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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If placed on the stand, I would have to say that the most important handguns of this century were the P-38, the FN Browning HiPower and the 1911. Just about every pistol made today uses features that were first seen in these three pistols. Of greater interest (at least to me) is that two, the P-38 and the P-35, are contemporaries. Both were developed shortly before the beginning of WWII because their nation saw that the pistols used during WWI simply were no longer adequate. The US felt (rightly I believe) that the 1911 was still more than adequate.

But these three guns gave us just about all of the features found on any modern pistol. There have been advances in materials, milling, forging and assembly, but the basics are still with us. We got the basic magazine, feed, and safeties from the 1911; staggered dual stacks, barrrel action/lockup and slide from the HP and double action, firing pin block and hammer drop from the P-38.

Are there any other pistols that you would consider as important or that contributed something significantly new to the art of the pistol?
 

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I'm just glad no one made a toggle ala Luger :smile:

The Beretta 92 is a P38, almost identical n the important parts.

I think the browning lock-up was the most significant development, even though it's gun (the Hi-Power) isn't as popular.
Almost all more modern guns use that tilting lock up, SIG, Glock, Smith&Wesson, HK.

I'd say the Walther PP has made some impacty, but it's mostly direct clones, not a true "basis" from which other's have built.
 

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Hello. Although I'm not sure that their origins don't actually date into th 19th century, I 'd also say that the little J-frame S&W revolvers have been "important" handguns. These things have been grandly popular since their inception and have led to today's vast selection of similar revolvers.

In semis, I think that you hit on the main three for sure, but I guess we'd also need to add Glock. Though not the first polymer-framed handgun, it was the one that took off and no doubt led to the current spat of Keltecs, Walther P99s, and so forth.

Best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To carry this to the next level...It's been a little over 60 years since the last new development in hand guns. Since then there have been improvements in manufacturing, materials, machining and possibly (though many might disagree) in style, but not one new feature.

In revolvers, once we had the machined cylinder and center-fire cartridges, things just stopped. Basically, every revolver made today is about the same as what was being used at the turn of the century.

In semi-autos, the 1911 gave us the current feed system and basic safeties, the FN Browning HiPower gave us the currently used barrel lockdown system and dual stack magazines while the P-38 gave us chamber loaded indicators, DA, hammer drop safeties and the firing pin/sear lock. The 1911 gave us the pin type take down system while the P-38 gave us the lever operated take down.

So, since 1938, there really hasn't been any significant changes. In the 50's several companies began exploring new materials, alluminum alloy frames for example and H&K gave us polymer as a working material, but those are simply new materials. Several companies have moved safeties around, for example moving the grip safety from the 1911 to the front and making it a squeeze safety, or to the trigger as a trigger safety, but those really aren't a significant advance.

What will be the next advance in handguns? What improvements do any of you see on the horizon?
 
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