Imagine the thrill these boys must have felt, fresh off the farm, being handed one of John Moses Browning’s finest, probably for the first time. The best minds the U. S. military could muster put their noggins together to produce this little feature to familiarize them with the pistol that would soon be their sidearm. And this is apparently the best Uncle Sam could do. Regularly lasering each other? Check. Booger hooks consistently placed on bangswitches? You betcha. And while not dangerous, how about that fancy teacup grip G.I. Joe learned from the ol’ sarge? Yer in the Army now, dogface.

[h/t DrVino]

42 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: The US Army Circa 1945

  1. Ah, the good old days Studs Terkel wrote of.
    Apparently the greatest generation wasn’t so great at practicing the 4 rules most of us have taken to heart.
    While grampa did kick ass, he did have his faults. I guess we all have feet of clay.

        • You can watch 45 acp flying down range just with the naked eye under the right lighting conditions at even short ranges. Try stepping slightly to the side of the shooter and focus on the target. Big, shiny, and slow makes em easy to see.

  2. “… how about that fancy teacup grip …”

    What do you expect, a captain is teaching those guys … everyone knows that officers are inept!

    • .45 acp tracer was developed originoly as a signaling device for downed pilots. How effective they would have been in that role, I dunno.

    • IIRC, they used tracers for .45s so that the platoon leader or nco could mark targets for the riflemen. The Russians used to issue tracers to platoon leaders for the same purpose. Chechnya changed that practice for the Russians.

  3. I can’t remember the exact figures, but I recall reading in some book that there were tens of thousands of casualties (fatal and non fatal) as the result of “accidents” during WWII.

    • Ya know, ww2 was a big thing. Lots of people involved and lots of high stress demanding jobs requiring huge leaps in progression by countless individuals of varied types. Accidents were bound to happen. They still do even today with a much more professional collection of armed forces.

  4. Scoff if you like, but some of those techniques, such as the ‘tea cup’, do work if you practice them enough. It was what we were initially taught in JROTC in the early 70s (until I learned better techniques while in college). The use of timed rotating targets shaped like enemy soldiers with faces and uniforms is a very important and advanced improvement in combat training, especially in the WWII era, as are the crouch, move, shoot, and roll techniques. I’m impressed they shot as well as they did at 50 yards using those tiny 1911 sights. I do question the wisdom of using the point and shoot technique at 15 yards. One should at least flash the front sight. Love the use of tracers in the film – the poor man’s laser dot.

  5. Does anyone have a list of all the major guns that browning designed/built?
    As far as I understand it
    .45 colt acp
    Browning High power
    .30 browning machine gun
    .50 browning machine gun
    1873 winchester ??
    1886 winchester
    1895 winchester
    Browning Automatic Rifle

    I know there are more, this is off the top of my head. Someone help me out.
    Should be on Mt Rushmore.

    • What most people fail to appreciate about JMB’s design output is this:

      Not every gun was a “clean sheet.” John Moses Browning (insert Mormon Tabernacle Choir giving a rousing chorus of Handel’s Messiah here) was a consummately smart man – meaning, he “stole” features from his previous guns that solved problems in firearms design and used those ideas in later guns.

      Take apart the lever-operated rifles. Lay them out, side-by-side. You see the evolution happening there.

      Take apart the 1903, 1908 and then the 1911. You can see the evolution happening in there.

      Take apart the 1911. Look at the sear/trigger spring. Take apart a 1918 BAR. Look at the sear/trigger spring. Very similar.

      Take apart the A5. Look at the way it recoils to throw the breech block back and get hooked, then released. Now see how the M2’s barrel recoils and throws the breech block back… same sort of idea.

      Browning was one of the few gun designers to realize that ALL firearms need to solve four problems:

      1. Firing the cartridge.
      2. Extract the spent case, dump it overboard.
      3. Re-set the lockwork to enable the trigger/firing pin to set off the next cartridge.
      4. Grab a new cartridge, load it into the chamber, locking the chamber shut.

      That’s it. That’s what all guns have to do when operating, regardless of whether they’re falling block, bolt action, short recoil, long recoil, blowback, gas operated, etc. All guns have to do the same things.

      Now, the different between various actions is “how much human intervention happens between steps 1, 2, 3 and 4.” For example, on the Browning Superposed, the cartridges are fired, then the gun has to be broken open and the hinging action of opening the action actuates the ejectors, kicking out the spent shells. The lockwork is reset when the action is hinged open. Now a human has to stuff new cartridges into the chambers and re-close the action.

