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14 ”From

my cold dead hands...” -Charlton Heston

22 La Légion étrangère: Blood, sand and snow

28 The Guns of James Bond

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GUN TESTS Extensive tests of weapons and accessories CHRONICLE Geoff Metcalf - Get a Gun ARTICLE Colt’s Police special COVERAGE The Story Behind Kalashnikov

First edition 2010 “The choice Americans face isn’t between freedom or safety. Washington’s experience with gun bans shows once again that Americans will either be free and safe or unfree and unsafe. Letting people protect themselves is the responsible approach.” Read more at page 5


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guns decrease murder rate


ore guns in law-abiding hands mean less crime. The District of Columbia proves the point. Reading most press accounts, one would be forgiven for thinking Armageddon had arrived after the Supreme Court struck down the District’s handgun ban in 2008. Predictions sprung forth from all directions that allowing more citizens to own guns and not forcing them to keep them locked up was going to threaten public safety. According to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, more guns in homes would cause more violent crime. A telling story is illustrated by the murder numbers since the handgun ban and gun-lock bans were struck down. Between 2008 and 2009, the FBI’s preliminary numbers indicate that murders fell nationally by 10 percent and by about 8 percent in cities that have between 500,000 and 999,999 people. Washington’s population is about 590,000. During that same period of time, murders in the District fell by an astounding 25 percent, dropping from 186 to 140. The city only started allowing its citizens to own handguns for defense again in late 2008. Few who lived in Washington during the 1970s can forget the upswing in crime that started right after the ban was originally passed. In the five years before the 1977 ban, the murder rate fell from 37 to 27 murders per 100,000. In the five years after the gun ban went into effect, the murder rate rose back up to 35. One fact is particularly hard to ignore: D.C.’s murder rate fluctuated after 1976 but only once fell below what it was in 1976 before the ban. That aberration happened years later, in 1985. The choice Americans face isn’t between freedom or safety. Washington’s experience with gun bans shows once again that Americans will either be free and safe or unfree and unsafe. Letting people protect themselves is the responsible approach. It’s important the Supreme Court remember these facts in March when it hears the case over Chicago’s handgun ban.

EDITORIAL STAFF Editor-in-Chief: Chris Young Managing Editor: Geoff Metcalf Senior Editor: Lawrence Hardy Associate Editor: Barney Preston Editorial Assistant: Brad Johnson Art Director: Ryan Brown Production Assistant: Phil Weber Technical Editor: Dick Metcalf

CONTRIBUTORS Carl Norris, Jack Miles, Edwin C, Darden, Joe Dysart, Doug Eadie, Gary Lister, Victor Rivero, Charles K. Trainor

ADVERTISING Advertising Agent: Steve Schwanz, Fox Associates National Sponsorship Sales: Brian Tschampel Advertising Assistant: Albert Wilson Advertising Management: Lawrence Hardy Junior Manager: Del Stover

ADDRESS Weapon of Choice 1680 Duke St. Alexandria, VA 22314 USA

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For subscriptions, please call (703) 838-6722 Weapon of Choice® is a registered trademark of Linkoping University in the United States and/or other countries

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Weapon Test Ruger’s New .45 ACP Polymer Auto Pistol By Dick Metcalf, Technical Editor Ruger’s new P97 auto pistol is much more than merely a continuation of the P-Series; it offers the time-proven effectiveness of the .45 ACP cartridge in an innovative, high-tech, polymer-frame, double-action design. Ruger continues its 50th anniversary-year handgun introductions with the new P97 polymer-frame/stainless-steel .45 ACP semiauto pistol. It is the ninth specific model to be issued in the famed Ruger P-Series line and brings the total of centerfire autoloader variations in the current Ruger catalog to 25. Although it is a direct descendent of the original P85 9mm auto design (introduced in 1987) via the aluminum-frame/stainlessslide P90 .45 ACP (introduced in 1991), the P97 is a product unto itself, containing several novel features and original design aspects with all major and most minor components designed and built specifically for it.

The P97 is available in two functional variations: a decock-only version and a doubleaction-only (DAO) model. In the decockonly version a cocked hammer can be safely lowered by depressing either of the ambidextrous slide-mounted decocking levers. When released, these levers spring back to the “Fire” position. At the same time, the firing pin is blocked in position, preventing forward movement. After decocking, the pistol can be fired by a double-action pull of the trigger without further manipulation of the decocking lever, and only when the trigger is held fully rearward is the internal firing pin block deactivated.


The P97 slide and barrel are constructed of Ruger’s well-known 400-series stainless steel, but the most interesting aspect of the P97 is its injection-molded polymer frame, which is not yet a common design feature

It is also, I will tell you right up front, the most durably accurate service-grade .45 auto I’ve ever reviewed, delivering average 25-yard full-magazine groups under 2.5 inches at 25 yards, even after 5000 rounds of military-style hardball ammunition. It is a damned fine sidearm.

Not Just A Continuation of the P-Series In overall visual appearance the P97 looks very much like all other Ruger P-Series guns, with the same basic configuration aspects and profile, and it closely resembles the polymer-frame P95 9mm introduced in 1996. In case you’re wondering, the number appearing in P-Series model designations refers to the year the product was developed, not to the year it was introduced. The standard P-Series three-dot drift-adjustable rear sight and pinned-in front blade are there, as is the ambidextrous magazine release. And like other current P-Series guns, the P97 comes supplied with two magazines, a comprehensive instruction manual, and a lockable storage case with padlock. 6

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By contrast, the DAO P97 has no external safety lever, decock lever, or fullcock hammer position at all. After firing, the gun is always automatically “at rest” with the firing pin blocked from forward movement by the internal safety. Only when the trigger is pulled completely to the rear (long-action DA-revolver style) for each shot can the gun fire. All DAO versions have a spurless hammer.

for .45 ACP pistols in the firearms industry. There are a lot of 9mm and .40 S&W polymer-frame guns (and smaller calibers) on the market, but there certainly are not nearly as many polymer .45s. The reason is that polymer-frame .45 design implications are not an easy or direct carry-over from the 9mm/.40 platform (which employs same-geometry frame configurations for both chamberings). Plus lightweight .45

ACP pistols offer more apparent recoil (in user terms). Most observers thus assumed that when Ruger got around to introducing its second P-Series polymer pistol model, it would be a .40, not a .45. Typically, Ruger surprised us. The P97 frame material itself is a custom compounded, high-strength polymer with a long-strand fiberglass filler, which, as the company says, serves as “a natural shock absorber.” This filler interweaves during

gest varied and different types of current commercial .45 ACP ammunition and to demonstrate how well it would stand up to extended use. The core of the program would be 4000 rounds of Winchester/USA 230-grain FMJ military-type ammunition generously provided by Winchester, supplemented by 100 function-test rounds each of nine different other commercial .45 ACP ammunition loads, plus an accuracy review with a selected half-dozen of those load variations representing different bullet weights,

results were, quite frankly, amazing. Eight rounds into the target measured only 2 1/8 inches center to center. That’s very good for a duty/service-grade centerfire pistol, and for .45 ACP factory-production pistols is equaled in my experience only by the results I’ve obtained from semi-custom Model 1911-type autoloaders such as the Kimber Gold Match models. After nine more fullmagazine groups, my combined start-point average with this GI-type FMJ load was a trim 2.25 inches.

