The Colt SCAMP: Yesterday’s Pistol of The Future

1969 was a year of great optimism and achievement for the United States. NASA’s space program took humans to the Moon in July of that year, while the Mariner 6 and 7 probes gave humanity its first close look at the planet Mars. The Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet” took to the skies for the first time in 1969, and that year also marks the sending of the first ARPANET data packet, heralding the very beginning of the Internet age. In 1969, it seemed as though there was nothing that America could not accomplish, if it wanted to.

In the field of small arms development, the air was filled with that same unbridled optimism. In that year, famed pistol manufacturer Colt Industries began to tackle the problem of not just finding a replacement for the aging M1911 handgun, itself an innovative Colt product, but totally rethinking what the infantry sidearm should look like. The engineers at Colt set out to make a successful machine pistol that could replace the semi-automatic handgun, as it had replaced the revolver, giving second-line personnel an unprecedented combination of both firepower and convenience. The result of their efforts would be called the Colt SCAMP, or “Small CAliber Machine Pistol”, a small, lightweight select-fire 27-shot .22 caliber pistol with a novel mechanism and excellent recoil compensation.


The Colt SCAMP, Small Caliber Machine Pistol. This weapon was a select-fire machine pistol using a .22 caliber high velocity centerfire cartridge, and was a modern PDW ahead of its time. Image source:, color corrected by Othais of C&Rsenal and used with his permission.

What would become the Colt SCAMP began with a requirement for a truly controllable machine pistol. At the time, the Personal Defense Weapon concept was beginning to take shape. The World War II US M1 Carbine was perhaps the earliest of the modern PDWs, but in the 1960s the U.S. military – the Air Force in particular – sought newer, more effective weapons for support troops and vehicle crewmen in an increasingly mechanized military force. It was thought that a fully automatic handheld weapon that produced controllable fire would enable the person using it to achieve much greater hit probability due to a “garden hose”-esque pattern of fire. However, attaining this degree of controllability in a weapon designed to be used in the hands without a stock or forward grip is easier said than done. One early attempt at providing this degree of firepower was a weapon called the “Davis Gun” (AKA IMP-221 or GUU-4/P), designed by an engineer named Dale Davis in the mid-1960s for an Air Force requirement for an aircrew survival weapon. This gun was chambered in a variant of the .221 Fireball, loaded with an FMJ projectile, and featured a receiver and grip that rotated axially about the barrel, allowing it to be fired with the arm fully outstretched from either right or left hand. While this concept was very influential on the SCAMP, it was considered too large to be a truly convenient weapon that would be small enough for echelon troops to carry on their persons at all times.


The Colt IMP-221, AKA the “Davis Gun”, showing its ability for the receiver and magazine housing to rotate out of the way of the firer’s arm. This weapon was intended to be fired with the arm extended, like a pistol, and was designed to give aircrews and other personnel the firepower of an infantry rifle at short ranges. Image source:

For a small, handheld weapon to achieve controllable automatic fire, it had to be designed extremely carefully with regards to ergonomics, recoil compensation, and the impulse of the round it fired. The first step towards a high velocity pistol round was the recognition that the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, standardized by NATO earlier in the decade, would not allow this controllable fully automatic fire. The very low impulse .22 Long Rifle was also rejected as being too impotent to be truly useful. Other small rimfire rounds were investigated, including the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire and the 5mm Remington Magnum Rimfire, but these rounds were rejected because it was found that the tolerances for the breech mechanism needed for proper function with them were too tight for a military weapon. Colt’s engineering team thus decided to design their own proprietary round for the SCAMP, which was done by cutting down and blowing out the centerfire .22 Hornet round, trimming the rim off the case, cutting a new extractor groove, and loading propellant, a primer, and a 42 grain .22 caliber projectile into the case. Early .22 SCAMP rounds illustrate the directness of this conversion, as they feature a partially intact “.22 HORNET” headstamp. Interestingly, there is an implication in many of the sources that the .22 SCAMP was only intended as a baseline or placeholder round to develop the platform around, and that it would eventually be developed into even smaller caliber rounds, such as saboted multiple flechette variants, or a .17 caliber variant.


Some of the rounds from the author’s collection. Left to right, .32 ACP (7.65x17SR Browning), 9x19mm Parabellum, .45 ACP, .22 Colt SCAMP, 4.6x30mm HK, 5.7x28mm FN, .22 Johnson Spitfire (5.7×33), .30 Carbine, .22 APG Carbine, 5.56x30mm Colt MARS, .221 Colt IMP. As is highly evident, the .22 SCAMP is a very, very small round, smaller even than the P90’s 5.7x28mm round. This small size, and the correspondingly low impulse of the cartridge when fired, was a key element of the SCAMP.

