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Ian, with a C93 Borchardt pistol.

"Hi, guys. Thanks for tuning in to another video on Forgotten Weapons dot-com. I'm Ian, and today we're taking a look at..."

Forgotten Weapons is a blog and YouTube channel started in 2011 by firearms specialist Ian McCollum. The show focuses on rare and forgotten firearms throughout history, how they function, and the context surrounding their design. Initially, the site mostly featured text posts with the occasional video supplement, but as the popularity grew, the YouTube channel has become the main focus. Most videos follow a similar format with Ian sitting behind a table with the firearm of the day where he discusses the weapon's history and context before bringing the camera in closer to show the viewers how the weapon functions and comes apart. Occasionally, the weapon owners allow Ian to take the weapon out on the range for a live fire demonstration.

Ian also ran another gun related YouTube channel with his friend Karl Kasarda called InRange TV which can be found here but the time that Forgotten Weapons took up meant that eventually he stepped back and the channel is entirely run by Karl now with only occasional guest appearances by Ian.

Now let's bring the camera in closer and look at some tropes!

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Bilharz Hall Carbine: A Crude Confederate Cavalry Carbine Copy.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Ian's opinion on The Fakiest Fake Berthier. While he, rightly, points out that nearly everything on it is quite obviously wrong to someone who knows anything about French military rifles, a lot of non-trivial work has been done on the gun, and to a standard of fit and finish far beyond your average common-or-garden Bubba.
  • A.K.A.-47:
    • Ian often uses off-brand copies as an excuse to talk about more common models, since they're obscure variants of otherwise famous designs.
    • Because of Spain's protectionist patent laws—a foreign patent could not be enforced if the product wasn't manufactured in Spain—the country was frequently a source of firearms that were copies of established foreign designs. However, Spain's strong trademark laws required the knock-offs to go by different names and actually encouraged quality production. Ian frequently features these weapons and all of their intrinsic design quirks.
  • Angrish: Ian deteriorates into this while reviewing The Worst AK Ever.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety:
    • Near the start of this video on InRangeTV, Karl points two pistols at the camera.
      Karl: Don't worry, there's no one behind the camera.
      Ian: That we care about.
    • One "Ask Ian" video has him discuss the least safe experience he ever had at a firing range, which ended up being a time when he and his wife went to a range set up around a large hill only to immediately find bullets coming for them; it turned out to be an older couple who'd bought a gun for the first time and just set up a paper target in their back yard, with thick brush behind that target preventing them from knowing what was behind it, thus having no idea they were firing at other people until Ian found them and politely asked they move their target so the hill was behind it.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Ian has discussed how sometimes even gunmakers fall victim to bad physics. A particular example is the Blish Lock, which is based on the idea that dissimilar metals experience different levels of friction under high pressure, and in turn trying to use that to design a locking mechanism for a gun. The thing is, this doesn't work, and while stiction is real and applicable under the far more extreme forces and interrupted screw breeches of the naval guns John Blish was analyzing, it doesn't have anything to do with dissimilar metals. In actuality, all guns designed to use the Blish Principle are either delayed blowback or straight blowback designs, rather than locked breech systems as their designers had intended.
  • Ascended Fanboy:
    • As the reputation of Forgotten Weapons grew, Ian began to get invited to various private collectors, museums, and auction houses to feature their weapons in his videos. For example, owners of a gun store in Rome were rather suspicious of a strange foreigner's requests to browse their stock until a young Italian fan of the show, who just happened to be there, recognized Ian and vouched for his reputation.
      • This got to the point where Ian, a huge Francophile, was given access to the armory of the Gendarmarienote  by the French Government themselves.
    • A mechanical engineer by training, Ian also works as a consultant for Armaments Research Services. He has also written reference books on French small arms and Chinese hand-crafted pistols - all while being a well-known fan of both French rifles and Chinese "mystery pistols" for their unique mechanical features.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Ian has the fan nickname "Gun Jesus" because of his long hair and beard. In May 2019, the multinational firearms company Heckler & Koch posted an image of Ian as Gun Jesus, with an HK rifle in one hand and his book on French rifles in the other. Ian's publishing partners insisted that posters be made.
    • Ian's long-running quest to find 7.65 French Long for his extremely rare MAS-38 submachine gun has been referenced several times by other YouTubers, notably when Nicholas Moran (aka TheChieftain) interviewed him.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Ian sometimes shows us "Chinese mystery pistols," which are pistols made by small workshops during the Warlord period, usually copies of European and American pistols. They were made by and for people who knew that official guns bore text in the Latin alphabet, but who knew European languages about as well as most Westerners know Chinese. The results range from near-misses (e.g., using all the correct letters on a Mauser C96 copy, but engraving some of them backwards or upside-down to read "WAUƧER" instead) to complete gibberish (e.g., this valiant attempt at the Fabrique Nationale logo on an FN M1900 copy).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: This is pretty much the definitive trope behind the channel, and why many of the guns Ian looks at were "forgotten" in the first place. They might have a novel (or even innovative) design feature, but will consistently lose out to the Boring, but Practical competition of their time, solely because the feature was simply not worth the trouble of adopting. Oftentimes, Ian will explain this in detail: No matter what advantage a new weapon has over existing weapons—whether it's more accurate, more powerful, increases an individual's firepower, combines the functions of different weapons, or whatever—you have to convince customers to give up existing weapons of proven reliability in favor of a new one that will take time and money to switch to. That's something they aren't likely to do if they think the new design is too expensive, too cumbersome or risky to the operator, too logistically problematic, not applicable to the problems at hand, or not as reliable and easy to maintain compared to what they already have. Ian definitely appreciates how much fun these awesome yet impractical weapons can be, as indicated by the ones he chooses to purchase for his own private collection.
    • The Puckle Gun, a manually-operated 1.25-inch flintlock revolver cannon from 1718. It was one of the earliest "machine guns" in the sense of a large weapon that could fire multiple rounds before reloading, but it took about 6 or 7 seconds to rotate to a new chamber (fast, but only about twice as fast as a musketeer) and was quite expensive. They received no serious attention from the military for their expense and the poor reliability of the flintlock mechanism; only two are known to have been produced.
