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Canadian officer pistols

Discussion in 'Italy, Sicily & Greece' started by keith A, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. keith A

    keith A Member

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    I know the Canadian Army made use of the Browning-Inglis pistol in WW2 but I have yet to see a field officer carrying one in Italy. Is this because of the 9mm ammo they used/ I know that Canadian units usually had .45 TSMGs in Sicily and Italy and that therefore revolvers and automatic pistols like the Colt might be preferred.

    regards

    Keith
     
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  2. O.M.A.

    O.M.A. Active Member

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    One would assume Canadian service pistols would be equivalent to their Commonwealth allies, but with the proximity to the US it seems reasonable they used a different model. Interesting topic actually.
     
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  3. keith A

    keith A Member

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    Yep. I have only got into the topic of the Canadians in WW2, and there's quite a bit of "Colonial" improvisation evident. Quite refreshing actually, the Brits (like me) tend to be portrayed as a bit uniform (no pun intended). I have seen photos of the pistol carried in NWE with Canadian Staff officers and (unusually) a German officer in the Ardennes 1944. As we know Canadian units used the STEN II or III in NWE with occasional lapses like the Canadian Paras (Sten Mkv) and Navy Commandos (Lanchester and TSMG M1928).

    cheer-oh

    Keith
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Your premise makes a lot of sense! If you're carrying a Thompson, you'd certainly want a 1911 pistol, or something like the Colt or S&W M1917 revolver in .45 acp.

    I know that after ww1, both Colt and S&W continued to produce the M1917 in .45acp under various names, to police agencies. The Colt New Service (M1917 post-war name) or the S&W M&P (M1917 post-war name) were standard issue for the RCMP, so Canada surely had a lot of .45 acp revolvers.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Hi Keith.

    Germans using the Hi-Power are not that unusual. They captured the Browning FN plant in Belgium and keep production running until 1944. They called it the Pistole 640( b )
     
  6. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Most of those Pistole 640's went to the Waffen SS. They had first choice on any weapons, and the Browning was the best pistol in the war, with the possible exception of the 1911. Between 1940 and 1944, FN (under German control) manufactured and issued over 300,000 Hi Powers!



    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Slight nitpick (or maybe an addition) and I could be wrong but I believe when they were formed through the first two years of the war they got the left overs from the other branches.
     
  8. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Hey K.B.! If you're armed with a Thompson SMG, why would you need a pistol-of any type! ;-)

    By the way, I don't consider the Browning the best pistol of the war. It should have been but it seems it had a weak extractor that had a tendency to break. I consider the best pistols of the war (just my opinion, by the way) to be the 1911, the P-38 and the Radom (a 1911 derivative).
     
  9. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    German production of the Hi-Power continued through to the end of 1944 when the Allies recaptured the factory. While they originally used available Belgian parts, they definitely ran the machinery themselves later (you can see the quality drop as the war progress).

    Through the end of 1941 the Hi-Power retained the pre-war tangent sight, and from 1942 onwards they were produced with a simple fixed sight. Production ended in the 6000b serial block. All told, FN (under German control) produced about 380,000 Hi-Powers.
     
  10. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Perhaps, but production for the Hi Power ramped up every year and most of them went to the Waffen SS. Early in the war, the Waffen SS were just battalions, then regiments, then full divisions and finally, a complete arm of the Wehrmacht with their own procurement that a had a higher priority than the rest of the wehrmacht. The SS had a lot more options in weapon choice, so they certainly weren't getting the leftovers by 41 or 42.

    Here's the Hi Power production figures for 1940 - 1944.
    1940: 8,500
    1941: 65,700
    1942: 80,600
    1943: 101,200
    1944: 63,00

    Perhaps that was something peculiar to the Inglis? My FN made Hi Powers are the most reliable pistols I've ever owned. I've never had to change an extractor on any of them. I used to be a 1911 fanatic, but about ten years ago I bought a cheap surplus Argentine copy of the Hi Power to leave hidden in my car - I wanted something that wouldn't make me cry if it got rusty. I was so impressed with the handling of that pistol that I picked up several more FN/Browning Hi Powers.

    My mainstay pistol (that I carry every day and shoot just about every weekend) is a 1970's era Israeli surplus (FN made) Hi Power that I've refinished and put modern sights on. My 1911's grow dusty...
     
  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Hi George.

    I did a poor job of editing my reply to Kodiakbeer.

    I was suggesting that the SS did not get their pick of weapons but got weapons leftover or not wanted by the Army, Luftwaffe and Navy
     
  12. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    I haven't heard anything about the weak extractor on Inglis models -- in fact, I've read quite a bit about the Hi-Powers (Inglis included) being perhaps the best handguns of the war. The competition to this claim, in my opinion, is the Radom VIS35 (which, coincidentally, was also a favourite of the SS).
     
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I've never shot a Radom, but when all is said and done it has an 8 round magazine vs the 13 rounds of the Hi Power. The Radom, like the Hi Power, is laid out just like the 1911 and operates in the same way with the barrel camming down as the slide comes back - pure Browning.

    That tilting barrel Browning idea is nearly universal today, but in the 30's it was difficult to get around some of the Colt patents. Browning designed it, but he didn't own the patents. The Hi Power used a linkless camming barrel, which got them around the patent. The Radom (I had to look this up) used some sort of ledge for the barrel to cam against.

    At any rate, a tilting barrel is more reliable than a fixed barrel pistol, which is why all modern pistols use that design. The P38 or Luger (with fixed barrels) are notoriously sensitive to dirt, overall cartridge length and a number of other factors. Everything has to be perfect for them to operate reliably.
     
  14. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    The one good thing about the spammer that bumped this thread back up is that I've now been reminded to reply to it. The "in my opinion" comment was out of place -- I've heard some collectors refer to the VIS 35 as the "finest pre-war military sidearm in Europe", and was just quoting that. Yes, although the Radom people apparently designed it on their own there's very strong similarities to the Hi-Power. I recently bought up a VIS 35 (German production, c.1941, all-matching) and just completed the transfer last weekend. This is the first first-hand experience I've had with one. The only major difference I see besides the aforementioned camming ledge system and single stack magazine is the decocker. The tip of the firing pin is also very narrow, and it makes me wonder how often they broke. In fact, one of the reasons why I got my VIS35 at such a good price was because the original firing pin was shattered and I had to get a replacement from Numrich.

    As an aside, the magazine that came with my pistol has what I think is a pre-war Polish one (with no waffenampts). I have a book due to be delivered to me in the next week that will hopefully shed some more light on that.
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    That Radom is worth a thread when you get some range time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDBrDvAoh0A
     
  16. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    That might take a while. I haven't been to the range about 6 months. Just too busy with other things. I have a nice backlog of firearms to "test" including a nice 1943 M1911A1 (as-issued, with original shoulder holster), a nice Type 99 Arisaka and my M1941 Johnson.

    I'll break my camera out next time I go.
     
  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    If you notice, Browning changed their extractor on the High Power, I believe in the 1970's. there was a reason for that. They got away from the internal extractor and went to the present one.
     

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