Top 5 Most Historically Significant Pistols

    Some pistols are just downright iconic and have made an incredible mark on history and paved the way for future designs to manifest themselves. In this video, TFBTV explores 5 of the most important automatic handguns of all time!


    The full transcript is below …

    – Hello, this is Alex C. with TFBTV.

    Today I’m gonna cover my picks for the top five most important pistols in history.

    For this, I will be using the lexical definition of the word “pistol”.

    That is, I’m going to be pedantic and go by the definition that a pistol is a handgun having one chamber integral with the barrel.

    Sorry revolver fans, that’s another video.

    So let’s have a look, shall we? To start, I chose the Mauser C96, colloquially known as “The Broomhandle” for obvious reasons.

    The C96 was an amazing commercial success that proved semiautomatic pistols were here to stay.

    While not the first mass-produced semi-auto pistol, an honor belonging to the Borchardt C-93, it was less cumbersome and much more powerful.

    In fact, it fired a round that was dethroned in velocity only by.357 Magnum.

    It was also exponentially more successful than the Borchardt.

    Mauser alone made and sold over 1,000,000, and the pistol was copied the world over.

    The gun was, however, pricey.

    A factor that did not stop Winston Churchill from acquiring and using one in battle.

    The pistol is complex in its function, was difficult to manufacture, and is a nightmare to disassemble and clean.

    But it is beautiful, and proved to the world that revolvers in military service may not have been the way of the future.

    So the Broomhandle definitely earned a spot on this list.

    It was reasonably user-friendly at the time and could accept stripper clips containing 10 rounds of ammunition.

    The stripper clips are reasonably easy to use and I could see that in the heat of battle it would definitely have a revolver outmatched as far as reloading speed and power, but it was a little bit larger.

    However its holster also doubled as a shoulder stock, and eventually developments led to things such as select-fire versions, which were very nifty, if not something of a novelty.

    This example right here is a M712 Schnellfeuer, which means “fast fire” or “rapid fire” in German, and that selector switch right there allows the user to go from single shot to full auto.

    You can see here that a shoulder stock has been attached, which is also the holster.

    The Broomhandle had a great influence, not just on handguns, but all sorts of different firearms and designs.

    But let’s see what’s up next.

    Next we have a pistol after my own heart.

    The P08 Luger pistol.

    The Luger is a refinement of the Borchardt pistol I mentioned earlier, but with a less cumbersome action.

    It was arguably the semi-automatic handgun’s Model T moment.

    Not the first, but it got the job done well, and at an affordable price.

    It was adopted by many nations and even considered by the U.S. military.

    Originally chambered in.30 Luger or 7.65 caliber, it was later offered in a proprietary caliber 9mm Luger.

    Even today, 9mm is going strong.

    This is perhaps one of the most successful flukes in firearm history.

    For a more detailed look at the Luger, click the link below.

    We have shot a segment on the Luger for TFBTV, and I cannot understate how fun it is to fire one of these pistols.

    The grip angle and the way it functions just make it a fantastic pistol to use, fire, and have in your collection, and I would definitely recommend one to anybody.

    So the next choice is a pistol that is often overlooked, but it makes the list primarily because of one feature so revolutionary that just about every handgun today has copied it.

    This is the FN Model 1900, and it was the first pistol ever with a slide Grabbing your pistol and pulling the slide back to chamber a round is commonplace today, but before 1900 you either cranked a toggle or racked a bolt.

    This gun changed everything.

    The Model 1900 though is also important because it was affordable.

    Its simple blowback action made it easy to manufacture and the price was passed on to consumers.

    Browning did well in designing the small, affordable pistol, and FN was proud enough to feature its form on its own grip.

    Another neat feature is a small lever that impedes the sight plane so the user knows that the pistol is not cocked.

    Up next is a true American classic.

    It would be hard to overstate the significance of John Browning’s M1911.

    It has been produced for over 100 years with many of its proponents arguing that it is still the best option out there.

    In its early days, it was used by both hero and villain alike, and the films would have you think that no self-respecting gangster would leave home without his Tommy gun and a 1911 pistol.

    But for good reason.

    Relative to other offerings, the 1911 and its.45 ACP cartridge were incredible.

    The legacy of the 1911 can be seen in most modern, short-recoil operated handguns.

    That is to say, Browning’s tilting barrel operation is used in its linkless form by Glock, SIG, HK, Smith & Wesson, and many more.

    The 1911 has earned its place in history by proving itself the hard way, and it lives on by being manufactured by dozens of outfits to this day.

    Lastly, we have an unusual entry.

    This isn’t a phaser, but it certainly looks like one.

    What you see here is an HK VP70Z.

    But why include it on the list? Well, for good reason.

    It was the world’s first polymer-framed pistol.

    Not only did it beat Glock to the punch by 12 years, but it has a greater capacity.

    18 rounds versus 17.

    In 1970, a pistol with an 18-round capacity was very impressive, but many people were deeply concerned about a pistol made of Tupperware exploding in their hands.

    Since then, this attitude has dissipated, and the VP70 served as a great proof-of-concept to plastic Wonder Nines that would come after it.

    It wasn’t exactly a great pistol, but it was a trailblazer in terms of pistol construction and the durability of polymer in firearms applications.

    This application would turn out to be one of the most influential design elements of handguns in the late 20th century.

    So that covers the list of the Five Most Historically Significant Pistols.

    If there’s a gun you have in mind that you believe should’ve been included in the list, please list it in the comments below.

    Otherwise, thank you for watching this installment of TFBTV.

    If you enjoyed this segment, more in this format will follow.

    In the meantime, hitting that Subscribe button would really help us out a lot.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.