    • The Nock Volley Gun, invented by Englishman James Wilson in 1789, was a flintlock musket with seven barrels that all fired at once when the trigger was pulled. It had one flintlock mechanism to ignite the powder in the center barrel, and the fire from that would vent into the six barrels around it to set off the remaining charges. The weapon was deemed impractical for the infantry use which Wilson had intended because it was heavy and took a long time to reload, but the Royal Navy thought that men firing these guns from a perch on the mast might be really effective at sweeping the enemy ship's deck; after getting two prototypes from gunsmith Henry Nock in 1790, they ordered 500 and then another 100. The problem was that they had excessive recoil, and often some of the barrels would fail to fire. If that happened there was no way to tell which of the barrels had fired and which hadn't, so there were a lot of bulged and burst barrels from accidental double-loading. It seems these guns weren't used very much, and in 1805 the Navy retired them from service.
    • The Phillips & Rodgers M47 Medusa is a revolver that can chamber basically any cartridge with an overall length and bullet diameter equal to or smaller than that of a .357 Magnum. A revolver doesn't have the headspace requirements of a semiautomatic handgun, so the challenge is just getting the cartridges to sit properly in the cylinder for firing and extraction. The extractor mechanism has long, flexible fingers that snap into the extractor grooves on rimless cartridges, and that can be depressed down and away from the cases of rimmed cartridges. The idea—supposedly—is that in case of a nuclear apocalypse scenario you can keep your gun fed even if all you have is a "hobo sack" of random scavenged ammo. It's an innovative and well-manufactured gun, and the accuracy with different types of ammo isn't that bad, but the problem is that the concept just isn't very realistic and there wasn't enough of a market for it. Even though it can shoot cartridges with a bullet diameter smaller than the bore, you'd have to be pretty desperate to use them since the bullet won't engage the rifling, meaning inconsistent accuracy since there's no spin being imparted and a low muzzle velocity since there's so much free space for the muzzle flash to escape through without having to push the bullet out of the way - even his first test of an all-9x19mm load saw one bullet hit close to center before the next three keyholed at the very edges of the target and the last two missed entirely, because of the amount of space the bullets had to travel before they actually engaged the rifling - and the extractor fingers that let it fire smaller bullets are rather fragile, enough so that Ian refused to put any amount of stress on the ejector rod, which is a big no-no for a survival situation where you'd expect to be reliant, likely for a significant length of time, on that one gun with no replacement parts forthcoming and whatever random ammo of several calibers you can scavenge for it. You can use 9x19mm, .380 ACP, .38 Special, .38 S&W, and .357 Magnum for best results, but the gun isn't cheap, and the only people likely to buy it are Crazy-Prepared apocalypse planners who almost certainly have at least one firearm (if not several) in each of those calibers already. For them it'd make more sense to prepare for doomsday by just hoarding ammunition made specifically for whatever guns they have, rather than blowing money on a universal ammo gun that they will probably never need. The Medusa had that "money-where-your-mouth-is" problem of people thinking it sounded cool but not being ready to open their wallets, and the company only sold something like 500 of them before going out of business.
    • The EtronX, introduced in 2000, is a Remington 700 rifle with the trigger and firing mechanisms replaced by electronic versions. The firing pin is replaced by an insulated electrode, the trigger operates an electronic switch instead of a mechanical sear, and a 9V battery in the buttstock feeding a capacitor provides the energy to ignite the special ammunition primer, a resistor that generates heat to ignite the powder in the cartridge. The way it works is pretty cool, and it has some unusual properties such as allowing you to adjust the trigger pull, anywhere from half a pound to two and a half, or take advantage of the fact that the action isn't under any spring pressure, which makes cycling incredibly fast and smooth. The electronic mechanism also practically eliminates lock time, which is the delay between trigger pull and cartridge ignition. However, it cost about twice as much as a regular Remington 700, and while lock time (which for the average firearm made since 1865 is measured in microseconds) might matter to someone like a bench-rest shooter who has really specific needs, it just isn't significant to the sporting rifle market. Gun buyers were also jittery about the future availability of the special ammunition (although Ian does note Remington went out of their way to make sure its specialty ammo could be hand-loaded the same as regular ammo), and have always tended to distrust any use of electronics in firearms beyond extremely simple accessories that can just as well be done without (e.g., short-range, unmagnified red dot sights) out of fears over reliability. The necessity of not losing the tiny key which allows you to operate it can also be a concern. There's also the fact that other than the electronic firing system, the EtronX is just like an ordinary Remington 700, meaning that while worries about reliability turned typical gun buyers away, the conventional bolt-action setup meant it didn't particularly appeal to high-tech enthusiasts either.note  Ian praises Remington for trying, and predicts that electronic ignition is the direction firearms will go in once there's enough commitment from manufacturers and the public, but the EtronX was too ahead of its time when it came out. It sold poorly, and was removed from the Remington catalog in 2003.
    • Since so many commenters have asked why anti-tank rifles haven't been used more often as sniper weapons, presuming that they'd have greater range and hitting power, Ian explains that these weapons aren't just upscaled versions of sniper rifles but follow a very different design philosophy. They were mass-produced with the intention of equipping a lot of soldiers with a weapon which could hit a tank-sized target at not-particularly-long ranges, and be powerful enough to at least damage or disable some component. Therefore they were generally issued with iron sights instead of scopes, and in most cases the manufacturing tolerances for both guns and ammunition were too loose to ensure high precision. They're very heavy, there's a lot of recoil, and regular sniper rifles are already long-ranged and lethal enough against personnel. Anything bigger would be mere overkill.
    • In the InRange TV episode "Bolt guns are Obsolete", Ian and Karl talk about how being amazingly good at using a bolt action rifle isn't a useful combat skill in a modern warfare situation against semi-automatics. Some gun enthusiasts seem to think that the disadvantage of bolt action against semi in combat is overblown, and that if a rifleman were trained to use his bolt action to its full potential he could be the equal in combat of any person with a semi-auto. In support of this, such people talk about the feats Simo Häyhä performed with his Mosin-Nagant, or how a British sergeant instructor supposedly set a record in the Mad Minute by scoring 39 hits on a 36-inch target at 300 yards using the Lee-Enfield service rifle. While that kind of performance with a bolt gun is undeniably awesome and impressive, Ian and Karl's point is that hardly anyone is actually going to put in the work or possess the talent to get that good with one, and that the bolt-action service rifles of the World Wars have inherent disadvantages compared to semi-autos in real combat that one cannot simply train out of. These old bolt guns that people own today are far from being great sniper rifles as some would like to believe: the sights suck, surplus ammo is low quality, and they were made back when the required performance for an infantry rifle was about 4 MOAExplanation , or maybe as good as 2 for a sniper's rifle; a far cry from today when any worse than 1 MOA is considered crap. So you're probably going to miss your first shot, and then no matter how fast you are at operating the bolt, by the time you get to the end of your magazine your semi-auto armed opponent is either going to have already killed you with his superior rate of fire, or he'll have long since taken cover. In which case, every subsequent time that he pops up is going to be so brief that you'll never be able to get off more than one shot before he's disappeared again, whereas a semi-auto would be able to squeeze off several rounds in that brief window of opportunity for a better chance of hitting.