      A 1911, 1903, 1908 have similar ideas of how to do this, and the 1919, 1918 BAR and M2 have different ideas of how to do this, all with much more automation.

      Browning was a guy who realized this demarcation of operations inside a gun and, once having solved one of these steps in a previous design, he’d sometimes lift ideas and solutions to the issues of any one of these steps into a new design.

      Most other firearms designers come up with a whole new design for everything in their gun, and then fail to think of how they can adapt what they’ve already done in one gun into a new gun. Eugene Stoner was a modern exception to this rule.

    • Winchester 1890 .22RF
      Colt woodsman .22RF
      Some Savage shotgun(can’t remember the model number)
      1895 ‘potato digger’ MG
      That last is very interesting because it was the first gas operated autoloader that I’m aware of. It got its nickname from the lever at the muzzle that is simply impacted by the muzzle blast(AFTER the bullet has left the barrel). The impact drives the lever down, and it is hinged to the gun such that that single blast provides all the actions needed to fire, extract and eject, and chamber a new cartridge. It is extremely similar to his lever action guns, but is a belt fed full auto.

  6. I actually watched one of these that was very similar (I’m assuming these were made in a “series”…?) about marksmanship fundamentals for rifles a few years ago. They were using the M1 Garand and went over proper trigger control, shooting positions from prone, kneeling, and standing, and using a sling for support while firing. I found the portion on trigger control in particular to be very informative.

    • When I bought my M1 Garand, the first thing I did was start soaking up every vintage training movie I could find.
      Even though I had purchased a -10 manual along with the rifle, fully disassembling it was a real headache until I watched a 1944 walk-through, courtesy of one seriously salty veteran Army drill sergeant.
      Learning from history, indeed. 🙂

  7. My dad was an 18 year old MP in 1945 and he could shoot the hell out of a 1911 at 50 yds even as an old man. So whatever they were teaching sure as hell worked.

  8. I always thought it interesting that both my Dad and Father In Law selected a Thompson over a 1911 as a self defense gun in WWII.

    • Same bullet, shoulder stock, short overall length, and either an extended mag or a drum mag, so lots more shots before its time to reload. What’s not to like?

    • If I had lots of people shooting at me in an urban or CQB environment, a Thompson would be my very first choice of firearm, above an MP5, above an Uzi, above a bullpup 5.56, above all of them. 50 round drum magazines might be heavy, but I work out enough that I’d happily hump a Thompson over some 9mm wanna-be. WWII Marines from the PTO told me they’d hump along with a 50-round drum, and when the fighting got going, they’d reload with 30-round sticks, dropping the 50 round drum. But the 50 round drum enabled them to respond with what we now call suppressive fire quickly, and cause the Japanese to back down a bit with two Thompsons per squad.

      The reason why the USA/USMC dropped the Thompson has to do with the cost of production, not the operational record.

    • For my whole life I knew my dad’s issue weapon was a .45, and assumed it was a 1911.
      Just this year I found out what he really had was a M3 “grease gun”.

  9. Since when is a 38 oz handgun “light weight”? My Kimber with an aluminum frame weighs 27 oz, and even that is not all that svelt.
    My father was a tank gunner right after WWII, and was issued a 1911. He claimed he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it. I wonder what he’d think of the new guns today.

    • When you are carrying a 9lb rifle, nominally 80 rounds of 30-06, a half dozen hand grenades, and a combat pack. The weight of any pistol is in the noise and is therefore light weight.

      Light weight is way overrated by modern shooters. Weight increase stability which means more accurate follow up shots.

  10. People need to remember that the “Four Rules” and modern pistolcraft all came about AFTER WWII.

    One of the men who pioneered and developed these rules and techniques was Jeff Cooper.

    • Coopy hardly invented any of it. He spelled some of it out, but he mostly gathered stuff from other people and called it his own. He is not really fit to be the father of modern pistolcraft — men like Fairbarn, Applegate, and Weaver are more deserving of the credit for creating the modern technique.

      To break it down, there are 4 things in modern technique as designed by Cooper.

      1. Large caliber handgun. In the modern sense of a pistol, invented by John Moses Browning.
      2. Flash sight picture. Fairbarn and Applegate taught both point shooting and flash aimed fire.
      3. Compressed surprise break. Fairbarn wrote about liking light triggers for going off exactly when pulled.
      4. Weaver stance. Weaver designed it in the 1950’s.

