Best Pistol of WW2

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
Plain Old Dave
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Plain Old Dave » 07 Sep 2018 17:01

Poot wrote:
06 Sep 2018 16:35
Aside from this drifting back and forth between caliber discussions and handgun type discussions, the fact remains that the CURRENT (not specific 1986 FBI shoot-out anecdote) ballistic results show next to NO terminal performance differences. This is bolstered by street level data. It's not emotions, it's not gun preference or historical notes, its current data.

Has anyone else noticed how magazine capacity is being thrown out there as if it's a negative thing, but no one is discussing shot placement or training time??
Newton's laws are still in effect last I checked. And 45 slugs weigh more and leave bigger holes.

M1911, with honorable mention to the 1917 Smith and Wesson and Colt revolvers and the Mk VI Webley.

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Poot
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Poot » 09 Sep 2018 18:08

You're failing to distinguish between Ball ammo and more 'commercialized' offerings available for US LE. You're also failing to notice the advances in pistol ammunition terminal performance made over the last 12 years, regardless of bullet diameter and weight.
He who lives by the sword, should train with it frequently.

WilliamDS
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by WilliamDS » 10 Sep 2018 02:14

There is a lot of faulty assumptions being made about ammunition, so here's the KE of the main rounds being discussed, with a couple of rifle rounds for comparison. Given velocities are measured at the muzzle of their standard service firearm (M9, M1911, Glock, M16 and M1 rifle).

9x19 M882 Ball
112 grain bullet @ 385 m/s
538j

45 ACP M1911 Ball
230 grain bullet @ 270 m/s
543j

40 S&W FBI Load
180 grain bullet @ 300 m/s
525j

10mm Norma Load (1st loading)
200 grain bullet @ 366 m/s
868j

5.56 NATO M855A1
62 grain bullet @ 860 m/s
1,889j

30-06 M2 Ball
151 grain bullet @ 835.2 m/s
3,413j

We can see that the kenetic energy of 9x19, 45 ACP and 40 S&W is roughly the same (within a spread of about 20j). This should mean roughly equivalent wounding potential. However, the 9x19 will penetrate better, hold more ammunition, and recoil less than the either two chamberings. 45 ACP shines in a suppressed setup because it is always subsonic, where a 9x19 looses it's velocity advantage (and thus it's energy parity) when it's loaded to subsonic velocities.

The myth of the "45 Manstopper" wasn't even built by the 45 ACP. It was the 45 Colt, re-introduced when the anemic 38 Colt rounds weren't working. In these cases, both of those rounds were built around black-powder safe pressure limits due to when they were introduced. That puts a solid upper limit on velocity, meaning the only way to increase KE is to increase the weight of the bullet. 45 ACP was loaded to imitate the 45 Colt ballistics. The case has room for much hotter loads, but most pistols in 45 Colt won't stand up to that.

If you really want more wounding potential in a pistol chambering, full house 10mm Auto is a nice, hot load, but it's still delivering only half the energy that a 5.56x45 round is, and one-quarter that of the 30-06 M2.

Ultimately, for the vast majority of people, and thus for the ideal service round, you want a soft recoiling round and lots of them. Any of the common pistol rounds will typically require multiple rounds to drop an attacker, so having 15 rounds on tap is far superior to 7.

South
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by South » 10 Sep 2018 07:23

Good morning William DS and all,

It's not the assumption but more so the presumption governing the environment. One required presumption is that the enemy is wearing a helmet and body armor, visible or not. This event is not occurring during daylight hours. Adverse weather might be involved.

It's less about wounding power and more so about eliminating the threat.

I do not understand a soft recoiling round and lots ... Time on station in this environment with a hand gun circa 2 -3 seconds under IDEAL conditions.

It must be noted that the environment of someone with a pistol or revolver encompasses an enemy of more than one (multiple targets) and armed with eg Kalashnikov rifles, Bull Pups, Tavors and,soon enough, Class 4 laser rifles.

Time is of the essence so as to leave the battle scene ASAP if not faster.

~ Bob
eastern Virginia, USA

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Apr 2019 17:41

Hi Guys,

I seem to remember that earlier in this thread it was claimed that in 1016 George Patton killed three Mexican Villistas with his revolver.

After reading Carlo d'Este's biography of Patton (pp.172-177), this claim appears to be a fiction.

Apparently Patton never claimed to have killed anyone during the incident and may not have done so as several of his men were firing at the same targets.

He used his rifle for part of the action. He did use his pistol but did not hit any man with it.

However, he did claim to have used it to bring down the horse of an escaping fugitive.

I guess this counts as an example of a pistol being used successfully in combat - just.

