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Энциклопедия вооружения

Пистолет Ballester-Molina

Тактико-технические характеристики Ballester-Molina:
Калибр, мм — .45 АСР (11.43×23)
Длина, мм — 212
Длина ствола, мм — 127
Нарезы — 6
Высота, мм — 137
Ширина, мм — 32
Вес без патронов, г — 1075
Емкость магазина — 7

В 1930-х годах правительство Аргентины заказало компании HAFDASA (Hispano Argentino Fabrica de Automoviles Sociedad Anonima) из Буэнос-Айреса, созданной Arturo Ballester и Eugenio Molina, разработку нового пистолета для вооружения аргентинской армии и полиции.

При этом основным требованием было создание оружия под патрон .45 АСР, эквивалентного по боевым характеристикам пистолету Sistema Colt Modelo 1927 (выпускавшийся в Аргентине по американской лицензии пистолет Colt M1911A1), но более дешевого.

В результате конструкторами HAFDASA был создан новый пистолет, получивший название Ballester-Rigaud (от имени основателя компании — Arturo Ballester и ведущего инженера фирмы — Rorice Rigaud). Пистолет оказался точным и надежным оружием, а самое главное дешевым в производстве.

В 1938 году Ballester-Rigaud был принят на вооружение армии Аргентины, а его выпуском занялась компания HAFDASA.

Пистолеты Ballester-Rigaud (обозначение использовалось в период с 1938 по 1940 годы) и Ballester-Molina полностью идентичны по устройству и отличаются только маркировкой на затворе. Они выпускались предприятием HAFDASA с 1938 по 1953 годы.

В 1940 году компанию HAFDASA возглавил Carlos Ballester Molina и пистолет был переименован, получив обозначение Ballester-Molina. Пистолет Ballester-Molina полностью идентичен Ballester-Rigaud и отличается от него только маркировкой на затворе.

За основу нового пистолета были взяты испанские пистолеты Star Modelo P, являвшийся клоном Colt M1911A1. От пистолетов Star аргентинские пистолеты унаследовали качающийся на горизонтальной оси спусковой крючок с одной тягой, отсутствие автоматического предохранителя на рукоятке, не отъемный затыльник рукоятки, вмещавший боевую пружину.

Совместимости по деталям с пистолетами фирмы Colt практически не сохранилось, единственными взаимозаменяемыми деталями остались ствол в сборе с качающейся серьгой, а также магазин.

При этом аргентинский пистолет имел чуть более длинный затвор-кожух и чуть более короткую рукоятку, укладывавшуюся в небольшой руке лучше, чем рукоять его знаменитого прототипа, а при внешнем осмотре его проще всего отличить от «Кольта» по неравномерно нанесенным насечкам на затворе-кожухе.

За исключением указанных отличий, по устройству пистолет Ballester-Molina (Ballester-Rigaud) не отличался от американского пистолета Colt M1911A1.

Автоматика аргентинского пистолета работает по схеме с коротким ходом ствола. Запирание канала ствола осуществляется кожухом-затвором, боевые выступы ствола входят в соответствующие поперечные пазы затвора.

Ударно-спусковой механизм куркового типа одинарного действия с открытым курком. Предохранитель расположен с левой стороны рамы и при включении запирает шептало и курок.

Прицельные приспособления открытого типа, состоящие из мушки и целика, расположены на кожухе-затворе.

Питание оружия боеприпасами осуществляется из отъемного магазина коробчатого типа емкостью на 7 патронов. Кнопочная защелка магазина расположена рядом со спусковой скобой с левой стороны оружия.

Производство Ballester-Molina осуществлялось компанией HAFDASA до 1953 года, где было выпущено около 90000 единиц этого оружия.

Сам пистолет широко использовался в вооруженных силах и полиции Аргентины вплоть до 1980-х годов. Однако он был не только официальным оружием аргентинской армии и полиции. В годы Второй мировой войны около 8000 — 10000 этих пистолетов было приобретено британским Управлением по снабжению армии, которые затем поступили на вооружение отряда специальных операций Великобритании SOE (Special Operations Executives), действовавших на территориях, оккупированных немцами. Британские пистолеты легко определить, поскольку они несут серийный номер B-префикса на правой стороне и имеют серийный номер последовательного диапазона номеров между 12000 и 22000.

Кроме пистолета Ballester-Molina под патрон .45 ACP, в 1940 году в качестве учебного оружия была создана модель под патрон кольцевого воспламенения .22 LR, которая отличалась изменениями, связанными с использованием нового патрона (ствол, патронник, магазин). На затворе-кожухе пистолета калибра .22 наносилась соответствующая маркировка.