Later production .22 SCAMP used a 40 grain lead-cored FMJ, producing a muzzle velocity from the machine pistol’s seven-inch barrel of 2,100 ft/s, making the .22 SCAMP a more powerful round than the later and slightly larger 5.7x28mm FN.

By 1970, a Colt design team, lead by the very talented Henry A. Into, had begun constructing a prototype machine pistol to fire the new round. Their requirements were a loaded weight of 3.25 pounds or less, a burst cyclic rate of 1500 rounds per minute, magazine capacity of 27 rounds, a locked breech, gas operated mechanism firing from a closed bolt, and overall dimensions of less than a foot long and less than seven inches high. The pistol was not originally designed with any provision for a shoulder stock or foregrip, and no plans for either are known to exist. The sole prototype machine pistol was constructed of advanced materials for the period, having an impact resistant polymer housing, containing the stainless steel operating components, with minor parts being made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Its mechanism was equally novel: Into and his team analyzed the wide variety of locking systems and operating mechanism used in automatic weapons of all kinds up until that time, and calculated which combination of features would result in the smallest, lightest, cheapest, most reliable weapon. The design born from that analysis was locked into battery by a tilting breechblock, very similar to the Browning Automatic Rifle, or Earl Harvey’s T25 rifle. Motive power for the action was applied at the muzzle to an annular piston – which when combined with corresponding surfaces on the compensator created a gas chamber – operating an internal skeletal slide assembly that actuated cams machined into the breechblock and breech. It was recognized that to attain the best recoil characteristics, the barrel would need to be as low in the grip as possible, therefore the firing mechanism was moved from the usual location to above and behind the mechanism, resulting in the distinctive rear hump of the SCAMP. This mechanism incorporated a novel inverted hammer, swinging down from above, a ratchet-type burst sear, and a three-position selector lever with positions marked S-1-3. The devilishly clever fire control group can be understood with some effort by looking at the patent for the Colt SCAMP, available here.


The SCAMP’s compact, but complicated fire control mechanism. Note the tilting breechblock (labeled 122) in the lower right of the image, similar to that of a Browning Automatic Rifle, the downward swinging hammer (labeled 114), and the ratchet-type burst limiter. Image source:

The SCAMP prototype incorporated sights derived from the M16A1, with a two position flip up rear aperture and an aluminum front post, but the machine pistol also featured a shaped front receiver housing that was designed to act similar to a trap shotgun’s ventilated rib, facilitating rapid, accurate point shooting. The SCAMP’s charging handle was a buried post accessible between the leaves of the housing. A two-cut compensator added a fourth element to the SCAMP’s recoil control system, after the low bore axis, small caliber, high velocity round, and 3 round burst limiter. The prototype clocked in at almost exactly three pounds in weight, fully loaded, and fell well within the dimensional requirements. Since it was designed to be worn, like a handgun, instead of carried like a rifle, several novel arrangements to carry the pistol were designed by Colt engineers, including simply velcroing the pistol to the soldier’s uniform!


A line drawing of the Colt SCAMP, from a 1969 Colt brochure predating the completion of the first prototype. The brochure can be downloaded from the Small Arms Review website here, and is accompanied by an excellent article by J. David Truby, citing Henry Into, here.

The resulting machine pistol was a major small arms achievement for Colt, and the single prototype marks one of the only stunning technical successes of the small caliber select-fire pistol concept. While larger than the M1911 it had been designed to replace, the SCAMP – unlike later dedicated PDW designs like the Heckler & Koch MP7 or FN P90 – was much closer in size to a traditional pistol than a compact submachine gun. The ingenious mechanisms incorporated into it by Into gave the handgun excellent recoil characteristics according to those who fired it, and the .22 SCAMP cartridge gave it superior muzzle energy to either the later 4.6x30mm or 5.7x28mm rounds when fired from their respective host weapons’ barrels. Unfortunately for Colt, the Army seemed too preoccupied with its own pistol projects (which at the time focused on firing salvos of multiple bullets from a single cartridge) to notice the great potential the SCAMP possessed, and besides some informal testing by Army officials, the little burp gun was never adopted to supplant the M1911. Colt’s management, apparently dissuaded by this, decided not to pursue other markets with the SCAMP, and its development was abandoned. Since then, no major machine pistol design has come close to matching the SCAMP’s excellent combination of small size and high velocity burst firepower.


This composite image shows the Colt SCAMP and the H&K MP7A1 to scale with one another. The SCAMP is considerably smaller, despite having the same barrel length as the MP7. In a technical sense, the SCAMP is still one of the most advanced small caliber machine pistols ever designed. Composited and color corrected by Othais of from images found at and

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • BattleshipGrey

    Interesting. There are several things that came to mind in the article:
    1. No mention of Woodstock ’69. As much as I like the music though, I don’t think it fit in with your topic of “innovation”, so I won’t hold it against you.