Cheers,

Sid

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Apr 2019 17:41

Hi Guys,

I seem to remember that earlier in this thread it was claimed that in 1916 George Patton killed three Mexican Villistas with his revolver.

After reading Carlo d'Este's biography of Patton (pp.172-177), this claim appears to be a fiction.

Apparently Patton never claimed to have killed anyone during the incident and may not have done so as several of his men were firing at the same targets.

He used his rifle for part of the action. He did use his pistol but did not hit any man with it.

However, he did claim to have used it to bring down the horse of an escaping fugitive.

I guess this counts as an example of a pistol being used successfully in combat - just.

Cheers,

Sid

AKahl
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by AKahl » 22 Aug 2019 04:43

Obviously handguns were used in WWII, and occasionally with good effect. I think they had more relevance, under some circumstances, at close range, when the other option might be (in most armies) a bolt-action rifle, with a generally small magazine capacity and slow reload. I’d rather clear a room or a confined space with a .455 Webley revolver vs a Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 1, or conversely a P-38/P-08 vs a Kar-98K. I’d also rather guard prisoners, who outnumber me, with a self-loading handgun, instead of a bolt–action repeater rifle.

That said, I still like this quote from Infantry Weapons of WWII by Ian V Hogg:

“A British General once said that he had seen thirty men wounded by pistol fire in World War II, of whom 29 were his own troops who had inadvertently shot themselves while cleaning or otherwise mishandling their pistols.”

I would personally feel very well armed, for the era, with a 1911A1, Browning GP-35 or a Walther P-38. To me it’s a three way tie. I’d also be happy with either in a .455 Webley or Radom VIS-35.

I think that the controls on a WWII-era Hi-Power are undersized and not ergonomic. Both period 1911A1’s and GP-35’s had sights which were just comically small for combat pistols. Also, the heel magazine release on the P-38 is less of a perceived handicap when you are only issued two magazines with the pistol; The user is probably trained and expected to not dump the magazine in the dirt, but rather to put it away and keep it. This is also an era when generally most users were trained to fire a pistol with one hand. I believe that two handed shooting was not yet fully appreciated, in those days.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

Goethe

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Sid Guttridge » 22 Aug 2019 16:12

Hi AKahl,

You post, "Obviously handguns were used in WWII, and occasionally with good effect." When? We have no verifiable examples on this thread yet after five years.

Your Hogg quote ("A British General once said that he had seen thirty men wounded by pistol fire in World War II, of whom 29 were his own troops who had inadvertently shot themselves while cleaning or otherwise mishandling their pistols.”) is fun. Does he give a specific source?

It conforms with my own experience in Rhodesia. A lot of people (including me) carried pistols, but I know of no one who actually used them because they invariably had rifles, or SMGs to hand. However, my C.O., Brigadier Godwin, did manage to put a round through his office ceiling and roof in headquarters in Salisbury while preparing to clean his pistol.

The pistol has long been little more than a symbolic weapon in the military and is really now a civilian weapon in those countries where their ownership is allowed.

Cheers,

Sid.

AKahl
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by AKahl » 29 Aug 2019 19:17

Hello Sid,

I can’t find any reference to the quote in Hogg’s book; there’s a bibliography but no clues as to where the quote comes from. There are no footnotes, unfortunately.

I found another example of successful handgun usage in WWII, which is in a number of books, regarding a USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant named Sheffield Banta on Guadalcanal, in the battle of Edson’s Ridge. He is alternately called Shepard Banta in Vandergrift and Asprey’s book Once a Marine and, by reference, in Richard Frank’s book Guadalcanal . The earlier accounts, presumably from General Vandegrift, who was present, have Banta upbraiding a subordinate when three Japanese soldiers, including an officer wielding a sword, broke into the area of the Divisional headquarters, when Banta cooly shoots one of them with a 1911A1 .45, then goes back to what he was doing. Another account, which by now has his correct name, states that Banta had been typing, and that he had responded with his sidearm and shot the Japanese officer.

“There was a moment of heart-stopping drama at the divisions CP (command post) when a sword-wielding Japanese officer stepped into the open with two riflemen and headed directly for Archer Vandergrift, who was in the open, alone and unarmed. MG Sheffield Banta, an utterly unflappable old salt, stopped typing a report long enough to unholster his .45 caliber automatic pistol and plug the officer dead in his tracks.”