“IN MORE THAN 5000 TOTAL ROUNDS FIRED WITH 10 DIFFERENT LOADS, THE RUGER P97 EXPERIENCED NO FAILURES TO FEED, FIRE, EXTRACT, EJECT, CYCLE, OR FUNCTION. NONE.” molding to produce some of the highest tensile and stiffness strengths available in an injection-molded material. The urethanebased resin that binds the filler together is corrosion and solvent resistant, lightweight, and compatible with most gun oils and lubricants. The actual handgrip area of the frame is slimmer than any previous P-Series pistol. In fact, the frame overall is the same width as the slide; on all other P-Series pistols, metal-frame and polymer-frame alike, the frame is wider than the slide. This makes the P97 even more comfortable and controllable to the average- size hand, yet it is still wide enough at the rear to allow recoil to be spread into the palm of the hand. Additionally, both the front- and backstraps as well as the sides of the frame are grooved to provide a controlled grip. Along with this narrower grip frame and shorter barrel (4.2 inches compared to 4.5 on most other PSeries guns), the decocking levers have also been reduced in width.

bullet configurations, and loading levels-all of which would amount to just over 5000 rounds total shooting. I began by firing the review sample Model P97 with several magazines of the militarystyle Winchester/USA 230-grain FMJ control load to check function and establish an initial velocity baseline, creating an initial accuracy profile with an average of five full-magazine groups at 25 yards from benchrest (all shooting was done with open sights). I was startled by the first group, the

I next shot up the remainder of the first 100 rounds of the Winchester/USA control ammo and proceeded to fire 100 rounds each of the nine other sample load types. At the 500-round point, I interrupted this process to record another velocity and group-average series with the 230-grain Winchester/ USA ammo before going on to complete the firing with 100 rounds each of the remaining different loads. Americans love .45 ACP auto pistols. The new Ruger P97 adds yet another strong column of support to the .45 legend.

It’s lighter, slimmer, and shorter than most other P-Series guns, so Ruger refers to the P97 as a compact, midsize service pistol. In firing, I was surprised by how comfortable the gun was, even with hot +P .45 ACP commercial loads, despite its relatively lowend 30.5-ounce weight.

Able To Stand Up To 5000 Rounds Shooting Times received a review sample P97 from Ruger’s initial production run last April, and I submitted it to a performance review program devised to assess the new polymer-frame design’s ability to diFirst edition 2010


Weapon Test

Kimber, CZ Compete: 22 LR Conversions


he concept of shooting 22 LR ammo in centerfire handguns goes back a long way. The Germans had a system for the Luger when centerfire ammunition was mighty scarce between the two World Wars. These conversion units consisting of an insert barrel, a different toggle mechanism, and suitable magazines. Insert barrels were also used on the Walther PP at that time to fire a low-power 4mm round, presumably for indoor gallery use. These 4mms were one-shot deals, the round not having enough power to run the slide, so you had to work it by hand. Also pre-WWII or shortly thereafter were some conversions for the 1911 45 autos involving a lightened slide. The Kimber Target and CZ Kadet both transformed fine centerfire autos into just-as-fine rimfire pistols.

“We recommend these for anyone with a gun.”

Tactical-Style 22 LR Carbines: Ruger, S&W, Legacy Duke It Out


he evaluation of tactical or military-style carbines chambered for 22 LR doesn’t come as a surprise to our readers, who’ve been asking for a story on the topic for months. But we admit we’re surprised that the production of rimfire rifles in full-size carbine trim is such a big trend. So many different models are currently available or on someone’s drawing board, it’s going to take two or three more articles to cover the entire category. So let’s get started. In this rimfire test we will look at two AR-15 derivatives and another carbine that more closely resembled a 1941 Russian machaine gun. Our test guns were the Ruger SR-22R No. 1226 22 LR, $625; Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 No. 811030 22 LR, $569; and the Legacy Sports Puma Wildcat PPS2250S 22 LR, $550. Certainly, training was the most obvious reason for our test guns to be built—but we wanted to know if they were fun, too. Smith & Wesson’s $569 M&P 15-22 performed flawlessly throughout our tests. Its tactical handrail and full-length top rail provided all the facility we needed


Both of the systems worked very well with a variety of ammo and provided excellent accuracy. We highly recommend these for anyone with the guns that can use them.

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to train with the latest tactical equipment—shown here with an Insight Technology MRDS red dot scope.The MRDS proved much faster and more accurate than other larger scopes. Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 AR-15 rimfire reproduction and Ruger’s SR-22 AR-styled 10/22 are winners, our testers agreed. The Legacy Sports Puma Wildcat is an interesting wild card that will require a lot more testing to discover its full potential.

“New Smith & Wesson $569 M&P 15-22 was performing flawlessly throughout our tests.”


o pistol in current production has evolved into as many variations and price points as John Browning’s 1911. We have looked at some entry-level models (July 2009) costing around $500. This month we look at three 1911s that occupy the upper tier of the factory-gun category. They represent some of the top-end production models of each company, offering significant upgrades to a standard 1911, but are normally available as off-the-shelf stock. All of our test guns had 5-inch barrel models and featured niceties such as front- and back-strap checkering, adjustable sights, stainless-steel match-grade barrels, front and rear slide. Bottom to top: The three contestants in our match-up were Smith & Wesson’s top-end stock unit, the Mod-

el MSW1911 No. 108284, $1256; the $1919 burly, black Springfield Armory TRP Light Rail Model; and STI International’s Sentinel Premier. It’s legal for Production Class ISPC and USPCA competitions. The version we tested cost $2413, which includes an optional hard-chrome finish. Though it might sound somewhat expensive, it’s definitely worth the dough if you’re good for it.

New Weapon Technology Barrett REC7 – M468 Special Automated Carbine Multi Purpose Issue – Future Assault Rifle


pparently, the M4 Carbine or the M16 aren’t good enough for the grunts on the field. This isn’t really a new revelation either. Let’s face it, since day 1 of the adoption of the M16 during Vietnam, the M16 hasn’t exactly been everyone’s favorite assualt rifle. In fact, it has been regarded by some as a killer of US troops, leaving them stuck in firefights without effective stopping power and jammed rounds. Never fear though young GIs and military buffs, the civilian weapons manufacturing sector is listening. Barrett Firearm’s answer? Let’s give them what they want. Greater range, 50% increased stopping power, ability to fit into the current modular makeup of existing M16 component parts. Basically, Barrett knows how to get

an invention considered by a buyer. Hearing the voice of the GI, military procurement officers sit around and think, “What can I do about this problem, and is it going to cost me an arm and a leg?” The round has a slightly lower velocity than the 5.56 mm round, however Barrett claims it has 1.5 times the kinetic energy of the 5.56 mm round. The company claims that it is effective at six hundred meters and has a muzzle velocity of 2650 feet per second when fired from a 16 inch barrel. Like many AR-15 type rifles, such as the M16/ M4, the barrel is threaded to allow muzzle attachments such as a suppressor. The REC7 employs the S.I.R. handguard (Selective Integration Rail) manufactured by ARMS Inc, which allows many military accessories such as a bipod, night vision devices, and combat optics to be placed on the rifle.