    2. It doesn’t surprise me that they were looking into making a machine pistol to replace the 1911. This being the same time frame that it took an estimated 30,000 rounds down range to kill one enemy combatant.

    3. I found the real reason it didn’t catch on… the “slide” mounted selector switch was way ahead of its time. That needed to simmer for another 16 years.

    4. The first image that came to my head when I saw the SCAMP pic was the Beretta Auto 9 from Robocop

    • Robert Rodriguez

      “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

    • M.M.D.C.

      Don’t forget Altamont.

      • Edeco

        The moment the 60’s ended 🙁

    • Riot

      Yeah that is what I thought immediately of as well.
      Woonder how well that distinctive ridge works.

    • Squirreltakular

      I am very much looking forward to unlocking that in Farcry 4.

  • DW

    Closest we have now: .22TCM in a doublestack 1911-ish platform.

    Make a CZ clone fire the .22tcm and I think Col. Jeff Cooper would be pleased.

    • iksnilol

      I don’t think Mr. “.45 cause they don’t make a .46” would like a .22.

      • Cooper considered the 5.56×45 a underpowered “Poodle Shooter” so I doubt he’d be into a 5.56×25.

      • Jeff Cooper was a fan of the .22 Jet.

        These quotes are all from a single article in the 1964 Gun Digest.

        About the .22 Jet: “And don’t underrate its combat potential — the Jet hits about twice as hard as a .38 Special.”

        About the S&W Model 53: “The only “triple-purpose” handgun equally useful for plinking, field shooting, and self-defense.”

        About the .256 Win Mag: “A good combat load as well.”

        Still his enthusiasm had its limits: “Both the Jet and the 256 must be considered small game cartridges, with a killing potential about that of the Hornet. Their use on deer-sized game is totally unjustifiable.”

        • Kivaari

          In the same era a writer named Al Gorge did an article about shooting two black bear near Port Angles WA. He and a friend killed two at around 200 yards using a scoped M53. In those days black bear were considered varmints and there was no bag limits or cartridge requirements. He had designed and sold a “Hollow-pointer” tool allowing handgun hunters a way to improve performance of lead bulleted loads. Factory handgun JHP bullets were still in the future. One of his tools allowed for installing .22 black powder blanks into the nose of .44 and .45 revolver rounds.

          • That was Al Goerg.

          • Kivaari

            Thanks for the spell check. I met him a year before his fatal crash. It’s almost 50 years ago. One of the first articles of his that I read showed him hunting deer with a shotgun. I looked at the photo, and said that has to be here. Sure enough it was classic west coast Washington.

        • iksnilol

          Regarding the last quote: Didn’t he also say that for a cartridge to be suitable against people it should be able to take down an animal such as deer?

        • DaveP.

          There’s a difference between “This cartridge will do critical harm to a human being”, and “This cartridge will humanely kill a deer with one shot”. Otherwise we’d be hunting deer with Kel-Tec carbines or packing .30-30 revolvers for EDC.

    • JK

      Bren TCM? Kinda reaching for the rhyme. If it were priced somewhat reasonably, I might go for a 22TCM SCAMP clone.

      • Giolli Joker

        If you’re building on a 10Auto platform: .224 Boz

        • The BOZ was reportedly quite hard on the firearms for which it was rechambered.

          Trivia time: Bill Alexander (Alexander Arms) was one of the BOZ’s creators.

          • Kivaari

            If the BOZ was hard on the guns, I’d suggest backing down the load. Our need for speed sometimes just out paces common sense. I bet it would still be quite a performer even with a lower pressure. I had never had an interest in such rounds, until the 5.7 and better yet the TCM came on the scene. Now at my age, and poor health I can’t bring myself to experiment with such toys. TCMs fit normal sized guns, unlike the 5.7. I’d really warm to it if a Glock 17/34 could be

          • MR

            The Glock 17 kit was supposed to be available in May, 2015. I’m second on the list at my usual FFL, right after the shop owner.

          • Kivaari

            That would be an incentive to waste some money. It seems it would be a superior cartridge to the 5.7mm, since it would fit existing pistols, that are not bulky like the FiveseveN pistols.

          • MR

            Get one to Andrew at GY6 Vids, or anybody with a Glock 18/ full auto Glock 17 conversion. Want to see a video of full auto TCM, I think it’d be more controllable than 9mm.

          • MR

            As per the design goals of the SCAMP.

        • TJbrena

          IIRC the Boz switched to a 9mm Para parent case from the 10mm Auto.

