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Jake Holman Jr.'s Articles (124)

Tack Driving Combat Pistol

In the pantheon of early 20th century semi-automatic military pistols, the greats are universally agreed upon. The Colt 1911 and Browning Hi Power are considered tops by many. Add in the Walther P-38 and of course the famous Makarov from the former USSR.


Yet, what pistol is missing from those ranks? How about the Sig P210? The Swiss-made pistol, according to…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 23, 2011 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Thompson Up-Chambered

The Thompson submachine gun is a true classic in small arms. It is an icon of gangsters and GIs alike. The standard Thompson went through a series of modfications during its service life. The Tommy Gun, as standard,  was chambered in .45 ACP (outside of some British multi-caliber efforts like 9mm and .30 Mauser,) except for an attempt by Thompson engineers to create a light…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 16, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

One Man, Three Weapons

Historically the sniper has been portrayed as a lone wolf, edgy and odd, living on the periphery of battle and comradeship. Able to calmly remove another human being from the ranks of the living with one shot. Yet for each war there have been heroes, snipers whose skills transcend the nagging stereotypes.


One such example, Sgt. H.A. Marshall, a Canadian…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 9, 2011 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Allies Called it the Pneumatic Hammer

The modern battlefield has a diverse variety of crew-served weapons, from machine guns to grenade launchers. Its the latter category, exemplified by the AGS-17 and MK-19, that have a lineage going back decades, including to a weapon of a different class but many similarities.


The Rheinmetall MK-108 was a 30mm German aircraft cannon that was a marvel of compact…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on February 2, 2011 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

World War IIs Survival Elephant Gun

Last week I profiled the M1897 Trench Broom, the American combat shotgun of World War I. In dusting off my war-time shotgun knowledge I happened upon a forgotten "survival" shotgun/rifle hybrid of the Luftwaffe.

The M30 Luftwaffe Drilling (variation on the German 'triple') started out as a game keeper's gun. Those early weapons combined a double barreled shotgun…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 26, 2011 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

The Trench Broom

When the Winchester M97/17 shotgun arrived in Europe in the hands of 'Doughboys,' the Germans were livid. The Kaiser's military forces found the idea of a 12 gauge shotgun so deplorable in combat, they tried to have it outlawed as inhumane.


But at the end of the day, the Winchester is just a pump action shotgun...brutal and effective then as now. The M97 was…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 19, 2011 at 2:30pm — 8 Comments

Kodak's Grenade

In western New York state, the Eastman Kodak Company was once corporate king. The one time film giant has shrunk in the digital age. It was the heart and soul of the working class city of Rochester, NY. However, did you know the company famous for Kodachrome film was also the World War II contractor for a secret handgrenade of the OSS?


As part of a the vast…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 12, 2011 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Battlefield Swarm of Bees: Williams Machine Gun

The M-1 Carbine was a mainstay in American armories through World War II and into the 1950s. The .30 caliber round, not quite a pistol caliber and definitely not a rifle, provided U.S. troops a light, easy to handle and reliable magazine fed weapon. Its designer, David Williams, is considered the father of the light carbine. Elements such as the short stroke piston were…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on January 5, 2011 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Little Known American Bullpup- The Sieg Rifle

When Coast Guard Gunner's Mate James Sieg started thinking about small-arms, his ideas were definitely ambitious and unconventional. Sieg you see created the American bull-pup rifle that showed promise as a contendor for the U.S. first line rifle post-World War II.

A typical gas operated rifle, with expanding propellant piped off the barrel and against an…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 29, 2010 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

The Not So Little David Siege Mortar

Japan was on the brink of defeat. Last ditch defenses were being prepared. The Emperor would not let his island nation fall easily. They, the Japanese people, would fight to the last man, woman and child. Facing astounding odds in combat and unprecedented fortification efforts, the United States faced an invasion of Japan with much trepidation.