Weapon Test

Fine Factory 1911s: Smith&Wesson, STI, Springfield Armory Battle Issue for Centerfire Guns

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by Geoff Metcalf

Get a Gun T

he best way I know to win an argument is to start by being in the right. Lord Hailshan We are at war and every one of us has a responsibility and a right to defend each other and ourselves. This is not hyperbole. It is not fear mongering. It is FACT. Item #1 in a list of “Rules for a gunfight” is “Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.” About three years ago a friend told me a story about a colleague of his, Jerry Molen, who was one of the executive producers of “Schindler’s List.” In the wake of the film’s critical acclaim, Molen was speaking to some group. He noticed in the audience an old man who was staring intently at him during his speech. He said he felt odd by the intensity of the glare. The old man pointed a craggy finger at Molen and with a voice filled with intensity and seriousness, he said “Don’t you EVER let them take YOUR guns.” Molen noticed that the right forearm of the old man had a series of faded blue numbers tattooed on his flesh. In the ‘90s there was a media/federal jihad against militias. In the New Millennium militias may again save the republic. Notwithstanding the marginalized stereotype of militias as being gap-toothed, camouflaged, knuckle-dragging wannabe Rambos & militias have been, are and will/should be an integral part of protecting the country. It was President John F. Kennedy who said, “Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.” Once upon a time long ago (1676) and far away, my ancestor Michael Metcalf returned to his home in Dedham, Mass., to discover it burned by Native Americans. He joined a militia and with other militias fought in “King Philips War”. Today’s modern militias remain an eclectic collection of constitutionally conservative folks from all walks of life. Sure, some of them are extremists, racists and criminals & but the same can be said for Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Jews and Muslims. To damn any group for the sins of the few is beyond myopic and disingenuous. Since 9/11 and the inevitability of planned,

organized terrorist attacks, the militia concept should be embraced and not vilified. And it IS! The Arizona Daily Star wrote, “Cochise County’s ‘official newspaper’ has issued a call to arms and is spearheading the formation of a local militia to combat illegal immigration.” And the liberals went NUTS! Sheriff Larry Dever said frustrations with the federal government’s inability to stem the flow of illegal immigration have attracted the attention of a number of groups on all sides of the issue. Hey, how about the federal government’s inability to post a platoon of combat troops in every neighborhood? Militias SHOULD be local people. Militias should be neighborhood watch programs with guns as well as telephones. Your right to own a gun is inalienable. You have a Godgiven right to protect and defend yourself, your family and your property. Any and all other legislative masturbation to the contrary, designed to erode, undermine or attrite that right is invalid, immoral and an invitation to massive non-compliance. The Second Amendment was not intended to guarantee my bird hunting, or for states to maintain militias. It was, and is, as even Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe (liberal icon) acknowledges, an INDIVIDUAL RIGHT. Those “Minutemen” Kennedy longed for, that the Russians recognize and Clintonite liberals would abolish, are the bone and sinew of a country’s strength and they do exist. Despite unbridled persistent efforts of the Clintons, Gore, Janet Reno, Sarah Brady, Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer et al., at least so far there remain tens of millions of Americans who would rather die on their feet than live on their knees (or wait bleeding for 911 to send help). I suggest it will not be the camo-clad weekend paintballers and wannabe stereotyped militia Rambos who will refuse to comply with confiscation. Resistance will come from the remaining former military that still believe in the sacred oath of their youth. It will be the blue-haired grandmothers who protect their family and their heritage that would rather die martyrs than live as slaves. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

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First edition 2010

“From my cold dead hands...” Charlton Heston appeared in some 100 films in his 60-year acting career is remembered chiefly for his monumental, jut-jawed portrayals of Moses, Ben-Hur and Michelangelo. But his greatest achievement was his presidency in NRA.


is death was confirmed by a spokesman for the family, Bill Powers, who did not specify a cause. In August 2002, Mr. Heston announced that he had received a diagnosis of neurological symptoms “consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.” “I’m neither giving up nor giving in,” he said. Every actor dreams of a breakthrough role, the part that stamps him in the public memory, and Mr. Heston’s life changed forever when he caught the eye of the director Cecil B. DeMille. DeMille, who was planning his next biblical spectacular, “The Ten Commandments,” looked at the young, physically imposing Mr. Heston and saw his Moses. When the film was released, in 1956, more than three and a half hours long and the most expensive that De Mille had ever made, Mr. Heston became a marquee name. Whether leading the Israelites through the wilderness, parting the Red Sea or coming down from Mount Sinai with the tablets from God in hand, he was a Moses to remember. Writing in The New York Times nearly 30 years afterward, when the film was re-released for a brief run, Vincent Canby called it “a gaudy, grandiloquent Hollywood classic” and suggested there was more than a touch of “the rugged American frontiersman of myth” in Mr. Heston’s Moses. The same quality made Mr. Heston an effective spokesman,

off screen, for the causes he believed in. Late in life he became a staunch opponent of gun control. Elected president of the National Rifle Association in 1998, he proved to be a powerful campaigner against what he saw as the government’s attempt to infringe on a constitutional guarantee — the right to bear arms. In Mr. Heston, the N.R.A. found its embodiment of pioneer values — pride, independence and valor. In a speech at the N.R.A.’s annual convention in 2000, he brought the audience to its feet with a ringing attack on gun-control advocates. Paraphrasing an N.R.A. bumper sticker (“I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands”), he waved a replica of a colonial musket above his head and shouted defiantly, “From my cold, dead hands!” Mr. Heston’s screen presence was so commanding that he was never dominated by mammoth sets, spectacular effects or throngs of spear-waving extras. In his films, whether playing Buffalo Bill, an airline pilot, a naval captain or the commander of a spaceship, he essentially projected the same image — muscular, steely-eyed, courageous. If critics used terms like “marble-monumental” or “granitic” to describe his acting style, they just as often praised his forthright, nononsense characterizations. In the film’s most spectacular sequence, he and his co-star, Stephen Boyd fight a thrilling duel with whips as their horse-

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After his success in “The Ten Commandments,” Mr. Heston tried a change of pace. Working for another legendary Hollywood director, Orson Welles, he played a Mexican narcotics investigator in the thriller “Touch of Evil,” in which Welles himself played a murderous police captain in a border town. Also starring Janet Leigh and Marlene Dietrich, the film, a modest success when it opened in 1958, came to be accepted as a noir classic. A Biblical Specialty But the following year Mr. Heston stepped back into the world of the biblical epic, this time for the director William Wyler. The movie was “Ben-Hur.” Cast as a prince in ancient Judea who rebels against the rule of Rome, Mr. Heston again dominated the screen. In the film’s most spectacular sequence, he and his co-star, Stephen Boyd, as his Roman rival, fight a thrilling duel with whips.

“America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”


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drawn chariots career wheel-to-wheel around an arena filled with roaring spectators. “Ben-Hur” won 11 Academy Awards — a record at the time — including those for best picture, best director and, for Mr. Heston, best actor. He went on to star opposite Sophia Loren in the 1961 film “El Cid,” battling the Moors in medieval Spain. As a Marine officer at the Forbidden City in 1900, he helped put down the Boxer Rebellion in Nicholas Ray’s 1963 epic “55 Days at Peking.” In “Khartoum” (1966), he played Gen. Charles (Chinese) Gordon, who was killed in a desert uprising, led in the film by Laurence Olivier’s Mahdi. When George Stevens produced and directed “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965, there was Mr. Heston, back in ancient Judea, playing John the Baptist to Max von Sydow’s Jesus. He portrayed Andrew Jackson twice, in “The President’s Lady” (1953) and “The Buccaneer” (1958). There were westerns (“Major Dundee,” “Will Penny,” “The Mountain Men”), costume dramas (“The Three Musketeers” and its sequel, “The Four Musketeers,” with Mr. Heston as the crafty Cardinal Richelieu in both) and action films aplenty. Whether playing a hard-bitten landowner in an adaptation of James Michener’s novel “The Hawaiians” (1970), or a daring pilot in “Airport 1975,” he could be relied on to give moviegoers their money’s worth. In 1965 he was cast as Michelangelo in the film version of Irving Stone’s novel “The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Directed by Carol Reed, the film pitted Mr. Heston’s temperamental artist against Rex Harrison’s testy Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to create frescoes on the ceiling of

the Sistine Chapel. Mr. Heston’s performance took a critical drubbing, but to audiences, the larger-than-life role seemed to be another perfect fit. Mr. Heston once joked: “I have played three presidents, three saints and two geniuses. If that doesn’t create an ego problem, nothing does.” Foray Into the Future Mr. Heston was catapulted into the distant future in the 1968 science-fiction film “Planet of the Apes,” in which he played an astronaut marooned on a desolate planet and then enslaved by its rulers, a race of anthropomorphic apes. The film was a hit. He reprised the role two years later in the sequel, “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” It was all a long way from Evanston, Ill., where John Charles Carter was born on Oct. 4, 1923, and from the small town of St. Helen, Mich., where his family moved when he was a small boy and where his father ran a lumber mill. He attended a one-room school and learned to fish and hunt and to savor the feeling of being selfreliant in the wild, where his shyness was no handicap. When his parents divorced in the 1930s and his mother remarried — his stepfather’s surname was Heston — the family moved back to the Chicago suburbs, this time Winnetka. He joined the theater program at his new high school and went on to enroll at Northwestern University on a scholarship. By that time, he was convinced he had found his life’s work. Mr. Heston also found a fellow drama student, Lydia Clarke, whom he married in 1944, after spending two years in the Aleutian Islands as a radio-gunner with the Army Air Forces. After his discharge, the Hestons moved. He joined the theater program at his new high school and went on to enroll at Northwestern University on a scholarship. First edition 2010


“I think we make a difference together.. We are freer people than if we hadn’t fought this good fight.”


