Handgun Radio 223 - A History of Speedloaders with Daniel Watters

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.


This week, Daniel Watters discusses the history of speedloaders!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

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Please help support Handgun Radio! Head over to www.firearmsradio.tv/pledge and click on HGR. There are a bunch of different pledge levels. We really appreciate it!

Week in Review:

Figured we’d skip the week in review. Just wanted to remind everyone to send in their 1899 loadout to handgunradio@gmail.com or to the facebook page! We’ve gotten a lot of great entries so far!

Listener Emails:

Name: Jon

Subject: Mare’s Leg!

Message: Hey, fellas! New(ish) shooter here, and a huge fan.

So, I up and bought a Henry Mare’s Leg in .357 this week, mostly because of Steve McQueen, and Firefly. It looks badass, I don’t own anything like it, and dammit, I’m a grown-ass man, and if I want a range toy, I’m gonna’ buy a range toy.

So, while I wait for it to arrive, a couple questions for you gents.

1) What the hell do you suggest I do with the thing? Seriously, have y’all shot these? It’s a “taint gun”. ‘Taint a pistol, and ‘taint a shotgun. Is it as awkward to shoot as it looks?

2) What would I have to do (legally) to slap a full size stock on it, and just go SBR? I live in Virginia, if that makes a difference.

Keep up the terrific work, gents. The drink segment is my favorite.


Name: Quintin

Subject: 450 SMC

We talked about this last week but Daniel has some insight.

The founder and former president of Triton Ammunition Fernando Coelho often discussed the origins of the .45 Super and the .450 SMC in an online forum that he once owned. The employee responsible for the original off-color “SMC” designation was Triton’s Operations Manager, retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant David Schmidbauer.


Name: Rick

Subject: Jo.Lo.Ar. pistol

Message: Any help in field stripping this gun?

Thanks in advance,

Rick .....

Drink Segment:  Because I’m lazy Tonight  Speyburn 10 in a glass

Main Topic: A History of Speedloaders with Daniel Watters

Google Patents link for the US Patent Class which covers revolver speedloaders.

Additional articles and videos for visual reference:




Early speedloaders appeared not long after the first top-break and swing-open cylinder revolvers hit the market in the late 19th Century.

For instance, in 1878, Rollin White was awarded a pair of patents (US Patents #201,855 and #202,613) for belt-mounted, multiple-refill speedloaders for top-break revolvers, such as the S&W Model 3. The loader consists of an inner and outer tube, along with a center spring-loaded shaft. The drawings depict the loader filled five stacks of cartridges - 30 cartridges total. Each stack is held in place by spring tabs. By forcing the rear of the open cylinder against the mouth of the inner tube, all of the stacks are pushed forward, allowing for the stack of cartridges nearest to the cylinder to drop free. The design looks like it would be very sensitive to overall cartridge length. The second patent is basically the same idea as the first, but also incorporates an integral holster.



Probably one of the first designs that would be fairly relevant even today is US Patent #223,100 from 1879 by William H. Bell. It locks and unlocks by twisting. However, the design also allowed for the case rims to be trapped not only by a center locking piece but also an outer groove.


In 1881, Major George Scofield was awarded US Patent #239,676. Not surprisingly, it depicts his pet S&W Model 3. This was a push to release style, depending upon a conical collet bushing to lock the cartridge in place by friction. By pressing the loader onto the cylinder, a cup-shaped centerpiece would force the legs of the bushing together to loosen their tension on the cartridges.


Several years later in 1886, Daniel Baird Wesson came up his own speedloader along with a belt rig with multiple carriers that would be right at home at an ICORE match today - US Patent #354,454. The loaders were a twist to release type. Instead of acting as a locking piece, the center rotor merely forces the case rims into an outer groove for locking.


An early proponent of speedloader use was a US Army cavalry officer by the name of John C. Kelton.  He would eventually be promoted to Brigadier General upon becoming Adjutant General of the US Army.

Here is one of his vintage advocacy articles:

"Devices by Means of Which Effective Mounted Firing with the Pistol and Carbine can be Obtained by the Cavalry in Attack."

By Colonel J. C. Kelton

Assistant Adjutant General, US Army

Journal of the United States Cavalry Association (March 1888)

Kelton had personally designed and patented  the devices mentioned in his article, including the cartridge packs.


Kelton's designs look a bit fiddly compared to his historical counterparts, and I’m not certain that he ever made more than the prototypes he displayed.  Despite his rank and position, Kelton’s cartridge packs were not adopted.


