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The four most influential pistols of the 20th century

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by sturmgewehr, Jun 1, 2012.

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  1. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Member

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    By influential I mean their features inspired other designs. These are the pistols I believe helped to shape the popular design of handguns throughout the 20th century.

    [​IMG]

    1911: The grand-daddy of modern handguns, most every modern pistol borrows from the 1911's method of lock-up.

    Browning Hi-Power: The next evolution of the 1911 that brought a high capacity double stacked magazine to the table, and a simplified 1911 method of lock-up.

    Walther P38: The P38 gave us a 9mm service pistol with a double action / single action trigger and a manual safety / decocker. Until the Glock craze of the late 1980's, double action "wonder 9's" were all the rage and the Walter set the stage for that era of handgun development.

    Glock 17: While it wasn't the first polymer framed pistol and it wasn't the first pistol to use a striker, it did bring these features and others together into a package that hadn't been seen before. The Glock gave us a polymer framed pistol with a 17 round magazine and a unique passive safety incorporated into the trigger itself that made the pistol stand out in the market place. Ultimately the Glock has inspired countless other companies to copy it's features and it helped to bring the modern polymer pistol to the forefront of handgunning.
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You would have to put a SIG in there somewhere.

    Thats where Gaston got the idea for the chamber area locking surface instead of barrel lugs.
    He copied it for the Glock, and everyone else is using it now.

    But SIG invented it first.

    And maybe the Walther PP instead of the P-38.
    The PP was the first successful DA design from Walther in 1929.

    rc
     
  3. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Member

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    The method of lock-up employed by Sig was an evolution of the system used in the 1911 and Hi-Power. All Sig and others did was reduce the number of locking lugs to one. The tilting barrel was retained, and this is the key feature of the 1911 and Hi-Power.
     
  4. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    There's a lot of Glocks out there, but they aren't particularly influential.
     
  5. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Member

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    I disagree.

    Glocks started the polymer framed, striker fired pistol craze we still find ourselves in the middle of.

    S&W Sigma
    Walther P99
    Walther PPQ
    Springfield XD
    S&W M&P
    Caracal
    Taurus 24/7
    SR9
    Steyr M9A1

    All of those and more were inspired by the Glock pistol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  6. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    Glock is #1 most revolutionary of all time, in my personal opinion, due to the fact that it almost instantly and forever redefined, worldwide, what a "combat handgun" is. No other pistol ever built can claim that. The Glock-specific formula/feature set has been copied by just about every serious pistol built since the Glock came out.

    But overall I think you can just drop everything but the Glock and 1911 in terms of influential pistols. Everything else is "infinitesimal minutia" by comparison.
     
  7. sturmgewehr

    sturmgewehr Member

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    Your post brought a smile to my face. So far a handful of folks have been giving me a hard time for including it saying the Glock really gave modern handgunning nothing. You're the first to take it to the other extreme. :D
     
  8. Lothar

    Lothar Member

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    I've been following this thread with interest on both forums. ;)

    I've shot Glocks before, and never been much of a fan of them. The ergonomics just don't work for me. I can't deny though that they are strongly influential pistols though, and among the best design ever made. I have huge respect for them, despite not wanting to own one. If the civilized world were to end tonight and I had to pick a pistol to carry with me through the Mad Max days that follow, I might choose a Glock. The Glock is a go-to-war gun that won't fail. It doesn't make me feel that the designer was sheer genius though as when I pick up a Browning Hi-Power and fondle it.
     
  9. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    I have to agree with ny32182, the Glock and the 1911 are the two that I think of when I hear "revolutionary" pistols.

    I'm not big on history, was the Hi Power the first to feature double-stacked magazines?

    Also, who was the first company to include a light rail on a pistol? That has pretty much become the standard for handguns, and might be something to include.
     
  10. Lothar

    Lothar Member

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    That's a really good point. I don't know which handgun was the first to have a rail, by that innovation opened up a whole lot of versatile options. Two of my personal favorites, the Walther PPS and the Beretta 92A1, have one, and I make good use of that feature.
     
