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View Full Version : The four most influential pistols of the 20th century


MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 12:01 PM
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.

http://www.intempusphotography.com/photos/i-W6SnNGq/0/L/i-W6SnNGq-L.jpg

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.

FourLoko
06-01-2012, 12:03 PM
oh hi, where you been?

video?

Capybara
06-01-2012, 12:25 PM
Nice and I agree with your choices. Spot on. I read your headline and thought of all four models you have posted, then clicked on the thread and there they all were.

MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 12:46 PM
oh hi, where you been?

video?

Coming. :D

MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 12:47 PM
Nice and I agree with your choices. Spot on. I read your headline and thought of all four models you have posted, then clicked on the thread and there they all were.

It seems I'm running about 50/50 in terms of agreement. I'll take that! :D

cc56
06-01-2012, 2:17 PM
I disagree on the glock. They are very common now and popular but I don't think it revolutionized. I would say the Heckler & Koch VP70 revolutionized because it was the first polymer pistol. From wiki it had beat glock to polymer by 12 years. I think it combined great ideas to make a good pistol but it itself was not a revolution. The cotton gin was a revolution not the better more popular machines that came out years after it. Just my opinion.

daybreak
06-01-2012, 2:26 PM
sometimes I get confused if i'm on calguns or thehighroad because a lot of calgunners post there too.

bohoki
06-01-2012, 2:36 PM
my 4 would be

ruger mark1 showed how you can make a 22 pistol without excessive frame milling just stamp and weld

raven 25 started all the zinc frame junk guns phoenix,jennings,lorcin


hk vp70 first polymer framed pistol it was proof of concept it was shunned but lead the way to where we are today

cz75 the slide rides inside the frame rails not hanging on for dear life like with a 1911 or glock

IPSICK
06-01-2012, 2:45 PM
CZ75 would probably be my only argument but I would be hard pressed to replace the Hi-Power or the P38.

I can't argue with the Glock or the 1911 because they represent engineering with simplicity and effectiveness in mind.

Bug Splat
06-01-2012, 3:09 PM
I disagree on the glock. They are very common now and popular but I don't think it revolutionized. I would say the Heckler & Koch VP70 revolutionized because it was the first polymer pistol. From wiki it had beat glock to polymer by 12 years. I think it combined great ideas to make a good pistol but it itself was not a revolution. The cotton gin was a revolution not the better more popular machines that came out years after it. Just my opinion.

The VP70 may have been the first poly pistol but it did not revolutionize anything. Glock made a gun that people actually wanted and modeled after. The VP90 did not influence anything. For 12 years no one would touch the poly design with a stick. It was not until Glock made the G17 that other manufactures started designing their own poly guns to get in on all the money. To say the Glock did not shape what pistols are in shops today is just wrong.

As for the P38, not sure why its on the list to be honest. I think the CZ75 being the most copied and most used by police and military around the world holds a higher place on the influential ladder.

Paradiddle
06-01-2012, 3:27 PM
CZ75 would probably be my only argument but I would be hard pressed to replace the Hi-Power or the P38.

I can't argue with the Glock or the 1911 because they represent engineering with simplicity and effectiveness in mind.

This post pretty much sums it up I think. Since the CZ75 is kind of a combo of the Hi-Power and P38 it is hard for it to replace either.

Peter W Bush
06-01-2012, 3:37 PM
I think you're missing this

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Parabellum_1586.jpg

The War Wagon
06-01-2012, 3:44 PM
I think you're missing this

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/02/Parabellum_1586.jpg


Yep! When I saw the title, I guessed the other three, and THIS one! :oji:

huckberry668
06-01-2012, 3:55 PM
what?? no CZ fanboys?

MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 6:08 PM
As for the P38, not sure why its on the list to be honest. I think the CZ75 being the most copied and most used by police and military around the world holds a higher place on the influential ladder.
The CZ-75 took the double action of the P38 and married it to the magazine of the Hi-Power. That was the point of picking the pistols I did, because they influenced the design of other handguns like the CZ-75 that came along later in the 20th century.

The S&W Model 59 came along 10 years before the CZ-75 did but it also was a marriage between the Hi-Power and the P38 in terms of features.

Mr. Beretta
06-01-2012, 6:11 PM
Colt 45 acp
Luger 9mm
Browning Hi Power 9mm
Beretta 9mm

MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 6:33 PM
Colt 45 acp
Luger 9mm
Browning Hi Power 9mm
Beretta 9mm
Which Beretta? The model 92?

redcliff
06-01-2012, 8:40 PM
Mauser C96
Colt 1911
Walther P38
Glock


The C96 deserves the Browning P35's spot imho. The C96 was the worlds first succesful semi-automatic pistol and was used in wars as early as 1898-1899. It was the impetus for armies to update to semi-automatic pistols.