–Bruce N. Canfield, U.S .Infantry Weapons of World War II

I don’t own a copy of Vandegrift’s book, but here is the quote from Frank’s Guadalcanal :

“Stock taking was in progress at the division command post when a Japanese officer and two soldiers burst from the jungle with Banzais that sounded to Tregaskis like “a loud blubbering turkey gobbler’s cry.” The officer’s sword spitted one marine, but the officer and one of his companions were shot dead. This incident occasioned the only grim humor of the battle. When the Japanese sprang from the vegetation, Marine Gunner Shepard Banta was vigorously berating a young marine for some transgression, Banta paused to shoot one of the Japanese with his pistol, and then returned to his lecture, scarcely missing a breath.”

-Richard B. Frank, Guadalcanal – The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle

Frank’s footnotes also reference Tregaskis’ Guadalcanal Diary , but that may only reference the sound made by the 3 Japanese soldiers. I don’t have that book either, and don’t know whether it mentions Banta.

In any case, I know you asked for primary sources, but they must be out there. I’m guessing that it came from General Archer Vandegrift, who was present, and was in command of the Marine invasion force. I suppose there may also be a citation out there, which mentions Banta’s actions. Someone smarter than me can find the primary sources.

In any case, I think this debate has become more about standard of proof, at this point, as a number of other instances have also been posted here. It’s a fair observation that it would be hard to “convict” someone at trial, using human testimony, of having legitimately, lawfully and effectively used a handgun in WWII, since the war ended 74 years ago. I’m sure it would have been possible to better document hundreds if not thousands of instances, if this debate was occurring in say, October of 1945.

Sadly, it’s worth mentioning that handguns surely figured in perhaps hundreds of thousands of unlawful killings and executions in WWII, out of some 55 million estimated deaths. Some of these were also battlefield atrocities, such as the Baugnez Crossroads massacre, where a large number of U.S. soldiers were murdered with pistol shots, mostly to the head. And as previously mentioned, that incident is largely believed to have been initiated when two Waffen SS soldiers opened fire with pistols (Private Georg Fleps being the one best documented and he was in fact convicted), one at either side of the assembled U.S. prisoners.

I agree with your point that handguns are rarely used, and are a poor substitute for most longarms. I just think there are documented cases of their use in WWII. Even the unidentified British General quoted by Hogg admits to one case out of thirty being a legitimate act of war.
Remain yourself, in spite of all the mighty do.

Goethe

Daniel44114
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Daniel44114 » 06 Oct 2019 22:48

Let us also not forget that the pistols you are discussing were......70 years old! Of course they were no longer funtioning properly! Some of them had been through two world wars and the others only one! Jeez, I'm sorry they were old As for the other comments all very well and good. IMHO all pistols are good. There truly can be no best on because they all have good points and bad. So it finally comes down to which one do you like best. Thats all it's each persons choice. As for effectiveness, I have a friend who stated it best "when you are talking about handguns, you're not talking serious firepower. I don't expect any one pistol or caliber combination to do any particular thing. Instead, place the shot, assess the situation, repeat as neccessary"! He has put paid a lot more people than a lot I know and he's still around!

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by T. A. Gardner » 07 Oct 2019 01:23

In a very real sense, the best "pistol" of the war was really a quasi-pistol: That would be the US M1 Carbine.

If one of those pistol- shoulder stock conversions counts, then the M1 carbine is really just a properly designed and implemented example.

The US Army issued it as a self-defense weapon to troops in lieu of a pistol. In other armies, soldiers got a pistol where a US soldier would get an M1 carbine. So, you see heavy weapon crews in other armies often issued pistols in whole or part where the US Army gives them the M1.

Certainly, the M1 lacks the stopping power of a full caliber rifle, and has a rather weak cartridge, but that's really what makes it more of a pistol than a rifle.

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Cult Icon
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by Cult Icon » 07 Oct 2019 12:46

browning hi-power

ChristopherPerrien
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 07 Oct 2019 20:40

Daniel44114 wrote:
06 Oct 2019 22:48
Let us also not forget that the pistols you are discussing were......70 years old! Of course they were no longer funtioning properly! Some of them had been through two world wars and the others only one! Jeez, I'm sorry they were old As for the other comments all very well and good. IMHO all pistols are good. There truly can be no best on because they all have good points and bad. So it finally comes down to which one do you like best. Thats all it's each persons choice. As for effectiveness, I have a friend who stated it best "when you are talking about handguns, you're not talking serious firepower. I don't expect any one pistol or caliber combination to do any particular thing. Instead, place the shot, assess the situation, repeat as neccessary"! He has put paid a lot more people than a lot I know and he's still around!
Stay around, the best pistols of that era are the Hi-Power and the 45 ACP, both designed by the same man. The Hi-Power is the progenitor of all modern "9's" and the 45 ACP was their last competitor of note and even now the battle goes on.

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MichaelSeemann
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Re: Best Pistol of WW2

Post by MichaelSeemann » 08 Oct 2019 01:16

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