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French Pistols of World War 1 featuring Othais from C&RSENAL I THE GREAT WAR – Special


I am Indy Neidell. Welcome to the Great War, and welcome to the second edition of our special episodes with Othais. Now, this time we are going to introduce you to French pistols of WW1. And tell you something of the philosophy behind them. Alright! So let’s hit pistols then. Shall we? Alright! So… Again, old technology and a little bit of new this time. But barely. So, the French go into the war starting with their default hand gun. As being the 1892 revolver, we are going to get close on this to even see it. This is the 1892. Hm…it really is like most of the military revolvers in the times. And that…it’s a fairly small cartridge. This is 8mm Ordinance. It really….sorry about the focus. It’s not…you can tell by my finger, it’s not the biggest most powerful cartridge. This is a “civilized cartridge.” We are gonna see from other colonial nations like Britain and the U.S. that they adopted cartridges designed to actually physically stop an attacker that might have a spear or something. This is not what the Frenches are using. The Frenches are using a civilized quote unquote cartridge. And it’s designed to use against other Europeans or someone who is likely to get shot and then go “OK!I quit!” OK. Unlike the rifle stuff, which is as you said was more powerful than An AK47. Yes! It’s true. Now, the reason for the rifles though, is because of range. And everything about the rifle is range, range, range, range, range. Every thing about the pistols, however, is just personal defense. And mostly just to be iconic. They are for little march-nery, they are there for a symbol of your rank. They are there for very close range personal defense, but otherwise there is not a lot of thought putting into a lot of these guns. In terms of the Great War, very few nations have well thought out pistols. The Germans do a little bit, because they are big commercial concerns involved. And they actually adopted pistols actually very advanced. The U.S. again ,very advanced pistol that they put a lot of thoughts into, but for the most part European nations they are not thinking too hard about their pistols. They just want them to work reliably which is why the revolvers keeps coming up. And instead of semi-automatic handguns. So Frances carry this. This the gun from 1892. It’s a single and double action revolver, which means for anybody who doesn’t know the first action of would be dropping the hammer the second action would be the ability to pull it back. So in this case, if I… And again, I want to make sure everybody knows we are being safe, it’s unloaded. If I manually cock the this back, you’ll notice this retract my trigger. So just the lightest little press, and it goes off.
That’s single action. Meaning the only action a trigger does is drop the hammer. In case I need to draw and fire in a hurry, I have the ability to pull the trigger, and the first action is that it will cock the hammer back. And the second action is that it drops it. SO that’s double action. So you can do both. When you think about cowboy guns, and they will have to fan the hammers that’s because they are all single (action) only. Double is the ability to both, you generally see both in Military revolvers. The British later will have some double-onlys, things like that . But…this is single only. These guns’ claim to fame is it’s unusual loading gate, which is that…they are not loading gate. It has a sort of false gate, because if we lift it back like a loading gate, but then the cylinder actually swings out. The thing is… And you guys might not be all that familiar with. It’s swinging out to the right. So if right handed…if I want to load I have to cross my hand. And a lot of people have been confused about that over the years. The reason they did it is this was designed primarily for cavalry. And the Frenches were trained to take up the reins in the left hand. And so they expected that, if a solider is riding and has to shoot, they are going to shoot “reins left, gun right.” And then when they want to load they gonna do all that fine manipulation with the right hand. They want to be able to be right handed about it. So they will take the handgun, and move it over to the other hand. And then use the right hand to go through the process of loading. Overall length: 9.3″
Weight: 1.88 lb This little guy…and you can see in my little side screen. Very small. Very compact. I can hide the whole thing away almost. This is the Ruby as it’s been nicknamed. This considered by the French to be the model 15. These are made out of Spain. And they are actually copy of a Browning design, notice the 1903. Now Spain had an unusual pattern law at the time. I don’t know if they still do actually, but at the time it did. You had to be producing within Spain, within a certain amount of the time and yatiyatiyata… The short answer is it’s very hard to enforce a pattern in Spain. And Browning was not able to enforce his pattern for the 1903 in Spain. So…a number of clones of the gun and believe me they don’t look a lot alike. I wish I had one handy, but I don’t. They don’t look a lot alike but internally they function the same. A lot of these clones showed up in the Eibar region of Spain. And so they became known the Eibar type,
like a bunch of home shop and small factory were making them. The French during WW1 were grasping for anything that they can use, especially over land, because they don’t… You know, ports and all it’s a nightmare. So if they can get it straight of Spain over land, they will take it. So they contract…. and I am sorry my Spanish pronunciation is horrible. But they contract with a… Oh! Good Lord! Gabilondo y Urresti something like that. They contract with them for couple thousand of these guys. And they trade name for that company was…to call this the Ruby. Other country would call it the Destroyer, they call it all sorts of different names. But this company called it the Ruby,
and so the French call it the Ruby. Now…the French demanded more and more of these. It created a boom industry in Spain and huge huge industry in Spain, because millions of these were produced. By, you know, dozens of manufactures , because it’s essentially… the initial company… Started getting subcontractors in this, started… You know, you produce these barrels, you produce these slides, give them to us. We will fit them. The subcontractors started making deals with the French directly. And the French needed so many that they didn’t care. So…the Spanish realize this could be bad thing for their boom industry, so they all got together, and they colluded. And they came up with the fixed price for the region. And then they just all made whatever they can make, and the French bought whatever they can get as long as it… met standards. So…believe it or not, despite being hand filed in many cases, these are fairly reliable little 32ACP pistols. They use small cartridge. They are simple blow back, so the weight of these sort of bolt itself is what contains the explosion in it first, and then it’s driven back and a simple spring brings it forward. No a lot advanced features on this gun. But it works. And it’s cheap, and they can get them, you know, in packs of a hundred thousand at a time. So…there is a whole industry in Spain that’s just turning these thing out. The one and only real big problem with this is that because there are so many subcontractors, is that the French were discovering that magazines would not fit between pistols. You had to have the magazine for your pistol or at least from that subcontractor. Oh! Man!
And how could you keep those apart actually? Was it like a lottery? So…here is what they did. They literally have…you can tell who your subcontractor is, because there is a 2 letter digit…
there is a 2-letter-code on the back. And it’s probably not easy to see, but I will have photos up. There is a 2-digit-code in circle here. There is a stamp there. They would stamp on toe of the magazine. And so that way you know that these 2 went together, you won’t get it confused with your bodies. And it would stay with your gun. It’s not like you were given an extra anyway. You only had the one magazine. Overall Length: 6.2″
Weight:1.9lb If you miss the first part of our series about French rifles, you can check it out right here. And if you want find out more about the Ruby pistol, check Othais’ channel, C&Rsenal, where he talks about it in depth. And our next live session Othais will introduce us to German rifles of the First World War. Now, if you already have questions for that live event, you can post them in the comment under the #Hashtag. #OthaisGermanGuns The live event will likely in early September, we think. But follow us on Facebook or Twitter to not miss the announcement. See you later.