Despite popular belief, the P35 was not the first high capacity pistol, for instance, the Mauser 712 Schnellfeurer variant of the broomhandle Mauser featured a 20 round staggerred feed detachable magazine and were in use 5 years before the adoption of the P35.

http://www.gundigest.com/wp-content/uploads/MC96_HermanB.jpg

MilitaryArms
06-01-2012, 9:01 PM
The C96 deserves the Browning P35's spot imho. The C96 was the worlds first succesful semi-automatic pistol and was used in wars as early as 1898-1899. It was the impetus for armies to update to semi-automatic pistols.
The only problem: It was designed in the 19th century.

redcliff
06-01-2012, 9:28 PM
The only problem: It was designed in the 19th century.

True, but it influenced the 20th century and was in widespread use through the first third of the 20th century.

Winston Churchill, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt were all among the "most influential people of the 20th Century". All were born in the 19th century.

Gryff
06-01-2012, 10:32 PM
Dump the 1911 and P38. Add the Walther PP and Smith & Wesson Model 59.

battleship
06-01-2012, 10:38 PM
Really a Glock, 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

ojisan
06-01-2012, 10:39 PM
1911...just look at the year of introduction.
Most everything these days except the Walther / Beretta is based on the Browning falling barrel locked breech design.
Even the Glock uses it.

loosewreck
06-01-2012, 10:52 PM
Great discussion you guys got going here.

I agree with the 4 chosen, because the title is "...of the 20th century". Its hard to find a present day pistol that wasn't influenced by at least one of them, if not more.

As for the CZ 75, about the rails in frame, I believe that was also borrowed from the Sig 210. The 75 and its many excellent derivatives (Witness, Jerico/Baby Eagle, etc.) is a great example of designers borrowing the best features of several pistols of the time and combining them into something even better.

beetle
06-02-2012, 9:31 AM
really interesting discussion. The 20th century limitation removes some pistols that I think should be included. For example, the Borchardt which really was the FIRST semi-automatic pistol and influenced the Luger design.

But in the 20th century I would substitute the P35 High Power with a P08 Luger. Of course the most influential aspect of the luger would be it's cartridge. Georg Luger designed the 9mm for his new pistol, and to this day 9mm is still referred to as "9mm Luger" (among other names). In addition, the Luger used a grip angle that is still copied today (much to the frustration of many people) -- the "glock angle" is really the luger grip angle.

gorenut
06-02-2012, 9:50 AM
I agree with the list, but you might as well have just made it top 5 so you can throw the CZ 75 up there. Funny people here who dislike Glocks so much that they totally discount it's influence.

Lumpia is sarap!
06-02-2012, 10:32 AM
In Glocketh we trusteth.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v171/Gregdog/Pin%20Ups/DSCN3356.jpg

mjmagee67
06-02-2012, 11:52 AM
I do not know the model but how can you not list the Sig that used the breach area of the barrel to lock the slide and not use the lugs like the 1911. That was a pretty revolutionary design that has been copied by everyone. I believe it is the P210

vliberatore
06-02-2012, 12:55 PM
For those arguing against Glock, if you don't already know, Glock has something like 65% of the market share for new handgun sales. That'e pretty damn influential.

redcliff
06-02-2012, 3:23 PM
For those arguing against Glock, if you don't already know, Glock has something like 65% of the market share for new handgun sales. That'e pretty damn influential.

"83.42% of all statistics on the internet are made up" - Abraham Lincoln

loosewreck
06-02-2012, 3:31 PM
"83.42% of all statistics on the internet are made up" - Abraham Lincoln

:smilielol5:

I still like Glocks too though... :D

Thrashard340
06-02-2012, 5:43 PM
1911: The grand-daddy of modern handguns, most every modern pistol borrows from the 1911's method of lock-up.



In addition to this, almost every handgun manufacturer (and then some) produces, markets and sells their own version of the 1911.

Great list.

Rorge Retson
06-02-2012, 7:07 PM
Missing the CZ, but otherwise, great list. ;)

I don't like Glocks myself, but there is no arguing that they single-handedly revolutionized the entire market. :)

vliberatore
06-02-2012, 7:16 PM
"83.42% of all statistics on the internet are made up" - Abraham Lincoln

Did some more checking. 65% of LEOs carry a Glock. My mistake.

BTW, I'm not a Glock fanboy. I purchased a different pistol instead of a Glock.