      Karl: And let me add to that, in the modern day of 2017, y'know, okay that's a cool skillset, and if you were someone that was going to be an exhibition shooter and wanted to replicate such a thing, have at it. But you are practicing an obsolete and worthless skill. That's what it boils down to, because if you're looking at this in terms of a—from a combative nature, what you just did with that Enfield you could have already defeated with a Mini-14, an AK-74, AK-47, a friggin' SKS.
    • The idea of starting your own company to produce and sell the really cool gun you just invented. Ian's advice: forget about it. You might have a legitimately good design idea, and if you're a competent machinist it isn't that hard to make a well-functioning prototype in your own workshop. But it's a totally different thing to raise the capital to set up a production line, and to figure out machine tooling that lets you mass produce a defect-free product without the benefit of hand-fitting. New guns tend to have teething troubles, and the gun industry caters to customers who have come to expect an extremely high standard of reliability for the simple fact that anything less is an active danger to the user and those around them. Most gun companies that are founded go bankrupt, and the industry is dominated by large companies because they tend to be the only ones with the necessary mass production expertise and the ability to suck up big initial losses while they work out the bugs. In addition, the development of firearms has pretty much reached a plateau in the 21st century. Rather than truly revolutionary concepts being introduced, gun-makers are just looking to achieve incremental improvements over what already exists. Meaning that it's harder than ever for the inventor to make their new gun stand out enough to get people to buy it. As such, Ian's advice to anybody who wants to be a firearms designer is to make sure they've got some other job to bring in the money, with inventing a gun just being a hobby. That way if the gun isn't a commercial success (and it almost certainly won't be), you don't lose out on anything.
    • In his episode on the Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr, a last-ditch rifle produced by Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, he opines that the Germans would have done better to increase MP 44 production instead of introducing a new, simplified model. In theory the crudity and inferior performance of the rifle were supposed to be justified by the ability to produce it cheaply under primitive conditions, but any production efficiencies were negated by the delay and expense of setting up the new production line. The end of the war came too soon for the VG to enjoy such economies of scale as the MP 44 already had.
    • Any of the late 19th and early 20th century rifles and handguns that were designed to work around existing patents tend to fall right into this territory. There are only so many ways to make your gun work mechanically. Once all those avenues and specific elements of each new gun that made them work got patented, gunsmiths started to tinker with truly bizarre new designs, for the sole purpose of avoiding the patent-related fee. Any gun from that era and that design goal in mind that Ian ever covered was undeniably awesome from purely mechanical standpoint, but was overly complex, extremely unreliable or incredibly expensive to make - and usually all three at once.
    • The Trejo .22 pistol was originally full-auto, and could burp out its small, 8-round magazine in less than a second. Ian admits that this feature is totally useless, but it gives the pistol plenty of "giggle factor", as evidenced by him chuckling like a toddler after each magazine he puts through it.
    • The HK51 automatic rifle. While a desire to have full-power battle rifle with the size of an SMG is understandable, the weapon is extremely uncomfortable to shoot, even in an open space. Indoors, concussion from the muzzle blast will be even worse because of all the still-burning gunpowder being released as muzzle flash, since you're taking a round designed to be used with guns whose barrels were at least 18 inches long and firing it through one cut down to less than half that.
    • The AK-107, utilizing the "balanced recoil" principle. While the system does decrease the amount of recoil felt by the shooter, it is also very complex to manufacture and maintain. In comparison, a muzzle brake is cheaper, simpler, and better at reducing recoil.
    • Drum magazines, to the point Ian eventually made a dedicated video to discuss them. On one hand, they provide a huge number of shots before needing to reload, and are much easier to swap into and out of your gun than a box full of belted rounds. On the other hand, they are just terribly complex and expensive to make. Drum magazines have a disproportionately heavy mass for their capacity and oftentimes lack interchangeability with box magazines if both sets were made for the same weapon, which tends to further increase feeding problems on the drums - and the drum mags themselves often aren't interchangeable, either, typically being made proprietary for one specific gun.
    • Any video about a "smart gun", one which integrates electronics in some way to prevent unauthorized use, almost inevitably falls to the same set of issues regarding the reliability of these electronics (which is usually poor) and the ability to circumvent them and use the gun unauthorized (which is usually stupidly easy). The title of the video on the Biofire even says it may very well be the first worthwhile one in existence, and its state-of-the-art, working electronics comes at the cost of having to manufacture a new design of gun to include them rather than build the electronics around an existing weapon, which comes with its own teething problems - the early model Ian gets to fire jams two times in as many magazines.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun:
    • One of the channel's most popular videos involves a real-life test firing of a Canadian Ross rifle with an improperly assembled bolt. The results were not pretty.
    • Ian generally points out the mechanical safety features included in most firearms that prevent this situation.
  • BFG:
    • Anti-tank rifles, knee mortars, elephant guns, and crew-served cannons have all made appearances on the show. One ridiculously huge "sporting" rifle shown is the "Fat Mac", which fired a .950 round.
    • A German Pzb 39 anti-tank rifle and a collection of 4-bore stopping rifles are some specific examples. Ian even got to fire the latter.
    • And if even a 4-bore fails to impress you, Ian presents a 2-bore double-barreled stopping rifle called "Double Deuce" made by Stolzer & Son of Kansas, which weighs 44 lbs and shoots a 1.33 inch ball weighing 3500gr. It's much too big for practical use, but it's a true gunsmithing spectacle.
  • Bindle Stick: At the beginning of his Medusa revolver video, he pretends to be trudging around a post-apocalyptic wasteland (portrayed quite convincingly by rural Arizona) with a "hobo sack" full of random ammo for his multiple-cartridge revolver. He's trying to show that the whole scenario is rather silly, helped by Karl running behind him, screaming while shooting at a berm (and no apparent targets).