Colt got in on the action in 1889 after the introduction of their swing-out cylinder revolvers. Carl J. Ebhets was awarded US Patent #402,424 for the “cartridge pack” designed as an accessory for his M1889 New Navy revolver. (Besides designing Colt's classic double-action revolvers, Ehbets would later act as Colt's patent attorney in preparing some of John M. Browning's semi-auto pistol patents.) Ebhets' design depended upon a center wedge to force the cartridge rims into an outer ring. By pressing the loader against the cylinder, the wedge would be forced to the rear, allowing the cartridges to drop free. The US Navy actually issued a pair of these in a belt pouch.


The first loader to bring the gap from the 19th to the 20th Century was the famous Prideaux Device. William de Courcy Prideaux was awarded his first English patent in 1893 which was covered by US Patent #516,942 in 1894. Prideaux continued to improve the loader, and was awarded US Patent #1,181,034 in 1916. Note that the first patent depicts a Webley Mark I revolver while the second patent shows a Colt New Service. The loader depends upon two rows of long spring tabs to hold the cartridges in place. The spring tabs are attached to an inner section of the loader, while the cartridge cases are backed by the outer section. When the loader is pressed against the cylinder, the outer section is pressed forward over the spring tab section. The cartridges are forced into the chambers past the spring tab section, which is blocked from movement by the face of the cylinder. The original design saw service during the Boer War while the improved variant was issued during World War I.







After taping, I discovered that Herman H. Kempf’s 1934 patented loader (US Patent #1,971,526) had actually been produced.  It was marketed by the Revolver Cartridge Clip Corp. of New York. Kempf’s loader was a side-stripping design featuring the cartridges arranged in a cylindrical fashion across three tiers. You inserted all six cartridges into the cylinder and pulled the loader directly to the side via a finger ring.  The neat feature was that the loader was hinged in the middle allowing it to be stored fairly flat in a carrying pouch. Upon removal from the pouch, a torsion spring would return the loader to its normal ready-to-load configuration.


You can see in the opening link that there was no shortage of speedloader patents in the early 20th Century. Some of them even used design concepts that would be resurrected multiple times by later inventors. However, none of these speedloaders really made a dent in the US police market until after the Second World War. Officers relied primarily on belt-mounted cartridge loops, dump pouches, or even their pockets to carry spare cartridges.

One of the earliest known issue speedloaders used by the Los Angeles Police Department was the “Spee-D-Loader.” While he filed his first application as early as 1948, Austin J. Grogan was not awarded US Patent #2,592,415 until 1952. The design is basically a flat metal strip with six pairs of spring fingers riveted along its length. The cartridge cases are held sideways by the spring fingers. The goal was to make a loader flat and compact enough to fit into a conventional dump-pouch designed for loose cartridges. These loaders were apparently still issued by the LAPD as late as the early 1970s. There is almost no documentation available on when they were first marketed or the available sizes, if any. A 1972-vintage article mentioned that the cartridge spacing on their sample would not allow them to load more than one chamber at a time.


The popularity of speedloaders didn't increase nationally until PPC competition started to hit an equipment race during the 1960s and '70s. The less time you spent reloading your revolver meant more time to aim and shoot on the timed course of fire. A few forward-thinking officers thought that if the speedloaders worked during a competition, why not use them on the street?

One of the earliest speedloaders to become popular during this era was the Hunt Multi-Loader. While John M. Hunt received US Patent #2,896,353 in 1959, I was not able to find advertisements predating 1963. In 1968, the design was picked up by Kel-Lite and marketed by Safariland as the “Firepower Clip.” Hunt's design was a cup-shaped piece of rubber that held the cartridges on the outer bottom surface. The cartridge rims were retained much like the later Bianchi Speed Strip. You inserted the rounds together into the cylinder, and then peeled the loader off. However, it was easier said than done. If you weren't careful, the act of peeling would pull a few cartridges back out of the chamber. Curiously, even after the original design was dropped by Safariland for the Comp I, Hunt continued to work on improving carriers for it, resulting in US Patent #4,079,536 in 1978.



In 1963, Ole N. Olson filed for a push button release speedloader design that was awarded US Patent #3,197,907 in 1965. The loaders were produced by Salinas Industries, and marketed by J.M. Bucheimer as early as 1964. The loaders would later be marketed as the “Feathertouch.” The cartridges were retained by a central flexible washer placed within the rear of the loader. The tiny pushbutton compresses the washer into an internal concave recess, freeing the rims of the cartridges. Some users have complained that the release of the cartridges was not always discernable or reliable. Olson noted in the patent that the washer was the first thing to wear out. You'll note in the attached advertisement that the early loaders were much longer than those seen in Mike Woods' linked article.