    • Ben Loong

      Man, I wish Armscor would make a conversion kit for their Tanfoglio-based MAP/MAPP series. (Or just import any of the existing Tanfoglio conversion kits, even.) As it is they seem to be focusing on getting the larger potential markets first what with the Glock kit.

      At least MWS is making that .22 TCM PDW/carbine and the conversion kit for the Boberg.

  • Strongarm

    According to patent, the gun locking system works with impact of firing element. This means, a hangfire would fire the round lockless.

    • I don’t think so; it’s unlocked by the slide.

      • Strongarm

        You are right. It was a comment without thoroughly reading the patent text. The gun is gas operated and a bolt engaged the gas circle mechanism carries out the task. Firing pin connection is for safety measures only.

  • Fantastic Article.

    I’m still surprised FN hasn’t come out with a 3-round burst version of the Five-seveN. It would be the closest off-the-shelf option to the SCAMP, and a 3 round burst of controllable 5.7×28 would put any concerns about “stopping power” to rest.

  • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

    Give it a stock and it’s ready to go.

  • FWIW: Dale Davis worked at the US Air Force Armament Laboratory, not Colt. During the 1950s, Davis had been assigned to Aberdeen’s Development & Proof Services as a liaison, and had worked with Gerald Gustafson and Bill Davis. During the 1970s, Davis also supervised the USAF’s search for a 9x19mm service pistol that ultimately led to the creation of JSSAP and the adoption of the XM9.

    In an attempt to improve the performance of 9x19mm ball rounds, Davis and John Robbins developed and patented a truncated cone projectile design. This design was ultimately adopted and sold by Hornady in 9mm and .45 ACP. (Robbins had been the USAF’s project manager for the Colt IMP.)

    • As a interesting bit of trivia, Henry Into had previously worked at Ruger before going to Colt. Ruger’s chief designer Harry Sefried claimed that Into was quite difficult. That says a lot given that one of Sefried’s first jobs in the firearms industry was to serve as a buffer between Carbine Williams and the rest of Winchester’s design staff.

      Sefried claimed that Into always seemed more invested in proving why an idea wouldn’t work, rather than actually trying to make it work. Thus, when a design position opened up at Colt, Sefried “encouraged” Into to apply for it.

    • Whoops, thanks for the correction.

  • Blake

    Very cool article, thanks.

  • JK

    Immediately thought a semi-auto version could be the innovative product to lead Colt out of bankruptcy. Then I looked again, dang that’s ugly.

    • allannon

      I think resolving the, er, aesthetic difficulties would be fairly easy. The pictures are of a prototype, which rarely have any effort invested in appearance.

      • Edeco

        Yeah, I mean, it was a different era of industrial design too. I dig it as is, acquired taste, but now there’s be rails and the sight-guard things prolly gone…

  • Edeco

    I’d’a called it the BRAP (Burst Rate Automatic Pistol) .

    Seriousely, it’s interesting old designs can be very trim compared to new. Glocks were light, even compared to future polymer/striker pistols, right off the bat.

    • Mark

      What do you attribute to the increasing size and weight of pistols outside of their polymer construction?

      Is it the desire for manufacturers to design one platform for 9×19 – .45 ACP? I like the lower maintenance and weight of poly guns like my Glocks but something makes me think the polymer matriculation in to carbines and rifles is a money decision and not a performance one. I think the AR platform has pretty much proven that if you want to go sleek and lightweight alloys or aluminum is the way to go.

      • Edeco

        As you say, to cover multiple calibers. I’ve seen it said Glocks wear out with 40, like maybe underbuilt for that. Also, real estate outside being easier to use than inside. And maybe, at the risk of being blue-eyed, purer more idealistic vision early on, even though relative followers have earlier work start with. That said I still find the trend surprising, not too confident I understand it.

        Amen about aluminum, maybe less fun for manufacturers, but potentially very trim and durable. I hope it works in the RM380.

        • Edeco

          Also, I can half imagine a lot, like the bulk of technological and economic factors weighing toward sparer design, as one goes back in the 19th and 20th centuries or in the life of any major gun archetype (like DA-swing-out-revolver for example). Like, cutting tools not as good, large pieces of billet not as good, “old-world craftsmanship” more of a thing.

          Not to say I have a thorough analysis worked out, or can point to one.

  • Am I wrong for warning Kel Tec to take a run at a modern Davis Gun?

    • Twilight sparkle

      The recoiless rifle? Wouldn’t you have legal issues with a gun that large using fixed ammunition?

      • No, not that Davis Gun…

        • Twilight sparkle

          I should probably start reading the tid bit below the pictures…
          Would be neat to have a copy of the first recoilless rifle though.