  • Bizarro Episode: While pretty much every episode of the show is Ian talking about oddball weapons and the engineering that goes into them, Apocrypha: Tour of the Kyrö Distillery sees him visiting a high end whiskey and gin distillery which he stumbled upon while in Finland. Ian found the place so interesting he felt the need to make a video on it.
  • Bland-Name Product: A real-life example. Ian once tested a box of "Hunting Rifle Ammunition", with absolutely no branding of any kind.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The episode about damascening—decorating metal objects by fusing gold leaf and fine gold wire into the metal surface—looks at several guns that frankly make a gold plated Desert Eagle look mundane.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Every so often, Ian will cover a "boring" non-forgotten weapon to provide viewers with a baseline for what became standard features. Usually, Ian will find some way to cover these features with some rare version or prototype of an otherwise standard gun.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: For April Fools Day 2019, Ian released a video about the fictional military history of a rock with a handle on it, dubbed the Municion L.M.P. 1889. The joke is based on an image of a French World War I soldier heaving a rock over his head.
  • Character Arc: Ian explores the design linage of popular/well-known firearms this way, either by looking at how prototypes and early design variants evolved or how design elements were incorporated from earlier designs. Ian also examines the careers of various firearms designers in the same way.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Defied, as Ian is quite the Francophile, an avid collector of French weapons (especially from World War I), and the author of a reference book on French rifles, Chassepot to FAMAS. He takes pains to debunk myths or misconceptions about the poor performance of French weapons and where criticism is warranted, explains the context behind it.
  • Clickbait Gag: The Halbek Device was made in Rhodesia to control muzzle climb on FAL rifles. Forgotten Weapons made a video about it called "Rhodesia made their FALs great with this one weird Halbek device!" This parodies the common "X did Y with this one weird Z" click bait. One of the top rated comments provides the standard follow up "Doctors hate him". Needless to say, much to Ian' surprise and delight, said device actually helps to reduce muzzle climb, forcing the rifle downwards.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • Ian thinks the Trejo machine pistol, which fires .22 ammunition at roughly 1,200 rounds per minute so that the 8- or 11-round magazine empties in an instant, has no practical purpose besides making the shooter giggle with gleeful amusement. He demonstrates this by taking it out back and burning a few magazines through it, all while giggling with gleeful amusement.
    • William McCarty's turret revolver of 1909 contains 18 shots of .22 rimfire in a large vertical ring. It has very high capacity for a revolver and is very cool mechanically, but it's too big and heavy, the ergonomics are terrible, the cartridge is too weak, it can't be loaded quickly, and it was obsolete to begin with thanks to the proliferation of dependable semi-automatics. It's no wonder that it never got to production, and Ian was surprised to learn that any prototypes actually exist.
    • The Arc Flash Labs GR-1 has terrible range, accuracy, rate of fire and ergonomics, but Ian doesn't care, because it's a Gauss Rifle.
  • Corrupt Quartermaster: Commented on with Tommy Steele. When he left the Rhodesian Army, where he was an armourer, he stole only one thing: a bag of G3 push pins... which just so happens to be the same type he used on the TS V.
  • Crossover: Ian has done collaborations from time to time with other YouTube channels.
  • Cultural Posturing: Regarding which nations' militaries have a rose-tinted view of their native-designed service rifles, Ian thinks the tendency is greater in countries that have compulsory military service. Non-volunteer recruits are less likely to have experienced a variety of firearms in civilian life, and in the military they are only trained on the official service rifle. This makes them more susceptible to motivational propaganda to the effect of "we give our soldiers only the best!" The Brits stand out in particular, with some claiming that the SA80 is a better rifle than the American M16; while Ian acknowledges that the SA80 has grown the beard, he finds this assertion chuckle-worthy. Some British veterans, however, have tried American weapons (without their superior's consent) and found the M16 easier to use. When asked if the AR-15 platform was better than the L85, one veteran responded in honesty.
    "Geezer": L85 is just, well, really not good. It's not, in A2/3 form actually bad, because at least the thing works, and it is very accurate for a service rifle, but the AR-15 platform is just so much better – in handling and mag changes. Poor on some kinds of stoppage because of the rear-mounted charging handle, but you can teach that.

    There is a reason the AR-15 platform has been in service longer (just) than I have been alive. It's that it's good.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The American 180 Submachine Gun fires the tiny .22 rimfire cartridge, but with a 165–275 round pan magazine and a 1,200 round-per-minute rate of fire, you can hose your target with so many bullets that the size doesn't matter. At the same time, the small round is unlikely to over-penetrate, which makes it good for police work and enclosed spaces. It's even better than it sounds, because even at such a high rate, it has hardly any perceptible recoil, and while you're unlikely to over penetrate accidentally, the combination of accuracy and steadiness means you can potentially chew through body armor or cover by intentionally shooting the same spot repeatedly. Promising as it was, there was no way it could have survived after the 1986 machine gun law, because it depended on full auto to be effective.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Ian opens the video on the Semmerling LM4 sub-compact .45 pistol by demonstrating how to rack it one handed by jerking the pistol forwards and backwards in what is perhaps the closest pistol equivalent of a One-Handed Shotgun Pump. This works because the LM4, a boutique handgun that aimed to be the smallest repeating .45 handgun on the market and still is over 40 years later, is not actually self-loading, but rather is purely manually cycled and only held shut by a small detent until pressure is put on the trigger, at which point the barrel and frame actually lock together.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Older videos had a fancy title sequence, in one of two different variations (one of which, as seen here, simply showed several clips of him firing weapons all at once, and a more recent one seen here with music as several clips of both shooting and disassembling weapons play in sequence), which has been dropped in favor of a simple title card with a black background.
    • In the early days, many of the videos were reviews of firearms history–related books. These gradually became much less frequent, but now seem to be making a comeback.
    • The quality of Ian's video and audio recording equipment has improved over the years, especially since Forgotten Weapons was originally established as a website and early videos were special "video episodes". After becoming predominately a YouTube channel, the equipment was greatly improved and the setup more professional.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better: He discusses this tendency while showing off the MP-41(r), a PPSh-41 converted to fire 9x19mm from MP 40 magazines; German soldiers on the Eastern Front thought the PPSh was the better gun for its huge magazine and higher rate of fire, while the Russian soldiers thought the MP 40 was better for its reliability. Then some actual research into this was done by the Heereswaffenamt after requests came in for Germany to just manufacture PPShes, who concluded both were right to some degree - the MP 40 was more robust as a weapon, but the PPSh magazine was more reliable - and that the best response to this request would be to make an MP 40 with a 7.63mm barrel that used PPSh drums, only to then deliver the exact opposite, a PPSh with a 9mm barrel that used MP 40 mags.
