Top 5 Service Pistols

    A wiser man than us once said, “The only purpose for a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should have never laid down”. This however doesn’t mean that pistols do not have their niches and fill roles where a long gun is too cumbersome or unnecessary. In this installment of TFBTV, we take a look at 5 great service pistols, each with a different country of origin!

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    Hi Power

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    The full transcript is below …

    – Hey guys, I’m Alex C.

    – And I’m Patrick R.

    – We’re here with another TFBTV episode today.

    It’s kind of a cool topic, we’ve got top five service pistols.

    You’ll notice I underlined pistols because a pistol is one firearm with one barrel integral with one chamber.

    Now, we can do a revolver video.

    – We could.

    – That would be a separate video.

    – It is.

    It will be.

    – It will be, I’d like to do that, I’d like to exclude revolvers so that we can focus on revolvers for one of these types of videos.

    So, I’m being pedantic for that reason.

    – Yeah. – Yeah.

    – That’s fine with me.

    – Anyway, so we’ve got laid out what we believe are five of the most influential service pistols.

    – Alright, and I think we came into agreement on all five of these, strangely.

    – We actually did, yeah, with some good reader input on my top five historical pistols video, too.

    – Mhm, yeah.

    – So anyways, let’s get to it.

    – Yeah.

    I think you’re gonna start from our left to, I guess their right.

    – Yeah, our left to their right.

    But, we’ll start out with a pistol we’ve given a lot of lip service to over this past year with TFBTV.

    That’s gonna be the P08 Luger pistol.

    It’s hard to do a list about service pistols without mentioning the Luger.

    Now, that’s of course because the Luger was so influential, it’s a refinement of the C93 Borchardt pistol, and it was the pistol’s model T moment, it showed people maybe they’re onto something with semi-automatic pistols.

    It was adopted by numerous nations, first in the German empire.

    And then even the United States looked at one, they were using one of these proverbial 45, or the 45 caliber one, noted the million dollar Luger because it once brought that at auction, or close to that.

    All in all, the Lugers are just fantastic.

    Also, it’s worth noting that nine millimeter is called nine millimeter Luger because they scaled up the original 7.65 caliber in these, or, 30 Luger, excuse me, whatever you wanna call it.

    And basically made it nine millimeter Luger, which became one of the most successful military cartridges ever.

    – Yes. – I mean, we’re using it today, actually.

    – I think it’s one of the most packed cartridges in America.

    – Yeah, absolutely.

    And of course, it was native of the German empire.

    This is actually not a service Luger, this is a commercial Luger, I won’t tell if you don’t.

    But, it’s a 1925 VWM commercial gun and it shoots fantastically. – It does.

    – We’ll link to the segment in the comments below and what not.

    But, it shoots very well, it’s almost a hundred years old, and it still runs like a top.

    – It does, I don’t think we had a single malfunction with it, and you’re right, it points very well, it shoots very nicely, the trigger is fabulous on it for a, you know, something as early in the concept of self-loading pistols.

    – Absolutely, and normally after this, I would have included the type 14 Nambu, but Patrick said I was not allowed to.

    – I don’t that within 20 feet of me.

    – I’m gonna link to that video, as well.

    – No, you’re not.

    I’m gonna delete that.

    – But anyway, so the Luger’s awesome, if you haven’t shot one, you know, find someone who has one and shoot one because it’s just one of those guns that you need to shoot.

    – It is, I mean, and we brought up how well it shot, I was able to split a playing card at what, seven yards with the thing? I mean, for… – One of the first magazines, too.

    – Yeah.

    I mean, for a hundred year old pistol, that’s fabulous.

    – Absolutely, yeah, so the Luger, I mean, it’s very well known, it’s very famous, but this next one is not as well known.

    – No, it’s not.

    – And that’s gonna be the (foreign language) .65 Ruby.

    – My American self is just going to refer to it as the Ruby type pistol.

    – We’re just gonna call it the Ruby.

    – I like that.

    – For obvious reasons. – That’s good.

    – Yeah.

    – Yeah, this one’s actually mine.

    It was a birthday gift from a close friend of mine.

    And you know, there were about 750,000 of these produced, I think it was designed in 1914, and it’s chambered in 32 ACP.


    When it was designed, it was based off of a pistol that a Spanish manufacturer designed called the Victoria, and they adapted it for police military use.

    They actually tried to sell it to the U.S.

