Lewis’s BRUTE: Forgotten Weapons and the Miniaturized .45 Caliber Double Stack Lewis Gun Pistol of 1919

    What was the first double-stack .45 ACP handgun in the world? Well, Springfield Armory Inc might have you believe it was their XD (originally called the HS2000 – and then and now made in Croatia), but more plugged in gun nuts will point to the Para Ordnance P14-45 wide-frame 1911 pistol. It turns out that double stack .45s go back before then… WAY before then. Meet a gun that never lived long enough to get a real name, a double-stack 15-round .45 ACP handgun designed by Colonel Isaac Newton Lewis:

    What could be more exciting than a handgun in 1919 that was packing a 15-stack of 230 grain hardball? Well, the Lewis handgun isn’t just a handgun designed by Colonel Lewis… It’s an actual, honest-to-god, miniaturized Lewis Machine Gun in handgun form, complete with rear-locking rotating bolt and gas piston – it even fires from an open bolt like a Lewis MG!


    We ain’t kidding about the itty bitty Lewis bit.


    Of course, because of its Lewis MG heritage, the Lewis pistol was hardly a practical handgun, even with its massive 15-round capacity and .45-caliber bore. One of the biggest drawbacks, evident in the video, is that the Lewis handgun is huge in size – not quite Gabbet-Fairfax Mars big, but getting there. Also, the gun would have been expensive to produce, and the concept of an open-bolt pistol was one better left in the dustbin of bad ideas.

    Still, it’s a tremendously cool specimen!

    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 [email protected]