Several inventors are struggling with the problem of magazine pistols. The advantages of such an arm are great and obvious. So long as the powder chamber and the barrel are separate the revolver cannot lay claim to the title of an arm of precision or high power. The break in the arm where the cylinder and barrel meet, or are supposed to meet, permits a considerable escape of gas with a resulting loss of pressure and consequent reduction of velocity. Any attempt to increase the velocity by the use of longer and more powerful ammunition adds unduly to the length and weight of the arm without equivalent gain, for the higher and longer sustained the powder pressure the greater the escape of gas. Moreover, the present ammunition gives quite recoil enough. The defects of the revolver seem inseparable from the fundamental principles of its construction, and it is a recognition of this fact that has led to the present investigations of the possibilities of magazine pistols.
Present indications seem to point to the following characteristics, which it is desirable for the arm to possess: A caliber of about .32 (say 8 millimeters); a lead bullet with nickel, steel or copper envelope; a length of barrel, .measured from the base of the bullet, of about twenty-five calibers; a bottle shaped cartridge with unusually large but short powder space, to reduce the length of the cartridge as much as possible, and charged with quick-burning powder; the energy of recoil to be utilized to extract, load and cock; a light pull, say not over four pounds; a cocking device for single-shot firing; a detachable magazine to hold four to eight cartridges; a simple efficient safety catch, convenient to the touch, but protected against possible disturbance while drawing the pistol or returning it to the holster; a smooth exterior, as free from projections as possible; a strong, powerful grip; lastly, as great simplicity and strength of parts as are consistent with proper lightness and other qualities. What desirable qualities may be sacrificed to secure absolute efficiency only experience can decide. It is too often forgotten that arms must be suited to those who are to use them, and many desirable features must often be omitted, or their presence may make the weapon almost valueless for its designed use.
Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.
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