First edition 2010


ew York, failed to find work in the theater and, somewhat disenchanted but still determined, moved to North Carolina, where they spent less than a year working at the Thomas Wolfe memorial theater in Asheville. When they returned to New York in 1947, Mr. Heston got his first big break, landing the role of Caesar’s lieutenant in a Broadway production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” staged by Guthrie McClintick and starring Katharine Cornell. The production ran for seven months and proved to be the high point of Mr. Heston’s New York stage career. He appeared in a handful of other plays, most of them dismal failures. If Broadway had little to offer him, television was another matter. He made frequent appearances in dramatic series like “Robert Montgomery Presents” and “Philco Playhouse.” The door to Hollywood opened when the film producer Hal B. Wallis saw Mr. Heston’s performance as Rochester in a “Studio One” production of “Jane Eyre.” Wallis offered him a contract. Mr. Heston made his film debut in 1950 in Wallis’s “Dark City,” a low-grade thriller in which he played a small-time gambler. Two years later, he did his first work for DeMille as a hard-driving circus boss in “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

was nevertheless selective in the candidates he chose to support and often campaigned for conservatives. In 1981, President Reagan appointed him co-chairman of the President’s Task Force on the Arts and Humanities, a group formed to devise ways to obtain financing for arts organizations. Although he had reservations about some projects supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Heston wound up defending the agency against charges of elitism.

Throughout his career he studied long and hard for his roles. He prepared for the part of Moses by memorizing passages from the Old Testament. When filming began on the sunbaked slopes of Mount Sinai, he suggested to DeMille that he play the role barefoot — a decision that he felt lent an edge of truth to his performance.

n the 1996 elections, he campaigned on behalf of some 50 Republican candidates and began to speak out against gun control. In 1997, he was elected vice president of the N.R.A. In December of that year, as the keynote speaker at the 20th anniversary gala of the Free Congress Foundation, Mr. Heston described “a cultural war” raging across America, “storming our values, assaulting our freedoms, killing our self-confidence in who we are and what we believe.”

Preparing for “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” he read hundreds of Michelangelo’s letters and practiced how to sculpt and paint convincingly. When filming “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” (1959), in which he played the pilot of a salvage boat, he learned deep-water diving. And he mostly rejected stunt doubles. In “Ben-Hur,” he said, he drove his own chariot for “about 80 percent of the race.” “I worked six weeks learning how to manage the four white horses,” he said. “Nearly pulled my arms right out of their sockets.” As the years wore on, the leading roles began to go to younger men, and by the 1980s, Mr. Heston’s appearances on screen were less frequent. He turned to stage work again, not on Broadway but in Los Angeles, at the Ahmanson Theater, where he played roles ranging from Macbeth to James Tyrone in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” He also returned to television, appearing in 1983 as a paternalistic banker in the mini-series “Chiefs” and as an oil baron in the series “The Colbys.” Mr. Heston was always able to channel some energies into the public arena. He was an active supporter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., calling him “a 20th-century Moses for his people,” and participated in the historic march on Washington in 1963. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1966 to 1971, following in the footsteps of his friend and role model Ronald Reagan. A registered Democrat for many years, he

Again and again, he proved himself a cogent and effective speaker, but he rejected suggestions that he run for office. “I’d rather play a senator than be one,” he said. He became a Republican after Democrats in the Senate blocked the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork, a conservative, to the Supreme Court in 1987. Mr. Heston had supported the nomination and was critical of the Reagan White House for misreading the depth of the liberal opposition. Mr. Heston frequently spoke out against what he saw as evidence of the decline and debasement of American culture. In 1992, appalled by the lyrics on “Cop Killer,” a recording by the rap artist Ice T, he blasted the album at a Time Warner stockholders meeting and was a force in having it withdrawn from the marketplace.


The next year, in his 70’s, he was elected president of the N.R.A. In his speech at the association’s convention before his election, he trained his oratorical artillery on President Bill Clinton: “Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-yearold daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.” He was in the news again after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., in April 1999, when he said that the N.R.A.’s annual membership meeting. “I worked six weeks learning how to manage the four white horses,” he said. In a memorable scene from “Bowling for Columbine,” a 2002 documentary about violence in America, the director, Michael Moore, visited Mr. Heston at his home and asked him how he could defend his pro-gun stance. Preparing for “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” he read hundreds of Michelangelo’s letters and practiced how to sculpt and paint. Mr. Heston ended the interview without comment. He had always hated the thought of retirement and once explained his relentless drive as an actor. “You never get it right,” he said in a 1986 interview. “Never once was it the way I imagined it lying awake at 4 o’clock in the morning thinking about it the next day.” His goal remained, he said, “to get it right one time.”

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During World War II, the French Foreign Legion’s 13th Demi-Brigade lived up to the celebrated outfit’s blood and guts reputation. But its members got little recognition in the end. BYJOHNW.OSBORNJR.

La Légion ét blood, san 22

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trangère: nd and snow First edition 2010



t is doubtful that any other militarv- unit had a more peripatetic journey through World War II than the 13th Demi-Brigade of the French Foreign Legion {13th DBLE). The Legionnaires fought from the fi^ozen fjords of Noru’ay, around Africa, in the searing deserts of the Middle East, in the mountains of Italy, in France and finally during the grim push into GeiTnany. Along the way, they fought just about every kind of enemy thrown at them— and on a couple of occasions each other. Foirned originally to fight the Russians, the unit included the only woman Legionnaire ever and was commanded by a czarist prince out of Beau Geste. Although the Legions only winter experience in over 100 years was its brief participation in the 1918-19 intervention in Russia, the French goverjiment nevertheless decided to create a Legion fonnation to help Finland in its 1939-40 Winter War with Russia. Fomied on March 27, 1940, hc brigade had an initial strength oi 55 officers, 210 noncommissioned officers and 1,984 men—with Spanish Loyalists fleeing General Francisco Francos \ictorious Nationalists constituting the largest national bloc at around 25 percent—and was commanded by Colonel Raoul Magrin-Vemerey, who had been wounded 17 times in World War I and had served in the Legion since 1924. Finland had by then capitulated, but in April France decided to send the DBLE as part of the Allied expeditionarv’ force to oppose the German invasion of Norway After cureory winter training at Larzac in south-central France, where a quarter of its personnel was peeled off to augment new units, the 13th DBLF was loaded aboard at Brest with the objective of seizing the far northern port of Narvik from the Germans’ giip. the German commander at Nar\’ik’s response was: “The Foreign Legion? Those intemational tbugs. The British should be ashamed to use them against us.” As for singleminded Legionnaire commander Magrin-Vemerey, he did notgive a damn what the Germans thought or even the reason he was being sent: “What is my aim? To take Narvik. For the Norwegians? The phosphates? The anchovies? I haven’t the slighest idea. But 1 shall take Narvik.” The DBLE landed seven miles north of Narvik on May 6, to begin a slow, deadly drive on the town. Norway was an eerie silent war, where gunfire echoed with a hollow sound against the snow-capped mountains,” described Geofhey Bocca in La Legion!: The French Foreign Legion and the Men Who Made 11 Glorious. Blizzards drove temperatures down to 60 degrees below zero. One Legionnaire shrugged it off with “snow is likesand, but cold.” French Corporal Charles Favrel had a rather dilferent reaction when he found a Spaniard fiozen to death, eyes open, still in his firing position. Favrel would soon have the even grimmer experience of leading to the firing squad and helping to execute for desertion two brothers from Luxembourg.The demibrigade made a second landing south of Namk on May 28. For five hours the men were pinned down by artillery and machine gun fire until Magrin-Vemerey came ashore, grabbed a submachine gun and led the charge up the slopes. Outnumbered 3-to-1, the 1,500 Legionnaires drove the Germans out of Nai-vik. This first Allied land victoiy of World War II proved to be worih absolutely nothing. Though the Legionnaires were driving the GeiTnans 10 miles to the Swedish border, France was collapsing. The Allies were ordered out of Nor^way. The Legion evacuated June 7, having lost seven officers, five NCOs and 55 men. In an innovative touch, the rear guai’d left uniformed dummies in their positions to cover their pullout. By the time the 13th landed at Brest, France had surrendered. Some Legionnaires considered discontinuing the fighting until MagrinVemerey shot dead a regular lieutenant who asked him to stop fighting. The Legionnaires then took heed and hoarded a channel ferry to England with their leader. Magiin-Vemerey knew how to 24

