April 27th, 2017 by asjstaff

The Black Aces FIREARM is what the ATF calls it.

The “firearm” by Black Aces Tactical has all the characteristics of a short shotgun, without the name. It shoots 2 3/4″ shotgun shells, uses a pump for cycling, and even leaves a big hole in whatever it shoots. But the ATF’s own wording was used to design a firearms that cannot be called a shotgun, an SBS, an SBR, a pistol, an AOW.

If you still didn’t get that, this firearm is not a shotgun, it is not a short-barrel shotgun, it’s not a short-barrel rifle, it’s not a short-barrel pistol. Again, it is a firearm. That is what it’s classified as.

Black Aces Tactical designed this thing from scratch in its current state. In other words, it is not a modified firearm, shotgun, rifle, or anything else. It was designed from the ground up as you see it, therefore it never had an original classification of a shotgun, rifle, pistol, or anything like that. That being said, it was never fit with a stock. Given that it’s never been fit with a stock, the ATF does not classify this as a shotgun, and therefore it’s not an NFA item.

What do you all think?, loophole or not, its a very cool piece of firearm!


Video Transcription
Folks it’s not often that we get a firearm that we’re excited about, and that we feel like falls in an innovative category. Let’s face it: Everybody’s making an AR-15, a lot of people are making 1911s, and a lot of people are not making striker-fire handguns. This particular weapon, and we’re gonna call it a weapon, we’re gonna call it a firearm, because it’s not a shotgun even though it resembles one.

What we’re gonna be doing is, we’re gonna do a review on this thing, because it classifies by the ATF’s definition as a firearm. Again, it’s not a shotgun, even though it shoots 12-gauge 2 3/4 inch shotgun shells. We’re gonna take a real close look at this thing. Our boy Eric Lemoine over at Black Aces Tactical was kind enough to send us one, we’re gonna take a nice hard look at it, and we’re gonna explain to you guys why this is actually a firearm, not a shotgun.

Now let’s get the confusing stuff out of the way. Again, this firearm is not a shotgun, it is not a short-barrel shotgun, it’s not a short-barrel rifle, it’s not a short-barrel pistol. Again, it is a firearm. That is what it’s classified as.

The important thing to remember is that Eric Lemoine over at Black Aces Tactical designed this thing from scratch in its current state. In other words, it is not a modified firearm, shotgun, rifle, or anything else. It was designed from the ground up as you see it, therefore it never had an original classification of a shotgun, rifle, pistol, or anything like that. That being said, it was never fit with a stock. Given that it’s never been fit with a stock, the ATF does not classify this as a shotgun, and therefore it’s not an NFA item.

The overall length is over 26 inches in the extended position, therefore it’s not an ‘any other’ weapon. Now the firearm must have a forward grip in order to operate the action, and it doesn’t matter if it’s in a verticle, horizontal, or in the angled position, the fact that a forward grip is actually on this weapon disqualifies it from being a pistol, because a pistol cannot have a forward grip. So you’re not adding a forward grip, making it something else, it was already designed with the forward grip, and since a pistol can’t have a forward grip, it’s not a pistol. The only remaining classification for this weapon is a ‘firearm’. And as a consequence, a firearm can be transferred to any individual in all but a few states.

I gotta say, it’s very ingenius for Eric to have done this. He basically have designed this weapon around the ATF’s wording. Now I’m not sure if the ATF is happy about this, dissatisfied with this, or quite frankly, they might be impressed that somebody has designed a firearm around their own wording in such a clever manner, to make a firearm like this Black Aces Tactical that can be sold, transferred, whatever, in most states of the united states, without breaking any laws, without requiring any stamps, without requiring any additional classification, other than it being a firearm and it being able to be transferred just like any other firearm is.

[Humming] Gonna blow some [BARK] up.

Now let’s see how it shoots.

Alright folks, we got three plates set up at ten feet right here. We’re just wanting to simulate and show what quick transitions from target to target would mean, in somewhat of a life-type situation. We’re not trying to hunt, we’re not trying to knock birds out of the sky or anything like that, even though we’re at a skeet range. What we’re trying to show you again is a ten-foot shot on steel targets here, just to give you an idea how quickly you could move from target to target. Now I’m not gonna be blowing the doors off of anything as far as time goes, I just want to show you that it’s an easy, smooth transition by not swinging a huge barrel all the way across from one target to the other, so check this out.

