I must confess, until I began researching vintage firearms in earnest, I had little knowledge of the murder weapons in my favorite books. Names like Webley, Beretta, and Luger swam vaguely across my memory, with no visual association at all.
Feast your eyes with me, on this lesser-known model of automatic pistol.
American-made, the Savage Firearms Company produced its “1907” design as a service pistol for the French army during the Great War. This “Model 1917” is an update of the 1907, available in both .32 caliber and .380 (the equivalent of 9mm), and was in production as a .380 from 1920 to 1928. It has a very streamlined, art-deco look – especially in the
chrome nickel finish!
(Last time I checked, the Gun Library at Cabela’s had a sweet little
chrome Nickel-plated .32 in stock:)* Cabela’s Gun Library
Can’t you just see that slipping out of a white dinner jacket for a little ungentlemanly business?
I was lucky enough to find an article by someone who’s actually fired the 1917. Apparently the name “Savage” is quite apropos – she bites: Old Man Montgomery
Many of the great classic detectives – Poirot, Alleyn, and Wimsey – almost never touched a gun, much less carried one. Even the erratic Mr. Campion brandished one only rarely. An armed sleuth seems to fall more into the hard-boiled style of gumshoe, rather than a golden-age sophisticated genius. It almost seems a pity to leave such a pretty keepsake to the villains.
Does your favorite sleuth ever “pack heat”? If so, what’s his signature weapon?
*Updated: the very kind R. G. Montgomery has corrected my mistake about the shiny finish – nickel plating, not chrome (see comments below). Much appreciated!