HGR 008 - Machine Pistols

HGR 008 - Machine Pistols

Ryan discusses the rapid-fire handguns and “almost-handguns” that have been in use throughout recent history.

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Week in Review:

  • Got to reload some more .38 & .357 Magnum loads. I was particularly excited to get some hot .357 Magnum loads put together to test and make sure they will be plenty accurate for the upcoming deer season here in Maine.  I am using a 180 grain Hornady XTP Jacketed Hollowpoint combined with H110 powder.  In the areas I hunt in the ranges are very short and it is very wooded. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who hunts around here to have a shot past 100 yards. My last deer I took was shot at 60 yards.
  • Got to play around with a couple of interesting Egyptian military pieces from the 1950’s: The "Helwan" which was a licensed copy of the Beretta Model 1951 9mm Pistol.  I also got to play around with the standard issue rifle of the 1950’s Egyptian military, the "Hakim" rifle. (I know this is Handgun Radio, but I found this rifle VERY interesting.) The Helwan is a single-stack 9mm that was the predecessor to the Beretta M92 that is currently issued to the U.S. Military.  I don’t have much experience with Beretta pistols, so seeing the way the gun locks up was very interesting. The Hakim was also very interesting; it is a licensed copy of the Swedish AG-42 Ljungmann rifle, firing 8mm Mauser cartridges. Check out the video review of the Helwan that I did for a close up view of the locking system and the rest of the gun!

“Half-Truth” Segment:

  • In this week’s “Half-Truths” segment, we are going to touch upon President Obama’s recent Executive Order that altered the use of NFA trusts.
  • An NFA Trust is a way in which people can acquire firearms and accessories that are restricted under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). This includes fully-automatic weapons, suppressors, short-barreled rifles, etc.
  • When acquiring a NFA-restricted item, there are two routes: As an individual, the purchaser has to submit all the required paperwork to the ATF, along with fingerprint cards, passport photos, ALL required information, a $200 check for the NFA tax stamp (Which is literally, an adhesive stamp.) AND they have to have their Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) of their county or municipality sign off on the paperwork saying they do not have any reason to believe this person should not be able to posses the NFA item.
  • The second route is by setting up what is called an NFA Trust. The individual contacts a lawyer, and has them set up a Trust. (For this example, we will call it “Billy’s NFA Trust” as its LEGAL name.) The individual is then considered a trustee of “Billy’s NFA Trust”. With this setup, the Trust owns the NFA items, and as such, cannot be fingerprinted or photographed (The Trust isn’t a live person, its an entity.) By going the Trust route, you also do not have to get the CLEO sign-off like you do when you purchase as an individual.
  • A trust also allows you to add family members to the trustee list. That way, if you die, your family does not have to deal with the hassle of getting your NFA items transferred to them, as they are already permitted to have them as a trustee.
  • For awhile now, most people suspected that the administration would seek to make it so every purchase through a trust requires a background check and fingerprinting, so the EO was not unexpected.
  • However, just a few days ago it was announced that EVERY person on the trust would have to have CLEO sign-off for NFA purchases, thereby negating one of the main advantages of a trust. (If your local CLEO will not sign off, the trust USED to be your only option to purchase NFA items.)
  • The half-truth part is: “This Executive Order will stop people from being able to purchase firearms through a “Corporate Trust” (their terms, not mine.) without going through a background check.” The people who purchase NFA items THROUGH LEGAL CHANNELS are NOT the people you need to watch out for. These people are some of the most responsible firearms owners in the country, as they have taken the responsibility to put themselves through the very rigorous legal process to obtain NFA items.
  • Having the CLEO sign-off doesn’t do ANYTHING to stop crime. Why? Because all the CLEO sign-off did was basically say “I know this person is not prohibited and should not be prohibited from purchasing this item.” Nothing more. This move cripples the ability for law-abiding people to purchase NFA items by imposing POTENTIAL restrictions at the local level, rather than the federal level.

Main Topic: Machine Pistols

This week we will be discussing some of the fully-automatic handguns that are out there, along with some that aren’t quite considered handguns, but are similar in size, if not in practicality.

1.) Stechkin APS:

  • Introduced in 1951 along with the Makarov pistol to replace the WWII-era Tokarev TT-33 in 7.62x25mm Tokarev.
  • Chambered mainly in 9x18 Makarov, the Stechkin APS has also been chambered in 9mm Parabellum.
  • With a rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute, the Stechkin is a handful to control. The Soviet Union issued the firearm with a detachable wooden shoulder stock that looked a lot like the stock that was issued with the Mauser C96 712 “Schnellfeuer”. This made the gun much more controllable, and the stock also did double-duty as a holster.
  • Fairly large and bulky for handgun, the Stechkin was mainly issued to tank crews, pilots and other soldiers whose duties may not require a larger rifle or carbine.
  • The Stechkin was also used by several other Soviet Satellite states such as Ukraine and Romania.

