FIREARMS CURIOSA
The Ingram Model 5
Origin: United States of America
Caliber: .45 ACP
Date: 1946
This was Gordon B. Ingram’s first submachine gun design. It utilized a fairly conventional design and accepted magazines from the earlier Reising submachine gun. Weighing around 6lb, the Model 5 was comprised of a wooden butt and lightweight steel parts. Only 3 parts of the weapon were movable - the trigger, sear and bolt. A sole prototype was produced in 1946, but Ingram could not find a manufacturer for the weapon. Above is the only surviving photograph of the Model 5 SMG. I’m not sure who the young lady demonstrating the weapon is, but I believe the photo originated from a Lightning Arms Co. sales brochure, where the weapon was marketed as the “Lightning Model 5” with no reference to Gordon Ingram. Despite this, Lightning Arms Co. never manufactured any Model 5 SMGs, and by 1949 Ingram had designed his improved Model 6 submachine gun.

The Ingram Model 5

Origin: United States of America

Caliber: .45 ACP

Date: 1946

This was Gordon B. Ingram’s first submachine gun design. It utilized a fairly conventional design and accepted magazines from the earlier Reising submachine gun. Weighing around 6lb, the Model 5 was comprised of a wooden butt and lightweight steel parts. Only 3 parts of the weapon were movable - the trigger, sear and bolt. A sole prototype was produced in 1946, but Ingram could not find a manufacturer for the weapon. Above is the only surviving photograph of the Model 5 SMG. I’m not sure who the young lady demonstrating the weapon is, but I believe the photo originated from a Lightning Arms Co. sales brochure, where the weapon was marketed as the “Lightning Model 5” with no reference to Gordon Ingram. Despite this, Lightning Arms Co. never manufactured any Model 5 SMGs, and by 1949 Ingram had designed his improved Model 6 submachine gun.

V. Rigsby’s coilgun

Origin: United States of America

Date: c.1933

This weapon was designed by Texan inventor Virgil Rigsby. It was an electronic machine-gun capable of firing rapidly without any recoil, muzzle flash or case ejection, and it also fired very quietly (reportedly about as loud as a .22 rifle). Basically, wrapped around the barrel are numerous electromagnets, which propel the projectiles at the target at considerable speed, negating the need for gunpowder. The main problem with this design, and indeed all coilguns, is that it required a large electrical source at all times. Coilguns can also overheat very quickly. Rigsby’s design didn’t catch on, and I’ve yet to see a coilgun that has been a big success. Having said that, give it about 200 - 300 years and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that this kind of technology will be standard-issue.

Shield competition pistols

Left: .357 Ruger Blackhawk, modified by Shield Gunmakers Ltd. of the United Kingdom, c.1990. It was designed for the International Long Range Pistol Shooters’ Association (ILRSPA) “All Comers” competition. The sights are modified; the fore sight is a Parker Hale tunnel, and the rear sights are square-notch Beeman sights.

Center: Same design concept, but applied to a Colt New Service revolver in .45 ACP. Designed for the Long Range Pistol Shooters’ Association (ILRSPA) “Pocket Pistol” competition.

Right: Magnum “free pistol” designed by Shield Gunmakers Ltd. It was designed for the International Long Range Pistol Shooters’ Association (ILRSPA) “Free Pistol B” competition. The scope is a Leopold M8 scope. This pistol is chambered for .357 Magnum.

All pistols designed and used in the 1990’s for competition shooting only, and all designed by Andy Wooldridge.

Chaineux 20-shot revolver
Origin: France/Belgium
Date: c.1870
Caliber: 7mm pinfire
In the mid-late 1800s, 10-shot or 12-shot revolvers were fairly commonplace, but 20 shots firing from a single barrel was very unusual. The cylinder has 20 chambers, making it extremely large and absurd in appearance. It is chambered for 7mm pinfire cartridges, so I suspect the chambers are quite small, but it still looks completely impractical. Because it is a pinfire weapon, the hammer has to reach all the way over the top of the cylinder, making it possibly one of the largest hammers for a revolver ever! J. Chaineux, a Parisian gunmaker, also made 12-shot versions which achieved considerably more success than this model.

Chaineux 20-shot revolver

Origin: France/Belgium

Date: c.1870

Caliber: 7mm pinfire

In the mid-late 1800s, 10-shot or 12-shot revolvers were fairly commonplace, but 20 shots firing from a single barrel was very unusual. The cylinder has 20 chambers, making it extremely large and absurd in appearance. It is chambered for 7mm pinfire cartridges, so I suspect the chambers are quite small, but it still looks completely impractical. Because it is a pinfire weapon, the hammer has to reach all the way over the top of the cylinder, making it possibly one of the largest hammers for a revolver ever! J. Chaineux, a Parisian gunmaker, also made 12-shot versions which achieved considerably more success than this model.

The weapons of Syria

Probably the most common rifle in Syria at the moment is the AKMS. Here’s a few of the less-common rifles being deployed by Syrian fighters.