Пистолет Ballester-Molina под патрон .22 LR выпускался в намного меньших количествах, чем боевой пистолет и встречается намного реже.

Ballester Molina: The Underrated Argentine .45

The Ballester-Molina was designed to be a more economical pistol to produce than the 1911A1, which had been adopted by Argentina as the Pistola Sistema Colt Modelo 1927. It was produced by a company called HAFDASA, an Argentine franchise of the Hispano-Suiza firm created by Arturo Ballester and Eugenio Molina in 1929. The pistol was finalized in 1937, and production ran from 1938 until 1955. At that point, it was supplanted by new domestic Argentine production of the 1927 Colt.

Until 1940, the pistols were actually marked “Ballester-Rigaud”, named after Rorice Rigaud, the French engineer who headed the design program at HAFDASA. After he left the company, the name was changed to “Ballester-Molina”. The guns were used by a wide variety of Argentine military and police organizations, and 8,000 were purchased by the UK for use by Special Operations Executive during World War Two. These British contract guns fall between serials 12,000 and 21,000, and have a B-prefix additional serial number on the right side of the frame.

Sold for $2,300 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.

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27 Comments

The Ballester-Molina is a fine shooter as well. A good friend of mine prefers it to the Colt 1911A1. Thanks for posting this.

It is really good and informative. I have a doubt.. What is the most influential pistol designed till date?

Among auto pistols, a tossup between the Roth-Steyr Model 1908 and the French Model 1935S. The Glock uses a slight variant of the Roth-Steyr’s searage, and the modified and simplified Browning type locking system of the M1935S. Both are now considered “standard” features of service and defense automatics worldwide. Which is ironic as neither the M1908 or M1935S was considered particularly noteworthy in their own era.

The Colt-Browning Model 1911 has to be considered extremely influential as well, due to most modern auto pistols using its recoil spring/barrel/slide layout. Although the Browning Model 1935’s simplified version is probably better.

Also the Pistole Parabellum 1908 aka Luger, which introduced the now world-standard 9 x 19mm cartridge.

Among revolvers, just on grounds of sheer numbers of originals and of exact or modified copies produced in the last 147 years, the Colt Model P aka Pistol, Revolver, Single Action, Army Model of 1873. Among other things, I don’t believe that any other repeating pistol action has ever been adapted to such a wide variety of cartridges, from .22 rimfire at one end of the spectrum to .50-70 Government at the other.

So we take the best features from the previous designs and roll them into a complete package. Sounds very much like how the AK was made. Nothing inherently new in design features, but the combination of all the individual items into one package created a cost-effective, widely adaptable, and long-lasting family of weapons. I could be wrong.

No, you’re not. The AK was basically the mechanism of the Garand inverted (gas piston above the barrel instead of under it), inside a receiver copied from the Remington Model 8/81, right to the quirky safety/dust cover gadget.

Ironically, the designer of one of the first proto-assault rifles, Federov, observed that at that time (1920s) what was probably the “ideal” cartridge for such a rifle already existed. The .25 Remington (Self-Loading), introduced in 1906;

“(…)Garand(…)”
Indeed, he earlier co-working with Петров created self-loading carbine for cartridge which is now know as 7,62×39 mm and very akin to M1 rifle, see 2nd photo from top: https://www.kalashnikov.ru/tretya-popytka/
similar to progenitor it was fed by usage of clips, with empty clip being ejected. It proved less reliable than M1 rifle and spread was bigger than in technical requirements.

“(…)So we take the best features from the previous designs and roll them into a complete package.(…)”
Keep in mind that is much more complicated than it sound. Firstly some “best features” are mutually exclusive, secondly you must able to say “ok, we need that” and “that is not required, do not implement it”. Otherwise you might end with something like MORS wz.39 sub-machine gun:
https://modernfirearms.net/en/submachine-guns/poland-submachine-guns/mors-wz-39-eng/

I think it would be very interesting for Ian to do a piece on all the “failed” designs like the Petter automatics and the AR-18, whose overall design features went on to influence later designs far more heavily than their apparent failures would indicate.

The Petter design features, the AR-18 gas system, and all the rest are fascinating in that the original weapons that pioneered those features basically failed–Just like the StG45’s roller-delayed lockwork was far more successful in later weapons like the CETME series and the HK G3.

Aside from Petter’s pistol designs, the AR-18, and the StG45, what else is out there that failed to achieve widespread issue, and yet was far more influential on other designs than one would have expected?