In 1965, Donald Matich received US Patent #3,213,559 for what would be marketed as the Matich Quick Loader. The Matich was sort of like a flexible version of the Spee-D-Loader. You would snap the cartridges in the loader's fingers while it was flat. Afterward, you could roll the strip into a circle, locking it in place via a two-fingered sling frog hooked into a crosspin molded into the opposite end of the strip. To reload, you would start the cartridges into the cylinder and then peel the strip off. As the strip unrolled, the flanges would pull apart allowing the cartridges to drop into the cylinder.



Ole N. Olson had a much simpler design that was awarded US Patent #3,225,482 in 1965. It was kind of like a Speed Strip, but the flexible rubber body retained each cartridge almost as like a conventional belt loop. To load the revolver, the rim of each cartridge had to be pressed down through the loop. The earliest ad I can find for this design dates to 1980. It was marketed by Triden Industries as the Rapid Revolver Loading Clip.


After an experiment in the mid-1960s to develop a collapsable speedloader (US Patent #3,252,238), William C. Bye and his partner Werner O. Brunhuber received US Patent #3,503,150 in 1970 for a more marketable design. Marketed as the Bye Speed Loading System, its selling point was that it had no springs, screw, cams, or ratchets. As you can see by the patent that's not entirely true as the handle is threaded into the center collet-style locking piece. When the handle was pushed forward, the locking piece would expand to hold the cartridge case rims. When the loader was pushed into the cylinder, the tapered top of the locking piece would be compressed and thus, release the cartridges. By 1978, it was 3 to 4 times as expensive as competing speedloaders, so this could not have helped sales.



I believe that US Patent #3,538,636 issued in 1970 is the patent for what became the Bianchi Speed Strip, but given the filing date of 1968, I'm not entirely certain. The now-abandoned trademark for Speed Strips claims that they were first marketed in 1965, but then again, others claim that they were not featured in Bianchi's catalogs until 1972.



Also in 1970, John D. Fordham and William L. Powers of Dade Screw Machine received US Patent #3,541,716. The new Dade Loader became extremely popular among PPC shooters. The case rims were retained by an elastic O-ring (garter spring) along the outer diameter of the loader. This made loading the Dade fairly easy as individual cartridges would snap into place as the rim passed the garter spring. When reloading, the loader would bottom out against the cylinder, and then you would press the large center button, forcing the case rims past the garter spring. The downside to the Dade was its fat diameter interfered with factory stocks and thumbpieces. Worse yet, it could easily lose the cartridges when dropped. The Dade Loaders were still in production in the 1980s and perhaps even later.


French inventor Jean Dupouy received US Patent #3,667,146 in 1972 for own concept of a rigid side-stripping speedloader. I believe this patent was the basis of a speedloader once sold by Manurhin. Dupouy's loader staggered the cartridges so they could be loaded three at a time, but as a result, it would not have been flat enough to fit legacy dump pouches.


The most commercially popular speedloader has probably been probably the HKS 'Six Second' speedloader. Robert D. Switzer received US Patent # 3,722,125 in 1973 for the initial design. These original models would later be dubbed the M-model after the introduction of the improved A and B models.



Not to be confused with the HKS Six Second, the Second Six loader was also patented in 1973 (US Patent #3,769,732). Designed by William T. Griffis, the Second Six consisted of two pieces of interlocking molded plastic. The inner portion retained the case rims through molded-in flanges; the outer portion was a ring that sat on top of the case heads when loaded. You would start the cartridges into the cylinder, and then force the outer ring towards the cylinder. This would force the case rims past the flanges. In other words, it was sort of a modern polymer re-interpretation of the Prideaux Device. The upside was that this loader was extremely narrow in diameter, and had a short overall length. Initially, the firm would only sell directly to agencies and individual LEOs. Agencies issuing the Second Six included the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. (While some people have praised the Second Six for its ease of use, I personally found that forcing the tiny outer ring down could be nearly impossible at times. I don't know if there was an aging plastic issue with my used sample, or some sort of dimensional mismatch with my Detective Special. However, I don't remember it working better on S&W K-Frames.) In 1981, Griffis would receive US Patent #4,272,903 for a new three-piece variant, but I don't think this was nearly as prolific as the original.



In 1974, Paul P. Kubik received US Patent #3,824,729. The Kubik Speed Reloader was an odd piece of equipment. The cartridges were held in place by spring tension in three staggered tiers. The cartridges could be inserted from one side of the loader only. You started the cartridges in the chambers and then pulled the loader out to the side.



David A. Johnson received US Patent #4,065,868 in 1978 for what was initially known as the JFS. While Johnson was reportedly making them in his garage even before the patent was granted, the design quickly gained a following on the West Coast amongst PPC shooters. In an interview published in 1980, Safariland's president Neale Perkins credited PPC revolversmith Bill Davis with tipping him off to the JFS loader. Safariland picked up the rights to the design, where it was ultimately named the Comp I. Perkins stated that they sold 50,000 of the Comp I J-K2 loaders within the first 9 months of its introduction in 1977.



