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Sonoran Desert Institute

All the Latest News, Reviews and Developments happening with the Sonoran Desert Institute!

Know Your Firearms History: The German PAK 40 [WITH VIDEO]

As Americans, we are lucky to live in the age in which we do.

Sure, we have a mess of problems, but we have made a lot of exciting concepts a reality: everyone gets a vote (if you’re not a felon), violent crime is far less than it has been in recent decades, despite what some would have you believe, and in the field, we have the world’s best and most advanced military safeguarding our freedoms.

We’re also incredibly lucky we don’t have to contend with PAK 40s anymore, as our fathers, grandfathers, and even great-grandfathers had to do.

The PAK 40 is one of those inventions turned out by Germany during the Second World War that showed that not only did the United States need to up its technological game, but they were way late to the party.

For those unfamiliar with this massive firearm, the PAK 40 was an anti-tank artillery piece created by Germany to upgrade their anti-tank arsenal in the face of ever-increasing levels of proficiency in Soviet armor.

File:Pak40 cfb borden 3.JPG

As most of you are already aware, the back half of the 1930s saw a race between the major powers to see who could hold the technological advantage when it came to arms and armor. One of the resulting creations — really a product of general German rearmament — was the PAK 36 — a 3.7 mm, which the Tank Encyclopedia claims to be the first German anti-tank gun.

The piece acquitted itself extremely well during the Spanish Civil War, but was reportedly believed to be in need of upgrading to stay ahead of the ever-cycling armament-armor circle. That upgrade materialized in the form of the PAK 38, a 5 cm gun.

That’s a good bit of firepower. However, as the Tank Encyclopedia¬†notes,¬†“soon after the factories geared up for production, the German military became aware of newer tank designs by the Soviets (thanks in part to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact) and therefore ordered an upgunning of the Pak 38.”

That upgunning eventually turned straight into a new gun — the PAK 40.

About here is where I’d normally insert another photo — but I found a video instead. Check it out:

Isn’t that incredible?

“This gun is a beast! As you can see the muzzle blast is incredible. The WWII German PAK (PanzerAbwehrKanone) 40 was developed in early WWII but didn’t see widespread production until about 1941. The gun was often used by allied forces whenever they would over run German positions which shows the effectiveness of the gun,” the YouTube publisher, PossumPopper89, noted in the video’s description.

The extremely effective gun saw use until the end of the war, and had a reputation for being able to put a hole in just about anything fielded against it.

The gun shown wasn’t in the excellent, fighting shape it is in the video above.

Specifically, it didn’t look so… reasonable.

“This gun was resurrected from an art museum where the owner had painted it pink!” PossumPopper89 reported. “It was restored to working order and the federal paperwork required to build and possess this gun was obtained. It is not legal for an ordinary citizen to have a working field piece like this.”

The scourge of thousands of tanks on both fronts — painted pink.

Ouch.

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Know Your Firearms History: M1 Garand Successfully Tested by the U.S. Military

It’s time to talk about the rifle everyone wants and loves — it’s time to talk about the M1 Garand.

Image result for m1 garand

That’s right, folks. Our first look into firearms history is going to target the gun, the myth, and the legend. The M1 Garand was famously called by General George Patton the “greatest battle implement ever devised,” and although its viability on today’s battlefield would likely be debated, there’s no question that in its day it was a force to be reckoned with.

According to the National Parks Service, development of a semi-automatic rifle that would give the United States an edge in combat in her next war — a war that just happened to be the grandest in scale in human history — began very quickly after the first world war.

Springfield Armory’s now-legendary John Garand had developed a rifle that would be adopted as the M1 in 1932. That rifle was finally approved for procurement in 1935 and standardized in the Army in 1936 — although the first production model was finally proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937, according to Olive Drab.

Image result for m1 garand

That rifle would be produced until 1957, and its numbers are staggering.

5.4 million were made over its production run, according to Olive Drab, of which 3.1 million were created by World War II’s end, the National Parks Service noted. The rifle saw use in three American wars — World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In fact, the rifle still manages to turn up in conflicts all around the world today.

Let’s take a look into the gun’s nitty-gritty details:

  • Action: self-loading, gas-action piston
  • Caliber: 30-06 Springfield
  • Operation Feed: 8-round internal clip
  • Overall Length: 43.43 inches
  • Barrel Length: 23.98 inches
  • Weight: 9.63 lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 ft./second
  • Range: 440 yards

It’s worth noting that the above statistics, including the range, are from MilitaryFactory.com — other sources, including Range365, put the effective range out to 500 yards, and if you hop onto YouTube you’ll see folks doing some pretty impressive shooting at far beyond 500 yards:

That’s some pretty nice shooting!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How can I add one of these gorgeous rifles to my arsenal?”

Well, you’re in luck! As of the time of this reporting, not only does popular website Gunbroker.com contain multiple Garand listings, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) still has a few rifles for sale, some of which are on sale for as low as $650.

If you feel like reviewing your firearm purchase in person, M1 Garands are frequently in the inventory of many used gun shops, and I don’t think I’ve ever once gone to a gun show where there wasn’t at least half a dozen for sale — often at comical markups.

Whether you wish to take one to the range or leave one in the past, there’s no doubt that this iconic rifle not only has contributed to our history, but the victorious outcome of the Second World War and subsequently the safeguarding of the free world.

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