One round in… Good to go. Alright. Check this out now. I’m tucking this, not shouldering this, so it’s not a perfect aim. I’m not shouldering it because I don’t wanna get the ATF pulling our videos off. So check this.

Now you might be wondering, what’s that spring right there? What that is, is that’s your forward assist for assisting your pump in sliding forward. When you bring this thing rearward to grab your next shell, instead of pushing it forward like you normally would do, you can just let off of it, and it’s gonna automatically send that thing forward, so that you’re not pumping forward and backward. You’re bring it backwards to eject the spent casing, let go, and it’s grabbing your next one and bringing it up into the chamber.

This thing is so short you can’t even prop it into a shotgun rack.

And if you guys were wondering if there’s any difficulty in utilizing the sig brace– well, the way the ATF expects us to use it– check this out. It’s not that big of a deal.

[Shots]

Easy-peasy right there.

Another thing that’s really cool about this Black Aces Firearm is the fact that it’s so portable, you can fold the stock, fit it into some type of what you would consider a ‘bug-out bag’ or anything like that, and have room for your extra magazines and ammunition. This is a great firearm to keep in your vehicle if you’re looking for something like that.

Friends, there are some firearms out there that are fun to shoot, there are some firearms that are functional, there’s some firearms out there that’re self-defense firearms. Honestly, this Black Aces tactical firearm, I find them to be all three. It’s very functional, I love the shortness of it, I love the cleverness of it being so short, and how Eric managed to get this thing built like it is, but it’s a great self-defense firearm. This thing is not gonna run into doors in your home, you’re not gonna have any issues of bumping into anything. I love the fact that, and this is my simple mind, that the shorter this barrel is, it’s gonna give me the spread that I’m looking for at very short distances, probably a little bit quicker than rounds that are exiting -buckshot I should say- that’s exiting a longer barrel. So in a shorter, tighter space, I’m gonna get a wider spread than I would get with an 18-inch barrel or longer.

So, I love this thing. It’s a lot of fun to shoot, it’s very functional, these guys are all onto something. I love the fact that they’re using a tride-and-true receiver here with Mossberg, you really can’t go wrong with that. I mean what can I say about Mossberg that hasn’t already been said? But I love the fact that it’s box-fed, quickchanges, you’re not gonna be reloading round after round after round, you can hammer these five-round or these eight-round magazines in place with very little effort, little bit of practice it takes to get used to where the thumb’s gonna be, but no different than any AK that you would use. You hook the front, slide it in there again, it’s a lot of fun to play with.

I like the fact that you can put things on the end of it like the flashlight, or like a laser, Crimson Trace has a great laser that’ll fit on the end of this thing, really do you some good. Because remember, we’re not shooting this thing from the shoulder, so we’re pretty much hip-shooting it whenever we use this, unless of course we’re using the Sig Brace.

So you’re kinda using your weapons light or your lasers to aim this thing, and that’s gonna be a big help. As you can see I’m not the best shot trying to hip-shoot this thing, but you know, if I had a light in low-light conditions, and my light was telling me where my round was gonna go, I’m probably gonna be a little bit more accurate, because this thing’s gonna be more accurate where it’s putting that beam than what I am hip-shooting it. So again, I think that, uh, do yourself a favor, put something on the front of it.

There are some stripped-down models, this is a higher-end model that pretty much has all the bells and whistles, and the kickstand and whatever else you might want on this thing.
There are some stripped-down models that are not gonna feel like the stripped-down model. They don’t have the forward-assist for your pump-action, they don’t have the Picatinny rail that goes across the top, they don’t have the folding stock, so if you’re looking to get into one of these things for a little bit cheaper, you definitely can. There’s a wide variety of things. Check ’em out. Black Aces Tactical. I love this thing. This thing is gonna be sitting next to my bed, with a box fulla death in case somebody decides to kick my door in and do my family any harm.