1. FSA soldier with an M16 with ACOG, most likely a remnant of the Iraq war or perhaps a copy.

2. FSA soldier with a Saudi-supplied AUG.

3. FSA soldier manning an unknown AMR.

4. FSA soldier wielding a home-made AMR built from the barrel of a DShK.

5. Two FSA soldiers, top one wielding an FPK and the bottom one wielding a FAL.

6. FSA soldier with a modern FAL variant, Chinese scope attached.

7. SAA soldier operating a Steyr HS-50, mid-interview.

8. FSA soldier with a scoped Norinco 311.

Victory Arms MC-5
Origin: United Kingdom
Date: 1987
Caliber: Various (.45 ACP pictured)
Despite having entered production in the late 1980’s, MC-5 handguns are incredibly rare and valuable. Designed in the mid-80’s by the Nottingham-based company Victory Arms Ltd., the MC-5 was produced in the UK for a short time and exported to the USA, where it was marketed as the “Victory MC-5”. Legal difficulties forced Victory Arms to relocate their place of manufacture to Florida, and later the company sold the design to Magnum Research Inc. While it achieved little success in the USA, quite a few were sold in the UK, almost all of which disappeared off the face of the earth after the UK enforced its handgun ban in 1997. Production officially ended in 1990, but I’ve heard rumours that there were plans to revive the pistol - as of yet, nothing. Without at doubt, Victory Arms Ltd. went out of business years ago, so it seems incredibly unlikely that the MC-5 will reappear any time soon.
The poor sales of the MC-5 can perhaps be explained by its blandness as a handgun, both aesthetically and operationally. It was a basic magazine-fed weapon with illuminated square-notch sights and ambidextrous safety. The frame was made from stainless steel and the grips varied from plastic (Victory Arms model) to wooden (Magnum Research model). It could be re-chambered for about 6 different calibers; 9x19mm, 10mm, .41 AE, .45 ACP, .40 S&W and .38 Super. 
In December 2013, an MC-5 pistol went up for auction at Holt’s, Norfolk. It had an estimated price of £2000 - 3000, and was a long-barreled variant made by Magnum Research Inc., chambered for .45 ACP. The magazine was missing. It was also bundled with a Victory Arms Ltd. company manifesto and uniform. I have no idea whether it sold or not. This is the only MC-5 pistol that I’m aware still exists. Check your attics, people!

Victory Arms MC-5

Origin: United Kingdom

Date: 1987

Caliber: Various (.45 ACP pictured)

Despite having entered production in the late 1980’s, MC-5 handguns are incredibly rare and valuable. Designed in the mid-80’s by the Nottingham-based company Victory Arms Ltd., the MC-5 was produced in the UK for a short time and exported to the USA, where it was marketed as the “Victory MC-5”. Legal difficulties forced Victory Arms to relocate their place of manufacture to Florida, and later the company sold the design to Magnum Research Inc. While it achieved little success in the USA, quite a few were sold in the UK, almost all of which disappeared off the face of the earth after the UK enforced its handgun ban in 1997. Production officially ended in 1990, but I’ve heard rumours that there were plans to revive the pistol - as of yet, nothing. Without at doubt, Victory Arms Ltd. went out of business years ago, so it seems incredibly unlikely that the MC-5 will reappear any time soon.

The poor sales of the MC-5 can perhaps be explained by its blandness as a handgun, both aesthetically and operationally. It was a basic magazine-fed weapon with illuminated square-notch sights and ambidextrous safety. The frame was made from stainless steel and the grips varied from plastic (Victory Arms model) to wooden (Magnum Research model). It could be re-chambered for about 6 different calibers; 9x19mm, 10mm, .41 AE, .45 ACP, .40 S&W and .38 Super. 

In December 2013, an MC-5 pistol went up for auction at Holt’s, Norfolk. It had an estimated price of £2000 - 3000, and was a long-barreled variant made by Magnum Research Inc., chambered for .45 ACP. The magazine was missing. It was also bundled with a Victory Arms Ltd. company manifesto and uniform. I have no idea whether it sold or not. This is the only MC-5 pistol that I’m aware still exists. Check your attics, people!

Azerbaijani CornerShot
This is a photo taken from what I believe was an Azerbaijani training exercise. It’s a CornerShot variant with a shortened AKS-74U rifle attached to the fore end. It could be that this is actually an official CornerShot that Azerbaijani special forces have modified, or a copy made in Azerbaijan. There’s been no other sightings of this weapon at all so I suspect it hasn’t been adopted in large numbers, and may well be an experimental prototype.
http://youtu.be/LpU2GNbzKzw?t=4m2s - full video here, showing the weapon in action.

Azerbaijani CornerShot

This is a photo taken from what I believe was an Azerbaijani training exercise. It’s a CornerShot variant with a shortened AKS-74U rifle attached to the fore end. It could be that this is actually an official CornerShot that Azerbaijani special forces have modified, or a copy made in Azerbaijan. There’s been no other sightings of this weapon at all so I suspect it hasn’t been adopted in large numbers, and may well be an experimental prototype.

http://youtu.be/LpU2GNbzKzw?t=4m2s - full video here, showing the weapon in action.