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“(…)Just like the StG45’s roller-delayed(…)”
But, at least in my understanding lack of more wide-spread was caused by fall of (supposedly) 1000-year Reich (=beyond-technical-factor) than design flaws.
Many wartime German weapons designs (and other stuff) fall into this category.
Take for example Mauser MG 213, which was after war developed into DEFA auto-cannon, which would used in (widely-popular during early Cold war-era) Mirage III fighter.
Soviets utilized GAST principle as found in Gast-Maschinengewehr Modell 1917 https://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=1117 in GSh-23 auto-cannon.
SIG Model 710 machine gun produced in Switzerland for export was derived from MG 45.
Early Soviet jet fighters (Yak-15 and MiG-9) used copycats of German wartime turbojet engines.
U.S.Navy did some launches of LOON missiles (copy of German buzz bomb):
http://www.astronautix.com/l/loon.html
to tests how to use missiles from vessels.

“(…)Also the Pistole Parabellum 1908 aka Luger, which introduced the now world-standard 9 x 19mm cartridge.(…)”
From this point of view, Browning No. 1
https://modernfirearms.net/en/handguns/handguns-en/belgium-semi-automatic-pistols/fn-browning-m1900-eng/
should also rank high as it made popular .32 ACP (7,65 mm Browning) cartridge popular.
FN 1910 also should took high place with many followers.

“(…)recoil spring/barrel/slide layout(…)Browning Model 1935(…)”
I would said that this one also should rank high, but not due this feature, but rather stacked magazine, as it was first successful (although not instantly) military automatic pistol with such magazine.

These were great deals when JLD (Juan Luis Diaz?) Enterprises was importing them in the 90s. Wish I had gotten a few more of each. The early imports were in REALLY nice shape. They’re well made guns that are a reliable as a clock.

I got mine from Sarco for some ridiculously low price that I now cant remember. I rem the dealer that i went thru bought several for himself because of the price. It shot well but like many of them developed a frame crack just behind the forward slide rail. Ended up giving it away to a gunsmith friend.

I was hoping for disassembly. As intricate a puzzle as the stock 1911 is already, I’d be fascinated to see how the Argies managed to get this together without any removable frame pieces!

My truck gun, bought it after I saw some blogger doing well with it at some shooting matches in the desert.

Argentina has its own fairly long tradition in firearms making. I am not big far of their “baroque” looking sub-machineguns, but have respect for their pistols. It would be nice if Ian brought to light some earlier model of Bersa.

“(…)I am not big far of their “baroque” looking sub-machineguns, but have respect for their pistols.(…)”
I am not sure about your definition of “baroque looking sub-machineguns”, but I assert you that they also produced… let call it worksmanlike sub-machine gun. Just see:
4 last here: http://www.earmi.it/armi/atlas2/630.htm
and first 3 here: http://www.earmi.it/armi/atlas2/632.htm
Also keep in mind that they made aluminium sub-machine gun namely C-2:
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafdasa_C-4
since 1938 and offering high capacity (total 40 or 50 depending on cartridge).
Rigaud also take part in development which finally resulted in C-2.
As for other sub-machine gun shown in my earlier links, if I am not mistaken they were not ground-breaking or excellent, but were solid performers. Also take closer look at 66-6 and its dual-purpose mag-well-grip, which seems to be genuinely simple solution to problem encountered in some other sub-machine gun – increasing of jam chance due to holding on magazine.

Look at no’s 66-1 and 66-2 Halcon. They look baroque to me. Some might say “steam-punk” and that is fine with me too.

In times ago I recall (that time there were still newspapers) seeing pictures of various South-American juntas making heir shows. Their soldiers were typically armed with this and similar junk.

Someone may say; “but you would not stand in front of it, would you”. My answer is NO, of course I would not; unless I have bazooka in my hand.

That having said, I do have respect for Chilean production, such as FAMAE. They gave themselves the benefit to learn from SIG.

Is it possible someone took a “normal” pistol and stamped a B in front of the serial number to make it appear to be a SOE pistol?
I don’t i am just asking…

Of course. Fakers are everywhere in the collector market. But the Ballester-Molina is one of the obscurer pistols, and stamping eagles and swastikas all over a poor P.08 is much more profitable.

Rigaud. Ree-go. I just can’t let it go.

It’s good to have someone to check on pronunciation of various names. It makes this web more cosmopolitan.

The Australian Army Infantry Museum (used be The Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum before the Labor Government forced the Army to change the title) had in its collection a SOE example.

