By Dan Baum
When I can add to my assortment of pre-1930 pistols for $350 or much less on Gunbroker, I achieve this, and that I’ve assembled a pleasant, idiosyncratic assortment. Margaret and that I simply spent 4 days scouting the place we’ll hunt elk in November, and that I introduced alongside a couple of previous .32s to check out.
What I didn’t deliver alongside, since I had so many weapons within the bag, was the Model 1917 Smith & Wesson .45 ACP revolver I normally take tenting, and that obtained me pondering.
But first, the testing. The Austro-Hungarian Dreyse 1907 (above left) went bang, easily ejected the spent shell and chambered a contemporary spherical. It didn’t, nonetheless, re-cock. The Dreyse is so ugly it’s charming, and has some over-engineered options that have been fairly revolutionary in 1907. Features like a tip-up body and a cocking indicator. Still, when whenever you’re combating the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo, and the Italians are attacking (once more!) you need multiple shot.
Next up was the Harrington & Richards .32 Autoloading Pistol (above heart) of which solely 40,000 have been made beginning in 1914 as a result of Colt and Savage largely had the market locked up. That, and the pistol is terrifically ugly and doesn’t work.
Mine made an anemic little divot on the primer however didn’t fireplace. (This, after changing the firing-pin spring, so one thing else is afoot.) I’m glad to report that John Browning’s design, the FN 1910 (above proper), ran like champ, magazine after magazine.
So come dusk, I put 1910 beside the sleeping bag what place I normally put that large S&W .45, within the unlikely occasion that the Manson household unit, or a meth-making crew, or a rabid beast exhibits up. And that elegant however diminutive pistol, I discovered myself a bit uneasy. Which led me to marvel why.
Have I been so jaded that I take into account something lower than a 9mm a “mouse gun?” Have not generations of Europeans, together with James Bond, efficiently defended themselves with pistols chambered for 7.65 Browning — a.okay.a. .32 ACP?
This was the caliber issued to policemen and army officers of nearly each nation on the continent within the 20th century — a century identified for some fairly environment friendly bloodletting.
Over right here, the .32 ACP was the pocket pistol of selection all through Prohibition. If the 7.65 is sweet sufficient for the Europeans, and the .32 ACP was ok for the best era, why is it not thought of strong sufficient for us? Are we smarter? Or — dare I ask — are we pussies for pondering we want ever-bigger weapons now to defend ourselves?