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, you did say "pistols". As for "handguns", I'd replace the Glock with the Smith and Wesson M&P K frame revolver...AKA M10 in later years. It did appear just before the turn of the 20th century, but I think of it as a 20th century firearm. It rode in the duty holster, in one model or another and including the various N frame 357s (M28), of nearly every law officer in this country for most of the 20th century, 80 years worth of it.

    The Glock has no real attraction to me, but I do realize it was among the first of the polymer grip framed guns and set that tone for the last 20 years of the 20th century. In that respect, it was an innovative design. Everyone has copied that theme, polymer, like it or not. Polymer has advantages, especially in weight savings for a carry gun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Yes
     
  13. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    I agree.
    These four semi automatic pistols should be in every serious collection
     
  14. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    I have thought about this a bit and whether you happen to like these 4 or not sturmgewehr is right on. I think if I were given this question and reflected upon it I would have chosen the same 4, rcmodel may be right as he usually is but the Sig and PP would not have come to mind. These icons would.

    P.S. and I really don't like Glocks, they don't work well for me.
     
  15. nachogrande

    nachogrande Member

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    1911 by far stands way ahead of the others. at end of days I'll take a sig thank you. only advantage to glocks would be wt and if carrying more than 1 gun of the same caliber the mag of the larger gun will fit the smaller, + the highest 9mm mag capacity. honorable mention to mauser broomhandle and the luger.
     
  16. Urban_Redneck

    Urban_Redneck Member

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    1911
    Hi Power
    HK VP70
    Ruger MK1
     
  17. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Browning M1900
    M1911
    Cz75
    Hi Point 9mm
     
  18. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

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    I'd like to know, too... so I can kick them in the ass. It's become hard to find a pistol without this feature, and many of us find it useless and ugly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  19. kcshooter

    kcshooter Member

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    Meh. I'd have stopped at the 1911.




    And by your standards, wouldn't the Luger deserve high billing?
     
  20. David E

    David E Member

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    NO.

    The 1896 Broomhandle Mauser featured a double stack magazine, albeit non-detachable.

    The first detachable double stack was the 1907 Savage.
     
  21. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    Right now we are in a CCW and pocket pistol craze. Did you give any consideration to something other than a full size gun?

    I am not knowledgeable enough on the history, and I know people have carried pocket pistol long befor the 20th century, but what (if any) gun would be considered the most influential "pocket pistol" of the 20th century? Would it deserve a place on your MT. Rushmore?
     
  22. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I agree. I know almost nothing about the Browning High Power, except that it was essentially nothing more than a "perfected" 1911 in a different caliber. I can't call the BHP revolutionary. The 1911, on the other hand, most definitely. I don't know about the Glock - but I like em. :p
     
  23. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Agree completely...
     
  24. Kiln

    Kiln Member

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    Awww man. I was going to list the Rohm RG14 revolver as one of the most influential guns of the 20th century until you said you were speaking strictly about design.

    I am not kidding at all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Browning saw to the double stack 9 and striker fire with the Grande Rendement. Dieudonne Saive took some features of that...along with the redesigned lower lug and cross member method of camming the barrel up...with the High Power. He had to wait until Colt's patents expired before he could incorporate Browning's other ideas into the pistol. That was the limit of Browning's involvement in the High Power. He never even saw one. He died in 1926 while working on a stack barrel shotgun.

    Like the 1911, the High Power was designed for a military entity on request. It had the features that were requested. If they had specified a grip safety, it would have had one. If they'd specified that the rear sight look like bunny rabbit ears, it would have had that, too...and the pistol would probably be known as the Browning Bunny Rabbit.

    Moving to a squared slide and one locking/recoil lug was a simple...read cheap...way to maintain the surface area and have the strength without the hassles of equalizing horizontal engagement on three lugs. No more and no less. The downside is that the round, svelte lines of the slide were lost, and took on the appearance of a brick...but such is the world that we live in.
     
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