  • Exact Words:
    • Patents work this way, and Ian explains how many early firearms designs have had to find new ways to do the same thing. The most famous case is Rollin White, who patented fully bored-through cylinders to fit cartridges in revolvers (read: the same way every revolver does it now), gave Smith & Wesson exclusive rights to use it, and aggressively fought to protect his patent even in the middle of The American Civil War. Dozens of unique designs were created to try and get cartridge revolvers on the market without running afoul of his patent until 1869, when Ulysses S. Grant used his authority as President to forcibly deny the extension on the grounds that he was making life unreasonably difficult for the military.note 
    • The title is Forgotten Weapons, not Forgotten Firearms, which becomes relevant when Ian features a sword or bayonet or technically even an airgun.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Friend of the show Charlie Hobson is the flamethrower expert and runs
    • The video "Slow Motion Malfunctions of Exotic Firearms" is... guess what? with Ian providing commentary over the footage of the malfunctions in question.
    • When trying to zero sights on a Finnish M39 Mosin rifle and match the best ammunition for it for an incoming competition, Ian procured several different types of both light and hunting ammo. Including a box of 204 grain hunting rounds with "Hunting Rifle Ammunition" written on it instead of a brand.
  • Gatling Good: Ian has covered the M134 Minigun, as well as a replica of a 1877 'Bulldog' Gatling gun; he has even shown off the 240-round Broadwell Drum designed for the vintage Gatling Gun.
  • Ghetto Name:
    • The Armsel Striker, a revolving drum shotgun with a 12-round capacity, was renamed the Street Sweeper by US importer Cobray in an attempt to appeal to urban street gangs or suburban wannabes. Of course, in the era of skyrocketing violent crime rates, this attracted the attention of Federal regulators, who had the weapon declared a destructive device, wiping out any commercial potential. Turned out to be more of an Ironic Name, since when Ian reviewed the gun, it was a pretty terrible weapon and far less "destructive" than its designation would imply. Almost every semi-automatic shotgun is more "destructive" than the Street Sweeper (since they're far less likely to jam after one shot), but nobody was stupid enough to give them names implying they were meant to be used as murder weapons by gangsters.
    • The Cobray Terminator, which is probably the worst shotgun in the entire world, looks like an oversized Sten gun and certainly looks and sounds scary. Owing to the way it functions, as described below, it cannot be easily converted into a machine gun, contrary to what anti-gun personalities have alleged (doing such a conversion would involve lots of materials such as a new barrel and a new receiver unit altogether). Cobray supposedly made this design to trick the BATF into attempting to ban (or restrict, as what actually happened) a weapon that wouldn't even function properly and reveal that the Feds were unfairly targeting Cobray's products on principle. Not surprisingly, the outcome was that the BATF's reputation took a turn for the worse after gun reviewers savaged the Terminator for poor performance following the massive amount of attention the shotgun received from being labelled a "destructive device."
  • Guns Akimbo: In this video, Ian dual-wields two fully automatic pistols (at about three minutes).
    Ian: I didn't hit nothing, I hit everything! Probably not the target though.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: This video seeks to dispel several gun myths that even This Very Wiki propagates.
  • Gun Nut: Ian often calls himself a "gun geek," and it's easy to see why.
  • Gun Porn: Lots of it. Ian often goes to meticulous detail in his videos to show the inner workings of various firearms and sometimes takes them over to the range for a test fire.
  • Heroic Lineage: Ian's father, Duncan, is also a historian and enthusiast of small arms, his area of specialty being in Japanese weapons.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In the RPG-7 video, Ian talks about how the projectile has a rather unsafe impact fuse located on the tip which will cause the warhead to explode as soon as it strikes something, with no minimum range at which it will detonate. The warhead sticks out from the front of the weapon, and the only safety against premature detonation from accidentally bumping it into something is a plastic cap that covers the fuse while it's screwed on. Since the warhead is basically disarmed until you remove the cap, and it takes a couple of precious seconds to get it off, users who want to be ready to fire it in case of a surprise attack have been known to unscrew the cap and walk around with their warhead sticking out armed, which is just begging for an accident to happen. An American soldier told Ian that he saw an insurgent in Iraq trip as he was running across a street while carrying an RPG with the cap removed, and as he fell on his face his rocket detonated against the ground, blowing him to bits.note 
    • Part of the reason the turret revolvers that Ian shows never became as popular as regular revolvers is that they were more potentially dangerous to the user. In a regular revolver, the chambers are all in line with the barrel, and even in the event of a chain fire where more than one chamber goes off at once, they are all pointed away from the shooter. However a turret revolver has chambers radiating from a disc all around like the spokes of a wheel, and at any given time there are loaded chambers pointing back at the shooter.
  • Homemade Inventions: Several guns started as these.
    • The P.A Luty's Submachine gun falls under this category. The weapon was built from parts found at most hardware stores and the instructions to building it were published by its creator, Phillip A. Luty.
    • The Ljutic rifle, designed almost offhandedly when designer Al Ljutic was invited to do some shooting with a Winchester representative.
    • Downplayed with the Owen Gun. While the core of it was created by Evelyn Owen in his garage, it was primarily Vincent Wardell and Freddie Kunzler who refined the design for use in the military.
  • IKEA Weaponry: While folding guns and takedown guns make appearances, Ian almost always takes the time to show the disassembly procedure of the weapons featured on the show. In his opinion, the best military designs tend to have some combination of few parts and quick disassembly that doesn't require special tools.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Puckle Gun's idea for having two types of ammunition, a normal ball for shooting Christians and a square-shaped bullet for shooting Turks, comes off as this. Ian barely makes an attempt to explain why that was a feature and simply accepts it with an awkward shrug.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: The video on the L85A1 goes into detail on all the various problems with the Gulf War-era British Army rifle, like the fact it was easy to accidentally bump the mag release while carrying the weapon and not notice it was no longer loaded. To add insult to injury, changing magazines on the L85 takes a soldier's attention away from any raging battlefield for up to a full minute under stress. Not for nothing did older British Army veterans actually hate the L85.
  • Kill It with Fire: It's Forgotten Weapons, not Forgotten Guns. This means that flamethrowers are par for the course, much to Ian's delight.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: If Ian get a chance to use full-auto firearm, it's likely he will discuss how controllable it is.
