Monday, December 15, 2014

And I didn't know that.

I had no idea the Army was looking for a replacement for the M1911A1 back in the mid 1950s, but gave up on it after a while.  And that trial got us the S&W Model 39 pistols thereafter.  Neato Torpedo!.

I am sure that this was part of the big modernization that the Army was goin through post wars.  Sorta thing that lead to the M60 and M14 and the NATO standard rounds that was .280 then .308.  Plus other dead ends like the salvo guns.  Heck the M14 is practically a dead end.  I had read up on most of that stuff, but never remember the Model 39 mentioned. 

The 39 was NATO standard 9mm.  And a DA gun.  Nobody was ever happy with how much training it took to get good at the 1911 and, more importantly, to get safe with it.  1950s Private Joe Snuffy, conscriptee, needed something more E-3 proof, I guess.

(I found, even in more modern times...  If you double locked a Seaman First Class Schmuckitelli in a room overnight with nothing in it but him and two bowling balls, in the morning you'd find him, one bowling ball broken, and the other missing.  50/50 chance Schmuckitelli would be visibly drunk, too.  If not visibly drunk it just means he is doing a professional job maintaining his military bearing, but is still in his cups.  Hold fast, shipmate!) 

Anyway.  Like the M60, it looks like the army was interested in the German engineering of our vanquished foe, and wanted the 39 sorta based on the Walther P38.  Sheesh, did we have to steal EVERYTHING that wasn't nailed down from them Krauts?  Say what you will about the AR platform, at least it isn't based directly on a Squarehead design.

The 39 lead the 59, and then I get too deep into the weeds of 20th Century all metal Smith semi-autos.


John in Philly said...

Or as I heard the story, when you open the compartment, you will find the bowling ball is either broken or pregnant.

And as a past owner of an Audi Fox automobile and of a VW Rabbit, any claims of superior German engineering must be taken with so many grains of salt that my blood pressure will be off the scale.

And yet, 'cause I kinda knew what I was getting into, the Fiat 850 Spyder was a lot of fun. If you were a very good mechanic and took tools with you.

John in Philly (MMC USNR Ret.)

Old 1811 said...

The way I heard it, one of the issues was the weight of the shoulder rig used by tankers and aviators. The shoulder rig with the 1911 weighs 60 ounces, which was causing nerve damage when worn for long periods of time (as tankers and flyers must do). With a lighter, more modern (NATO compliant) pistol and ammo load, the weight could be reduced to a more acceptable 44 ounces or so.

Kristophr said...

Ermmmm ... the Beretta pistol stole a lot of mechanics from that Walther P-38. So we do kinda have a squarehead pistol.

rick said...

That same trial brought us the Colt Commander as well.