Monday, March 12, 2012

Looking for Early (pre-1960) Ads for High Capacity Pistols

I am looking for print ads showing high capacity semiautomatic pistols for sale in the U.S. before 1960.  I have Browning Hi-Power ads from 1960 onward, and announcement of the AR-15 for sale in 1965.  I would like examples further back.  This is for an upcoming paper.


  1. It is only one year better, but here's a 1959 Hi-Power Ad --

  2. I'm not sure about semi-automatic pistols. There might be some Mauser Broomhandle, but that had a rifle conversion kit. Lugers had 32-round drums available, but, again, with a conversion kit.

    I think the problem is that almost all manufacturers limited the magazine size to fit in the handgun's grip. So there won't be many "high capacity" unless they were small caliber (.22 or such) or similar to the Broomhandle. Ergonomics dictated the capacity more than anything else. (I'm guessing the capacity didn't really matter since pistols reloaded much faster than revolvers.)

    I know there were some odd revolvers that carried something like 20 rounds of ammunition. One was a French pin-fire revolver, another was a "chain pistol" (from the 1860s!) which used a chain of ammo as opposed to a magazine.

    There were harmonica guns/pistols which didn't have a high capacity, but probably reloaded faster than revolvers (since ammo was loaded in a slide rather than a cylinder). Not as convenient to carry from the looks of it, though.

    Beyond handguns, I know there were definitely ads for Thompson sub-machine guns (showing a cowboy shooting a coyote/wolf). There might have been ads for war surplus machine guns or such. And, of course, M1 carbines had to be sold somehow.

    I believe there were some "civilian" rifles that carried more than the 10-round limit gun controllers want (it's a little confusing, as sometimes the Brady Campaign considers 15-rounds "low capacity" when ranking states). But those might have been "Police Use Only" types of sales.

    And completely unrelated, someone made a gun-bicycle in the 1940s:

  3. Browning's own website says the Hi-Power was introduced to US market in 1954.

  4. Re: Alcibiades
    I have been looking for that Thompson ad for years, and nobody else seems to remember it. Have you seen any recently, or do you know where I could find that image (the cowboy shooting the wolves/coyotes)?

  5. Not wolves, but cattle rustlers.,r:0,s:0,i:76