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FP-45 Liberator Pistol

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MBI

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Location: Utah, USA

Post Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:12 am

FP-45 Liberator Pistol

These pistols are an interesting little piece of history. Something reminded me of them the other day and it made me realize that sometimes we take for granted the things we know and it occurred to me there are probably a lot of folks out there, particularly in younger generations, who might have never heard of them.

In tribute to the US WWII war effort, and good old-fashioned human ingenuity, I wanted to make a quick post about these interesting little pistols for anyone who might be curious. As far as I know, these are the only firearms ever made that take longer to load and fire than they took to manufacture.

The FP-45 is a single-shot, smoothbore .45acp pistol made primarily out of stamped sheet metal. It was really designed to only be fired once, but had room to store a couple spare rounds in the handle just in case. They were produced in large quantities and were intended to be dropped behind enemy lines to arm resistance cells. The idea being that they could use their one shot from this pistol to take out a Nazi soldier and then be able to arm himself with the soldier's weapon to continue the fight.

There aren't a lot of detailed records about their use, but as I understand it only a tiny fraction of the ones produced were ever actually dropped in the war zone and I don't know of any anecdotal evidence of one being used in the manner for which it was designed.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page for the FP-45. I haven't read it over but I assume it'll have more detail than what I wrote here, if anyone is interested to learn more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FP-45_Liberator

I've always wanted a Liberator ever since I first learned about them. Unfortunately not many survive and are pricey collectibles. I found a place that did a limited commemorative production run of them, but they still aren't what I'd consider to be "affordable" though. On the upside, apart from a couple of minor modifications they had to make in order to comply with current gun laws (such as adding rifling to the barrel) they appear to have stayed true to the original designs of the pistol.
http://www.vintageordinance.com/

Even if you don't plan to buy one, it's worth taking a look at the link since he has some interesting descriptions there about some of their R&D efforts in recreating these, and in firing them.
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Josh66

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Post Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:28 am

Re: FP-45 Liberator Pistol

Ouch. $600, plus shipping. I'd have to think that the 'original' was like a dollar a unit, or less.

No offense or anything, it's definitely a very cool part of history, but $600 seems like rape to me.

I'd love to have one, but I'm not going to pay $600 for it...
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MBI

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Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:25 am

Location: Utah, USA

Post Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:42 am

Re: FP-45 Liberator Pistol

Josh66 wrote:Ouch. $600, plus shipping. I'd have to think that the 'original' was like a dollar a unit, or less.

Quote from the Wikipedia article: "The original delivered cost for the FP-45 was $2.40/unit ($32 in 2010). A Liberator in good condition today can fetch approximately $1200, with the original box bringing an additional $500, with an original extremely rare paper instruction sheet the value could exceed $2000 to a collector of rare World War II militaria."
Josh66 wrote:No offense or anything, it's definitely a very cool part of history, but $600 seems like rape to me.

I'd love to have one, but I'm not going to pay $600 for it...

Well, I have no idea how much it cost them to reverse-engineer and produce these, but I agree $600 is a lot more than I'd be willing to spend.
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GringoLocksmith

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Location: Gringolandia

Post Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:20 pm

Re: FP-45 Liberator Pistol

Thanks for an excellent post. This is fascinating.

I'd love to hear some accounts from people who used these in the intended fashion. But it seems like no one who attempted it lived to tell the tale.

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