At the same time that David Johnson was designing the Comp I, Austrian inventors Heinz Jelinek and Fritz Carmann were designing what would become known as the Jet-Loader. French and German patents were received in 1978, while US Patent #4,133,129 was awarded in 1979. The earliest mention I can find of the Jet-Loader being imported to the US was in 1981. Like other imported speedloaders, its availability was often spotty, yet it developed a cult following with serious PPC shooters in the US.



HKS introduced their improved A and B-models in 1978, well ahead of the 1980 and 1982 patent awards. The B-model was short-lived after its introduction. The A-models are manual-release only like the legacy M-models. However, the A-model covers the primers and rattled less than the legacy M-models. HKS retained the M-model has it found that some revolvers simply needed the cartridges to be held a little less rigidly for rapid indexing of the cartridges into the cylinder. The B-model basically added the automatic release of the Safariland Comp I while retaining the option of a manual twist release like the M and A models.



In 1982, Safariland introduced the improved Comp II speedloader. Alas, I can't seem to locate a patent for that one.



In 1986, JFS Inc. licensed the patent rights to the Jet-Loader. However, David Johnson further modified the design, resulting in the award of US Patent # 4,866,870 in 1989. Johnson noted that upon release of the spring-loaded locking mechanism, his legacy Comp I and Comp II would sometimes result in a slight twisting motion that impeded the clean release of the cartridges from the loader. Given the much larger and stronger spring of the Jet-Loader, the torque was even more severe. Manuals for the latter even recommended that the user not hold the revolver by the cylinder while the loader is inserted. Johnson's solution was to add a rotating sleeve to the improved design's handle, so that the loader's handle was free to twist during release. Safariland still markets this as the Comp III.



Earlier in 1989, Venezuelan inventor Angel G. Goyanes was awarded US Patent #4,862,622. Goyanes' design is probably the ultimate combination of the “Spee-D-Loader” and Matich pull-strip designs. The strip can be inserted flat in a dump pouch, yet upon withdrawal from the pouch, internal springs will force the strip to roll into a cylinder. Goyanes has never found a manufacturer for his design, and with the expiration of the patent, he will likely never profit from it. I'm only including this one as a novelty since Goyanes has a demonstration video online.



In 1997, Charles Norgaard was awarded US Patent #5,621,998 for what was later marketed as the Gunsite Training Center Loader. One wonders why they thought that this was a good idea given its extreme bulk.


In 1995, German inventor Gerhard Longwitz began filing patent applications for what became known as the S.L. Variant. Awarded US Patent #5,953,845 in 1999, the S.L. Variant holds the case rims by independent fingers that cam in and out of the center body. Each cartridge is backed by an individual spring. When the loader hits the extractor star, the fingers cam out of the way, and the springs propel the cartridges into the chambers. The best feature of this loader is the ease of inserting and locking individual rounds...no jiggling or twisting, just push each one into place until it clicks. For those who desire the longer handle of the Jet-Loader or the Comp III, a screw-on extension was also available. The downside is the cost and availability.



A more recent attempt to revive the Kubik design was the Maxfire, introduced around 2000. It is a far simpler implementation of the concept, with the benefit of a pull ring instead of the Kubik's tab.


Back in 2005, Dave Skrzela introduced his variation on the classic Dade Loader, the DS-10 Speed. It was originally intended for use with rimfire revolvers, as a handy way to top off the cylinder during matches. He was going to branch out into centerfire designs, but has since dropped out of sight.



The new Ripcord speedloader is yet another variation of the old Matich design. While CK Tactical's commercial introduction of the Ripcord is fairly recent, the patent was awarded back in 2008.



The year 2008 also saw the introduction of Tuff Products Quickstrips, a variation of the Bianchi Speed Strips. Unlike Bianchi, which limited itself to 6-shot .38 Spec/.357 Mag and .44 Spec/Mag, Tuff Products ultimately introduced a wide variety of models of varying capacities and calibers.


The 5-Star Firearms speedloaders were commercially introduced back around 2010. An aluminum-billet variation on the HKS, the loaders started off as a personal project by Clinton Hartford in his uncle's garage. The story goes that a fellow shooter saw Clinton using his loaders at the range and offered him $20 for one.



Daniel Higby introduced his Speed-Beez design in 2012, yet another variation on the Dade Loader concept. Much like the DS-10 Speed, it started off aimed primarily at rimfire revolver competition shooters, but its lineup has expanded dramatically since then.




Earlier this year, Pachmayr introduced its new line of aluminum competition speedloaders. While a variation on the classic HKS, the sides are angled off for additional clearance.




