Let’s talk antique guns: the Husqvarna m40 and the Gustoff Volkssturmgewehr!

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Just the other day, Forgotten Weapons put up a story by Peter Rasmussen about the Husqvarna M 40 pistol (sometimes referred to as a Lahti, for its designer Eimo Lathi.) Rasmussen goes into some detail regarding the pistol and its history in Sweden, including the reasons for it eventual demise.

This was particularly interesting to me as I once owned an M 40. I found it at a local gun show, pristine and complete with holster, two magazines, loading tool, and cleaning rod. There had been a fair number of them imported some years earlier, and this was one of those guns.

The fellow who was selling it was surprised that I knew what it was, and I didn’t blow that impression by telling him I’d read an article on the gun just a few months earlier. Most people, he told me, picked it up thinking that it was a Luger. With the steep grip angle and exposed barrel, I can imagine that happening – then again, I wonder if people do the same when encountering a Ruger Standard?

That exposed barrel makes the M 40 look like it should be light as a feather. It’s not! The pictures in the article don’t do justice to the size of the gun; it’s quite large, and made from lots of steel. That equals mass, and as a result the M 40 is no lightweight. The consequence of all that heft is relatively mild recoil, though the rearward weight bias leads to more muzzle flip than the recoil impulse might suggest. Accuracy was fairly good given the tiny rear sight aperture, and the trigger was actually darned nice; this seems to be a hit-or-miss condition, as I’ve handled others which were much worse.

In the end I sold it because of the well-known durability issues. Still, it was a fun gun while it lasted!

Another piece of news from Forgotten Weapons: Ian’s other blog, GunLab, will finally get some new articles. GunLab was intended to be the place where he’d discuss gun design, prototyping and manufacturing, but of late has been a little sparse on content. It’s coming back with a very interesting project – the re-creation of a very rare rifle, the Gustoff Volkssturmgewehr (better known as the VG1-5.) This was a last-ditch product of wartime Germany, shooting the 7.92 Kurz cartridge issued for the StG 44. I did not know how valuable they were; the article mentions $35k to $54k!

The series of articles will detail the process of recreating this rare piece as it happens, starting at the design stage. Should be very interesting! I wonder if it will go into limited production and be available for sale?

(Some time ago I said that I wasn’t really a gun nerd. No matter how much I try not to be, it appears I am one after all!)

-=[ Grant ]=-

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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