[Outro]

BTW, did you know we have a digital magazine? If interested in a peek, send me an email to info@americanshootingjournal.com

Sources: Eric Lemoine, Black Aces Tactical, Legally Armed America Youtube

Posted in Shotgun Tagged with: , , , ,

February 23rd, 2016 by Danielle Breteau

Story by Alex Kincaid • Photographs by Oleg Volk

 

After the new ATF rule affecting gun trusts was signed into law on January 4 2016, I quickly turned to my newly published book, Infringed, to see how much of the information would now be out of date. I devoted several chapters to explaining the possession and transfer of National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms and the benefits of gun trusts.

After reviewing all of the chapters with gun-trust specific information, I smirked to myself. Only one paragraph out of the entire book would need to be updated. Like much of the current gun-control measures, the new gun-trust loophole rule doesn’t accomplish much except to cause spontaneous, enthusiastic applause from those who believe the rhetoric.

A new mandate titled Rule 41F is going to take effect on July 13, 2016. This rule will make changes to the current laws surrounding National Firearms Act guns in gun trusts and the new paperwork required to transfer them.

It was asserted that Rule 41F will prevent gun violence, because it will require background checks “for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation, or other legal entity.”

The problem is, every person who uses a trust to purchase a firearm has always – even before this new rule – undergone a background check by completing Form 4473 at the dealer’s office

The problem is, every person who uses a trust to purchase a firearm has always – even before this new rule – undergone a background check by completing Form 4473 at the dealer’s office, just as with every other gun purchase in America. It is also worth noting that criminals do not create gun trusts or submit paperwork to the ATF to purchase a firearm. Even more, in a properly drafted gun trust, the trust terms specifically prohibit the transfer of firearms to anyone who is prohibited under federal, state or local law from possessing a firearm. In fact, one of the primary reasons I draft gun trusts for my clients is to help gun owners and their families obey the gun laws by working within the confines of our government’s parameters.
The “most dangerous weapons” referenced by the current Administration are firearms subject to the NFA – silencers, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and fully automatic firearms, to name a few. These firearms are rarely used by criminals. The mass shootings that have supposedly prompted this new rule did not involve NFA firearms.

 

Why doesn’t the new rule affect crime?

Because it targets law-abiding Americans, not criminals. Contrary to the proposed assertion that Rule 41F only succeeds in imposing a new tax burden on working Americans to the tune of at least $5.8 million a year, and imposing more bureaucracy on law-abiding citizens who wish to acquire NFA firearms, lawful purchasers of these items will now need to submit even more paperwork – photographs and fingerprints – to the ATF and yet more to local law-enforcement agencies – a notice that they are attempting to purchase an NFA firearm. All of this is in addition to the special ATF forms requiring personal information and undergoing the regular NICS background check, which has always been standard.
Targeting law-abiding citizens to effect gun control is not new. When Congress passed the NFA in 1934, it did so with the intent to tax certain firearms so they would be unaffordable. The authorities knew the criminals would not register their firearms. Instead, they intended to make the purchase of certain firearms so expensive, due to the new tax, that the average American could not afford to purchase them. In 1986, another law affecting citizens was passed – the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) completely banned civilians from possessing or transferring machine guns manufactured after 1986. This law was passed even though approximately 175,000 machine guns were in circulation at the time, and not a single one was linked to criminal activity. The new law, however, made the limited machine guns that could still be possessed and transferred unaffordable for most. Despite the inconvenient effects of Rule 41F, rest assured that the rule does not affect the heart and soul of gun trusts. It does not change the primary reasons for creating a trust to hold your firearms. The rule only creates an inconvenience that should prompt you to create a gun trust and purchase NFA firearms prior to the rule’s effective date of July 13, 2016.

The ATF has not weighed in on their interpretation of Rule 41F. This means that the laws are still not fully understood or in place.

Why do gun owners create gun trusts?

