So many of the sidearms used by belligerents on both sides of World War 2 (WWII) are now, if not household names, famous among gun enthusiasts and WWII history buffs. The Colt 1911, Browning Hi-Power, Webley revolver, Luger P08, and Walther P38 are just a few examples. However, the war also hosted a variety of excellent sidearms that have been given less publicity. In many cases, far less publicity than they deserve. If you happen to be browsing anywhere that features guns for sale, keep an eye out for these lesser-known handguns from World War 2.
The French SACM 1935A is chambered for the obsolete 765mm Longue cartridge, which is a major reason for its relative obscurity. This innovative, accurate, sturdy, and frankly elegant pistol, designed by Swiss-born Charles Petter, won French military trials to become the sidearm of the French military. Petter’s design thoroughly impressed Swiss arms maker Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, now better known as SIG Sauer. It so impressed them, in fact, they bought the design and used it as the template for the SIG Sauer P210—a widely well-reviewed firearm.
Were you to say “FN Herstal and Browning collaboration from WWII” to a gun or history buff, they would probably respond “Browning Hi-Power.” They would be right to do so, but they might not have considered the FN Model 1922 (aka FN Model 1910/22). The FN Model 1910 was incredibly popular on the civilian market across Europe due to its reliability and exceptional quality. The FN Model 1922 was a wartime variant that featured a lengthened barrel and longer grip to accommodate more ammunition in the magazine. The gun worked so well that, like the SACM 1935A, it was used by both Allies and Axis powers in a variety of countries before and after the war and was even cloned by Japan.
If you were once again browsing for guns online and looked up the Radom Vis 35, you would likely immediately notice a couple of things. You would notice that the Vis 35 resembles the offspring of Browning Hi-Power and Colt 1911. You would then likely notice that they are highly valued by collectors. They are renowned for their construction and performance, but extremely difficult to find. Those familiar with the Vis 35 rate them highly enough. The super-cool art deco branding on the grips does not hurt either.
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