To break these…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 22, 2010 at 2:00pm — 4 Comments

Fokker's World War I Buzzsaw

Modern American jet aircraft and some helicopters have been armed with the ancestor of the Gatling gun. Multiple barrels, spun at high rates of speed allowed the feeding and firing of ammunition at astounding rates. The Vulcan aircraft gun and its siblings fire at 8,000 to 9,000 rounds per minute, and relied not on gas or recoil to operate. The blistering volume of fire has…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 15, 2010 at 2:00pm — 5 Comments

Two Barrels In Battle

If you've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you've seen the Villar-Perosa submachine gun. When the Jones boys take to the air and inadvertently shoot off the tail of their bi-plane, they do so with a Villar-Perosa submachine gun mounted in the plane.

The two barreled weapon, compact, odd and flimsy looking, was in fact considered one of…


Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 8, 2010 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Little Red Devil

Hand grenades, seen in many a movie with a tough as nails soldier yanking the pin with his teeth, have followed a fairly traditional pattern since they were first hurled on the battlefield centuries ago. In the earliest days, they were detonated by fuses lit by flame. Eventually, mechanical chemical elements took over, enhancing safety and reliability in war.

However, like any piece of military technology somewhere there is a designer who thinks, 'I can make it better and… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on December 1, 2010 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Pedersen's Rifle

As the clouds of war parted, firearms designer John Pedersen looked to the future of small arms, anticipating the need for a new semi-automatic rifle to replace the M1913 Springfield. Pedersen would put together a rifle, unusual for its method of operation, that would go up against the weapon fielded by the U.S. during World War II.

And yet, in the years before the war, the Japanese… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 24, 2010 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

The Pedersen Device

John Pedersen, employee of the Remington Arms company, seeing the world crumble into a hellacious war to end all wars. America, watching from the Western Atlantic, would soon be drawn into the barbed wire fields of Europe and Pedersen wanted to contribute to the cause. Doughboys would go to war with a bolt action rifle, the Springfield, a capable and comparable weapon to the Kaisers forces.

Yet Pedersen knew that as machine guns rattled over the trenches, killing in swathes,… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 17, 2010 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

Off Axis: The MAS-38

The French weapon design ethos has always been an odd one. Some weapons are created with no safeties, others utilize obsolete methods of operation and some are chambered in calibers that no other major nation used at the times. Call it independence or obstinacy, the history of French small arms development is littered with odd choices. And the MAS Model 1938 is another such example.

Created in 1935, officially adopted in 1938 but never widely used during World War II,… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 10, 2010 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

ZK.383: The 9mm Support Gun

The Czech gun making industry is legendary for quality and reliability.In the late 1930s, Czech weapons designers were working on a weapon that would become just another submachine gun, but before World War II exploded they planned on fielding a 9mm light support weapon in the ZK.383.

Traditionally, armies of the 20th century pursued support weapons that fed by belt or large capacity magazines chambered in a rifle caliber. However, the designers at the famous Brno… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on November 3, 2010 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Stg-45: Rollers that Lock

The German weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch is world renowned for their robust and reliable line of handguns, submachine guns, sniper and combat rifles. During the post-war decades, H&K rose to prominence because of its successful and ubiquitous MP-5 and G-3 series, 9mm and 7.62mm respectively.

The MP-5, to this day, is considered one of the premiere counter terrorist submachine guns; used for decades by elite units like the SAS… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 27, 2010 at 2:00pm — 3 Comments

Reising's SMG

Eugene Reising, protege of John Browning during the development of famous 1911 .45 pistol, heard the call from the War Department for a light pistol caliber carbine. He answered with the Reising M50 .45 caliber submachine gun.

The weapon was different than the standard submachine gun of the day, the Thompson, in that it was faster and cheaper to produce, more accurate and lighter; but ultimately unpopular in the field. When the weapon, patented in 1940, started rolling off… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 20, 2010 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

On Wings & Tracks: The Soviet Teletank

With the number of Soviet citizens, the human wall needed to defend and repel invaders of the Motherland was seemingly inexhaustible.Yet armament designers knew bodies weren't going to last forever.

And so, in technology they began investigating solutions to multiply the amount of firepower they could field. While the Germans looked at smaller tracked remotely operated vehicle, the Soviets simply converted existing tank systems to go to war with.

The Teletank was a… Continue

Added by Jake Holman Jr. on October 13, 2010 at 2:00pm — 1 Comment

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