A gun trust is a special type of trust that is designed to hold all of your firearms and firearms-related accessories. Gun trusts make it much easier for your loved ones to handle your firearms should you become incapacitated or die, boosts your ability to share and transfer NFA firearms and helps ensure all state and federal laws are followed.
Gun trusts have become the planning tool for gun owners whose collections include NFA firearms. One of the primary reasons is the ability to share possession of the NFA firearms with other trustees. Unlike other firearms, unless restricted by your state’s laws, NFA firearms can only be possessed by the person to whom the firearm is registered. There is no exception for family members or other people with whom you live. If you leave your NFA firearm at home where it is accessible to other people, you and the other people in your home are violating federal law.
Most NFA gun owners are aware of this gun-trust benefit. But many gun owners are not aware that gun trusts are important tools for all gun owners, whether or not a collection includes NFA firearms.
Gun trusts are important for all gun owners, because they prepare you and your loved ones for your death and incapacity by responsibly addressing your firearms and keeping your affairs out of the court system. Planning for the possibility that you will be incapacitated (whether from age or accident), even if temporarily, is important for everyone. It is even more important for gun owners, because if you don’t plan, then government has a plan for you. The government’s plan is a public, expensive, judge-controlled system that will take away your right to own a firearm.
All gun owners should try to avoid the court system if they are incapacitated or die by creating general estate planning documents and a gun trust.

AWC Silencer

One of the primary reasons to have a gun trust is the ability to share possession of NFA items such as this AWC silencer. (AWC SILENCERS)

What does a properly drafted gun trust look like?

When properly written, gun trusts are powerful asset protection and estate planning tools. A well-drafted gun trust will achieve the following for the gun owner who creates the trust:

1) Ensure that friends and family can lawfully possess and transfer trust-owned firearms during the gun owner’s lifetime;

2) Create a private plan that completely avoids the court system for all firearms if the gun owner becomes incapacitated or dies;

3) Assists gun owners in sharing NFA firearms with other law-abiding gun owners;

4) Helps the successors and heirs understand the gun owner’s desires related to all the trust-owned firearms;

5) Helps the ones you care about to comply with firearms laws when they possess or transfer the firearms;

6) Assists the gun owner to own firearms in more than one state; and

7) Ensures that neither gun owner nor any loved ones commits an accidental felony. All of these gun-trust benefits are not affected by Rule 41F.

 

How Will Rule 41F Affect Gun Trusts?

Tax Stamp

A $200 tax stamp is required when transferring any NFA-categorized firearm or instrument.

Rule 41F only affects gun trusts that will hold NFA firearms. If your trust holds or will acquire NFA firearms, know that anyone who is listed as a responsible party of the trust will need to provide additional information for the government registry.
All questions about the new rule cannot yet be answered. This is because the ATF will be issuing further guidelines in the future. These guidelines will explain the ATF’s interpretation of Rule 41F. Until these guidelines are issued, some questions about how Rule 41F will affect trusts remain unknown. For now, we know the following:
If your gun trust was prepared by my office, we may suggest a few revisions, but your gun trust is still a great tool and will not be invalidated by the new rule. Under Rule 41F, the only responsible parties in our trusts are the trust’s current trustees and the grantor (creator) of the trust. We are creating a method (and waiting for the ATF guidelines) to make the future acquisition of NFA firearms as seamless as possible for our clients. We will be updating you with more direction as soon as we believe the advice to be solid and unchanged by the new ATF guidelines.
♠ If you do not have a gun trust, now is the time to get it done and submit paperwork to the ATF for any NFA firearms you have been hoping to acquire. If you submit the paperwork prior to July 13, 2016, you will not need to submit an extra set of fingerprints or a photograph, or send a notice to your chief law enforcement officer (CLEO);
♠ If you acquire NFA firearms after July 13, 2016, you will need to submit a photograph, fingerprints and a CLEO notice, but you do not need to update the ATF when adding more trustees to your trust (responsible parties) after you receive your tax stamp. So, if you create a trust and submit an application to acquire these “most dangerous weapons” prior to the rule taking effect on July 13, then you will not need to provide additional information unless you make another purchase after adding responsible parties to your trust. There is no need to update the ATF when adding responsible persons (more trustees) between applications.
♠ My colleagues and I are actively working on materials to update trusts, advise if your trust needs to be updated, and provide future guidance on utilizing a gun trust.
♠ If you have a trust provided by a gun shop or an online form, we can assist you in reviewing your trust to determine if any changes need to be made. For people who purchased an NFA trust from a gun shop or someone who isn’t a lawyer, you are likely in need of a lot of assistance.