This came to Australia with a British Army LT COL who served operationally with Special Operations Australia, and had carried out SOE operations in Europe. A original member of the Army SB, he wrote the very good; COURTNEY G.B., MBE, MC Silent Feet. History of `Z’ Special Operations 1942-45. R.J.and S.P.Austin McCrae, Melbourne, 1993.

The pistol in superb condition came with its original holster, made in the Argentine, a heavy duty green-grey canvas with stainless steel frame holster of unusual, but very practical and efficient design. With a superb catch, two pockets for magazine and a cleaning kit compartment. The pistol itself was of superb manufacture and high quality materials, while I never fired it, I would doubt whether the cracking problem mentioned previously would have occurred.

Ergonomically it felt superior to the M1911’s in the collection, and in his notes with the pistol Colonel Courtney had stated that American personnel who had compared it with standard US Army issued M1911′ stated they considered it superior.

The pistol and holster were exchanged with the Enfield Pattern Room (now Royal Armouries) in the UK, for a 19th Century Colt revolver with a Australian providence that would fill a niche in their superb collection of Colts.

A elder brother (now deceased) had a brand new (dated 1951) example which a surrendered Argentine officer of Marines handed over to him on surrender in the Falklands. He took it with him to the Gulf War, and on a number of tours in the Former Yugoslavia (being a bit of a show off), presenting it to the Royal Marine Museum when he finally retired from the Corps.

My youngest son was in the Argentine some four years ago leading a training mission, on the completion of the task he was presented with a magnificent of the gun engravers art (silver and gold engraving) on a high quality enhanced version of the pistol (silver hand grips etc), in a equally magnificent high quality timber case. This also went off to the Royal Marines Museum Collection.

Having just wrote the previous message, I feel that many will not know of the Pattern Room, this American article tells of the now long gone facility, that gave me so much pleasure in my youth. it also tells of Herbie Woodward, who I first met in 1963 when shooting for the Queen’s Hundred at Bisley, he then working for a gunsmith, and with whom I remained friends up to his death in 2003. Remaining in touch by correspondence and telephone, until it dramatically increased with the internet in 1995. Sadly missed, and the sort of specialist with both immense practical as well as academic knowledge – which so often in the 21st both are rarely displayed in the same person.

for some reason the internet link to the article did not take at the bottom of the article?
http://www.smallarmsoftheworld.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=169

If you are every in Buenos Aires, there is an excellent arms museum there which has these pistols plus all sorts of other global and Argentine arms (including many of these aesthetically pleasing but obscure SMG’s, which they seem to have made in many designs).

Variants [ edit | edit source ]

A version of the Ballester Molina chambered for .22 Long Rifle was produced for training purposes. This version was identical externally to the standard Ballester Molina, except for slide markings indicating the caliber. However, the .22 caliber version was blowback operated to accommodate the less-powerful rimfire cartridge. This version was produced in much smaller numbers, and is much rarer today. The Ballester-Molina pistol also came with an extended barrel. [2]

Пистолет Ballester-Molina

Тактико-технические характеристики Ballester-Molina:
Калибр, мм — .45 АСР (11.43×23)
Длина, мм — 212
Длина ствола, мм — 127
Нарезы — 6
Высота, мм — 137
Ширина, мм — 32
Вес без патронов, г — 1075
Емкость магазина — 7

В 1930-х годах правительство Аргентины заказало компании HAFDASA (Hispano Argentino Fabrica de Automoviles Sociedad Anonima) из Буэнос-Айреса, созданной Arturo Ballester и Eugenio Molina, разработку нового пистолета для вооружения аргентинской армии и полиции.

При этом основным требованием было создание оружия под патрон .45 АСР, эквивалентного по боевым характеристикам пистолету Sistema Colt Modelo 1927 (выпускавшийся в Аргентине по американской лицензии пистолет Colt M1911A1), но более дешевого.

В результате конструкторами HAFDASA был создан новый пистолет, получивший название Ballester-Rigaud (от имени основателя компании — Arturo Ballester и ведущего инженера фирмы — Rorice Rigaud). Пистолет оказался точным и надежным оружием, а самое главное дешевым в производстве.

В 1938 году Ballester-Rigaud был принят на вооружение армии Аргентины, а его выпуском занялась компания HAFDASA.

Пистолеты Ballester-Rigaud (обозначение использовалось в период с 1938 по 1940 годы) и Ballester-Molina полностью идентичны по устройству и отличаются только маркировкой на затворе. Они выпускались предприятием HAFDASA с 1938 по 1953 годы.

В 1940 году компанию HAFDASA возглавил Carlos Ballester Molina и пистолет был переименован, получив обозначение Ballester-Molina. Пистолет Ballester-Molina полностью идентичен Ballester-Rigaud и отличается от него только маркировкой на затворе.

