American Handgunner March/April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 30

SHOOTINGIRON tHUMB BUstIN’ MUsINGs FroM tHe DUKe MIKe “DUKe” veNtUrINo Photos: Yvonne Venturino this group of about 3" was fired at approximately 10 feet with the VOcO Fp45, and it was the only group Duke was willing to fire! Can You SaY ouCh? VinTAgE oRDnAnCE CoMPAnY the VOcO Fp45 comes complete with facsimile waxed cardboard carton, a small cardboard box for extra .45 Acp rounds as did the originals, and even a small piece of wooden dowel for ejecting empties. LiBERAToR .45 landestine organizations can come up with some weird ideas. In regards to World War II and weapons the United States’ FP45 has to be one of the weirdest. It was a one pound, single shot, all-metal, unrifled pistol taking the .45 ACP round. Its purpose was for dropping behind enemy lines in both Europe and Asia so resistance groups could use them to shoot armed German or Japanese troops. Then the shooter could make off with the dead soldier’s better weapon. Evidence this wasn’t one of the brightest ideas military minds dreamed up is that according to the Wikipedia website, there is not a single documented case of one being used for its intended purpose. That’s not too hard to accept considering armed enemy soldiers weren’t often encountered alone, and also the noise a .45 ACP makes is apt to bring running all other enemy soldiers in hearing distance. There was one other thing for the shooter to consider. A .45 ACP bullet fired in an unrifled barrel was only going to be effective at close range. Very close range! Never mind the feasibility factor the United States Army had a million FP45s produced in mid-1942. Manufacturer was the Guide Lamp division of General Motors, which up to that point had produced headlights for the automotive industry. Guide Lamp was also the maker of the later M3 submachine gun commonly called the “grease gun.” Cost of the FP45s was said to be $2.40 each. When the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was organized to serve as America’s first clandestine warfare organization, the army turned the FP45s over to them. FP45s came in a waxed cardboard box complete with a 10-round pack of .45 ACPs and even a small piece of wooden dowel to punch out the empty case after firing. More usable was a sheet of instructions in cartoon drawing-form showing how to load, fire and unload the FP45. Despite the huge number of FP45s made in 1942 originals are very rare today. I’ve seen the pistol alone priced at over a grand and have never seen one with an original box, much less the paper instruction sheet. this facsimile of the original cartoon-like instruction sheet issued with uS Government made Fp45s comes with VOcO’s replica Fp45. 30 C ut, all things about World War II have become popular so a small company named Vintage Ordnance (VOCO) has seen a market for new FP45s. Although I don’t have an original FP45 in my collection to compare this sample to, it does appear identical to all photos I’ve seen of them. The card accompanying VOCO’s reproduction says their FP45s differ in two regards. One is the barrel must have rifling. Smoothbore pistols are proscribed by Federal regulations. Also mandated by the Feds are serial numbers and company markings. The first is printed in the front of the grip and the latter is beneath the barrel, inside the triggerguard. Each of the VOCO FP45s come in a facsimile of the original waxed cardboard box, complete with another small cardboard box in which 10 rounds of .45 ACP will fit, the wooden dowel and the sheet of instruction art. Also worthy of note is VOCO can supply non-firing dummy versions or ones capable of only firing .22 blanks. The information card also says VOCO’s FP45’s barrel, tube strap and breech block are made of 1050 medium carbon, cold rolled steel while the cocking piece is cast of dense zinc alloy. Rifling And … B ShooTing iT? T est shooting of VOCO’s FP45 was the briefest I’ve ever done. On-hand were some US military .45 ACPs dated from 1953. I loaded the pistol, and from 10 feet took aim at a paper target. The muzzleblast was loud and the recoil of a 230-grain FMJ bullet from a 1-pound pistol was bad! My hand hurt. Two more shots were fired and the group formed as shown in the photo. Then I was done — my hand was bleeding. I should also mention I figured a double tap with an FP45 took about 90 seconds. No wonder nobody tried to use them for their intended purpose. Still, a collection of World War II military handguns will have a small gap without an FP45. That is the intended purpose of this replica — not an afternoon’s plinking session! * WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2013

Page 29 ... Page 31