PHOTO 5 gemtech_22mag_suppressor_1617In summary, the undesirable affect on most individual gun owners of the proposed rule is that anyone considered a responsible person on a gun trust must submit a photograph, fingerprints and send notice to law enforcement to receive or make an NFA firearm.
Sharing the possession of NFA firearms through a gun trust remains a wonderful benefit of a properly drafted trust. However, our gun trusts are designed to provide this benefit and so much more: They are legal gun safes that will alert unknowledgeable citizens and attorneys to the restrictions on the transfer and possession of firearms, they outline a plan for the gun owner’s death and also for the gun owner’s incapacity, and they create a dynasty trust for the gun owner’s children. ASJ

Posted in Industry Tagged with: , , , , ,

September 14th, 2015 by Danielle Breteau

The World Of Miniature Firearms

Story and photographs by Frank Jardim

Miniatures hold a fascination for everyone. Perhaps it is something rooted in the happy memories of our childhood toys. As we mature and grow in sophistication we begin to appreciate the huge amount of skill required to make things small. The craftsmen who create miniature firearms and ammunition do it for the challenge and the artistic satisfaction. Only a handful of master miniature makers have ever been able to make a living doing it. For most hobby builders, there is virtually no financial incentive. This work is labor intensive and generally each piece is unique.

 

Miniature C1911 Cutaway by Kucer
David Kucer’s C1911 Cutaway

Since medieval times, journeyman artisans have made miniature weapons as demonstrations of mastery in their trades. Miniatures were also made as easily transportable sales samples. The majority, then as now, were created as art objects for personal enjoyment and for wealthy patrons. In 1973 the Miniature Arms Society (MAS) was established to bring builders, collectors and enthusiasts together in the tiniest niche of the arms collecting hobby. Based in the United States, the club has about 300 members worldwide. They share a common appreciation for artistry and fine craftsmanship. The art is not solely in the decoration of the miniatures, though some are magnificently embellished with engraving, stock carving and precious metal inlays just like real firearms. A large part of the artistic achievement is in the technical mastery needed to recreate a full-sized object in miniature. You don’t need to be an artist to join MAS; you just need to like miniature arms. Neophyte collectors and builders will find wide and enthusiastic support from fellow members. Every year since its founding, club members exhibit examples of their best pieces at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits.

The miniature arms hobby is as broad in historical scope and variety as the arms industry itself and includes everything from bows and edged weapons to artillery. Firearms make up the largest portion of the hobby and span muzzleloaders to machine guns, with Colt revolvers and Winchester lever-action rifles being the most popular.

 

One-quarter scale ammunition
Dr. John Cooper’s one-quarter scale .44 Flat centerfire live cartridge that is actually .11 caliber and made for his 1873 Winchester quarter-scale rifle.

Some makers produce scale live ammunition with which to fire their tiny guns.  Miniatures are not considered firearms unless they are chambered in a commonly available cartridge, like .22 Short, for example. Miniature cartridge-powder charges and bullet weights are scaled back to match the size of the weapon, which sometimes results in velocities that are too low for accurate fire despite the efforts of builders to cut precisely scaled rifling into their barrels. Many miniatures are nonfiring.

Some makers work traditionally, you might say even primitively, measuring and scaling with mechanical instruments and using tiny hand-made tools. Others use sophisticated computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines to cut each piece and 3D printers to make molds for casting parts. Between these two poles there are a lot of little manual lathes and tabletop milling machines tucked into garages and basements where talented amateur and professional machinists test their skills making these little weapons.

Each miniature gun project requires careful hand finishing. The parts must be fitted and polished, and all the subtle surface details recreated, including any markings and decoration if desired, before they are hardened and given their final surface touch. A great deal of the work needs to be done under magnification. Consider how small the decorative engraving on a one-eighth scale pistol would be and you will understand why working under a microscope is necessary.

 Jones' miniature Colts in French Case
This pair of fully operable 1851 Colt Navy revolvers are one-eighth scale in a fitted case with tools made by the renowned and late miniature firearms maker George Jones. Each pistol measures slightly more than 1¾ inches. 