    • He found the PPSh-41 submachine gun to be comfortable in full-auto, due to its hefty weight absorbing much of the recoil and its high rate of fire making the recoil impulse feel like one constant push, which is easier to mitigate than several smaller but distinct pushes.
    • The Ultimax light machine gun, which employs a "constant recoil" principle where the bolt stops without actually impacting the receiver, turned out to be very easy to fire accurately in full-auto, despite its light weight.
    • On the other hand, after getting experience with other full-auto .308 rifles like the G3 and AR-10, Ian figured that the M14 should be much easier to fire than common belief says. Turned out that the rifle kicks around so violently, thanks mostly to its semi-pistol grip stock placing its bore axis well above the contact point with your shoulder, that common belief is right in this case.
    • Ian points out that, due to its standard muzzle brake, the actual recoil impulse of the Soviet AVS-36 rifle is not that hard, though it's still very hard to actually control in full-auto because of how much it vibrates and its recoil impulse being very fast despite its relative softness.
  • Loophole Abuse: As soon as a law restricting certain categories of firearms is implemented, some manufacturer has always tried to get around it while still technically complying with the law:
    • In the United States, flamethrowers are not considered firearms and there are no laws against owning one in 49 of 50 states.
    • The Trejo pistols were made by a small family company in Puebla, Mexico, from the late 1940s until the early 1970s. At that time, fully automatic centerfire arms were banned, but for some reason there was no rule against full-auto rimfire arms, so they manufactured a portion of their .22 caliber model 1 and 2 pistols as select fire so they could be used as machine pistols. Given that the model 1 had an 8-round magazine and the model 2 had an 11-round magazine, this wasn't very practical, but in Ian's view these pistols are great purely for the "giggle factor."
    • In 1994, the ATF classified the "Street Sweeper" shotgun as a destructive device, a category encompassing firearms with a bore of more than half an inch that are determined to have no sporting purpose. Cobray retooled the design slightly into a pistol chambered for .45-70 Government and renamed it the "Ladies Home Companion".
    • A company called Olympic Arms managed to produce folding stock and pistol versions of the AR-15 rifle—which wasn't possible before because of the need for a rear buffer tube that extended into the buttstock—by putting a tube above the barrel instead. Each model was named "OA" for Olympic Arms, followed by the last two digits of the year it was introduced. The pistol version they developed called the OA-93 was itself basically a loophole to get around the restriction on short-barreled rifles, but this was the worst possible timing because the 1994 Assault Weapons ban was passed the next year. This created the prohibited category of "assault pistols", which included pistols with a magazine attaching outside the pistol grip, a threaded barrel, a barrel shroud, or an unloaded weight of 50 oz. (1.4 kg) or more. The OA-93 fell into this category and therefore became illegal to sell. The first workaround that Olympic Arms tried, the OA-96, took advantage of the fact that the law defined an assault pistol as having a detachable magazine. By welding the magazine into the receiver, and designing the gun with a button to hinge open the upper receiver to reload the fixed magazine, they avoided the assault pistol classification altogether and were even able to include features that would normally have been restricted, such as 30-round capacity, barrel shroud, flash hider, and pistol grip. This version was a commercial flop because people didn't want to buy an AR without a detachable magazine, so two years later they introduced the OA-98 to take advantage of the minimum weight specified in the assault pistol definition. For this version they removed the barrel shroud and thread muzzle, and most importantly they "skeletonized the living bejeezus out of it" (in Ian's words) and removed all excess features in order to drastically reduce its weight from 71 to 48 ounces (from 2kg to 1.36kg). Thus, they ended up with a detachable magazine version that did not qualify as an Assault Pistol.
  • More Dakka: See the American 180 .22LR submachine gun under Death of a Thousand Cuts.
  • MST: Ian made a video titled "Slow Motion Malfunctions of Exotic Firearms" where he compiled a grab bag of footage of various forgotten weapons malfunctioning on high-speed camera with running commentary by himself.
  • Never Live It Down:invoked Discussed during the Enfield L85A1 video. Ian talks about the numerous problems the L85 had when it first came out and how much work went into having to fix each problem. He says that no matter how good the rifle actually is nowadays, it will forever be known as a horrible weapon. He also talks about how the M16's reputation still suffers decades later from its disastrous start, and it had far fewer problems to fix.
  • Never Needs Sharpening: Discussed in a video about one of his custom guns, a short-barreled M1 Garand modified to fit a "scout rifle" profile. Short-barreled Garands were advertised for some time after the war as a tank crewmate's weapon, but they were never actually used in this purpose, as M3 submachine guns offered lower weight and smaller size for easier carry within the confines of a tank - a "tanker" Garand in non-military circulation would just be a surplus rifle with a worn-out muzzle a company fixed by chopping half a foot off of the barrel and then advertised as a rare and obscure variant to sell them for more than they were really worth while also distracting from what else they had to do to get it to sellable condition (since most of these also had receivers that were welded back together after being cut in half to demilitarize them).
  • No Product Safety Standards: Defied, as Ian shows the viewer each and every proof mark, especially on European guns. He also discussed extensively the concept when it comes to "mystery pistols" that were hand-made in China during the warlord era and eventually wrote a book on that very subject.
  • Not With the Safety On, You Won't: While testing the Croatian VHS-2 rifle:
    Ian: What could possibly go wrong firing a rifle grenade in an indoor range? (pulls trigger, nothing happens) Other than having the safety on.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Occasionally weapons that Ian covers will have some form of a flagrant safety issue, which Ian normally points out.
    • The RPG-7 rocket has no time fuse and detonates via a sensitive small impact detonator in the tip of the warhead. While said detonator is normally covered with a safety cap, some users remove it as soon as they go into action, which opens the possibility of accidentally bumping the warhead into something while carrying it and blowing its user up.
      Ian: I have one guy tell me he watched an insurgent in Iraq had taken the cap off and he was running across a street with a loaded RPG, tripped, fell headfirst and slid into a curb, the end of the rocket hit the side of the curb and Kablooey, that was it for the guy - So these are not OSHA-approved weapons, this can very easily kill you if you don't know how to handle it.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ian is very rarely overtly critical of a gun design and often explains why manufacturers thought there would be a need for even the most impracticable designs. If he starts getting mad, you know he's presenting a piece of crap. Heck, he doesn't even need to get mad; most of the time he'll find something positive about a gun he is reviewing, no matter how bad it is. When he isn't even able to find a single thing positive about a gun in his videos, you know for a fact that what he has is a bad fucking gun.