      The 4 rules have mostly existed for a while in various forms. Fairbarn included safety discussion in his work.

  11. This is the Army at War. You Train as You Fight. And you train, and train and train. And you get very good at what you’re doing. So if they teach teacup/saucer, you learn teacup. If this worked for Audy Murphy, it’s respectable. Take a look at Patton’s Holster for his .45….It has an exposed trigger. Hmmm, did you know that up until the 1980’s recruits used to crawl under barbed wire while machine guns fired over their heads? Yep, guess that’s unsafe too. And every single armorer I’ve ever seen has held the rifle up in the air and looked right down the muzzle when the weapon was turned in. I guess the Army needs to pack it up and go home.

    Pointing the US Army out as a failure in 1945, is hubris of a high order- particularly because these techniques resulted in victory on the battlefield over the Nazi war machine. It is playing gotcha over rules that didn’t exist at the time.

    On another note: I still had 2 M3 grease guns and a couple of Thompsons in an arms room when I was a 2LT in 1991. If you’re in an urban fight, you’re going to want the Thompson. I was taught that drum mags only worked well in movies, which is why the Army stuck with straight magazines. Large distances, such as in the Desert, you’re going to want something with a much greater ability to reach out and touch someone…..By the way, if you run out of ammo, a butt stroke from a Thompson would cause previous bodily harm. We had .45 Ball, and .45 Tracer and .45 Incendiary rounds. I was told very firmly that under no circumstances was I ever going to be able to shoot that .45 incendiary anywhere on that base or Range Control was going to end me.

    • Even in 2005 when I entered Basic Training, we still crawled under barbed/concertina wire with machine gun firing live rounds overhead (50 cal if I remember correctly). But it was pretty high up, and I think the only way you could get hit was maybe if you stood up and jumped.

  12. If I am not mistaken – Jeff Cooper hadn’t created the four rules as of this video. So I give them a pass. The world was a lot less bubble wrapped and safety strapped at that time as well. You were expected to be a man and act responsibly or you literally (note the proper use of that word) got your ass kicked by everyone around you. Somehow the Greatest Generation managed to win a World War against the most powerful enemies the planet had ever seen, without the benefit of Jeff’s rules or OSHA inspectors.

    Since then, we’ve dumbed society down to the point where now we need lawyers, rules and the Gubmint to tell us how behave and train. Ain’t progress great!

  13. Actually, the fingers on triggers and muzzle sweeps in this video are NOT violations of the four rules. They were done AFTER personal clearings of the firearms in question.
    Remember, the first rule is not simply all guns are always loaded ALL THE TIME, it’s that they are all loaded, UNTIL the shooter has PERSONALLY cleared the weapon in question, and it has not left his hand since. No one has EVER shot someone with a firearm that was TRULY unloaded, it is the ASSUMPTION of unloaded status that is the error.
    Quoting Jeff Cooper: “I can now drop that hammer in perfect safety, because it[the firearm] has not left my hand.”, said WHILE the trigger of the firearm in question was pulled while the sights were NOT on the target.
    It is always important to not let rote memorization of some arbitrary set of rules get in the way of our thinking and knowing. If we let memorization take the place of THINKING, we become only a fundamentalist machine, which are all ‘accidents’ waiting to happen, no matter how religiously that set of rules are followed.
    Please don’t misconstrue this as an attack on the four rules, which are indeed so powerful as to prevent firearms ‘accidents’ if even only 3 out of the 4 are followed. It is meant to illustrate that thinking can never be replaced by memorization, now matter how good that memorization is. Memorizing by rote is necessary for beginners, but no one should stay a beginner forever. We should always be striving to advance our students past the point of memorization, to the point of actual understanding and knowledge…

  14. I didn’t realize how man gun experts the US was blessed with until the internet and the PC became commonplace,according to these gun experts,the AR-15 and any glock are the gods of the firearms world.Sometimes it’s best when people just keep their pieholes shut and stop passing their humble opinions off as the gospel,this also happened in the world of politics.People wonder why this country is so screwed up,this would be part of the reason.I was reading an article the other day about the quality of a certain firearm and the guy was bitching about the quality of a certain magazine because it wouldn’t fit his pistol,he didn’t realize that a.45 magazine won’t fit a .22 pistol.

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