Scales vary widely. The most popular among collectors are those in one-third and one-fourth scale, which can retain complete functionality and sometimes even fire custom-made miniature live ammunition. Miniatures that fire conventional ammunition, usually half scale, are treated as pistols under federal and state law.

Bob McGinnis' Mini Emerson
A mini Emerson by Bob McGinnis

As the scale shrinks below one-quarter, it becomes increasingly difficult to fashion moving parts and some function is often lost. Certainly full functionality is possible in the smaller scales, but that kind of tiny precision work can get as physically delicate as a watch movement and very expensive. MAS member, director, and advanced collector Ted Campbell Sr. explained, “The smaller the scale gets, the greater the skill required to build it.” That’s why one of the favorites in his collection, which hovers around 60 pieces, is an amazing one-eighth scale brace of 1851 Colt Navy revolvers in a fitted case with tools made by the late George Jones, a renowned miniature firearms maker. Each fully operable pistol measures only slightly more than 1¾ inches.

Also among Campbell’s favorites are two machine-gun miniatures. His tiny one-fifth scale MAC-10 machine pistol was superbly recreated by an unknown maker. It lacked only the logo and markings, which Campbell had engraved by Roger Sampson, a known master engraver. It is not uncommon for builders to collaborate on projects.

Campbell’s miniature World War II British Sten MK2 submachine gun made by Leon Crottet of Switzerland actually fires in full-auto mode. However, since it uses a completely unique and custom-made miniature cartridge, it is not subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations that a genuine 9mm Sten would be.

Bob McGinnis' guns
First gun: One-third scale .22-caliber Emerson tip-down, single-shot pistol with a brass frame, steel barrel and walnut grips. Only 2¼ inches long, it took 130 hours to create. Second gun: One-half scale .44-caliber Model 1200 percussion Derringer with a brass frame and barrel and walnut grips. At 23/16inches long, it took 60 hours to create. Third gun: One-half scale .22-caliber Remington vest-pocket Derringer with steel frame and walnut grips. At 2¼ inches long, it took 100 hours to create. Fourth gun: Thomas Virgil freestyle Derringer that fires 2mm pinfire blanks. At 2 7/8 inches long, it took 120 hours to create.

One significant aspect of the miniature arms hobby centers is on pinfire guns. These popular novelty pieces have been in production continuously since the late 19th century and include replicas of period weapons, as well as unique designs. They were handmade as well as mass-produced examples. Unlike other miniatures, all pinfire guns are intended to fire blanks, live ammunition or sometimes both. Their tiny cartridge cases are straight cylinders, sealed on one end, from which a miniscule pin protrudes. When the miniature gun’s hammer strikes, it drives the pin into a primer within the case to ignite the main powder charge. Loaded with a lead bullet about the size of a number 9 shotgun pellet, the popular 2mm pinfire round is about .078 inches wide and less than a quarter inch long. They are about as loud as cap guns, and were never really considered serious defensive weapons. A Victorian-era gentleman might use one as a fob at the end his watch chain to delight children.

Bob McGinnis tools
Tools made by Bob McGinnis.

Collecting miniatures rather than real guns will not save you money in the long run, but it will at least save you space. Quality of workmanship is the single most important factor in establishing value, followed by relative rarity. The closest thing to production-made miniatures are those produced by Miniart in Russia (now out of business) and Aldo Uberti S.p.A., famous for their full-sized replicas of 18th century Colts, in Italy. Though they are of excellent quality and workmanship, they are also in relative abundance compared to the work of master craftsman David Kucer of Montreal, Canada, Fred Crissman of Pennsylvania or the late Tom Weston of Mexico City, Mexico. For example, a one-third scale 1873 single-action Army Colt revolver made by David Kucer will sell for $4,500 when one can be found. The same model in 47-percent scale made by Uberti retails for only around $650 and can be bought just about any time.

David Kucer
At 92 years old, David Kucer is considered one of the best tiny-firearm industry
Bob McGinnis
Bob McGinnis, renowned for mini detailed tools creates a mini barrel for a new creation.

The value of any miniature is enhanced by the appropriate accoutrements. Examples include fitted French cases with their numerous compartments, bullet molds, powder flasks, holsters, slings, silencers, cartridges and even manuals.