100 thoughts on “French Pistols of World War 1 featuring Othais from C&RSENAL I THE GREAT WAR – Special

  1. Did soldiers never really get the chance to use their Ruby pistol that much? I thought that with so much trench warfare, you wouldn't want to try and fight in such close quarters with a rifle. So having a fixed cartridge to your gun seems insane? That means even in the worst circumstances, you couldn't even use other dead soldiers magazines if you needed them. Absolutely crazy.

  2. Am I the only one to notice the rather abrupt discontinuity of styles in this otherwise consistent video production?
    It's as if the smooth lines of a fine Corvette, were broken by the screwing-on of some googly-eyes or a shark-fin. Cool in it's own way, but out of keeping with the whole.

    "Olthais" is a fine firearms expert, but his style contribution to the production is nonexistent. This video still gets a thumbs-up, but someone had to say it.

  3. Just wondering, could you include some prototype weapons in the German rifle video (like maybe any guns that the Germans tested but didn't mass produce)?

  4. You shoult to a video that talks about The Estonian War for Intepentence witch started in 1918 but you will have to read and research on our war for intepentence! by making this video you whoult technically be making a video thats after WW1! witch you shoult make more videos that are AFTER WW1.

  5. I enjoy the specials about rifles and pistols. Forgotten Weapons has also done some history re. the Ruby pistols. BTW, I'm also impressed by the demonstration shooter 😉

  6. Most Continental Armies had pistols for officers only.  Many officers purchased their own side arms.  A gentleman didn't need a large bore killing machine, like an American .45 pistol, or–gasp–a common soldier's rifle.  Gentlemen carried symbols of their authority, a sword, or a fancy small pistol.  The American and German military procurement systems both sought more deadly side arms for their officers, and NCOs than the other armies of this time.  Of course The Great War changed many outdated ideas on side arms.

  7. I wonder if you could cooperate with Ian McCollum from Forgotten Weapons on some of these gun videos. He is really knowledgeable about this era of firearms, and he got me to check out this channel!

  8. "They're designed to use against other Europeans, or someone who's likely to get shot and quit"

    Brave words coming from someone whos country didn't enter the war until it was obvious who was going to win it

  9. The nation were a huge pile of different weapons were ever used would have to be the Russian Empire during WW1. S&W Model 3's, Nagant Revolver, Mosin Nagant, Winchester M1985 (I think. The final lever action gun being adopted into an major army in 7.62x54mmR) and huge array of other rifles like the Berdan and such. Might make a good episode

  10. Another great book set during WW1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Soldier_%C5%A0vejk
    Congrats on a great show

  11. Not my favorite topic, but it is such a pleasure to listen to someone who really knows what they are talking about, regardless of the topic.

  12. Hey what happened to the episodes on the German rifles & pistols ? I can only find the episodes about the French weapons.

  13. I love history especially the civil war and the first world war. The little 32 cal pistols are greatly under estimated. Looks to me like the French understood the function of the pistol in warfare better than many They are an emergency weapon for use by officers to defend themselves and control their own troops if necessary and are only for very close ranges mostly under 25 yards.