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За основу нового пистолета были взяты испанские пистолеты Star Modelo P, являвшийся клоном Colt M1911A1. От пистолетов Star аргентинские пистолеты унаследовали качающийся на горизонтальной оси спусковой крючок с одной тягой, отсутствие автоматического предохранителя на рукоятке, не отъемный затыльник рукоятки, вмещавший боевую пружину.

Совместимости по деталям с пистолетами фирмы Colt практически не сохранилось, единственными взаимозаменяемыми деталями остались ствол в сборе с качающейся серьгой, а также магазин.

При этом аргентинский пистолет имел чуть более длинный затвор-кожух и чуть более короткую рукоятку, укладывавшуюся в небольшой руке лучше, чем рукоять его знаменитого прототипа, а при внешнем осмотре его проще всего отличить от «Кольта» по неравномерно нанесенным насечкам на затворе-кожухе.

За исключением указанных отличий, по устройству пистолет Ballester-Molina (Ballester-Rigaud) не отличался от американского пистолета Colt M1911A1.

Автоматика аргентинского пистолета работает по схеме с коротким ходом ствола. Запирание канала ствола осуществляется кожухом-затвором, боевые выступы ствола входят в соответствующие поперечные пазы затвора.

Ударно-спусковой механизм куркового типа одинарного действия с открытым курком. Предохранитель расположен с левой стороны рамы и при включении запирает шептало и курок.

Прицельные приспособления открытого типа, состоящие из мушки и целика, расположены на кожухе-затворе.

Питание оружия боеприпасами осуществляется из отъемного магазина коробчатого типа емкостью на 7 патронов. Кнопочная защелка магазина расположена рядом со спусковой скобой с левой стороны оружия.

Производство Ballester-Molina осуществлялось компанией HAFDASA до 1953 года, где было выпущено около 90000 единиц этого оружия.

Сам пистолет широко использовался в вооруженных силах и полиции Аргентины вплоть до 1980-х годов. Однако он был не только официальным оружием аргентинской армии и полиции. В годы Второй мировой войны около 8000 — 10000 этих пистолетов было приобретено британским Управлением по снабжению армии, которые затем поступили на вооружение отряда специальных операций Великобритании SOE (Special Operations Executives), действовавших на территориях, оккупированных немцами. Британские пистолеты легко определить, поскольку они несут серийный номер B-префикса на правой стороне и имеют серийный номер последовательного диапазона номеров между 12000 и 22000.

Кроме пистолета Ballester-Molina под патрон .45 ACP, в 1940 году в качестве учебного оружия была создана модель под патрон кольцевого воспламенения .22 LR, которая отличалась изменениями, связанными с использованием нового патрона (ствол, патронник, магазин). На затворе-кожухе пистолета калибра .22 наносилась соответствующая маркировка.

Пистолет Ballester-Molina под патрон .22 LR выпускался в намного меньших количествах, чем боевой пистолет и встречается намного реже.

Автоматика работает по принципу использования отдачи при запирании канала ствола свободным затвором. Кожух удерживается в крайнем переднем положении собственной массой и возвратной пружиной, расположенной на стволе. Рама выполнена из лёгкого сплава на основе алюминия. Затвор-кожух изготовлен из оружейной стали.

Ударно-спусковой механизм куркового типа, двойного действия, с предохранительным взводом. Усилие спуска в режиме одинарного действия — около 2,7 кг, в режиме самовзвода — около 5 кг. В варианте Thunder 380 Deluxe пистолет оснащается удлинённым магазином на 9 патронов калибра 9×17 [2] . На тыльной поверхности спускового крючка расположен выступ, служащий ограничителем хода, чем устраняется провал спуска при срыве боевого взвода курка с шептала, повышая тем самым, точность стрельбы. На левой стороне тыльной части затвора-кожуха расположен рычаг флажкового предохранителя, при включении безопасно спускающего курок с боевого взвода и блокирующий его в переднем положении.

Также, безопасность в обращении обеспечивает автоматический предохранитель ударника, блокирующий его до того момента, когда спусковой крючок не будет полностью выжат. Этот предохранитель защищает оружие от случайного выстрела при падении. Пистолет оснащён дополнительным автоматическим магазинным предохранителем, блокирующим ударно-спусковой механизм при отсутствии магазина в рукоятке. Рычаг затворной задержки расположен на левой стороне рамы. Рычаг фиксатора затвора-кожуха, служащий для разборки пистолета, расположен на правой стороне рамы, над передним основанием спусковой скобы. Кнопка защелки магазина размещается под рычагом затворной задержки, позади спусковой скобы.