    • Case in point: his video on the USFA Zip 22. The gun was the brain(dead)child of the company's owner, and Ian straight up says that it's quite possibly the worst gun ever made and that the owner's expectations for how popular it was gonna be were, quote, "completely divorced from reality." The following video showing Ian firing it at the range shows that, if anything, he was UNDERSTATING how bad it is - to give an idea, the one time he says anything positive about it (that it gave "remarkably good performance", at least for the first magazine) he immediately has to cut to a text screen explaining that when they came back the next day to get slow-motion footage, it jammed on every single shot, lovingly demonstrated all throughout the rest of the video with slow-motion shots of the gun doing just about everything except properly ejecting the fired casing and cycling correctly. There's also the fact that the first day of shooting, where the Zip at least sort of functioned, had to be called off because the gun jammed up on itself so horrifically that they were completely unable to get it working again except by completely dis- and reassembling it. Even the text description of the video underneath the title is snarky about it.
      Video description: Today, may the good lord help me, I am taking the Zip 22 out to the range for some shooting.
  • Political Overcorrectness:
    • Discussed in regards to censoring controversial symbols from educational material. He includes flags denoting country and era of origin in all his thumbnails, and Youtube complained about the Nazi flag on some of his thumbnails for WWII-era German guns. He now censors the Swastika on the thumbnails as sort of a mini-protest. In a moment of Genre Savvy, he avoids the flag usually called a Confederate flag for videos on CSA guns by using a first-iteration Confederate state flag for all his videos on Confederate American Civil War artifacts. The flag most often called a Confederate flag, with the blue saltire on a red field, was actually used only in battle, sort of like how the Japanese Empire flew a flag with stripes radiating from the sun in battle but a flag with only a red circle in civilian use. The actual Confederate flag, at least at the beginning of the war, was very similar to a US flagnote , but with 13 stars in a circle and three stripes, two red and one white.
    • Recent videos on obscure gun-smith projects had to be arranged to avoid YouTube backlash against gun-modification content. How does Ian get around the irrational fear that he's teaching home-grown terrorists how to make semi-automatic rifles into machine guns? He presents a customized Hakim rifle as a failed experimental product of the Elbonian Army. Elbonia is a tiny fictional European nation from Dilbert and became a running gag in the channel after being brought up in a Q&A session. Even sillier, here's another "Elbonian" gun!
    • More recent, and far less comical, was Headstamp Publishing's recent outing into modern war memoirs. Ian was very interested in publishing an account of a modern "near-peer" conflict, and thought he had struck gold with the memoirs of Carolus Lööfroos (aka Carolus Andersson), a Fenno-Swedish volunteer who fought in Ukraine. A cursory Google search will reveal that Lööfroos is an active and committed neo-nazi. Ian did not understand why anyone would consider this a problem, but retracted the publishing announcement with an apology after the crowdfunding site took down the campaign for violating the site's terms of service.
  • The Quisling: The topic of one unusual "what would you pick in [X] year" question in a Q&A video, where the scenario is "You are the defense minister of a newly independent nation, tasked with equipping the military. But, you are a traitor intent on sabotaging the military", requiring him to pick terrible guns and come up with a passable explanation to give a civilian government panel. A follow-up video has him fix those same choices, with the caveat being the government can't afford to just scrap everything and buy new, so the challenge is to make the best of what it has.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: A frequent point of Ian's criticism and quite often the reason a weapon became "forgotten" in the first place. Occasionally demonstrated when Ian is able to fire an example, some being so bad that he can't even reliably fire a full magazine.
    • The Canadian Ross rifle is a particularly notorious example of an unreliable gun: in its original configuration, it was easily possible, after field-stripping it for cleaning, to put the bolt in rotated 180° from its correct orientation—it fit just as well either way, and would appear to function correctly. The gun would chamber a round, but the bolt wouldn't lock, and pulling the trigger would send it flying back in the shooter's face.
    • Chinese Mystery Pistols and other craft-produced weapons are presumed to be dangerously unreliable and therefore Ian has never tried firing one.
    • The infamously unreliable plastic-bodied Zip-22 pistol surprisingly managed to get through a magazine with only one malfunction... and then not only jammed several other times, but eventually jammed so badly that Ian had to completely disassemble it to get it to start working again. Even he has no idea how it happened, and immediately after praising it for surprisingly-reliable performance with that first magazine the video cut to text saying that the gun jammed on every shot when he came back the next day to get slow-motion footage, demonstrated with every slow-motion insert featuring the gun failing to eject, double-feeding, or otherwise locking up on nothing. Ian considers it the worst gun ever made, and it's hard to disagree. Particularly since the ZIP-22 drove the U.S. Fire Arms Manufacturing Company out of business, a company that was previously famous for high-quality replicas of the Single Action Army and other 19th century Colt firearms.
    • Defied with the notorious Chauchat automatic rifle, which is often derided as one of the least reliable firearms in history. Ian is a staunch defender of the French-issued version of the weapon and, when using clean ammunition, was able to demonstrate its reliability on a live firing example. While the Chauchat had some clear shortcomingsnote , it was also in many respects far ahead of its time, being a select-fire weapon with a pistol grip, detachable magazine, an in-line stock and even a second forward pistol grip to aid in controlling it during full-auto fire, all features that would become standard for select-fire rifles decades later.
      • Played straight with the American version of the Chauchat, which was a poorly done redesign of the weapon to make it fire .30-06. It's completely responsible for the original's bad reputation, even though both were manufactured mostly by the same bicycle company, Gladiator.
    • Behold: the worst AK Ian has ever seen. An AKS-74U Krinkov that appears to have been cobbled together from a parts kit and various bits handmade by someone with a Dremel and no clue what they were doing. The gas block assembly flying downrange the first time someone tried firing it is merely the start of the gun's problems - in fact, Ian is probably extremely lucky that that's all that fell off. It is such a terrible example of gunsmithing that Ian sounds legitimately angry that someone would do this to a perfectly good gun design. This weapon was later brought to the attention of fellow YouTuber and AK specialist Brandon Herrera, who eventually got around to restoring the weapon into serviceable order.
    • The unfairly infamous Nambu Type 94 pistol slightly subverts the trope, as Ian proves that in order for the gun to go off without you pulling the actual trigger, you'd have to literally mash the exposed trigger sear with the safety turned off.
