this story is for all of you with deep pockets who are interested in the smallest multi-shot .45ACP firearm ever made.
most of this information is taken from the latest issue of Combat Handguns, December 2012.
how would you like a .45ACP gun more than 1" shorter and with .7" less height than a Springfield XDs, with a barrel .2" longer, and 4+1 capacity? it is all steel, but weighs only 24 ounces empty (2.5 ounces more than a polymer frame XDs). sound impossible? well let me introduce the Semmerling LM4 from American Derringer. the design dates back to 1974, with a patent awarded in 1976.
being somewhat older than most of you, i remember reading about this gun and lusting after one, but with a total production of only 600 guns (during the 70's and 80's), my chances of obtaining and affording one were virtually zero. i knew that American Derringer had bought the rights to the gun, but i never heard of them actually making any. well, here it is in 2012.
the secret is that it is NOT a semi-auto. instead, it is MANUALLY OPERATED. after each shot, the operator must hand-cycle the slide first FORWARD, THEN BACK, to eject the fired brass and chamber the next round. there are grooves on the sides and top of the slide to facilitate this, and i'm told that with practice, reloading can be accomplished rather quickly.
American Derringer says that one man builds each gun, taking between six and eight weeks to complete one.
oh, and i did mention the necessary deep pockets? not to carry it, but to pay for it. list price is $4,250, and don't expect any discount. my memory says that even in the 1970's the price was around $2,000. if you want to learn more, buy the magazine or contact the company at 254.799.9111 or on-line at amderringer.com