The Ballester-Molina was used by Argentina’s security forces. The Argentine Army adopted this weapon in 1938. The Ballester-Molina is a short recoil-operated semi-automatic locked breech pistol. The locking system is a near identical copy of the Colt M1911A1, with the swinging lock used to unlock the barrel from the slide. The trigger is single action, two stage, but pivots rather than slides like the 1911 trigger. The hammer is locked by the frame-mounted manual safety, and there is no grip safety. Overall quality is excellent. Many examples for sale on the surplus market have seen heavy use, but show little internal wear.

The Ballester Molina is a copy of a Spanish Star pistol rather than an M1911 Colt, but was manufactured in .45 ACP. It has a few parts, such as barrel, magazine, and recoil spring, interchangeable with the M1911. The Ballester Molina is a very well made and very accurate pistol, which can successfully compete with any .45 manufactured in those times. [ citation needed ]

Ballester Molinas were manufactured in Buenos Aires Argentina by HAFDASA (Hispano Argentina Fábrica de Automotores Sociedad Anonima) between 1938 and 1953.

In a September 2007 article in Argentine gun magazine Magnum about the British-ordered Ballester Molina pistols, gun writer and collector George E. Arbones’ research and collection data seems to indicate the legend British-bought Ballester Molinas being manufactured using steel salvaged from the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee after she was scuttled in the River Plate, across from Buenos Aires is true. Another specialist, Alejandro Gherovici, dissmised the legend, saying the steel was likely supplied by the U.S. under Lend-Lease. [1] Arbones article also details the use of those pistols by the British 8th Army and the SOE, and how he came to have his own British marked Ballester Molinas. About 10,000 to 15,000 of the Ballester Molinas were manufactured specially for Britain during World War II. A number of pistols was issued to agents of the SOE, in order to avoid the use of British weapons for undercover operations in occupied Europe and behind enemy lines. British contract Ballester-Molinas are identified by serial numbers in the range of 12000 to 21000, with a with a «B» prefix.

Arbones’ article also shows the actual pistols that were manufactured during the Peron presidency and that carry the names of President Juan Perón and his wife Eva, and the ‘secret’ pistols issued to Perón’s private police force. [ Clarification needed ]

Ballester Molina: The Underrated Argentine .45

The Ballester-Molina was designed to be a more economical pistol to produce than the 1911A1, which had been adopted by Argentina as the Pistola Sistema Colt Modelo 1927. It was produced by a company called HAFDASA, an Argentine franchise of the Hispano-Suiza firm created by Arturo Ballester and Eugenio Molina in 1929. The pistol was finalized in 1937, and production ran from 1938 until 1955. At that point, it was supplanted by new domestic Argentine production of the 1927 Colt.

Until 1940, the pistols were actually marked “Ballester-Rigaud”, named after Rorice Rigaud, the French engineer who headed the design program at HAFDASA. After he left the company, the name was changed to “Ballester-Molina”. The guns were used by a wide variety of Argentine military and police organizations, and 8,000 were purchased by the UK for use by Special Operations Executive during World War Two. These British contract guns fall between serials 12,000 and 21,000, and have a B-prefix additional serial number on the right side of the frame.

Sold for $2,300 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.

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27 Comments

The Ballester-Molina is a fine shooter as well. A good friend of mine prefers it to the Colt 1911A1. Thanks for posting this.

It is really good and informative. I have a doubt.. What is the most influential pistol designed till date?

Among auto pistols, a tossup between the Roth-Steyr Model 1908 and the French Model 1935S. The Glock uses a slight variant of the Roth-Steyr’s searage, and the modified and simplified Browning type locking system of the M1935S. Both are now considered “standard” features of service and defense automatics worldwide. Which is ironic as neither the M1908 or M1935S was considered particularly noteworthy in their own era.

The Colt-Browning Model 1911 has to be considered extremely influential as well, due to most modern auto pistols using its recoil spring/barrel/slide layout. Although the Browning Model 1935’s simplified version is probably better.

Also the Pistole Parabellum 1908 aka Luger, which introduced the now world-standard 9 x 19mm cartridge.

Among revolvers, just on grounds of sheer numbers of originals and of exact or modified copies produced in the last 147 years, the Colt Model P aka Pistol, Revolver, Single Action, Army Model of 1873. Among other things, I don’t believe that any other repeating pistol action has ever been adapted to such a wide variety of cartridges, from .22 rimfire at one end of the spectrum to .50-70 Government at the other.