      • MR

        You can still get a tax stamp for a newly manufactured Destructive Device, it’s just machine guns that you have to search the used market for.

        • Twilight sparkle

          I’m not too well versed in destructive devices but it’s my understanding you would need a tax stamp for the recoiles rifle and each round of fixed ammunition in this instance and it just seems like a really big pain in the butt. If it was possible to make a muzzle loading recoiles rifle to avoid all of the trouble that would be cool but I’m too tired to try to figure out if something like that would be feasible in my head…

          • iksnilol

            Just make a big muzzle loader 😉

          • ostiariusalpha

            Yeah, and you can put wheels on it to move it around more easily. What are those things called again?

          • Secundius

            @ ostiariusalpha.

            Looks like a 3-inch Parrot Gun, possibly a #14. Can’t be 100% sure, because of Failing Eye Sight…

          • Twilight sparkle

            A recoilless rifle and a cannon aren’t exactly the same thing :p

          • iksnilol

            I am thinking make a piece in the back that you load the charge against, then remove the piece to get the recoilless effect 😛

            Should work #Sarcasm

          • MR

            I think it’s only explosive rounds that require a stamp for each round, depending on how much propellant is used. Though IIRC, they’ve recently declared chalk rounds “explosive”, so YMMV.

    • MR

      I’d be happy with one of them Bushmaster Arm Pistols. Might be a little simpler without all the pivoty bits. 😉

      • roguetechie

        The interesting thing is Mack Gwinn still has pre 86 registered arm gun receivers that he eventually wants to build up… As well as parts and etc to build up some standard semiautomatic arm guns.
        for those who are unaware Mack Gwinn of MGI military is the guy who put out the original bushmaster 5.56 rifles and submachine guns (aka the Davis arm gun clones known by most as the bushmaster arm pistol / arm gun)
        which he licensed from Dale Davis.

  • The_Champ

    I’d say the easy addition of a folding or detachable shoulder stock would round out that weapon nicely.
    Thanks for the article on a firearm I’d never heard of.

  • Great post!

  • Rodford Smith

    The Old Armory Museum here in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky used to have an exhibit of prototype weapons from the Vietnam era. One I recall had two full auto .22 LR actions in a single frame. IIRC they were supposed to fire alternately to smooth out the recoil. ROF was high, though I don’t remember the numbers.

    One nickname for such high ROF .22 LR weapons from the time was “buzz gun.” They showed up in a bunch of movies and TV shows of the period as the next thing for police and law abiding citizens to panic about.

    • Tassiebush

      The idea of two parallel actions makes a lot of sense for a rimfire especially if one continues to function if the other one fails to fire.

      • roguetechie

        One version of this dual .22 action was called the Saturn.

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah I like the look of it but it uses a single bolt for both barrels/bores, which concerns me that it would basically double the odds of a stoppage. On the other hand maybe the second round might still have enough force to eject a dud round and cycle the action.

          • roguetechie

            yeah I was just filling in a bit of detail for people looking to do some research into a weapon that is fiendishly hard to get anything more than cursory information about even today…
            My personal favorite rimfire o personal defense goodness concept is a George Kellgren classic from his time at Interdynamic AB called the interdynamic MKR…
            Incidentally if anyone has page 22 of the 23 page version of the MKR presentation please share it!!!
            SAR has the first 15 pages, and I got the 23 page version that is missing page 22 from sturgeon…
            page 22 FWIW is the meat of a cutaway diagram of the MKR internals, so you can imagine my burning desire to possess this 22nd page …. LOL

          • Tassiebush

            Oh the torment that is missing pages! I was reading a couple of books for their sections on punt gunning the other night andnd was repeatedly frustrated trying to find details of the breach mechanisms! I feel your pain!

          • I have enough data on the Interdynamics MKR to do a pretty detailed post, actually…

          • Tassiebush

            That’d be a great topic!

          • Tassiebush

            Ah was wrong about it being rimless.

          • roguetechie

            totally understand and agree with you there! Like I said in another comment, the interdynamic MKR is my vote for a rimfire that has combat potential.
            though I could see a .22 WMR case blown out to at least 6.5mm and with extremely creative and unconventional projectile loadings in an upsized mgv-176 as the start of something potentially interesting for many niche applications we currently use the 12 gauge shotgun for. specifically things like a jungle combat point man weapon, and potentially in a future dominated by urban combat and ubiquitous / cheap micro UGV & UAV assets that are both armed and unarmed… Yeah I know I’m way into scifi territory according to the current consensus in the defense technology world, but my inner geek tells me it could happen and further that chix with cool guns tails and cat ears really could happen!!!
            I mean without that is there any point even having a future?