The making of a miniature gun requires broad talents. Virtually every part of it must be fabricated from scratch. You don’t necessarily need to be a gunsmith, but the gunsmith’s skilled hands and affinity for the mechanical are prerequisites for making a gun of any kind. Many miniatures past and present have been created with just hand tools. To sculpt, checker, decoratively carve grips and stocks and build fitted cases, woodworking is required. Those fitted cases were always equipped with locks so you might find yourself becoming a locksmith along the way.

David Kucer Mauser Broomhandle
David Kucer’s Mauser Broomhandle.

Many novice builders start with Derringers because of their mechanical simplicity. A Remington single-shot, vest-pocket Derringer was MAS member Bob McGinnis first successful project, and it took him 100 hours of work to complete. Since then he’s made a literal handful of Derringers and wants to move on to more advanced projects like a Remington rolling-block rifle. Though McGinnis started building the traditional way, he is not your typical miniature builder. He began working in the tool and die trade in 1959 and spent 25 years in his own shop building precision-injection molds for the plastics industry before retiring and passing the business to his son. He didn’t know there were miniature gun makers until 1989 when he read an article inGun Digest. He joined MAS in 1993, and through its members gained access to a huge body of invaluable institutional knowledge and building experience. Reflecting on his 22 years in MAS, he told me, “I had the pleasure and good fortune to learn from some of the finest craftsmen in the world, and hope someday I can pass on what I learned to younger craftsmen and artisans so they can carry on this wonderful art and hobby.”

David Kucer 1776 FistPistol
David Kucer’s 1776 Fist Pistol A fist pistol has no barrel. The cylinder acts as a barrel, and it is extremely compact and concealable, but good only at very close range.  It was possibly used for close combat while boarding enemy ships, or self protection from ruffians on the mean streets of 19th century London.

By contrast, 92-year-old David Kucer knew he wanted to make miniature guns since childhood. He first saw them as part of a traveling show while on a family trip to New York City in 1935. Coming from a family of metal workers and having access to tools in his father’s shop, he made his first admittedly primitive mini when he was 12, with a barrel fabricated from a piece of a quarter-inch bar stock he scrounged in a junkyard. That first project showed him that he lacked both the right tools and sufficient skill. By the early 1950s he had both. His interest in miniature firearms was forced to lie dormant while he finished high school, worked in the family business and served his country in the Canadian Army as an armament artificer from 1942 to 1946.

His first satisfying miniature gun was a one-quarter scale M1911, like the one he carried throughout the war. During the process of building this first piece, he designed and built each tool, which he continues to use to this day. The bulk of the metal work is done on his one-third scale custom vertical mill and a pantograph-engraving machine he modified to cut parts into three dimensions. A pantograph is used to accurately trace the shapes of parts while simultaneously
scaling them.

In his 60-year career he’s made 80 different miniature gun projects totaling over 400 pieces, most of them built after 1970 when he went into business for himself. By 1975 he was building miniature guns full time and was eventually joined by his son, Zavie, who works by his side every day. Customers expect to wait a year between creations, as his work is of such extraordinary excellence it has been exhibited in seven museums, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Royal Armouries of H.M. at the Tower of London, and most recently the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.

You can see some of the work of David and Zavie Kucer and many other builders at the NRA Annual Meetings in Louisville, Ky., next year or at the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad, Calif., where over 50 pieces are on loan from various makers and MAS collectors. MAS publishes the Miniature Arms Journal quarterly for members and offers several publications for sale, including two by MAS journal editor Bob Urso: The Tiniest Guns and The Odd & Curious Guns, Knives and Drawings of Herschel Kopp. The former is a detailed catalog of historic pinfire guns and the latter is a wealth of information for new builders. MAS American dues are $45 the first year and $35 annually for renewal and include a subscription to the magazine, as well as access to the clubs extensive collection of plans for aspiring builders. ASJ

Author’s note: You can visit MAS at miniaturearms.org or the Craftsmanship Museum at craftsmanshipmuseum.com.

 

Miniature MAC 10
One-fifth scale Mac-10 by an unknown maker.

Posted in Handguns Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,