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make a point in as few words as possible. There, the demi-brigade split: 31 officers and 636 men elected to retum to North Africa, and Magrin-Vemerey, 28 officers and 900 men signed up with Charles de Gaulle’s Free French—for six months. “I knew I had enough in the paychest to keep the men going for six months,” explained Magrin-Vemerey, who thereafter fought under the nom de guerre of Monclar to protect his family in France. The period between the fall of Syria in the summer of 1941 land the end ofthe North African campaign in May, 1943 might be considered the golden age of the 13th DBLE in World War II, according to historian Douglas Porch. It would be withoul Magrin nto the Foreign Legion. Given the choice between repatriation or joining the demi-brigade, only 692 of Syria’s 3,000-man Vichy Legion ganison, and just two officers, signed up. After the bitterness of Syria came the high point for the 13th DBLE and for the entire Legion during WWII: its crucial role in the defense of Bir Hacheim between May 27 and June 10, 1942. Anchoring the southem tip ofthe British Gazala line, Bir Hacheim was a nine-mile, six-sided box position on a vast plateau, hot as a skillet and blasted by wind and sand. Making up a third of the Free French ganison under the command of Genei-aJ PieneKoenig were Amilakvari and 957 men of the 13th DBLE. Among them were German Jews and leftists fleeing Adolf Hitler, as well as a future premier of France, Pieire Messmer. Koenig’s British driver, Susan Travers, who was enlisted on the spot, would be the only woman ever to serve in the French Foreign Legion. The wounded who could walk were ordered to get out and continue on foot to lessen the weight of the vehicles picking their way through the mines. From starting off as a reasonably

wellplanned evacuation it had become a shambolic flight.”Aniving at Bir Hacheim on February 14, 1942, the Legionnaires and other Free French spent threemonths digging 1,200 trenches, gun pits and command posts and laying minefields and then waited for the inevitable blow to fall. The digging paid off; General Erwin Rommel first sent in Italian aimor In less than an hour, 33 tanks were blown up in the minefields, blasted almost point blank by Legion gunners {one of the GeiTnan Legionnaires alone took out seven tanks) or put out of action by Legionnaires shoving grenades through their visors. The stunned Italian commander said after his capture, “We were told we could crush you in 15 minutes.” Rommel outnumbered the Free French by over !0-to-1, but it took him almost 15 days to occupy Bir Hacheim. Amilakvari was always in the thick of it with kepi and cape, as the fighting grew as fierce as the 120-degree heat. Rommel threw in armor, infantiy and combined assaults. The Legionnaires in return “opened fire again with undiminished violence,” Rommel wiote, then countercharged on foot and in open Bren gun carriers. Messmer destroyed 15 German tanks. Lieutenant Jean Deve, a World War I veteran and former railway man, threw himself at German annor to the very end. On the final day he was last seen with his nearly severed head dangling over the side of his canier. One philosophic Legionnaire who had been his comrade at Narvik said, “We’re the men whose bootprints fill with shells.” German artilleiy kept on shelling Bir Hacheim. Dive bombei-s flew 1,400 soities. unloading 1,500 tons of explosives. The defenses the Legionnaires had helped to build were good ones. Only 14 Legionnaires were killed and 17 wounded during the heavy siege. For the Legion, though, Bir Hacheim was a continuation of its private civil war One of the Ahika Kotps units most remorselessly assaulting Bir Hacheim was First edition 2010


the361st infantery Regiment, composed of German ex-Legionnaires repatriated, many of them willingly, under the 1940 aiTnistice that Adolf Hitler had forced on Petain. British command finally authorized a nighttime breakout. Monclar’s fears were bomc out as the Vichy Legion garrison fiercely resisted the DBLE and the British, losing 128 killed, 728 wounded. The bitter division ofthe French army in WWII between de Gaulle and Henri Petain, particularly in the officer corps. The wounded who could walk were ordered to get out. The period between the fall of Syria in the summer of 1941 land the end ofthe North African campaign in May, 1943 might be considered the golden age of the 13th DBLE in World War II, according to historian Douglas Porch. It would be withoul Magrin-Vemerey/ Monclar, however. He had opposed invading Vlchy-held Syria due to the risk of fighting the Legion garrison there. Monclar was replaced by the Legion’s outstanding hero of WWII, Prince Dimitri Amilakvari of Georgia. He had fled the Russian Revolution at 11 and joined the Legion at 20. “Amilakvari is the Legion,” said Monclar. Disdaining to trade his kepi for a helmet, Amilakvari was always immaculately turned out. He believed that “when one risks appearing before God, one must be properly dressed.” Although the 13lh DBLE’s casualties in the brief (June 8-July 14,1941)Syriacampaign were slight—21 killed, 47 wounded— Monclar’s fears were bomc out as the Vichy Legion garrison fiercely resisted the DBLE and the British, losing 128 killed, 728 wounded. The bitter division ofthe French army in WWII between de Gaulle and Henri Petain, particularly in the officer corps, had found its way into the Foreign Legion. Given the choice between repatriation or joining the demi-brigade, only 692 of Syria’s 3,000-man Vichy 26

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Legion ganison, and just two officers, signed up. After the bitterness of Syria came the high point for the 13th DBLE and for the entire Legion during WWII: its crucial role in the defense of Bir Hacheim between May 27 and June 10, 1942. Anchoring the southem tip ofthe British Gazala line, Bir Hacheim was a nine-mile, six-sided box position on a vast plateau, hot as a skillet and blasted by wind and sand. Making up a third of the Free French ganison under the command of Genei-aJ PieneKoenig were Amilakvari and 957 men of the 13th DBLE. Among them were German Jews and leftists fleeing Adolf Hitler, as well as a future premier of France, Pieire Messmer. The Free French went out in vehicles and on foot. Susan Travers later recalled her adventures in driving Koenig and Amilakvari: “Shells were falling around us like rain and sudden, violent explosions tore the night, showering our car with burning metal....The wounded who could walk were ordered to get out and continue on foot to lessen the weight of the vehicles picking their way through the mines. From starting off as a reasonably wellplanned evacuation it had become a shambolic flight.” Soon on their own, Koenig, Amilakvari and Travers came within yards of a German camp and shot off into the darkness, with German gunfire behind them. The last stragglers out of Bir Hacheim reached British lines three days later. He believed that “when one risks appearing before God, one must be properly dressed.”