  14. are you going to make video of austrian rifles and pistols as the steyr gun factory was and still is to this day
    a state of the art gun manufacturer

  15. Great epsode but pretty crappy hanguns – But i guess that was the norm.
    Well a part from the brumhandle and the Colt. And the Luger i guess – But wasn't the Luger easy to jam in a trech?

  16. Someone once said that the main purpose of a pistol on the battlefield is to provide souvenirs to the opposing forces. 🙂

  17. Cannot wait to see Austro-Hungarian video. Great channel and love the content. It is great for my procrastination issues 😀

  18. The drum line at the part when the lady was shooting the revolver sounds an awful lot like the drum line in one of the pieces in the Halo CE game soundtrack. Could I gain a link to that specific audio clip to compare?

  19. As much as I enjoy Ians presentations at Forgotten Weapons, it's very cool to see a live demonstration of the firearms themselves. I'm sure Ian would love to fire the weapons he's demonstrating, but given that they're about to be auctioned I guess the owners want to keep their specimens in prime condition.

  20. The 1892 revolver was a beautifull work of french arquebusery. And reloading it with the right hand was easier for most people who are right hand! Just switch the gun on left hand then reload with right hand: easier and faster when you think about it

  21. The 1892 was called "le tueur des tranchées", the trench killer, because it was used mainly to kill soldiers who were too damaged to be saved.

    When I shot with it, it made a hell of a huge cloud of smoke, way more than on your video. But it probably came from a different bullet being used.

  22. Who fans a single action? Without a special hammer spur it will chew your hand up, not mention the bad accuracy issue for the average person. Yeah I know there are some trick shot guys that have really really practiced and use mostly specialized guns. Mostly it's a Hollywood thing. It's like holding a gun in each hand with outstretched arms and being accurate with both guns.

  23. Essentially the Side arm replaced the officer sword and most countries they were as much if not more of a status symbol. American's and I believe the British were the main two that handed them out to basic infantry units as an actual back up weapon.

  24. I've got the Mle 1892 Pistol of my great grandfather in my room, with holster . So proud he fought the Marne and the Somme with it :3

  25. The Ruby was actually based off the 1905 Vest Pocket, not the 1903. 1905s were initially copied in .25acp in Spain and then enlarged to look like the popular Colt or FN 1903s.

  26. Pistols were probably more for self defence and discipline against your very own men than for anything else.

  27. you shouldn't dry fire a exposed pin revolver particularly a 100+ year old one use snap caps if you don't you risk crystallization of the pin and breaking it

  28. Let us Americans not forget why we declared Independence after this holiday. OUR FIRST BATTLE WAS OVER TYRANNICAL GUN CONTROL!

  29. Question for anyone who can answer: Why were the French buying millions of pistols (as stated by Othais in the video)? Were all French troops being issued pistols during the war?
    Thanks to anyone who knows!

  30. I have been a fan since day one, but I have found these gun videos just now. They are awesome, you guys rock!

  31. Wait a second, When did they talk about the power of rifles compared to AK? I missed that in the rifle episode.

  32. Don't blame my country, Spain. The massive production of Ruby pistols was a surprise and Basque factories were not ready for it, they solved the demand the best way they could. Surprisinly it was a very reliable handgun. Most remaining units still work perfectly today, one hundred years later! For a simple but high quality Colt or S&W revolver is not such a big issue, for a cheap semi-auto… hum… I bet your sons won't see a lot of present Hi-Point pistols working flawesly in 2116.

  33. One more comment…Hipster dude. Why don't you learn the Spanish pronunciation, instead of the lame excuse. Show a little respect, dude. It's not that difficult or is it? Bangkok-Johnny, again.

  34. Love segments that break down on the weaponry of the Great War and laughed my butt off on how the same basic gun could have problems with the magazine not being compatible!

  35. hey othais, got a question to you 🙂 do you think battlefield 4 weapons are like in a real life (i mean the looks of the models)? thanks in advance and nice videos!

  36. question. whats the point of adopting pistols with detachable magazines if you were only issued 1 magazine anyway?

    might as well adopt a stripper fed pistol like the M1912 or C96 and forego the risk of magazines deforming or getting lost

  37. "Here's a pistol cobbled together in Spain with one magazine that may or may not fit. Now go fight a war"

  38. For these weapons Balalaika from the anime Black Lagoon she wouldn't only be insulting them but also the reasoning behind them as well. Which in this case she would be right.

  39. Both channels are super cool but it drives me crazy that in all these handgun episodes, she fires the handguns one handed. TWO HANDS GIRL!

  40. French civilised cartridge – hmmm – not convinced on the reasoning he puts behind it – French Empire was pretty big at that time and America wasn't supposed to have one but we all know the building of the USA was empire building. Sometimes we attach the wrong reasoning to things historical as we seek to cross "t"s and dot "i"s.

  41. You guys should do a special on machine guns. I know there were not many at the time but I would like to hear about the Lewis and MP18

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