Smith & Wesson’s Union (Gutta Percha) Case

Among the rarities of Smith & Wesson’s earliest years is the gutta percha case. Between 1850 and 1861 almost 5,000 of these cases were manufactured. The cases’ fragile plastic and delicate hinges have whittled the number of survivors down to an estimated 250 cases if that.

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The “Delta Elite” 10mm Colt 1911

The story is well documented by now, but it’s worth repeating. After the 1986 FBI Shootout in Miami, the FBI started to believe that their .38 revolvers were out of date. In 1989 the 10mm Auto round was selected by the FBI for its superior penetration, but the round’s snappy recoil proved too much for some, and the milder .40 S&W round was adopted as a compromise. .40 S&W has waxed and waned in popularity (and seems to be waning at the moment, making .40 handguns a potentially good buy), but the 10mm Auto round maintained a small but steady band of followers. This Colt Delta Elite dates to 1989, and while it’s got a bit of wear and tear on it, the gun’s heft does a surprisingly good job of managing the recoil.

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حلوان عيار 9

The M1951 Beretta pistol is the most recognizable ancestor of the Beretta 92, whose importance to the world of firearms can hardly be understated. One variant was the Helwan 9mm pistol, which was a clone of the M1951 that was made in Maadi Factory 54 located just south of Cairo, Egypt. While I haven’t found any really comprehensive accounting of the Maadi factory’s history with gunmaking, it is well known that the Maadi factory also produced AK-47 variants (and perhaps other guns) for many years.

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Colt’s Model 1908 “Vest Pocket”

Launched in 1908 and in production for forty years, over 400,000 of these tiny Colt semi-automatic pistols came out of the Hartford factory. I decided to put a few hundred rounds through one at the range to see how it stacks up to the myriad of pocket pistols that are being sold over a century after this gun’s introduction. This particular gun shipped from the Colt factory in June of 1930 to a dealer in Chicago, and it’s not bad looking for pushing 90 years old.

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