          • Tassiebush

            One idea I like re rimfires is the notion of bringing back concept of volley guns. A horizontal cluster of something like .22mag or .17wsm would have a very consistent spread and still have worthwhile power at hundreds of metres. Probably would need to eject downwards for reliability.
            Never really pondered the tails and cat ears thing but I’m sure I will learn to appreciate it;)

          • roguetechie

            What about taking the idea somewhere really interesting?
            take the self contained high fire rate cylindrical weapon patents which apparently have enough interesting stuff in them to have 1960’s application dates and late 80’s to as late as early in the oughts of the new millennium approval dates…
            now make the mechanism fit into your standard UGL… Now have the operating parts induce a very controlled wobbling spin to the device as it fires… I imagine that the cam profile might be slightly interesting and getting it to work just right would probably involve several psychiatric interventions among the engineering team…
            But pair it with a smaller FABRL style round, the right rifling twist, and a lot of skull sweat …
            you’d have a reusable, ROE & PC compliant beehive type option in the simplest incarnation.
            In 2nd & 3rd Gen systems with the ability to be controlled even marginally by the digital systems already in the pipeline, and you have a weapon that can literally bend streams of projectiles like Beckham to positively shred anyone you target whether they wore their ESAPI’s or not…

          • .22 WMR is already straight-walled…

          • roguetechie

            hah.. I knew there was a flaw in the plan somewhere…
            I’ve never really owned or shot any of the magnum rimfires, but I would love to play with them one day soon.
            Things like the 7mm Penna are more of what have my interest currently in the pistol and PDW realm. (Except the 9×30 & other Colt MARS cartridges which I’m finally getting enough information about to really start thinking about)
            What about a cut down 22 jet case?

          • roguetechie

            one of the kinda shocking things I ran across in the Colt IMP proposal was the .17 cal version with 3000 fps MV from an 8 inch barrel. However it has no mention of the actual cartridge and loading that gives this performance. Any educated guesses on this?

          • Probably this saboted version:

          • roguetechie

            Thanks Nathaniel,
            I really like this project, and the thought process behind it in many ways. A reboot of the program today has many interesting possibilities IMO

    • Rodford Smith

      Forgot to mention that the item described was a pistol, roughly M-1911 size and shape.

  • @nathaniel_f:disqus How to these SCHV PDW rds compare terminally to say, 9mm? should the SCHV concept be applied to handguns?

    • Their primary downside is the low swept volume in the barrel, which when combined with enough powder volume to produce good performance results in more flash and blast than something like 9mm.

      However, in general I think the SCHV pistol/PDW rounds have a lot of merit, and may get more popular as time goes on.

      • Kivaari

        I’d give up round count to get a better performing round than the 5.7.
        I wonder how has the 5.7 performed in the real world. Both used as the pistol and the SMG. The P90 makes sense to me, but not the FiveseveN pistol. A friend (SOT) has a P90. His view is it is great fun to shoot, but awkward to reload and magazines break. But with 50 rounds onboard and being a gun for rear area troops, that is just fine.
        My point being, it shouldn’t be the pointy end of the spear, but part of the shaft. Better than having just a pistol.

        • The Five-seveN’s terminal effectiveness seems fine to me. Sure, it’s not going to win any awards, but it’s not like it’s incapable of killing someone, either.

          • Cynic

            Hasn’t it been ditched by most people issuing it because it takes massive amounts of rounds to put people down. One pd reporting half mag dumps needed.

          • Cynic, I think the disillusionment comes from FN’s initial advertising that the round gave “rifle-like” performance (which is true in some ways, e.g., penetration). Some of the early adopters probably expected it to be as reliable a stopper as rifle rounds, which it’s not.

            As for 25 rounds or more being needed to stop a suspect, that’s not uncommon at all for handgun rounds against determined or drug-addled targets, even with the more powerful rounds like .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

          • @nathaniel_f:disqus The fort hood shooter killed a couple soldiers with a five seven with success.

          • Yes, though whatever “success” he had is probably best left undiscussed.

          • Cynic

            True which is why I tend to practice failure to stop drills as I feel most people will stop when I put a .455 or a 9mm round through the mouth.

            Or the alternative version of 2 to the chest and and round to each side of the pelvis based on the theory if they can’t walk they can’t really cause me problems.

  • Ben

    Didn’t make it into any market. Well at least it looks good as a “Star Trek” prop!!!!

    • Phil Hsueh

      You’re not too far off the mark on that since they did consider holstering by simply velcroing it to the uniform like they did with the phasers in TOS Trek.