Don’t forget to shop Brownells using our affiliate link! Head to firearmsradio.tv and click the affiliate link in the upper right hand corner!

Handgun Radio 135 - Handgun Design Disasters Part 4

Hello and welcome to Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, Weerd Beard, Daniel Watters and I discuss some handgun designs that flopped!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Please check out the Patriot Patch Company for their awesome patches and other high quality items! Visit www.patriotpatch.co for more information!

Week in Review:

Ryan: Bought Magpul MOE Carbine length foreend for my S&W M&P 15! Really like it. Gives me the ability to mount accessories without having a quadrail.

Saw a Bushmaster Carbon 15….what a monstrosity. Also saw a Vz52. Very cool!

Weerd:  Was checking out a local shop I hadn’t been to before, and look what I found!


A Walther P38,  been wanting one for ages!

Also my M17S is in the early stages of construction at K&M arms, so I’ll be seeing it soon!


Daniel: I think this may be a magazine intended for the Silent Weapon System - Alpha prototypes on display at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum (Items 5810-5813).


TrackingPoint now has a "precision guided handgun" patent.


Drink Segment: Mint Julep: https://youtu.be/wc7L52omwbU

The key is the Lewis Bag


You can use a blender, or put the ice in a ziplock bag, but the canvas makes a dryer ice that’s awesome.

A little sugar, some fresh mint, shake and strain into a glass FILLED with the crushed ice for a chilly refreshing drink.

Main Topic: Handgun Design Disasters Part Four

We have done a few of these episodes before, but not in this much detail. Daniel deserves all the credit for researching and setting up these categories and guns!

We are going break this up into multiple categories:
a) Guns that were unpopular and didn't sell ()

b) Guns that didn't work, or work reliably ()

c) Guns where the basic concept didn't fly ()

d) Guns that just never got off the ground for legal reasons ()

e) Guns that just never got off the ground for business or technical reasons ()

FYI: The three previous episodes concerning this topic can be found here. http://firearmsradio.tv/handgun-radio/?tag=design


Arsenal Strike One


Bren Ten  (The Bren Ten saga deserves its own episode.)


Browning HP-DA / BDA9


Browning BDM and BDR


CAC 45-1 Combat Model / AIG Military Combat Model

Caracal C

Colt Double Eagle

Colt Survivor  

Detonics Pocket 9

Kimber Solo (Still on their webpage)

Remington R51

Rogak P18

Ruger Hawkeye



Ruger Maximum

Smith & Wesson Model 73


Smith & Wesson Model 547



Smith & Wesson’s Single Stack Sigmas (SW380 and SW9M)


Smith & Wesson’s FBI-issue 1076



Smith & Wesson’s NJSP-issue SW99

Smith & Wesson Models 242Ti and 296Ti



Vektor CP1

Weatherby Mark V Silhouette Pistol

Wilson Combat ADP


Wilson Combat KZ45


Wilson Combat Spec-Ops 9


  • Don’t forget to shop Brownells using our affiliate link! Head to firearmsradio.tv and click the affiliate link in the upper right hand corner!

  • Be sure to go like Handgun Radio on facebook and share it with your friends!

  • Leave us a review on iTunes!

  • Listen to all the great shows on the Firearms Radio Network! The Reloading Podcast!

  • Be sure to visit the Firearms Insider for review more awesome content! Also, if you are interested in writing reviews for the Firearms Insider, please email TJ at tj@firearmsradio.tv

  • Be sure to check out the Firearms Radio Network on YouTube!

  • Visit Weerd Beard at  weerdworld.com   sqrpt.com  http://gunblogvarietycast.com/

Check out Daniel at The Gun Zone & on Facebook at The 5.56mm Timeline: A Chronology of Development

HGR 107 - The Machine Pistol in Concept & Practice

Hello and welcome to Episode 107 of Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world.

This week, Nathaniel F from The Firearm Blog and Daniel Watters join me to discuss the machine pistol in concept and in practice!

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Bullpup Shoot in September!

Week in Review:

Ryan- Bryan Bolivar of Modern Rifleman Radio sent me a message and said he agreed with Weerds Assessment last week that the Lee-Enfield that had hang fires was suffering from excessive headspace.

Doesn’t 303 British headspace on the rim like a revolver cartridge?

Yes. -N

Nathaniel- Ruger Blackhawk .45 ACP/.45 Long Colt

Daniel - You found some great magazine articles that pertained to our last episode! Links will be in the show notes.

