Vintage Ordnance now makes a reproduction of a handgun I’ve often wondered about, the FP-45 Liberator pistol.

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Look small and cheapy? That’s because it is, and designed to be. The Liberator was designed during 1942 to be produced cheaply and paradropped En Masse into Nazi occupied France, for use with the French Resistance. The Liberator would be dropped with 10 rounds of .45 ACP ( five of which could be stored in the grip), a dowel rod to eject the fired rounds, and simple instructions. Designed as a single shot “throwaway” gun, a Resistance fighter would use this to shoot one Nazi, “liberate” him of his weapon, and continue fighting with that.

Was it accurate? Ummm…no. The barrel (labeled as a “tube” on the original blueprints) is a “smoothbore” barrel, as on a musket. Crude sights and the fact that the barrel is only four inches long provide the perfect “musket meets pistol” accuracy that the enemy just loves. Oh, and you could only fire 50 rounds through a Liberator because its stamped steel construction and very loose tolerances weren’t exactly a great combination with a steady diet of .45 ACP hardball ammo.

But this never happened. Few if any Liberators were dropped over Europe. Some saw use with the Filipino and Chinese Resistances, but it’s believed that most Liberators were shredded after the war’s end.

As for the reproduction, It is also recommended that customers DON’T shoot it as it is of the same design as the original, albeit with tighter tolerances (I guess it’s supposed to be more of a replica). And the price? In 1942, the cost to make one was $2.50. That’s about $28.00 nowadays. The price of the Vintage Ordnance Liberator, with all the stuff it would have been dropped into France with?

$599.99!! 600 bucks for a piece of stamped steel the manufacturer recommends you don’t shoot!?! Maybe if you reload a lighter .45 ACP load you could shoot it for more than 50 rounds, but 600 BUCKS!! And it does qualify as a gun under federal law, so you have to be 21 or older and pass a background check to buy one! Well, Vintage ordnance is the only current manufacturer of the Liberator, and I’m sure if someone else offered it for $50.00, they’d make money off it. And they could solder the breech closed so it wouldn’t be classified as an actual handgun.

More at The Firearm Blog.