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Unread 01-15-2021, 11:17 AM   #1
Vlim
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Default Shooting the upper

Just recently a question came up about shooting and testfiring a Luger's upper only.

The Luger upper (barrel-receiver-toggle) is a fully functional firearm on it's own. Neither the trigger, frame or sideplate are needed to fire a single chambered round.

This aspect of the Luger caused many accidents in the past, especially with German police forces in the interbellum period. It lead to the development of the sear safety for police Lugers as a result.

In his weapons training manual, Schmitt wrote a small chapter on the demonstration of this effect, with some dramatization added to enhance the experience of the onlookers. He wrote:

I prefer to demonstrate the following accident from reality at the shooting range (the chamber is prepared):

Assumption: A pistol cleaning is being carried out. A (demonstrator) field strips the pistol in front of the audience, with exception of the barrel with receiver and toggle (the rear toggle pin, receiver, toggle should not be removed):

Then he removes the loaded magazine, but leaves a round in the chamber without alerting the audience. When asked, many onlookers will say that the shown part (barrel-receiver-toggle) is harmless. The demonstrator then places the upper in the special built retainer and presses, assuming the sear (S) is being cleaned, on it:

The shot will fire, the 2 body sized targets (F) opposite will receive stomach hits.

The more unexpected the shot from the small pistol part will sound, the more convincing the effect of the danger of the supposedly well known pistol will be.

Building the retainer (see image 19):
A wooden slate Q will be nailed to a table top at the rear end. It will absorb the recoil. Close to both sides of the barrel 2 sets of nail are hammered in (N) to prevent sidewards moving of the barrel.
The front pair is to be bent over the barrel to prevent it from jumping upwards.
The rear pair serves to limit sideways movement, but most not block the toggle from jumping upwards.
The test performed this way is harmless
(his words..).

If I would demonstrate it, I'd use an empty primed case instead, but I guess that the sight of a bullet tearing through 2 dummies was also very convincing at the time...

A small interpretation of the original 1928 design I knocked up to show the basic idea of the demonstration setup is added below. Note that the original document described to bend the front two nails over the barrel. I decided not to ruin the finish on the demo upper, so I skipped that part.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 11:52 AM   #2
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Interesting and, I would think, a very effective demonstration.

It still baffles me why a more effective training program wasn't developed to address the problem rather than modify the pistol. I find it hard to believe that firing the upper assembly after it was removed from the frame to be a common thing.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 11:55 AM   #3
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The problem with police forces in European countries is that they have to do a lot of loading and unloading. The guns are usually kept in lockers or arsenals outside of duty hours, so they go through a continuous cycle of loading and unloading rounds. It even puts so much strain on the firing pins (releasing after unloading) that several modern police issue guns had modified firing pins to help withstand the strain of continued dry firing.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 12:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlim View Post
The problem with police forces in European countries is that they have to do a lot of loading and unloading. The guns are usually kept in lockers or arsenals outside of duty hours, so they go through a continuous cycle of loading and unloading rounds. It even puts so much strain on the firing pins (releasing after unloading) that several modern police issue guns had modified firing pins to help withstand the strain of continued dry firing.
US Army military police, same thing. We would get 10 loose rounds and load two magazines. We weren't supposed to load the chamber, but sometimes we did. In combat, it would be loaded (cocked and locked, talking 1911a1) all the time as far as I would be concerned.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 01:15 PM   #5
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Default fyi

luger uppers are classified as class 1 firearms in some jurisdictions the same as frames + receivers - see pages copied from 60+ year old lnformational booklet -
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Unread 01-15-2021, 01:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlim View Post
The problem with police forces in European countries is that they have to do a lot of loading and unloading. The guns are usually kept in lockers or arsenals outside of duty hours, so they go through a continuous cycle of loading and unloading rounds. It even puts so much strain on the firing pins (releasing after unloading) that several modern police issue guns had modified firing pins to help withstand the strain of continued dry firing.
Perhaps I'm being overly critical. The vast majority of police in the United States are not gun people and carry one only because the job requires it. Considering Europe's gun laws, I'm sure that even fewer police there are gun people. I'm sure that has a bearing on the problems that police have WRT their guns.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 09:26 PM   #7
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Don't forget, at the time of the introduction of the sear and mag safeties, the German police were expanding rapidly, probably tripling in size. So there were lots of "new" guys handling lugers! JMHO.
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Unread 01-15-2021, 10:56 PM   #8
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A little over 30 years ago I made some firearms videos, one on German machine guns, one on the Enigma machine, one on Lugers.

I actually did the test you mentioned for my Luger video-screen shots attached.

You can see I used a camera cable release to fire the unit.

The key point-the toggle remained closed.

My jig was just epoxied together and failed on the first test, but that was enough.

About that time, a collector/dealer in our local club mentioned that as a guard of German POWs he had heard or seen that fanatical Nazi prisoners would shoot collaborating POWs with concealed Luger tops.

(I could see holding it in my hand and pushing the sear with my thumbnail.)

Best Wishes, Joe
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Unread 01-16-2021, 01:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
The key point-the toggle remained closed.

I'm glad you mentioned that the toggle train stayed locked. Logically, without the ramps to open the toggle train, it couldn't do otherwise.
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Unread 01-16-2021, 01:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonVoigt View Post
Don't forget, at the time of the introduction of the sear and mag safeties, the German police were expanding rapidly, probably tripling in size. So there were lots of "new" guys handling lugers! JMHO.
A fair point but isn't it interesting that the Sig P6 police pistol used by the Germans much later includes an open loop hammer? If the pistol was dropped on the hammer, the loop would close and alert the armorer of possible damage to the pistol. Apparently the police still had problems. The loop can be seen in the picture below. I've owned four of them and like them.

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Unread 01-16-2021, 08:59 AM   #11
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Default Werle p08 safety advice

https://youtu.be/-1zmp-vhylQ
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Unread 01-16-2021, 11:44 AM   #12
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Nice video STEINBVG Thankyou.

I ran across Herbert Werle's website a year or so ago ... fascinating man.
https://www.waffen-werle.de/

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Unread 06-27-2021, 11:53 PM   #13
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I filmed a video demonstrating this about 14 years ago with help from a few member here.
Here is the link https://youtu.be/5WD8R3S9IDI

You could probably do something similar with a better blast sound for your desired effect.
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Unread 06-28-2021, 12:48 AM   #14
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Safety lies in the mind, not in the hands. Had a co-worker fail to eject the round from his Glock 19, pushed the slide into his had and pressed the trigger. Boom.

For those unfamiliar with Glock pistols the chamber must be empty, the trigger in the rear position (fired) and the slide moved to the rear about a quarter inch. The slide lock is held down and the slide moved forward off the frame.

My guy was lucky, no permanent damage to his hand. Twenty years later you can't see any sign of injury.

Tho.. we did call him "Boomer" from that point forward.

:-)

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