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.