Shield New Service
Origin: United Kingdom
Date: 1960
Caliber: .450
No, this isn’t a prop from a sci-fi movie, it’s a competition revolver made by Shield Gunmakers in 1960. Allegedly the designer found a Colt New Service revolver in a bin and after tinkering with the grips, sights and barrel, it was transformed into this. Shield Gunmakers also turned a Ruger Blackhawk into something similar to this, albeit a lot larger. This revolver was designed for the Police Pistol Combat Competition in 1960.

Shield New Service

Origin: United Kingdom

Date: 1960

Caliber: .450

No, this isn’t a prop from a sci-fi movie, it’s a competition revolver made by Shield Gunmakers in 1960. Allegedly the designer found a Colt New Service revolver in a bin and after tinkering with the grips, sights and barrel, it was transformed into this. Shield Gunmakers also turned a Ruger Blackhawk into something similar to this, albeit a lot larger. This revolver was designed for the Police Pistol Combat Competition in 1960.

VBR-Belgium CAR
Origin: Belgium
Date: 1990
Caliber: Unknown (caseless)
Quite an astonishing feat in firearms design, the Caseless Ammunition Rifle (CAR) was designed by Rik van Bruaene, the manager of VBR-Belgium. It was designed in response to the Heckler & Koch G11, and works in a similar fashion to H&K’s weapon, with the magazine being inserted horizontally over the top. The magazine holds up to 120 rounds; this amount of firepower is typically reserved for light machine guns! An alternate model, known as the CAR-2, was also produced, aimed at limiting the firepower for infantry soldiers, with a magazine of 75 rounds. Unfortunately, the CAR didn’t make it past prototype stages. Although VBR-Belgium hasn’t released any official reasons for the cancellation of the CAR project (along with almost all of their small arms), I suspect it was the result of both police intervention and moral fears from Rik himself. VBR-Belgium has made it no secret that Belgian police forces have confronted them over their potentially lethal designs (these are not the kind of weapons that you’d expect civilians to be armed with!), whilst the VBR-Belgium website once asked whether it was “moral” for soldiers to be armed with 120-round rifles. Not a lot of information regarding the CAR project, but still an interesting weapon either way.

VBR-Belgium CAR

Origin: Belgium

Date: 1990

Caliber: Unknown (caseless)

Quite an astonishing feat in firearms design, the Caseless Ammunition Rifle (CAR) was designed by Rik van Bruaene, the manager of VBR-Belgium. It was designed in response to the Heckler & Koch G11, and works in a similar fashion to H&K’s weapon, with the magazine being inserted horizontally over the top. The magazine holds up to 120 rounds; this amount of firepower is typically reserved for light machine guns! An alternate model, known as the CAR-2, was also produced, aimed at limiting the firepower for infantry soldiers, with a magazine of 75 rounds. Unfortunately, the CAR didn’t make it past prototype stages. Although VBR-Belgium hasn’t released any official reasons for the cancellation of the CAR project (along with almost all of their small arms), I suspect it was the result of both police intervention and moral fears from Rik himself. VBR-Belgium has made it no secret that Belgian police forces have confronted them over their potentially lethal designs (these are not the kind of weapons that you’d expect civilians to be armed with!), whilst the VBR-Belgium website once asked whether it was “moral” for soldiers to be armed with 120-round rifles. Not a lot of information regarding the CAR project, but still an interesting weapon either way.

Edgecumb Arms Combat Ten
Origin: United Kingdom
Date: 1960
Caliber: .380 ACP
I spent an ungodly amount of time researching this gun after I saw a picture of it on an online firearms archive that I frequently browse. For months, probably over a year now, I thought there was no information on this godforsaken thing at all, but by fluke I found a Russian website that had a catalogue of weird revolvers and this was among them. Unfortunately it’s nothing special - just a bog-standard target revolver made by a UK company called Edgecumb Arms (which is somewhat odd because I don’t believe there is an Edgecumb in the UK!), designed specifically for entry in the Police Pistol Combat Competition in the USA. I was expecting it to be a civilian revolver of sorts. I don’t know where it’s currently being kept (presuming only one was made), but I suspect the NRA probably has ownership of it in one of their many collections, since the Police Pistol Combat Competition has links to the NRA.

Edgecumb Arms Combat Ten

Origin: United Kingdom

Date: 1960

Caliber: .380 ACP

I spent an ungodly amount of time researching this gun after I saw a picture of it on an online firearms archive that I frequently browse. For months, probably over a year now, I thought there was no information on this godforsaken thing at all, but by fluke I found a Russian website that had a catalogue of weird revolvers and this was among them. Unfortunately it’s nothing special - just a bog-standard target revolver made by a UK company called Edgecumb Arms (which is somewhat odd because I don’t believe there is an Edgecumb in the UK!), designed specifically for entry in the Police Pistol Combat Competition in the USA. I was expecting it to be a civilian revolver of sorts. I don’t know where it’s currently being kept (presuming only one was made), but I suspect the NRA probably has ownership of it in one of their many collections, since the Police Pistol Combat Competition has links to the NRA.