Magazine 1

High Standard T3 & Experimental 9mm Ammunition

Main Topic: Machine Pistols & Personal Defense Weapons

The Theory/Concept of Machine Pistols:

  1. Machine pistols have a pretty long history, going back to the Steyr-Hahn M.12/P.16 machine pistol, which had a 16 round magazine, and an attachable shoulder stock.
  1. Machine pistols are pretty easy to design; they simply combine the semi-automatic handgun with an automatic fire sear.
  1. Machine pistols crop up on a regular basis, but never achieve wide scale popularity.

So they've been around a long time, didn't create major design problems for their engineers, and never caught on. Could there be a problem with the idea of a machine pistol?

Discuss PDWs - normally these are carbines (M1, M4) or more commonly handguns (M9).

Discuss how the trend in automatic weapons design has been to make them smaller and lighter. Machine pistols are the smallest and lightest, right? Discuss Trejo and Lercker machine pistols.

Discuss how full auto fire has fallen from favor in individual small arms (rifles). Hyperburst is all but dead, and full auto fire has proven to not improve hit probability. So if it's of extremely limited usefulness in individual weapons, what use is it in a pistol?

Lercker Machine Pistol .25 ACP

Prototype VZ-52 Machine Pistol


Discuss purpose-designed PDWs - Begin with Colt SCAMP and move into P90 and MP7. Many use smaller, extremely low-recoil rounds to facilitate more controllable full-auto fire. Is this what machine pistols need to finally catch on? Highlight the fact that these rounds have advantages (chiefly armor penetration), but may need and/or exploit full auto fire to improve terminal effectiveness, rather than hit probability.

Discuss civilian laws that may dampen the popularity of machine pistols

So is the machine pistol doomed to obscurity, or will it become the PDW of choice for our imminent cyberpunk future?

Some Machine Pistols:

Mauser 712 “Schnellfeuer”

(High-Speed Video of Ian from Forgotten Weapons shooting a Mauser 712)


Glock 18 (or 17 with Auto Sear)

Machine Pistols Viable? (Great Glock 17 with Autosear Pictures)

Beretta 93R

H&K VP70

VZ 61 Skorpion

CZ75 Full Auto Variant


  • Dont forget to shop Brownells using our affiliate link, www.handgunradio.com/brownells
  • Be sure to go like Handgun Radio on facebook and share it with your friends!
  • Leave us a review on iTunes!
  • Listen to all the great shows on the Firearms Radio Network! The Reloading Podcast!
  • Be sure to visit the Firearms Insider for review more awesome content! Also, if you are interested in writing reviews for the Firearms Insider, please email TJ at tj@firearmsradio.tv
  • Be sure to check out the Firearms Radio Network on YouTube!

Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!

HGR 105 - The Joint Service Small Arms Pistol Trials with Daniel Watters

Hello and welcome to Episode 105 of Handgun Radio! I’m your host Ryan Michad from the wild woods of Central Maine, and this is your home for all the news, information and discussion in the handgunning world. This week, Weerd Beard and I are joined by Daniel Watters, firearms researcher & historian, to discuss the Joint Service Small Arms Pistol Trials that ultimately resulted in the adoption of the Beretta M9 pistol by the U.S. Armed Forces.

Brought to you by the Firearms Radio Network

Bullpup Shoot in September!

Week in Review:

Ryan- Got to shoot some vintage S&W revolvers, an I frame .32 S&W Long, K-Frame .32-20, N Frame .44 Special

Weerd Beard:  Had the house to myself this week so I FINALLY got a chance to hit the range.   Didn’t want to over-gun the trip so I bought my father’s re-habbed Sears .22 and my Father-in-Law’s S&W M66 because I hadn’t fired them yet.  Also brought my M&P9, my S&W 617, as well as my Uberti Walker Colt.

Shot better than I expected given my absence from the club, the one let-down was the Walker.   First I forgot the powder measure at home,  but also the #10 caps wouldn’t fit the nipples so I assume they have been flattened out by a previous owner dry-firing, and will need to be replaced...only they are frozen...

(Drink Segment) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojito


Main Topic: The Joint Service Small Arms Pistol Trials with Daniel Watters

Wikipedia Article on the JSSAP

To discuss the issue adequately, we need to track back to the end of World War II. Between the adoption of the M1911 and the end of the war, nearly three million M1911/M1911A1 pistols had been purchased.  In addition, there had been a variety of substitute standard handguns such as the Colt Commando and Smith & Wesson Victory Model, as well as leftovers from World War I such as the Colt and the Smith & Wesson M1917.  There were also specialty pistols like the General Officers Pistol, better known as the Colt Pocket Hammerless.

During the progress of the war, there were a variety of foreign developments.  Our British and Canadian allies had issued the Browning High-Power pistol.  Our German opponents had issued a large number of double-action semiautomatic pistols ranging from pocket pistols like the Sauer 38H, Mauser HSc, and Walther PP and PPK, as well as the full size Walther P38.