    Obviously, we didn’t buy it, but…

    – We’re using the ACP cartridge they probably thought would be an easy sell.

    – Right, right. – Because, you know, automatic pistol for popular pistols.

    It’s got a reasonably high capacity magazine, it looks like. – Yeah, it does.

    It’s nine rounds.

    You know, so I mean, 10 total if you go ahead and you top the mag off after you chamber a round.

    But, a problem that these did have is that the safety would become disengaged when pulling it out of a tight holster.

    And soldiers were shooting themselves, so they fitted a little nub, if you find one of these for sale, and it’s got what looks like a little nipple on the side of the frame, or on the slide of the slide, rather, that’s to prevent the holster from disengaging the safety and allowing a soldier to ventilate himself.

    – Which is always a good thing to prevent.

    – Well, yes.

    We wanna save that for the enemy.

    – Yeah, right.

    Anyway, so another cool thing about these is you Google, you know, world war one pictures of the French military, this was their go-to sidearm, and the French fought long and hard in world war one, you can make all the jokes you want to about the French being, you know, the French in world war two, and once it dropped and everything, but those guys soldiered on probably the hardest in world war one on our side.

    – Yes.

    You know, I mean, if you do some reading into world war one, you’ll find that the…

    – Arguably the greatest military innovators almost, you could make the case that they’re the greatest military innovators of all time.

    I mean, smokeless powder was a French invention.

    The gun, the French 75, just amazing things, amazing advances in self-loading firearms and aviation.

    And the Ruby pistol is, you know, no different.

    It’s a great gun and it served them very well.

    – You know, but I’ve shot this quite a bit.

    I really enjoy it.

    Surprisingly, it’s very accurate for something that’s as old as it is.

    Yeah, I don’t know exactly when this was made.

    I know the dating is gonna be kind of difficult if one of you know a good resource for that, I’d like to see it.

    But, I tried to figure it out and the best I could figure, it’s right about 90 years old.

    But, it’s very accurate.

    We took it out and it’s on par with a modern pistol.

    – Yeah, nice and reliable, too, guys.

    Just a pleasure to shoot.

    – I do wanna note that it was based on a Browning design, the M1903.

    So, that can kind of give you somewhere to, I don’t know, something to compare it to.

    But no, I really do enjoy it and I’m very grateful it’s in my collection.

    It’s one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever gotten.

    – Not a bad birthday gift to give your friends, guns and stuff, guys, by the way, so.

    – But, speaking about price, I don’t think that they’re that expensive.

    – They’re generally not that expensive.

    I think that you can find one, you can find a really nice one for $300.

    So, you know, keep that in mind if you’re looking for something with a great military cadence to it, then maybe check out a Ruby or however you’d pronounce this in French.

    – Yeah.

    – So, maybe someone could learn us something that, my French is atrocious and practically non-existent, but anyways, next, we’ll get up to a true American classic that I included in my list of the top five most historical pistols, the 1911.

    – Yeah. – I mean.

    – I would, what else could you say about it? – It served America forever.

    I mean, they’re still technically in service with Americans.

    – Technically, yes.

    Actually, I think the marines adopted a variation of it.

    – Yeah, well, you know, that’s, I mean, they’re still basically, one form or another of this gun is floating around.

    This is kind of a cool version, this is a series 80 1991 gun that’s more close to the original 1911, not the A1.

    That’s gonna mean it’s got the straight mainspring housing and, you know, other things of that sort.

    And you know, they shoot great.

    The fact that Colt is still making these and most people still say it’s the best option out there speaks well of the gun. – It does, it does.

    You know, when compared to a modern military pistol, the capacity’s not there, and that’s something I gotta ding it for.

    But, it did serve America, you know, fabulously, for something like 70 years.

    – And what killed it, well, what’s responsible for its demise a lot is NATO standardization of nine millimeter.

    Obviously, they had nine millimeter 1911s, but America wasn’t about to say, okay, let’s stick with an old dated platform. – Let’s do the same thing.

    – In a, you know. – Right.

    I mean, and we say dated, and I’m sure we’re gonna catch flack for that, but, truth is… – It is a dated platform.

    – Yes it is. – It’s a hundred plus year old deal.

    – Now, it’s something… – It doesn’t mean it’s bad.

    – True, something I do wanna touch on is the grip safety.

    Not the grip safety, but the mainspring housing.

    A lot of people really love the 1911 because of its point ability.

