One of the neat things about taking the plunge into the archives, documents, videos, and even blog posts concerning firearms history, is that it really shatters the perception of a “complete” picture of firearms history created by tabletop books that attempt to catalog “every” type of firearm. A great example of what I mean is the BSA prototype pistol in .45 ACP, up for auction at James D. Julia. Forgotten Weapons has, again, provided coverage of the auction, including this great video on the handgun.
The pistol really is one of a kind; no production examples were made. Prototypes existed in .32 ACP, .45 ACP, and a unique .34 caliber cartridge. Of those, three are known to exist today, and the example in the video is the only one chambered in .45 ACP.
The handgun works via my favorite method of handgun operation, rotating barrel recoil operation. In my opinion, rotary barrel operation could have easily become the dominant mechanism for self-loading handguns, instead of Browning-style tilting-barrel operation. Browning designed his rotary barrel pistol in 1896, and it’s not difficult to imagine that method of operating catching on instead of his now ubiquitous tilting barrel type.