MH John A. Osboni Jr. is a hislory writer based in Laguna Niguel, Calif. For further reading, he recommends: The French Foreign Legion: Complete Histoiy of The Legendarv Fighting Force, by Douglas Porch; and Geoffrey Bocca’s La Legion!: The French Foreign Legion and the Men Who Made It Glorious.

The Guns of James Bond by Lawrence Hardy

James Bond is fictional. His weapons are not. Here is the inside story of why he abandoned his favorite gun.


ames Bond is the hero of a succession of immensely popular mystery novels by the British author Ian Fleming. Bond is an agent of the British Secret Service, and the charm he exerts on his readers—who include the President of the United States—is based partly on the drama of his assignments but even more on the factual detail of each Fleming book. Although Bond’s extravagant adventures (between torrid love affairs with improbably beautiful and compliant ladies he has been tossed to a giant squid, tied to a buzz saw and poisoned by a drug derived from the sex organs of the Japanese globefish) have caused his originator to be described as “a sort of British Mickey Spillane,” Author Fleming is really a reserved English gentleman with a passion for accuracy. As such, he willingly listened and learned when Gun Expert Geoffrey Boothroyd wrote him concerning what Boothroyd thought were errors in Bond’s choice of weapons. Fleming was so pleased with Boothroyd’s constructive criticism that he not only followed his suggestions but incorporated Boothroyd into his next book as “The Armourer” of the British Secret Service. The article that begins on the next page is Fleming’s account of his correspondence with Boothroyd. It is both an authoritative discussion of small arms and a fascinating detective story in itself. Some reviewers of my books about James Bond have been generous in commending the accuracy of the expertise which forms a considerable part of the background furniture of these books. 28

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I may say that correspondents from all over the world have been equally enthusiastic in writing to point out errors in this expertise, and the mistakes I have made, approximately one per volume, will no doubt forever continue to haunt my In basket. But it is true that I take very great pains over the technical and geographical background to James Bond’s adventures, and during and after the writing of each book I consult innumerable authorities in order to give solidity and integrity to his exploits. Without this solid springboard, there would perhaps be justification for the frequent criticisms that James Bond’s adventures are fantastic, though I maintain that such criticism comes from people who simply do not read the newspapers or who have not taken note of the revealing peaks of the great underwater iceberg that is Secret Service warfare. The frogman mystery of Commander Crabb, Khokhlov and the bullet-firing cigarette case with which his Russian masters hoped to have a West German propaganda expert assassinated, the whole of the U-2 affair—what incidents in my serial biography of James Bond are more fantastic than these? It was in pursuit of verisimilitude that my friendship with Geoffrey Boothroyd was born in May 1956, and I think it may be an interesting sidelight on the work of two enthusiasts, one in thriller writing and the other in gun lore, for me to print here our correspondence and then to recount the rather bizarre sequel to the long and

forceful letter that came to me one day from Glasgow to which I promptly replied. “I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25. “May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver? This has many advantages for the type of shooting that he is called on to perform and I am certain that Mr. Leiter [ Bond’s sometime associate] would agree with this recommendation. The Beretta will weigh, after it has been doctored, somewhere under 1 pound unloaded. If Mr. Bond gets himself an S & W .38 Special Centennial Airweight he will have a real man-stopper weighing only 17 ounces loaded. The gun is hammerless so that it can be drawn without catching in the clothing and has an overall length of 6 inches. Barrel length is 2 inches, but note that it is not ‘sawn off.’ No one who can buy his pistols in the States will go to the trouble of sawing off pistol barrels as they can be purchased with short 2-inch barrels from the manufacturers. In order to keep down the bulk the cylinder holds five cartridges, and these are standard .38 S & W Special. It is an extremely accurate cartridge and when fired from a 2-inch barrel has, in standard loading, a muzzle velocity of almost 700 ft./sec. and muzzle energy of around 200 ft./lbs. This is against Bond’s .25 Beretta with muzzle velocity of 758 ft./sec. but only 67 ft./lbs. muzzle energy.


o much for his personal gun. Now he must have a real manstopper to carry in the car. For this purpose the S & W .357 Magnum has no equal except the .44 Magnum. With the .357, Bond can still use his S & W .38 Special cartridges, although not vice versa. The .357 Magnum can be obtained in barrel lengths as follows: 3 inches, 5 inches, 6 inches, 6� inches and 8? inches long. With a 6-inch barrel and adjustable rear sights Bond could do some really effective shooting, getting with the .357 Magnum a muzzle velocity of about 1,300 ft./sec. and a muzzle energy of nearly 600 ft./lbs. Figures like these give an effective range of 300 yards, and it’s very accurate, too—1-inch groups at 20 yards on a machine rest. “With these two guns Bond would be able to cope with really quickdraw work and long-range effective shooting.” Now to gun harness, rigs or what have you. First of all, not a shoulder holster for general wear, please. I suggest that the little Centennial Airweight be carried in a ‘Lightning’ Berns-Martin Triple Draw holster. This type of holster holds the gun in by means of a spring and can be worn on the belt or as a shoulder holster. I have played about with various types of holster for quite a time now and this one is the best. Here are descriptions of how it works—as a belt holster and as a shoulder holster: “A Series. Holster worn on belt at right side. Pistol drawn with right hand. “1) Ready position. Note that the gun is not noticeable. “2) First movement. Weight moves to left foot. Hand draws back coat and sweeps forward to catch butt of pistol. Finger outside holster. “3) Gun comes out of holster through the split front. “4) In business. “This draw can be done in 3/5ths of a second, and with practice and lots of it you could hit a figure at 20 feet in that time. First edition 2010


“B Series. Shoulder holster. Gun upside down on left side. Held in by spring. Drawn with right hand. “1) First position. “2) Coat drawn back by left hand, gun butt grasped by right hand, finger outside holster. “3) Gun coming out of holster. 4) Bang! You’re dead. “C Series. Holster worn on belt, as in A, but gun drawn with left hand. “1) Draw commences. Butt held by first two fingers of left hand. Third finger and little finger ready to grasp trigger. “2) Ready to shoot. Trigger is pulled by third and little finger, thumb curled round stock, gun upside down. “This really works but you need a cutaway trigger guard. “D Series. Holster worn on shoulder, as in B, but gun drawn with left hand. “1) Coat swept back with left hand and gun grasped. “2) Gun is pushed to the right to clear holster and is ready for action. “I trust this will explain what I mean. The gun used is an S & W .38 Special with a sawn-off barrel to 2� inches. (I know this contradicts what I said over the page but I can’t afford the $64 needed, so I had to make my own.) It has target sights—ramp front sight, adjustable rear sight—rounded butt, special stocks and a cutaway trigger guard. “If you have managed to read this far I hope that you will accept the above in the spirit that it is offered. I have enjoyed your books immensely and will say right now that I have no criticism of the women in them, except that I’ve never met any like them and would doubtless get into trouble if I did.”