2.) Mauser C96 712 "Schnellfeuer":

  • The Mauser C96 “Broomhandle” was one of the first practical semi-automatic pistol designs. Introduced by Mauser in 1896, the C96 was a 10 shot handgun chambered in 7.63x25mm Mauser.
  • The Spanish firm of Astra made a copy of the C96 Mauser, and in 1928 they began making select-fire versions of the gun. Mauser followed suit in 1932 with the “Schnellfeuer”. When adopted by the Wermacht in WWII, the gun was designated the 712.
  • The C96 could also accept a shoulder stock to allow for better control when firing on full-automatic.

3.) Beretta 93R:

  • The Beretta 93R is a select-fire version of the Beretta M92 with some slight modifications.  It was introduced by Beretta in the 1970’s with an eye toward police and military use.  
  • The gun fires at a rate of 1,100 rounds per minute in a three-round burst format. It can also be fired semi-automatic, simply by flipping a selector switch.
  • In order to make the gun more controllable, Beretta added a compensator to the end of the barrel, and also added a folding metal foregrip in front of the trigger guard, as well as the capability to attach a folding metal stock to the back of the grip.
  • There are very few (if any) transferable Beretta 93R’s in the United States and as such, are very valuable if found.  I have heard of some small shops making post-86 dealer samples out of Taurus PT-92’s, but nothing that can be legally owned by someone without the proper licensing.

4.) Heckler & Koch VP-70M:

  • The VP70 was H&K’s machine pistol.  Similar to the Beretta 93R in that it fired in a three-round burst mode, the VP70 was one of the first attempts to design a machine pistol that would be truly controllable.
  • The VP70 is also the very first ever polymer pistol.  It was introduced in 1970, 12 years prior to the Glock’s introduction.
  • The rate of fire was much higher than the Beretta 93R, at 2,200 rounds per minute.
  • The VP70 is also double-action only and striker-fired.  From what I have read the trigger pull is very heavy and long.
  • The VP70 requires a stock with a selector switch on it to be attached before it can be fired fully automatic.

5.) Glock 18:

  • Probably the best known machine pistol, the Glock 18 is a fully automatic variant of the 9mm Glock pistol.
  • The Glock 18 looks much like the Glock 17, but has a rotating selector switch on the left rear of the slide.  By rotating the switch up, you can fire in full automatic mode, and with the switch down, in semi-automatic mode.  
  • The Glock has an extremely high rate of fire at 1,200 rounds per minute.  There is a provision to attach a shoulder stock to the grip of the Glock 18, which allows for more controllable full automatic fire.
  • There were also compensated versions of the Glock 18 called the 18C which had four ports in the top of the barrel that helped with controllability on full-automatic.
  • As far as I know, there are no transferable genuine Glock 18’s in the United States.  Typically when you see a fully automatic Glock on YouTube, it is a post-86 dealer sample Glock that was converted to fully automatic and not manufactured that way.

6.) CZ-75 Fully-Automatic Variant:

  • Very little information exists about this gun. The standard CZ-75 is a rugged and reliable 9mm handgun.
  • In 1992, CZ introduced the fully automatic variant of the CZ-75 for law enforcement and military use.  
  • In my research, I could only find information about the pistol’s specifications.  Apparently it is simply a standard CZ-75 pistol that has a selector switch for fully-automatic fire.  
  • Also, one can attach a magazine to a small slot in front of the trigger guard and use it as a makeshift vertical foregrip for more controllability.

7.) VZ.61 "Skorpion":

  • Not quite in the “handgun” category, the VZ.61 “Skorpion” was developed in 1959 for the Czech military as a sidearm/primary weapon for tank crews and lower ranking members of the armed services.
  • Chambered in .32 ACP, the VZ.61 had a fairly small magazine capacity of 10 or 20 rounds, along with a wire folding stock that folded over the top of the weapon.
  • It was fairly bulky for handgun, but could be worn in a holster on one’s side.  It was also rather small for a submachine gun, but was employed in that role in some instances.
  • The Skorpion utilizes a internal rate reducer device that brings the rate of fire down from 1,000 rounds per minute to around 800 rounds per minute. Visit the God and Guns Podcast and listen to Episode 22 for a great discussion and detailing of the inner workings of the VZ.61.


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Thanks for listening and SAFE SHOOTING!!!!!!!!