The four most influential pistols of the 20th century

The four most influential pistols of the 20th century

This is a discussion on The four most influential pistols of the 20th century within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: The four most influential pistols of the 20th century

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    Senior Member Array MilitaryArms's Avatar
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    The four most influential pistols of the 20th century

    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.



    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.
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    Ex Member Array mascariot's Avatar
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    I suppose you don't consider revolvers to be pistols??

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    Love the Glock! Loved the 1911 before Glock.

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    Must not forget the C-96 Mauser, the first commercially successful pistol. While it was preceded by the by the C-93 Borchardt, the C-93 it was too expensive and complex to manufacture. Borchardt C-93 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    C-96 Mauser AKA Broomhandle
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    Pistols are generally accepted to be automatics while revolvers are... well, revolvers.

    Pistol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Senior Member Array MilitaryArms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    Must not forget the C-96 Mauser, the first commercially successful pistol. While it was preceded by the by the C-93 Borchardt, the C-93 it was too expensive and complex to manufacture. Borchardt C-93 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    C-96 Mauser AKA Broomhandle
    IMG_0682.JPG IMG_0681.JPG
    The Mauser came before the 20th century (19th century to be exact), thus it's not included in the list of the most influential pistols of the 20th century.
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    Tough call, so many things happening because of the glock design. High capacity, polymer, finish. Can I say tie between glock 17 and 1911?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitaryArms View Post
    Pistols are generally accepted to be automatics while revolvers are... well, revolvers.

    Pistol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    So there were no pistols before there were semi-autos?:)

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    Luger - First successful and practical compact pistol. Borchardt and C96 are too cumbersome. Introduced the 9mm cartridge to the world.

    Model 1911 - Arguably the most successful use of Browning design features. All the variations on the "Browning theme" done both before and after, and fabricated by many arms factory in a number of countries, seem to either be looking forward to the Model 1911 or backward to its attributes.

    P-38 - A thoughtful service pistol design advancing the DA/SA concept with a safety and decocker.

    Glock 17 - A synthesis of earlier designs it popularized the concept of plastic as a component and made it acceptable to a generation of shooters.
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    Distinguished Member Array ericb327's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigs View Post
    So there were no pistols before there were semi-autos?:)
    Either way, which revolver could make the grade in the 20th century?
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    Only one view but the more modern exclusion of the revolver from being termed a pistol seems contrived and artificial. I went through a phase of attempting to be "politically correct" in terminology when referring to handguns on firearms forums but it just wasn' my ol' hick self.

    Privately at home we call all handguns pistols and divide them between the revolvers and the automatics. A revolver is most certainly a pistol. It's historically an accurate term used by the company that developed and popularized revolvers. Who was it that came along and deemed that calling a revolver a form of pistol was incorrect, when did this occur, and for what reason?




    Lots of pistols around here have the words "Colt Automatic" roll marked on their sides. I've tired of convoluted terms like "semi-auto" and "self-loading" so will use what Colt, who originally popularized the breed in this country in the first decade of the 20th Century, termed them. Even a Colt Gold Cup of relatively recent vintage is still roll marked as a Colt Automatic.






    This discussion was held on another forum just a few days ago. I can't put it any better than this quote by another member.

    "Fifty years ago the petifogs in the gun mags used to hump their superiority by urinating down on people who called revolvers "pistols," claiming that this was totally ignorant since the very definition of a pistol is a handgun with contiguous barrel and chamber. People began to point out that Colonel Colt called his inventions "revolving pistols" and the argument kind of went away."
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    I wouldn't bother with the Glock. While they are popular I don't feel the Glock was a game changer or revolutionary in any respect. It is simply the next logical step in pistol evolution. As you said, striker fired- been done. Polymer frame- been done. Locking system- been done. Magazine capacity-been done. Rather than being inovative I think Glock was simply reacting to the demands of the market place. I think it is about as influential as a Chevy Caprice or a Ford Crown Vic.

    ETA: I would replace the Glock with the P-08 Luger that bmcgilvray mentioned eariler. Vastly superior ergonomics to it's contemporaries. Birth place of the 9mm Parabellum cartridge (yes originally in the bottle necked .30 Luger- grandpappy of the .357 Sig)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigs View Post
    So there were no pistols before there were semi-autos?:)
    No, what it means is that the English language evolves as times and technology change. At present when someone walks into a gun shop and asks to see a "pistol" most folks will think automatic. If they walk in and ask to see a revolver, well - it's a bit more direct.

    Not everyone accepts this perhaps, and that's their right. But when Websters chimes in and amends their definition, people usually begin to accept the change.

    Websters:
    (noun) a handgun whose chamber is integral with the barrel;
    Pistol - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    I wouldn't bother with the Glock. While they are popular I don't feel the Glock was a game changer or revolutionary in any respect. It is simply the next logical step in pistol evolution. As you said, striker fired- been done. Polymer frame- been done. Locking system- been done. Magazine capacity-been done. Rather than being inovative I think Glock was simply reacting to the demands of the market place. I think it is about as influential as a Chevy Caprice or a Ford Crown Vic.
    However their pistol was the first of it's kind and it has inspired many others to copy that recipe. The M&P, XD, SR9, PPQ, Sigma, Caracal, etc. all use the Glock recipe and the concept of a passive safety integrated into the trigger. This most popular auto's on the market right now are the Glock and those pistols that copied its features.

    I would agree it's not as thought leading as the 1911, Hi-Power or P38 though.
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    Not meaning to be rude but, who cares?

    We all have our favorite pistols and I for one don't care about it's heritage.

    Now excuse me while I put on my flame proof suit.

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