really am most grateful for your splendid letter of May 23rd. “You have entirely convinced me, and I propose, perhaps not in the next volume of James Bond’s memoirs but in the subsequent one, to change his weapons in accordance with your instructions. “Since I am not in the habit of stealing another man’s expertise, I

shall ask you in due course to accept remuneration for your most valuable technical aid. “Incidentally, can you suggest where I can see a .38 Airweight in London? Who would have one? “As a matter of interest, how do you come to know so much about these things? I was delighted with the detailed explanation of how the holster operates and greatly impressed. If ever there is talk of making films of some of James Bond’s stories in due course, I shall suggest to the company concerned that they might like to consult you on some technical aspects. But they may not take my advice, so please do not set too much store by this suggestion. “From the style of your writing it occurs to me that you may have written books or articles on these subjects. Is that so? “Bond has always admitted to me that the .25 Beretta was not a stopping gun, and he places much more reliance on his accuracy with it than in any particular qualities of the gun itself. As you know, one gets used to a gun and it may take some time for him to settle down with the Smith & Wesson. But I think M [ Bond’s chief in the Secret Service, always referred to by the initial] should advise him to make a change, as also in the case of the .357 Magnum. “He also agrees to give a fair trial to the Berns-Martin holster, but he is inclined to favour something a little more casual and less bulky. The well-worn chamois leather pouch under his left arm has become almost a part of his clothes, and he will be loth to make a change, though, here again, M may intervene. “At the present moment Bond is particularly anxious for expertise on the weapons likely to be carried by Russian agents, and I wonder if you have any information on this. As Bond’s biographer I am most anxious to see that he lives as long as possible and I shall be most grateful for any further technical advices you might like me to pass on to him. “Again, with very sincere thanks for your extremely helpful and workmanlike letter.” “I was truly delighted to receive your charming letter. This is the first time I have had either the inclination or the temerity to write

“Bond has always admitted to me that the .25 Beretta was not a stopping gun, and he places much more reliance on his accuracy with it than in any particular qualities of the gun itself. ”

Boothrod to Flemming, 31st may 30

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“I do both muzzle-loading and breech-loading shooting, load my own shotgun and pistol ammunition. Shoot with pistol, mainly target, and collect arms of various sorts.”

Boothrod to Flemming, 1st june

to the author of any books that pass through my hands; quite frankly, in many cases the rest of the material is not worth backing up by correct and authentic ‘gun dope.’ You have, incidentally, enslaved the rest of my household, people staying up to all hours of the night in an endeavour to finish a book before some other interested party swipes it. “If I am to be considered for the post of Bond’s ballistic man I should give you my terms of reference. Age 31, English, unmarried. I shoot with shotgun and rifle—target, clay pigeon, deer but, to my deep regret, no big game. (I cherish a dream that one day a large tiger or lion will escape from the zoo or a travelling circus and I can bag it in Argyle St., Glasgow, or Princes St., Edinburgh.) I do both muzzle-loading and breech-loading shooting, load my own shotgun and pistol ammunition. Shoot with pistol, mainly target, and collect arms of various sorts.


y present collection numbers about 45, not as many as in some collections, but all of mine go off and have been fired by me. Shooting and gun lore is a jolly queer thing; most people stick to their own field, rather like stamp collectors who specialise in British Colonials. Such people shoot only with the rifle and often only .303, or only .22. There are certain rather odd types like myself who have a go at the lot, including archery. It’s a most fascinating study if one has the time, and before long it’s either given up and you collect old Bentleys or it becomes an obsession. We all have a pet aspect of our hobby, and mine at present is this business of ‘draw and shoot,’ or the gun lore of close-combat weapons. On reflection it is pretty stupid, as it’s most unlikely that I shall ever do this sort of thing in earnest, but it has the pleasant advantage of not having, very many fish in

the pond and however you look at it you are an authority. In Scotland I have the space to do this sort of thing, and have two friends who are not 150 miles away to talk to. I seem to have taken up a lot of space on this—must want to impress you! “Now to the work. The S & W Airweight model is not common in England, at least in a shop. I therefore enclose S & W’s latest catalogue, which shows current models. Perhaps you would let me have this back, as I have to send it off to another chap who is going to S. America and he wants to buy a gun when he gets there. Major Boothroyd echoes the strictures of Geoffrey Boothroyd, and James Bond, much to his preliminary annoyance, departs on his mission against the redoubtable Doctor No with a Walther PPK 7.65-mm. with a Berns-Martin holster for close work and a Smith & Wesson .38 Centennial Air-weight for longer-range work. Unfortunately, even after the careful coaching by the real-life Boothroyd, a couple of the dreadful technical errors that dog each of my books here again crept in. There are certain rather odd types like myself who have a go at the lot, including archery. The BernsMartin holster can, in fact, only be used with revolvers, and not I but the real-life Boothroyd received a sharp letter which said, “If he [ Bond] carries on using this PPK out of that Berns-Martin rig I shall have to break down and write a rude letter to Fleming. I realize that writers have a whole lot of licence but this is going too far!” Second, for longer-range work, The Armourer, or Major Boothroyd, should have equipped Bond with the S & W .357 Magnum as the real Boothroyd suggested, instead of with the S & W .38 Centennial Airweight, which he had suggested as the closework gun.

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Colt's Police Special by Paul Scarlata


n 1888 Ehbets patented a mechanism whereby the cylinder was locked in position by a sliding latch on the frame that was connected to a pin that entered a recess in the ratchet at the rear of the cylinder, locking it in place. Pulling the latch to the rear allowed the cylinder to be swung open and pushing the ejector rod extracted the spent cartridges. All Colt swing-out-cylinder revolvers produced since then use the same basic system. In 1889 and 1892, the U.S. Navy and Army adopted revolvers chambered for the .38 Long Colt cartridge (see Shooting Times May 2005). 1907 saw the introduction of the Colt Police Positive revolver chambered for the .32 Colt, .32 New Police, and .38 New Police which quickly replaced the old standards that were commonly used in the years before.


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Constructed on the medium-sized “D” frame, it was seen as suitable for both holster and concealed carry. The “Positive” in the name refers to the Colt Positive Lock hammerblock safety, which interposes a steel bar between the hammer and the frame that prevents the hammer from going completely forward unless the trigger is pulled through a complete stroke. The competing S&W M&P revolver was smaller and lighter than Colt’s revolvers, and so Colt responded with the Police Positive Special, which used the medium frame mated to a cylinder lengthened 0.25 inch in order to handle the longer .38 S&W Special cartridge (a.k.a. “.38 Colt Special”). At the time of the Police Positive’s introduction, the American civilian revolver market was still dominated by .32-caliber revolvers,

and the .38 Spl. cartridge did not catch on with civilians until well into the 1920s. In addition, there was a specialized segment of the revolver market that Colt had been addressing for many decades. Colt had long offered revolvers chambered for the popular .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40 Winchester cartridges. The convenience of a common cartridge for one’s long arm and sidearm had obvious advantages, and the popularity of such rifle/revolver combinations grew quickly with American shooters. At the time, rifles firing the .32-20, and the later .25-20 WCF, were the most popular “varmint guns” because they provided accuracy and sufficient killing power with low levels of penetration, noise, and pelt damage. For those reasons, rifles and handguns firing these cartridges were very popular with varmint hunters, trappers, and farmers that started using them more and more frequent-

ly after their introduction and kept on doing so for quite some time.

them dropped in 1978 after approximately 650,000 had left the factory.

In 1905 Colt began marketing the Navy/ Army revolvers chambered for the .32-20, and the popular Police Positive series was chambered for the .32-20.

My brother Vincent’s apparently bottomless gun collection contains a .32-20 Police Positive Special made in 1916 that is in verygood-plus condition. The cylinder locks up

The .32-20 Police Positive Special was available with 4-, 5-, or 6-inch barrels; fixed sights; and with a choice of blue or nickel finishes. At various times in the model’s production life, the grips were made from hard rubber, checkered walnut, or a synthetic material known as “Coltwood.” The grip frame had a distinctive forward curve common to most of the pre-World War II medium-frame revolvers. Besides being a companion for .32-20 rifles, it offered .32 aficionados a cartridge with considerably more “oomph” than the .32 Colt New Police which we liked.

"Besides being a companion for .32-20 rifles, it offered .32 aficionados a cartridge with considerably more oomph than the .32 Colt New Police."

