Building A Volkspistole, With TroubleshooterBerlin

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

Chuck of GunLab, exacerbated with the complexity of German “last ditch” guns, challenged our friend Troubleshooter Berlin to see if he could build the simplest “VolksPistole” possible. According to Troubleshooter in an email sent to TFB:

When I was at Chucks from GunLab in Aug/Sept helping on the VG 1-5 project he complained how complicated even last ditch WW2 Volkspistols/-rifles were. And that Germans couldn’t design simple stuff.
Agreed in all points but told him I could 🙂
So he pulled out a 32 ACP MAB D magazine which he has lots of and asked me to come up with a volkspistol design the way it should have been. Just the absolute minimum of parts to safely go bang and no features that could confuse people not familiar with firearms. And cheap to manufacture of course.
OK, in not just 4 weeks Oct/Nov I designed (one piece of paper with a few raw sketches) and built that thing with nothing but a bench drill, dremel and tig-welder.
Striker fired, semi-cocked “safe-action” trigger.
Including the glued grip panels a total of 25 parts. By eliminating 3 of the 6 screws it would be down to 22.
Oh, and non-firing prototype of course because guns are evil here…

On the gun’s specs, he wrote:

“It was designed with other calibers/mags in mind.
At part 1 the last pic – this is not the final extractor. First wanted to go with a fixed extractor which didn’t work due to the supporting rim at the bottom of the bolt face. Then switched to spring loaded design which that is the first version (way too fiddly).
And at part 2 you can see at pic No. 10 cuts and weld spots. Had to move the magazine and thus the front strap about 3mm to the rear for proper feeding. The measures taken from the deac Stock pistol (you can see in one of the pics) I used intially didn’t work. The Stock magazine has shorter mag lips and thus releases the cartridges earlier than the MAB D magazine he gave me.
Started without final drawings etc. About 75% of the design were finished in my mind, the rest was decided on the fly while doing it.
length: 167mm
height: 121mm (without mag release 114mm)
barrel: 89mm
weight: 708g
slide assembly: 230g (which fits for .32/380ACP/9mm Makarov etc.)
Slide made of 1/2″ inch plumbing pipe which we have here as well. Some of those damned inch measures survived here…
It looks bigger than it is mainly due to the large trigger guard (Germany – winter – gloves).
And I like to leave some tool marks etc. gives it a rugged appearance.”

Chuck walks us through the process for making the gun over at GunLab, be sure to follow the links below and check those posts out!

Building a small Volkspistolen

Part 2 of the Volkspistolen

Part 3 of the Volkspistolen

Chuck also uploaded three videos discussing the design and features of Troubleshooter’s little “people’s pistol”, all of which are embedded below:

There’s a lot to talk about here, from the overcomplexity of German wartime projects (including weapons that should have been as simple as possible, but weren’t), to the joys of building a weapon yourself, with your own hands, to how simple it can be to make some fairly sophisticated weapons with very little infrastructure. Troubleshooter’s little blowback .32 isn’t going to take the market by storm, of course, but it’s small projects like these that are the precursors to virtually all the greatest firearms designs. Of course, Troubleshooter’s Volkspistole itself takes a lot of inspiration from what has become the de-facto volkspistole of the Western world thanks to its simplicity and low cost, the Glock polymer wondernine. While the frame is not made of polymer, the fire control operates in a very similar way, and the gun is striker-fired.

Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at

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  • Kivaari Kivaari on Jan 06, 2016

    Great article.

  • Gunsandrockets Gunsandrockets on Jan 07, 2016

    I wonder how difficult it would be to make a single-shot rolling block pistol in .410 gauge?

    • Kivaari Kivaari on Jan 24, 2016

      @gunsandrockets Easy if you have an action. Navy Arms imported mini-rolling blocks in handgun and small rifle calibers. I think Buffalo Arms in Pondery ID was selling some a few years back.