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Pistols in Space

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by StrikeEagle, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Well-Known Member

    I remember reading years ago that the Astronauts had pistols aboard on the Apollo missions. The idea, as I recall, was not to repel moonmen or space invaders, but as a final option in case of some dark and desperate (but very human) eventuality.

    Supposedly, the pistols were .45 cal 1911's.

    This is going back 30 years or more. I can't find anything about this now. Does anyone remember what I'm talking about, or perhaps have any information about it?
  2. dubious

    dubious Well-Known Member

    I don't know anything about this... but I can add my speculation. If they were armed, perhaps it was in case of a landing in not friendly territory? Pilots have been armed for bailouts and crash landings for a long time. Maybe they had an ar-7 survival rifle for squirrel hunting too!
  3. hankdatank1362

    hankdatank1362 Well-Known Member

    Well that one astronaut had a pistol in the movie "Armageddon" with Bruce Willis... so if it happened in a movie it must be true!

    All joking aside, it wouldn't suprise me....it makes sense for many reasons, several of which have already been mentioned here.
  4. osamaslice

    osamaslice Member

  5. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    If they did they were probably for survival use if the capsule came down in the Amazon jungle. I would quess any use of them in the capsule would result in a real depressurization quick. The lunar lander was made of a mylar type material about as thicj as cellophane.
  6. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    Here's another pic of the Russian TP-82; it's a "drilling"-style pistol, with two 32 gauge shot barrels over a 5.45x39mm rifle barrel. They're issued shot, ball, and flare rounds for the shot barrels, and expanding-bullet rifle ammo for the rifled barrel.

  7. esmith

    esmith Well-Known Member

    It would be sweet to shoot a pistol in space cause there would be like no drop at all. Except when you shot a whole in your shuttle thing then youd be frozen and like sucked out or something.
  8. zinj

    zinj Well-Known Member

    I read a book by Jim Lovell a while back, and he stated that despite the rumors (guns, cyanide pills, and the like) there were no suicide provisions aboard the Apollo missions. Rather, if the astronauts needed to terminate themselves they could open one of the observation windows.
  9. Ron James

    Ron James Well-Known Member

    I have never read nor heard of our astronauts carrying firearms in space, if so , then it wouldn't be the 1911 and it would be for survival on the ground only. As far as the Russians, well they were not as advanced in some areas as the US and there was no telling where in the late Soviet Union they might land. As you may be aware, many of the member states of Soviet Republic were not overly fond of their masters and would have loved carving up a couple of wayward cosmonauts. As far as shooting a standard recoil type firearm in space :), Guys , remember back to high school science, for every action there is a opposite and equal reaction. :rolleyes:
  10. Timthinker

    Timthinker Well-Known Member

    Stories of American astronauts carrying firearms into space is an old and unsubstantiated tale which we might call an urban legend today. But our astronauts did carry knives into space as part of a survival kit should they land far from their intended recovery zone. Even today, the old Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is carried as a useful tool for stripping wires and other practical matters.

  11. robert garner

    robert garner Well-Known Member

    Russians sure got some cool stuff!
  12. DMZ

    DMZ Well-Known Member

    The bigger question is:

    So, would a pistol fire in space, as there is no oxygen to ignite the powder?
  13. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Well-Known Member

    DMZ-Almost all smokeless powders have the chemical make-up to fire in the absence of oxygen, be it underwater or space. It's simply a matter of chemistry. At the burn rate of the powders, the little availiable air in the case(if any), and the tight fit against the chamber wall, would result in a fizzle instead of shot due to lack of oxygen to burn, if there weren't chemicals that make up for it.
  14. iiibdsiil

    iiibdsiil Well-Known Member

    Come on guys, we all know it would be a Glock and not a 1911 in space! Even if they weren't around at that time...
  15. gandog56

    gandog56 Well-Known Member

    No way Jose. It would be an AMERICAN made gun.
  16. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

    If there WAS a firearm on US missions, it would make sense that it would likely be the same as was standard-issue for the Air Force at the time in question (either the M4 rifle or the M6 combination gun). The TP-82 seen above is what the Russians use for their pilots' "bail-out" gun, so why would the US do anything differently? (Well, looking at how much they spent on toilet seats and tools, they certainly COULD have done it differently, but it still wouldn't make sense.)
  17. boredelmo

    boredelmo member

    You could also propel your way back to the shuttle if you drifted too far away :p
  18. Rokyudai

    Rokyudai Well-Known Member

    So, is it correct in saying that the gun would not fire a lethal round in space? I always thought this wouldn't work either. At the best, would not be a reliable method...if there was a 'suicide' method, then why not use cyanide capsule or gas? Kind of a dark thread but anyway to put a spin on it...what a great 'advertising campaign' for the time...."Buy the same gun that the astronauts carried to the moon." Heck...worked for the makers of Tang.
  19. k-frame

    k-frame Well-Known Member

    No need

    And they were built to NASA specifications and cost $300,000 with only 10 made.

    My vote is urban legend.

    Can't see any need for a firearm and given that weight was very precious it would seem like a tremendous waste of a few pounds.

    All of the US moon program capsules - Mercury, Gemini and Apollo - were designed to splashdown in an ocean. And given that the world's surface is 3/4ths water the chances of coming down on land were mighty slim. I can see how a flaregun could be useful if they were waaaayyyy off course and needed to alert a passing fishing boat or freighter.

    As for the action/reaction of a firearm while in free fall, try this some time. Stand relaxed on the range, fire your handgun of choice, and see how much it pushes you back. Chances are very little for the same reason that a bullet impact - as much as Hollywood would like us to believe - doesn't slam the bad guy backwards 10 feet.

    The mass of that bullet is way, way less than the mass of the average astronaut. Sure, in freefall there would be some additional movement of the astronaut's body but it wouldn't be much. Mass is mass.

    As for suicide, just let the oxygen pressure run down too low and generalized hypoxia sets in. Go to sleep, don't wake up.
  20. Feanaro

    Feanaro Well-Known Member

    You misread him. Fiero is saying that if there weren't oxidizers in the case already, they wouldn't fire anywhere. The primer and powder have all the oxygen they need. In fact, a firearm would be MORE lethal in space. No atmosphere and no gravity means that the bullet would continue in a straight line, at the same speed, until those conditions changed.

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