  • guest

    All those “pdw” designs fail because they make a too clumsy handgun and an uncontrollable FA submachinegun.
    Comparing it to MP7 is like comparing apples and organges: MP7, as the name says (leaving the redundant “PDW” abbreviation aside) is a submachinegun. It can be collapsed into a “ghetto mode” one-handed variant, which is very convenient for storage and transportation, but unlike the SCAMP it has a full stock, and a forward grip. So in essence a very compact and well controllable submachinegun.

    • “MP” means “machine pistol” in German.

      Also, if you ignore the “PDW” part of the MP7’s designation, you are basically ignoring the whole reason it was designed in the first place…

      • greasyjohn

        To be fair the MP40, MPL and MP5 are straight SMGs.

        • Right; in German “maschinenpistole” is an ambiguous term referring to both SMGs and what we call machine pistols in English.

          What’s very obvious is that the MP7 and SCAMP are both readily comparable, both being designed for the same role and to be carried in the same way, and both being chambered in very similar calibers.

  • INFI

    Lookie what I found.

  • Tassiebush

    Wonderful article and topic. I’d heard reference to this but it’s way more interesting than I ever thought. Seems crazy the idea didn’t displace conventional modern handguns at least in military roles.

  • Kivaari

    Wasn’t the IMP the “Bushmaster” in .223?

    • The Bushmaster Arm Pistol was a similar concept to the IMP and was directly inspired by it, but they are not the same design. The Gwinn Bushmaster rifle is a more conventional development of the Bushmaster Arm Pistol.

    • It is my understanding that Mack Gwinn licensed the patent from Dale Davis. Gwinn supposedly witnessed the IMP being demonstrated at Eglin AFB when he was still in the US Army Special Forces.

      • Kivaari

        That makes sense.

    • 5flytyr .

      Shot a “Bushmaster” back in the 60’s in .223 and was quite impressed with it but the muzzle blast was quite nasty even with good quality headphone”ears”Almost cured my dandruff tho’blew it all outa my hair!

      • Kivaari

        It had to be a chest thumper. In another thread a few months back I commented about the concussive blast from short barreled 5.56mm and was called all kinds of whimpy names. I wonder why so many blast diverters are on the market just because of that blast. I can only imagine how that “pistol” sent out a gut churning blast. I am looking forward to installing one on my SBR soon. That Bushmaster could have used one.

  • Kivaari

    The .22 Spitfire did not take off at the time. It seems that it was ahead of its time, and would still be as viable as the 5.7x28mm and that little BB gun sized HK.

  • DaveP.

    More controllable and firing a better round. .32 is not exactly a showstopper to start with, and has very little room for something like a steel core for better performance against light body armor. Plus, the far higher velocity and better ballistic shape gives the SCAMP round flatter trajectory and greater range.

    • Cynic

      Running European loads does help with the weak cartridge accusations. US 7.65 is notoriously underloaded.

  • Edeco

    It’s a complex issue, but I like the idea of the mag being in the grip rather than in front, if the ammo will fit.. Move some bulk back, usually longer barrel in a similar OAL.

  • The SCAMP would work in a conventional holster, while the forward magazine of the Scorpion will require a much bulkier setup that would be more prone to snagging and difficult to conceal.

    Additionally, the 3 round, high rpm burst + low recoil will likely result in superior controllability to the Scorpion.

    Lastly, provided the SCAMP was given a decent, tumbling projectile similar to the 5.7×28, it will offer superior terminal performance to the .32 ACP and 9mm FMJ, in a lighter weight, flatter shooting cartridge.

    The Scorpion does have the compact wire folding stock though, which is a feature I’d absolutely like to see integrated into a modern SCAMP.

  • Sulaco

    I remember reading somewhere that the Feds did a study to determine the best weapon to be issued in case of a zombie apocalypse. I think it was a PDW style pistol in .22 magnum with a high cap mag. Maybe this could be developed into such a weapon, just in case.

    • Tassiebush

      I really enjoyed reading that. Just love that concept. Only possibly cooler thing would be one in .17wsm if it can get meaningful velocities in that format. Personally I think govts should produce heaps to issue within the community just in case and ammunition for them should be heavily subsidized.

  • mosinman

    i wonder if this weapon could be revived

    • I really think it should be. Colt missed a huge opportunity with this pistol (not the first or the last time they would do so, BTW).

  • valorius

    A full auto FN Five Seven would be even smaller, and a whole lot lighter.

  • Shmoe

    The first question that occurs to me is: Why don’t more auto-loading pistols incorporate a recoil spring annular to the barrel? Great article!