So we take the best features from the previous designs and roll them into a complete package. Sounds very much like how the AK was made. Nothing inherently new in design features, but the combination of all the individual items into one package created a cost-effective, widely adaptable, and long-lasting family of weapons. I could be wrong.

No, you’re not. The AK was basically the mechanism of the Garand inverted (gas piston above the barrel instead of under it), inside a receiver copied from the Remington Model 8/81, right to the quirky safety/dust cover gadget.

Читать еще:  Ручной пулемёт Дегтярёва РПД-44 / РПД (СССР)

Ironically, the designer of one of the first proto-assault rifles, Federov, observed that at that time (1920s) what was probably the “ideal” cartridge for such a rifle already existed. The .25 Remington (Self-Loading), introduced in 1906;

“(…)Garand(…)”
Indeed, he earlier co-working with Петров created self-loading carbine for cartridge which is now know as 7,62×39 mm and very akin to M1 rifle, see 2nd photo from top: https://www.kalashnikov.ru/tretya-popytka/
similar to progenitor it was fed by usage of clips, with empty clip being ejected. It proved less reliable than M1 rifle and spread was bigger than in technical requirements.

“(…)So we take the best features from the previous designs and roll them into a complete package.(…)”
Keep in mind that is much more complicated than it sound. Firstly some “best features” are mutually exclusive, secondly you must able to say “ok, we need that” and “that is not required, do not implement it”. Otherwise you might end with something like MORS wz.39 sub-machine gun:
https://modernfirearms.net/en/submachine-guns/poland-submachine-guns/mors-wz-39-eng/

I think it would be very interesting for Ian to do a piece on all the “failed” designs like the Petter automatics and the AR-18, whose overall design features went on to influence later designs far more heavily than their apparent failures would indicate.

The Petter design features, the AR-18 gas system, and all the rest are fascinating in that the original weapons that pioneered those features basically failed–Just like the StG45’s roller-delayed lockwork was far more successful in later weapons like the CETME series and the HK G3.

Aside from Petter’s pistol designs, the AR-18, and the StG45, what else is out there that failed to achieve widespread issue, and yet was far more influential on other designs than one would have expected?

“(…)Just like the StG45’s roller-delayed(…)”
But, at least in my understanding lack of more wide-spread was caused by fall of (supposedly) 1000-year Reich (=beyond-technical-factor) than design flaws.
Many wartime German weapons designs (and other stuff) fall into this category.
Take for example Mauser MG 213, which was after war developed into DEFA auto-cannon, which would used in (widely-popular during early Cold war-era) Mirage III fighter.
Soviets utilized GAST principle as found in Gast-Maschinengewehr Modell 1917 https://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=1117 in GSh-23 auto-cannon.
SIG Model 710 machine gun produced in Switzerland for export was derived from MG 45.
Early Soviet jet fighters (Yak-15 and MiG-9) used copycats of German wartime turbojet engines.
U.S.Navy did some launches of LOON missiles (copy of German buzz bomb):
http://www.astronautix.com/l/loon.html
to tests how to use missiles from vessels.

“(…)Also the Pistole Parabellum 1908 aka Luger, which introduced the now world-standard 9 x 19mm cartridge.(…)”
From this point of view, Browning No. 1
https://modernfirearms.net/en/handguns/handguns-en/belgium-semi-automatic-pistols/fn-browning-m1900-eng/
should also rank high as it made popular .32 ACP (7,65 mm Browning) cartridge popular.
FN 1910 also should took high place with many followers.

“(…)recoil spring/barrel/slide layout(…)Browning Model 1935(…)”
I would said that this one also should rank high, but not due this feature, but rather stacked magazine, as it was first successful (although not instantly) military automatic pistol with such magazine.

These were great deals when JLD (Juan Luis Diaz?) Enterprises was importing them in the 90s. Wish I had gotten a few more of each. The early imports were in REALLY nice shape. They’re well made guns that are a reliable as a clock.

I got mine from Sarco for some ridiculously low price that I now cant remember. I rem the dealer that i went thru bought several for himself because of the price. It shot well but like many of them developed a frame crack just behind the forward slide rail. Ended up giving it away to a gunsmith friend.

I was hoping for disassembly. As intricate a puzzle as the stock 1911 is already, I’d be fascinated to see how the Argies managed to get this together without any removable frame pieces!

My truck gun, bought it after I saw some blogger doing well with it at some shooting matches in the desert.

Argentina has its own fairly long tradition in firearms making. I am not big far of their “baroque” looking sub-machineguns, but have respect for their pistols. It would be nice if Ian brought to light some earlier model of Bersa.