    You know? Initially, it was designed with a flatmain spring housing, but the army decided that they needed the arch main spring housing to bring it to more a Luger grip angle.

    – That’s correct.

    – Which, it makes me laugh every time somebody says, oh, you know, I don’t like glock because of its grip angle.

    Well, truth is the 1911, as the military intended it, has a glock grip angle.

    – It’s got a very strange, yeah, it’s a, that’s why most people like a raised mainspring housing, I don’t really care, personally.

    I’m not one of those guys that has to have, you know, is very particular about grip angle to the point where I’d go so far as to change a mainspring housing out.

    But, some people are, so.

    – No, I mean, and I think I’ve got one 1911, and it’s some bastardized double stack thing that I don’t much care for but hang on to for sentimental reasons.

    But, it’s a good gun.

    – It’s important to note that the platform was incredibly revolutionary at the time.

    – Absolutely. – Imagine where we’d be, pistol wise, if it weren’t for Browning’s short recoil operation that was found in some of his earlier stuff, but really came to being in the 1911.

    So, yeah, I think it’d be hard to argue that that was not a significant service pistol.

    – If we made a list without it, we’d be wrong.

    – Everyone, yeah, exactly.

    So anyways, next up, we got a, I did a list of top five historically significant pistols, and a lot of guys said, well, what about the hi power? And I left the hi power out because it basically employs a lot of design elements in guns also found on the list, but as a service pistol, it’s extremely significant.

    One thing I noticed that was very wrong is everyone who said, what about the hi power spelled it H, I, G, H, power.

    – Wrong. – If you’re going to advocate for something, at least spell it right, that’s gonna be H, I, power.

    You know, so there’s that.

    There’s also people saying, what about the hi power, it was the first double stack magazine gun.

    – Also wrong.

    – That’s very wrong.

    The broom handle actually had a double stack magazine, it was an internal box magazine, but it was a double stack magazine.

    – But, the shelf warrior had a detachable magazine, so it would predate this. – The shelf warrior came later in the service.

    – Still predates this, though.

    – I believe it does, yeah.

    But, anyways, also the Savage, guns like the Savage 1907 that was designed in 1905 had a double stack magazine, so this was far from being the first double stack magazine pistol.

    But I digress, let’s explain why we chose it for this list.

    – Well, the hi power has served soldiers of the commonwealth for a long time and really well.

    A lot of guys really, they trust ’em, they believe in ’em and they just work.

    – Absolutely, there’s a reason I keep this gun in my car, in case someone decides they need my car more than I do, and I keep it loaded up with hollow points.

    I got it really cheap as an Israeli surplus police gun.

    However, immediately when I got it, Patrick, you saw it, and you were just like, wow, that’s been in pretty rough shape.

    – It was.

    – Yeah, it was and you know, a gun after seeing how, you know, that much police use is gonna be rough.

    – Well, I mean, I’ve bought police trade-ins and to be honest, they’re all pretty rough.

    – Yeah.

    You know, that’s expected of any duty gun.

    So, what I did is I had it cerakoted, and when I first got it, I assumed the trigger would be more like a 1911, being descended from a Browning design table. – You would think, you would think.

    – But, the trigger is completely different than a 1911, when you pull the trigger, there’s a small, basically, a stick that rises up and tilts a transfer bar that basically pushes the sear down and off the hammer, and there’s so many little linkages in that system where it makes the trigger very rough.

    Not to mention a magazine disconnect.

    So, I knocked out the magazine disconnect, I got a new hammer and a new sear from Cylinder and Slide, and a new spring kit, and the trigger is still pretty bad.

    – It’s not my favorite.

    But, I mean, it does fit the hand well.

    – The gun in itself is very ergonomic.

    This one’s obviously modified and I do enjoy shooting it, I just wish that the trigger was nicer.

    But, for a military pistol, I don’t guess it matters.

    You don’t need to be shooting a match, you know, a match with an off-the-rack military pistol.

    – No, and one thing I do, I kinda wanna ding this one, is the hammer and safety arrangement.

    It’s not as soldier-proof as the M1911 is for a single action gun. – That’s true.

    But of course, with the magazine disconnect, I guess you could drop out the, I hate magazine disconnects. – I do, too.

    – You know, I don’t like ’em, but.

    – I think they they all need to go away.

    – But let’s realize the significance of the hi power being a, basically, the official sidearm of the commonwealth for all intensive purposes.