  • roguetechie

    Wow again with the tilting breech block… Nathaniel that article I linked in my first comment may really be of interest to you now since it seems to apply to two separate colt projects!
    Also, interestingly enough colt appears to have been working on a second pdw / combat pistol concept simultaneously!
    I found a very interesting 11 page evaluation of the colt 1971 salvo squeeze bore combat pistol project that is not well known at all. (My primary interest of course being in the Russell S. Robinson tie to the project! Russ Robinson was actually working with colt at the time on several projects including the 26.5mm CRG Autocannon and the Salvo Squeeze Bore concept)

    • FWIW: I believe this is a patent related to the CR26.

      Small Arms Review magazine magazine also has a copy of Colt’s proposal for the CR26 in their online archives:

      While attempting to dredge a different Colt patent, I stumbled across a patent related to yet another forgotten Colt/Russell Robinson design: the 70mm Lightning. The Lightning was a late Vietnam War program for the US Navy’s riverine forces, who wanted something that hit harder than the 40x53mm Mk 19 grenade launcher, but could still be mounted to a deck mount suitable for a M2 BMG.

      This is C. Robert Olsen’s patent for the Lightning’s 70mm round:

      Bob Olsen (Olsen Development Lab) was the same fellow behind the Invicta cartridge concept and helped design some of the Action Express rounds for Action Arms.

      Small Arms Review magazine also has a copy of Colt’s brochure and proposal for the 70mm Lightning in their online archives:

      • roguetechie

        I was actually going to bring up the lightning brochure in the archives!
        thanks so much for the recommendations (I already have the lightning and CR26 stuff downloaded but any time someone else shows enthusiasm for a Robinson project it makes my day, so thank you ?)
        Also in the archive is the actual colt imp proposal for development… It’s amazingly complete, and for the aspiring small arms engineer it’s a total gold mine of technical information and math formulae / proper use of said formulae.
        Additionally there’s a very complete proposal and other source material for the colt CMG-2 and a proposal for an M73/219 replacement known as the PAM that also has the same level of amazingly valuable information laid out for you in a well organized step by step manner better than most text books!
        Throw in the not one but TWO separate versions of the oerlikon pocket book available in the archives, and it becomes almost a requirement for anyone wanting to get into firearms on the r & d side to spend the $60 and do the archive diving just to prove they’re serious!

        • Speaking of the M73/M219, I just stumbled across a Remington patent showing their competitor to the T197.

          • roguetechie

            It’s a shame that M73 saga ever happened, and in a way it makes me feel like dissolving the old ordnance fiefdoms was actually a very justified move by MacNamara. (especially in light of the fact that Russ Robinson was just one more in a pretty long line of people who had petty vendettas against them pursued at great cost to the nation and her armed service men in the form of superlative world beating weapons that we lost the ability to put into service)
            The Robinson model 33 was a mature weapon that Springfield fixed right into the M73….

  • Dracon1201

    I’d like to see this make a comeback…

    Also comment 100 on the article… just saying

  • gunsandrockets

    In all fairness, I think the U.S. national mood in 1969 was anything but optimistic.

  • MR

    Nice, looks quite controllable, at least easier than the nine millimeter version.

    • MR

      Now I’m going to nitpick, and say I’d like the content to take up more of the video than the intro music. 😉

  • Bill

    Looks like the engineers who designed the Eagle and All American 2000 were already working for Colt in ’69. Ugly, ugly, ugly!

    • Leigh Rich

      I’ve got an Eagle and American which was designed by C. Reed Knight and Eugene Stoner. What we have here is a Machine Pistol. That remindes me more of the Cobra M-11.

  • Secundius

    Why NOT JUST a Micro UZI, instead…

  • zeprin

    Actually MAUSER WERK did a pretty good job of meeting those requirements with the original c96 in .30 Mauser!

  • Darren Hruska

    Knew about this one for a long time. The Belgian VBR is arguably the modern successor to the Colt SCAMP. It’d be great if somebody were to make a civilian version of the SCAMP, possibly rechambered for the slightly inferior (speaking of ballistics) FN 5.7x28mm due to logistical/economical reasons (even though that’s still an expensive round). If they could fit a 30-round magazine, such a gun would serve as a great middle ground between the FN Five-seveN and the FN PS90. Also, the Colt SCAMP would have possibly been a great weapon for our tunnel rats over in Vietnam at the time. That’s A LOT of firepower in rather compact package.

  • Archie Montgomery

    And here I thought the Colt 2000 was the first pistol Colt produced NOT designed by John Browning. Okay, Colt didn’t ‘really’ produce the SCAMP.

    Interesting. I wonder how long the Armed Forces will stay on the ‘lots of shooting’ concept of engaging the enemy. “Fire enough shots and someone is bound to be hit” sounds a lot like smoothbore musket technique.

    Good to see invention, though. Without research and attempts, progress never happens.

  • Isaac FluffyWolf Rader

    Looks like something from Fallout