistol for war”.  One has no right to expect an excellent trigger from a service pistol.  But once in a while it happens, I suppose.  The trigger on my 1915 Luger breaks very precisely and consistently allowing very good groups to be got from it.  I’ve taken it apart and I am convinced that no gunsmith has ever attempted to improve upon it, which makes it all the more remarkable.

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1915 was early in war production.  The quality of its rust blue finish is superb.  The pistol was clearly very well looked after during its life.  Before I acquired it, it had led a rather inactive life locked in the section 5 armoury at Bisley Camp in Surrey for the past 18 years.  But it is now the centre piece of my collection of early semi-automatic pistols and is also an opportunity for me to test how accurate and effective these pistols were.

I am not sure how well it would behave if I were to plunge it into a bucket of mud but on the range, firing factory 9mm ammunition, it performs flawlessly with no jams or misfires.  But don’t worry about the mud, I have no intention of simulating conditions on the Western Front to that degree of verisimilitude!