    – Right, I mean, and I know that British special forces, even they use this.

    Here in America, you know, our special forces get specialized pistols, specialized rifles.

    In, you know, the SAS, I know that they used this for quite a long time.

    – I’m sure they have other stuff, too.

    – Yeah, I know they use some six-hour stuff, but I know that this was… – I’ve never been in the SAS nor am I 100% sure about that.

    – I mean, I’ve read and done some research on it, so.

    – I’m just giving you some crap.

    – Yeah.

    – But anyways.

    – Fine, you’re paying for lunch later.

    – We like the hi power and we’re gonna definitely put that on the list because of its significance. – Absolutely.

    – Great pistol, 13 round capacity, awesome gun.

    So, last but not least, Patrick, why don’t you tell us about this, seeing as how you are familiar with it in actual service.

    – Actually, you know what, when I was in the service, I never even handled one.

    I handled one once.

    – Okay, so you did handle one.

    – Back at that time during basic training, they weren’t training soldiers on the M9.

    So, it was a specialized thing.

    But, this is actually a Beretta 92 FS.

    And I mean, honestly, it’s my favorite out of the five.

    – They’re fantastic guns, this was one of my first handguns, actually, and every time Patrick comes over, he’s like, man, I really need to buy one of these.

    – I do. – And I’m always like, why, I mean, most people I know who have been in the military are like, oh, I hate the M9, and I’m like, why? And they’re like, well, ’cause the one I shot was all rattled and beat up.

    And I’m like, does that not define, I mean, I’ve never been in the military, but does that not define all military equipment? – Pretty much. You know, obviously, one of these that’s been in the military’s gonna have seen thousands upon thousands of rounds.

    But, this is not a military gun, this is my personal gun.

    It doesn’t jam, it’s a big gun, I will ding it for being giant.

    I mean, this is a huge gun.

    – It’s a full size gun.

    – it’s bigger than the hi power, it’s bigger than the 1911, it’s just a huge gun, but as a service gun, you might as well go a little bit bigger for that.

    I mean, this one has an 18 round magazine in it, but the military ones are gonna mostly have 15s, I believe.

    Which, in the ’80s, that was respectable.

    – Right, I think this was one of the original wonder nines.

    – Yeah, now they have original, or, now they have almost flush fit 20 round mags for these, too, but realistically, they’re based on the P38 Walter, which should also be, it’s an honorable mention for the list.

    – It is, it is. – It has a double action, single action gun, so you can just decock it by rotating that safety lever, then carrying it.

    So, it’s a very accurate, very reliable gun, and for those reasons, it made it onto the list.

    And it’s serving the United States military, which is a pretty big organization, and if they chose this, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option, but it means it was, you know, it met their criteria, it met their testing, and at a price point that was affordable, so.

    – Yes, I mean, you know, shooting impressions on this gun, it’s really a joy to shoot.

    You’re right, it is a little bit bigger, but it fits my hands well.

    And it’s extremely accurate.

    I mean, you used to shoot, you know, matches with it. – Yeah, since it was my first pistol, and I first got into pistol shooting, that was my first gun I ever used for competition shooting, so I got really proficient with that gun.

    And I really probably need to take it out and start shooting it more again because I enjoy it, I just don’t think to grab it.

    – I mean, it is a fabulous gun, a lot of people overlook it because of the problems with the military M9s.

    And that’s just a result of, you know, overuse and under-maintaining their weapons.

    But, if you get your hands on a good example of it, you will really be impressed.

    – Absolutely.

    Anyways guys, that covers our list for the top five service pistols.

    At this time, I do wanna give a shout out to some sponsors, we have, it’s a really good arrangement, we have Ventura Munitions on board with providing some ammo.

    They saw some of our videos and they said, hey, we’d like to see some more of this, and some more of that, so they were really cool and they sent some ammo our way.

    – And then I think we have a target manufacturer now, as well.

    Grizzly Targets.

    – Which is big news, guys.

    Now, we actually will be able to have GoPros and stuff set up on the targets that Grizzly’s sending us, and show impacts, maybe do some slow motion stuff.

    So, that’s really cool, we’d like to thank those guys and we’d also like to thank you for watching, and hopefully subscribing to TFBTV.

    Anyways, I’m Alex C.

    – And I’m Patrick R.

    – Thanks for watching.

    Alex C.

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