The only significant cosmetic change to the series occurred around 1926 when the grip frame was shortened slightly. Production was severely curtailed during World War II, and eventually it was discontinued in 1946. In the postwar years the modified Police Positive Special Second Model and Third Model were introduced, but sales were poor, and increased competition from S&W saw

as tight as a new gun, and the DA trigger pull is more than acceptable. It has a 6-inch barrel marked “POLICE POSITIVE SPECIAL .32-20 W.C.F.” While the forward-curving

grip frame felt a bit odd in my hand at first, it is a finely made and--thanks in great part to the longer barrel--well-balanced revolver. The sights are easy to see and fast to align, somewhat of a rarity on handguns of that era. My friend Butch Simpson and I put the lightweight medium-sized revolver to the test by using Black Hills and Winchester .3220 ammo. Firing the gun across a rest at a measured 15 yards was a bit of a trial because the oddly shaped grips ensured that the trigger guard impacted the knuckle of the shooter’s middle finger with each shot. Regardless, we persevered and produced groups that ranged from 3.38 to 4.13 inches in size at 15 yards, something which we were quite satisfied with. Because .32-20 revolvers were traditionally intended as sidearms for hunters and trappers, in the case of the Colt, I devised a different method of evaluating its offhand shooting capabilities. Instead of perforating combat-type targets, I set up a pair of Outers prairie dog targets, and we plinked away at these imaginary vermin at a distance of 10 yards, firing the revolver in single- and double-action modes. We had no trouble putting all of our rounds inside the kill zone of the paper critter.

This Police Positive Special was made in 1916, so the “Coltwood” plastic grips are a later replacement. The 6-inch barrel gave it a nicely balanced look and feel.

First edition 2010



alashnikov was born on November 10, 1919, in the village of Kurya, Altai Territory, to a large peasant family. After finishing the 9-th form of a secondary school M T. Kalashnikov went to work in the Matai depot as an apprentice and was subsequently a technical clerk in the employ of a Turkistan-Siberian railway department. In 1938 M T. Kalashnikov was called up for Red Army, served in a special military region in Kiev, there he finished the tank mechanical school. During the service in army he devised an inertia revolution counter to register the number of actual shots from a tank gun, made a special appliance for the “TT” pistol to inhance fire effectiveness through tank turret slits and designed a tank running time meter. In June, 1941 Mikhail Timofeevitch with his last invention was directed by the Commander-in-Chief general G.K. Zhukov to Leningrad to implement his recent invention. With the beginning of The Great Patriotic War senior sergeant M T. Kalashnikov participated in battles with fascists as a commander of the tank. In October, 1941 in fierce battles under Bryansk he was heavily wounded and shell-shocked. While in hospital, Mikhail Timofeevitch concieved the idea of a submachine gun. Later while on a six-month sick leave he arrived at the station Matai. He carried out his idea in depot’s workshops with the help of the leadership and comrades. When the submachine gun was ready M T. Kalashnikov was directed to Moscow Aviation Institute, which had been evacuated to Alma-Ata. 36

First edition 2010


In June, 1942 the second model of a Kalashnikov submachine gun was developed in workshops of the institute. This very model was sent for a reference to Dzerzhinsky Ordnance Academy. The outstanding soviet scientist in the field of shooting arms A. A. Blagonravov took an interest in the Kalashnikov submachine gun. Though he didn’t recommend the submachine gun for service, the talent of the inventor, originality in the decision of a lot of technical

questions were highly estimated by him and as a result Blagonravov made everything to direct the self-taught-designer to study. Since 1942 M. T. Kalashnikov served in Central Research Small Arms Range of the Main Ordnance Directorate of the Red Army. In 1944 Kalashnikov developed an experimental model of the self-loading carbine, it’s main units became the base for

First edition 2010


"Before attempting to create something new, it is vital to have a good appreciation of everything that already exists in this field." to the midst of 1990 there were made about 70 millions units of Kalashnikov submachine guns of various modifications both in our country and abroad including those made under license and piratically (till nowadays the invention has not been patented). The cause of such great popularity of Kalashnikov submachine guns is in fact that Mikhail Timofeevitch has achieved an optimum combination of a number of qualities which provide the usage of guns with high efficiency of application and exclusive reliability in battles.

a creation of a new submachin gun in 1946 which gained a brilliant victory in difficult competitive tests. In 1949 after completion the automatic device was adopted by the Soviet Army, and senior sergeant M.T. Kalashnikov was awarded by the Stalin Price First Class. Since 1949 Mikhail Timofeevitch has been living and working in Izhevsk. He went through a way from a self-taught-inventor up to the General Designer of small arms in the Soviet Army. A range of the unified models of automatic small arms developed by Kalashnikov was addopted by the Soviet Army in 1950. The Goverment highly estimated M. T. Kalashnikov’s serveces to the country. He was twice honoured as Hero of Socialist Labour (1958 and 1976) and became Stalin Prize (1949) and Lenin Prize (1964) laureate. In 1969 he was given the rank of Colonel and in 1971 awarded degree of Doctor of engineering science. M. T. Kalashnikov was decorated with three Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of the Great Patriotic War of the First Class, Order of the Red Star and many medals.

Although his first submachine gun design was not accepted to service, his talent as a designer was noticed. From 1942 onwards Kalashnikov was assigned to the Central Scientific-developmental Firing Range for Rifle Firearms of the Chief Artillery Directorate of RKKA. Later in life he claimed that the priority of simplicity and dependability in his designs was influenced by principles he had gained from reading of Russian literature and the Bible. In 1944, he designed a gas-operated carbine for the new 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge; this weapon, influenced by the Garand self-loading rifle, lost out to the new Simonov carbine which would be eventually adopted as the SKS; but it became a basis for his entry in an assault rifle competition in 1946. His winning entry, the “Mikhtim” (so named by taking the first letters of his name and patronymic Mikhail Timofeyevich) became the prototype for the development of a family of prototype rifles. This process culminated in 1947, when he designed the AK-47 (standing for Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947). In 1949, the AK47 assault rifle became the Soviet Army’s standard issue rifle and went on to become Kalashnikov’s most famous invention. After WWII, as General Designer of small arms for the Soviet Army, his design subordinates included the Germans Hugo Schmeisser, designer of the StG-44, and Werner Grüner (of MG 42 fame) who was a pioneer in sheet metal embossing technology in the 1950s.

The President of Russia B.N. Eltsin personally decorated the outstanding designer M. T. Kalashnikov with the Order “For Distinguished Services for the Motherland” Second Class and promoted him to Major-General to his 75th anniversary.

Over the course of his career he evolved the basic design into a weapons family. The AKM (“Avtomat Kalashnikov Modernizirovanniy” - Automatic Kalashnikov Modernized) first appeared in 1963, which was lighter and cheaper to manufacture due to the use of a stamped steel receiver (in place of the AK47’s milled steel receiver), and contained detail improvements such as a re-shaped stock and muzzle compensator. From the AKM he developed a squad automatic weapon variant, known as the RPK (Ruchnoi pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov light machine gun), and also the PK (Pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov machine gun).

The submachine guns of the Kalashnikov system are widespread all over the world. Some countries have included its image in the State Emblem. Under the items of information available in the literature

The PK series is a general purpose machine gun, which is cartridge belt-fed, not magazine-fed, as it is intended to fill the heavy tripodmounted sustained fire role as well as the light, bipod-mounted.

Since 1980 M. T. Kalashnikov has been a citizen of honour in his native village of Kurya. His bronze bust was placed there as he was twice awarded Hero of Socialist Labour. In 1987 he became a honourable citizen of Izhevsk.


First edition 2010

Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников The legacy of Kalashnikov’s rifles as the most popular assault rifles has prompted him to state that:

“I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists,” he said on a visit to Germany, adding: “I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work — for example a lawnmower.”

"I am still ready to shake hands with anyone who designs a better assault rifle than mine." First edition 2010


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