In 1946, the US Army Infantry Board had been tasked with determining whether or not a new service pistol was needed and what features it should have.  At the time, they decided that the M1911 pistol was in fact adequate as was the 45 ACP cartridge.  While they could see the utility of the double action feature, they did not believe that this alone would be enough to justify the immediate adoption of a new service pistol. However, any future service pistol should incorporate the double action feature, and ideally, would also include a feature that would allow the slide to be racked by the trigger.  However, they emphasized that the new pistol should be chambered in .45 ACP and could remain the same size as the M1911.

Yet, not everyone was thrilled with the M1911.  The general complaints about the pistol were that it was too heavy and large; it recoiled too much; it was not accurate; it was not reliable; and it was not safe.  A certain amount of the criticism can be blamed on the inadequate training of wartime troops, combined with a certain amount of revolver bias amongst civilian marksmanship enthusiasts.  The average soldier issued the pistol was not issued it as their primary weapon, even when it was their only firearm. They were either leading other troops, manning a crew served weapon, or assigned as a member of a vehicle crew.  One could argue that the US Army had already perceived that their pistol training was inadequate before the war even began given the creation and adoption of the M1 Carbine.  However, even a carbine could be too bulky for armored vehicle and aircraft crews.

The first effort to adopt a double-action 9mm pistol was sponsored by the US Army Air Forces in 1947, just prior to being granted their status as an independent branch.  Even with the creation of the US Air Force, the service still depended upon the Army for the development of its small arms and aircraft guns for many years.  The original characteristics were quite strict with the weight not to exceed 25 ounces, and the overall length not to exceed 7 inches.  The magazine capacity was to be between 7 and 10 rounds. While they quickly dismissed the notion of trigger-based slide racking, they oddly insisted that the new pistol be blowback-operated as opposed to using a locked breech.  Interestingly enough, the original efforts at a new 9 mm cartridge involved the use of the 158 grain full metal jacket projectile from the service .38 Special cartridge.  This was intended to give a velocity of 850 fps.  Contracts for development of the new pistol were ultimately awarded to High Standard and Colt.

By 1950, the specifications were slightly relaxed.  The pistol could now weigh up to 29 ounces, with an overall length of 7-1/2 inches.  However, the pistol should now hold at least 13 rounds like the Browning High-Power pistol.  Yet, they continued to insist that the design be a straight blowback.  Earlier, there had been experiments with the use of an annular chamber ring in order to delay the extraction of the cartridge, and reduce recoil.

In the meantime, Colt had been submitting more conventional alternatives, which included aluminum-framed variants of the Government Model and what was to become the Commander Model.  While they were not under contract, Smith & Wesson also began development of its own lightweight, double-action 9mm pistol, which ultimately became the Model 39. The Infantry Board started a new set of trials in 1952 to evaluate off-the-shelf revolvers and semi-auto pistols ranging from .32 to .45 ACP.  Their report of April 1953 recommended that the M1911 and the .45 ACP cartridge be replaced on a one-to-one basis with a 9mm semi-auto.  The evaluators claimed the M1911 and its cartridge were no longer suitable for Army issue in part due to their weight.

Springfield Armory drafted a solicitation for a commercial 9mm pistol competition in June 1955.  However, less than a month later, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics killed the 9mm pistol procurement program outright, claiming that they had plenty of M1911 pistols in inventory and that pistols were not terribly important anyway.

A few years earlier, the Air Force had already tired of waiting on the Army’s 9mm pistol development, and adopted lightweight .38 Special revolvers as the M13 Aircrew Revolver. The trick with the M13 was that both the frame and the cylinder were made from aluminum.  The U.S. Navy also considered adoption of the M13 Aircrew Revolver for its own naval aviation crews to replace their older S&W Victory Models.  However, they were not as optimistic about the durability of the aluminum cylinder.  This ultimately proved to be correct.  A lower pressure .38 Special load was standardized as M41 Ball.  It used the 130 grain projectile from .38 Super ammunition loaded at approximately 850 fps.

In 1959, the Air Force ultimately decided to scrap its stock of M13 Aircrew Revolvers.  These were replaced by the S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece with 4” barrels.  A variant of the 2” snubnose Model 15 was also standardized as the M56.

As the war in Vietnam heated up, both the Air Force and the Navy made small purchases of the Smith & Wesson Model 39.  In the case of the Air Force, the pistol was issued as a General Officers Pistol.  The Navy was primarily issuing it as an aircrew pistol, although it filtered out to other units.  A variant of the Model 39 modified for use with a sound-suppressor, known as the Mark 22, was also developed for the Navy SEAL teams.