“(…)I am not big far of their “baroque” looking sub-machineguns, but have respect for their pistols.(…)”
I am not sure about your definition of “baroque looking sub-machineguns”, but I assert you that they also produced… let call it worksmanlike sub-machine gun. Just see:
4 last here: http://www.earmi.it/armi/atlas2/630.htm
and first 3 here: http://www.earmi.it/armi/atlas2/632.htm
Also keep in mind that they made aluminium sub-machine gun namely C-2:
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafdasa_C-4
since 1938 and offering high capacity (total 40 or 50 depending on cartridge).
Rigaud also take part in development which finally resulted in C-2.
As for other sub-machine gun shown in my earlier links, if I am not mistaken they were not ground-breaking or excellent, but were solid performers. Also take closer look at 66-6 and its dual-purpose mag-well-grip, which seems to be genuinely simple solution to problem encountered in some other sub-machine gun – increasing of jam chance due to holding on magazine.

Look at no’s 66-1 and 66-2 Halcon. They look baroque to me. Some might say “steam-punk” and that is fine with me too.

In times ago I recall (that time there were still newspapers) seeing pictures of various South-American juntas making heir shows. Their soldiers were typically armed with this and similar junk.

Someone may say; “but you would not stand in front of it, would you”. My answer is NO, of course I would not; unless I have bazooka in my hand.

That having said, I do have respect for Chilean production, such as FAMAE. They gave themselves the benefit to learn from SIG.

Is it possible someone took a “normal” pistol and stamped a B in front of the serial number to make it appear to be a SOE pistol?
I don’t i am just asking…

Of course. Fakers are everywhere in the collector market. But the Ballester-Molina is one of the obscurer pistols, and stamping eagles and swastikas all over a poor P.08 is much more profitable.

Rigaud. Ree-go. I just can’t let it go.

It’s good to have someone to check on pronunciation of various names. It makes this web more cosmopolitan.

The Australian Army Infantry Museum (used be The Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum before the Labor Government forced the Army to change the title) had in its collection a SOE example.

This came to Australia with a British Army LT COL who served operationally with Special Operations Australia, and had carried out SOE operations in Europe. A original member of the Army SB, he wrote the very good; COURTNEY G.B., MBE, MC Silent Feet. History of `Z’ Special Operations 1942-45. R.J.and S.P.Austin McCrae, Melbourne, 1993.

The pistol in superb condition came with its original holster, made in the Argentine, a heavy duty green-grey canvas with stainless steel frame holster of unusual, but very practical and efficient design. With a superb catch, two pockets for magazine and a cleaning kit compartment. The pistol itself was of superb manufacture and high quality materials, while I never fired it, I would doubt whether the cracking problem mentioned previously would have occurred.

Ergonomically it felt superior to the M1911’s in the collection, and in his notes with the pistol Colonel Courtney had stated that American personnel who had compared it with standard US Army issued M1911′ stated they considered it superior.

The pistol and holster were exchanged with the Enfield Pattern Room (now Royal Armouries) in the UK, for a 19th Century Colt revolver with a Australian providence that would fill a niche in their superb collection of Colts.

A elder brother (now deceased) had a brand new (dated 1951) example which a surrendered Argentine officer of Marines handed over to him on surrender in the Falklands. He took it with him to the Gulf War, and on a number of tours in the Former Yugoslavia (being a bit of a show off), presenting it to the Royal Marine Museum when he finally retired from the Corps.

My youngest son was in the Argentine some four years ago leading a training mission, on the completion of the task he was presented with a magnificent of the gun engravers art (silver and gold engraving) on a high quality enhanced version of the pistol (silver hand grips etc), in a equally magnificent high quality timber case. This also went off to the Royal Marines Museum Collection.

Having just wrote the previous message, I feel that many will not know of the Pattern Room, this American article tells of the now long gone facility, that gave me so much pleasure in my youth. it also tells of Herbie Woodward, who I first met in 1963 when shooting for the Queen’s Hundred at Bisley, he then working for a gunsmith, and with whom I remained friends up to his death in 2003. Remaining in touch by correspondence and telephone, until it dramatically increased with the internet in 1995. Sadly missed, and the sort of specialist with both immense practical as well as academic knowledge – which so often in the 21st both are rarely displayed in the same person.

for some reason the internet link to the article did not take at the bottom of the article?
http://www.smallarmsoftheworld.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=169

If you are every in Buenos Aires, there is an excellent arms museum there which has these pistols plus all sorts of other global and Argentine arms (including many of these aesthetically pleasing but obscure SMG’s, which they seem to have made in many designs).

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