By the late 1960s, the Army also started to see a need for a new General Officers Pistol to replace the long discontinued Colt Pocket Hammerless.  Among the pistols tested were the Smith & Wesson Model 39, the Walther P38, a 9mm variant of the Colt Combat Commander known as the M1969, and an in-house compact conversion of the M1911 from Rock Island Arsenal.  The latter was ultimately adopted as the M15.

By the early 1970s, the Air Force began to become disillusioned with the performance of the M41 Ball.  Experiments were made to improve the performance of the cartridge, including short case variants, as well as deep-seated variants.  The latter option was ultimately standardized as the PGU-12/B.  The Air Force also started to look at the potential of modifying the Model 15 revolver to fire the 9mm cartridge.

In August 1977, the Air Force Armament Laboratory contacted manufacturers inviting submission of 9mm semiautomatic pistols.  The pistols should be capable of single and double-action fire; have a magazine capacity of at least 13 rounds; the magazine catch should be easily accessible and drop the magazine free upon release; the slide should lock to the rear when empty; the ambidextrous safety must lower the hammer without touching the trigger and lock the firing pin when engaged; the magazines should be equipped with a removable floor plate; and the pistols parts should be interchangeable.

The submissions included the Beretta 92S-1; the Colt SSP; the FN GP35, ‘‘Fast Action’ Hi-Power, and Double Action Hi-Power; the HK P9S and VP70; the Smith & Wesson 459A; and the Star Model 28.  The HK entries and the basic FN GP35 were quickly dismissed due to failure to meet the basic technical requirements.  Ten each of the remaining candidates were purchased for testing.  An equal number of issue M1911A1 pistols and S&W Model 15 revolvers were used as control samples. The test pistols were to be capable of functioning under adverse operating conditions, including dust, mud, heat, and cold.  Only eight significant malfunctions were to be allowed during the 5,000-round endurance test.  No candidate passed the tests, but the Beretta was considered to have performed the best of all of the handguns tested, including the control models.  Critics seized upon the poor performance of the control M1911A1 pistols to suggest that the Air Force tests were unscientific and flawed.  This ultimately allowed the Army to take over any future pistol trials.

The US Congress had already begun to take interest in the testing, and seemed particularly peeved concerning the number of different handguns being issued by the different services.  The Joint Services Small Arms Program (JSSAP) was established in 1979, and one of their first tasks was sorting out the pistol issue.  In 1980, JSSAP recommended that a single family of 9mm pistols be adopted, with a full-size and compact model.

In 1981, the US Army began the XM9 pistol trials. 85 requirements were laid down for the winning pistol, of which 72 were mandatory while 13 were desirable. Due to the short time between the the Request for Proposal and the required delivery of test samples, only four candidates were submitted: the Beretta 92SB (an improved 92S-1), the HK P7M13, the S&W 459M, and the SIG-Sauer P226. However, all four failed, and strangely, the Beretta now finished dead last, even behind the control M1911A1.  Congress and the GAO were infuriated by the waste of money for no results.  Procurement funds for additional .45 ACP ammunition were withheld until the US Army could formulate a test series that a manufacturer could pass.

The XM9 trials started again in January 1984.  The competitors included the Beretta 92SB-F (an improved 92SB), the Colt SSP, the FN Double Action Hi-Power, the HK P7M13, the SIG-Sauer P226, the S&W 459M, the Steyr GB, and the Walther P88.  In the end, only the SIG-Sauer P226 and 92SB-F were considered to have passed all of the tests.  After a series of bids in which SIG-Sauer started as the low bidder, Beretta was finally awarded the contract in 1985 due to a lower price quoted on its spare parts.  Allegations were made that Beretta was fed SIG-Sauer’s final bid in order to undercut it.  The other manufacturers were also upset for a variety of justifiable reasons.

After a series of Congressional investigations, another series of tests similar to the XM9 trials were ordered for 1987.  The Army fought to keep the 92F (now the M9) from being retested since it had passed the XM9 trials.  SIG-Sauer insisted that the P226 didn’t need to retested either since it had passed XM9 as well.  S&W argued that the Beretta M9 were no longer being built to the standards of the XM9 trials, having received relaxation of several requirements including accuracy.  The initial set of testing was ultimately cancelled, even though FN, Ruger, S&W, and Tanfoglio intended to submit samples.

The XM10 tests were finally rescheduled for the August 1988.  Since Beretta refused to submit samples, the Army used off-the-shelf M9.  S&W submitted their 459M yet again, and Ruger submitted their new P85.  As before, there were allegations of impropriety after the M9 was announced as the winner.  S&W failed tests that they had passed in XM9, and Ruger wasn’t provided any reason why their samples failed.


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Daniel thanks so much for coming on and sharing your knowledge with us!

Until next week, have fun and SAFE SHOOTING!!!!