    • Ian attempts to run a Backup Gun Match with a Taurus Curve, a subcompact .380 pistol with a contoured frame that's supposed to reduce printing when concealed carrying. The Curve sets the tone by failing to fire on the very first shot, regularly has to be smacked on the back of its slide to be forced into battery, and malfunctions regularly throughout the match, often failing to fire an entire half of a magazine. Additionally, the integrated laser is virtually invisible in daylight and not actually zeroed to its point of aim and the backup sight (a white cross on the back of the slide) is difficult to use. It's so bad that on the last round, Ian just throws away the gun because he doesn't think he can get 8 successful shots, much less hits, out of 12 shots. After Ian throws the gun away, he says "Yeet me" to request to borrow a friend's Hi-Point C-9 Yeet Cannon G1, which runs flawlessly despite Hi-Point's own poor reputation and posts his only positive score of the match with it.
    • Another standout is the above-mentioned Cobray Terminator, an extremely odd sort of shotgun designed with a moving barrel that locks a shotgun shell into the breech and then fires it by slamming the barrel backwards to smack the shell into a stationary firing pin. Ian was only able to get it fire about half the time, with the gun apparently working or not depending on the individual shotgun shell - one would fire the first time, then the next would simply refuse no matter how many times he tried until he pulled it out and put in a new one which would also fire just fine - and even when it did fire correctly, it was genuinely painful on him because of the recoil combined with the barrel itself slamming backwards.
    • The Calico M100 submachine gun has a reputation for being unreliable due to magazine feeding issues. The magazine itself is a helical magazine, and with something as complex as a tube with cogs, springs, and whatnot feeding rounds in a manner fast enough for submachine gun use, you might think the same way. But he's already dumped four full magazines (of 100 rounds each) worth with a failure rate of practically 0%, granted in semi-auto but still fairly fast. He attributes magazine feeding problems to people not winding up the spring in the magazine either properly or at all. The gun did later start to have issues, though it's possible they're with the firing pin and not the magazines.
    • H&K's G41 proves to have some surprising reliability problems when Ian takes one out to the range, suffering two stovepipe jams in one magazine when firing in burst-fire mode, another jam where the neck of a fired case got caught between the bolt assembly and the charging handle extension, and then a fourth one shortly after that.
    • InRange has a series wherein they test how well various weapons handle being dunked in a concoction of thick, soupy mud, several weapons of which showed surprising results. The most common factor in how well a gun handles the test is in how many exposed holes there are in the receiver to let mud into the internal working parts - for instance, despite its infamy for being immune to harsh conditions, the AK jammed up because those large holes and loose tolerances, while phenomenal for letting the gun continue functioning with grease and gunpowder residue by just pushing it out of the way, also allow mud to get in and completely block the moving parts, while the AR-15 handled the mud much better due to its completely closed system, complete with vent holes in the side of the bolt carrier which actually force mud off of it with every shot. Operating principle, specifically how violently it cycles, also plays a big role: famously-soft-shooting short-stroke gas pistons like on the FAL and AUG, once mud got in through the large ejection port and the sand cuts in the former's bolt carrier, were completely incapable of overcoming the mud contamination, both guns jamming after a very small handful shots before they failed (the FAL refusing to go into battery with a magazine inserted, the AUG failing to eject, and both ended up completely locking up) and even piston guns with AR-15-style dust covers eventually failed (the MCX SPEAR and VHS-2 both performed flawlessly when mudded up with their dust covers closed, but as soon as mud was dumped on them with the covers open they started failing, the MCX jamming on every shot and the VHS-2 only getting through a few more rounds before failing to pick up new rounds from the magazine and then having its trigger go dead), while infamously-violent roller-delayed blowbacks, at worst, were able to keep going (the G3, though needing to be manually cycled by mortaring it against the ground, still consistently went into battery and fired, and even went back to working properly once the mud dried) and at best were all but immune to the mud (the CETME Model L ran flawlessly when just having mud dumped on it, and even pouring mud directly into the path of the charging handle and then manually cycling it only caused a failure to go into battery on one attempt before the next fixed it). The same applies to pistols, where closed-in systems generally perform better based on the speed it cycles at or the simplicity of its design and how many places mud can get into and interfere with its operation - the sealed toggle-lock of the Luger passed with flying colors because its system requires high-pressure ammo to function, while the also-sealed, striker-fired Glock refused to go into battery after one shot, less than the hammer-fired 1911 (which jammed after three shots on the first mag, then got through the second only needing to manually recock the hammer for two of them) but still more than the also-hammer-fired FK BRNO (which failed to even fire once). And similar to the rifles, a Hi-Point pistol, which uses a rather violent straight-blowback action (which has the added bonus of not actually having a locking surface to get gunked up, as Karl assumes was what killed the Glock in its test) was able to return to full operational condition with only some water to rinse off the mud.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Ian himself is a left-handed shooter, which sometimes leads to awkward moments either disassembling or testing a weapon. Semi-automatic rifles and assault rifles in particular are rarely ambidextrous and often awkward at best for shooting left-handed. Amusingly, this worked out (for a given value of working) when he tried to shoot the USFA ZiP .22, since the placement of its ejection port would result in hot brass brushing directly over, if not being thrown straight at, his trigger finger if he tried to fire it from the right.
  • Run-and-Gun: The Two-Gun Action Challenge that Ian began to attend in more recent years is a Real Life example of this. The competition format combines physical feats with precision shooting to simulate how weapons perform in a combative environment. These videos later formed the core of Ian's Spinoff series InRange TV.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Ian's take on the Bren Ten, "the most tactical pistol of all time". He's barely holding himself from bursting into laughter about how ridiculous the whole "tactical" aspect of the gun is, along with the kind of people who could ever appreciate those features.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Discussed as being the cause behind the unfortunate fate of the Armatix iP1. A law had been passed in New Jersey in 2002 where, in order to increase gun safety when it comes to children, any weapons that will be sold in New Jersey must be considered a "smart gun," and the instant said gun reached the market, ordinary guns would not be allowed to be legally sold. On top of issues with the idea of putting computers and electronics in guns with simple mechanics, this resulted in a widespread backlash against the pistol as it was about to be launched in the United States. This even led to gun shop owners in New Jersey being sent death threats simply for even considering selling the pistol. As a result, the pistol was a commercial flop in the U.S. The worst part about all of this, however, is that after investigation and consideration by the NJ government, the pistol wasn't even eligible for the "smart gun" classification in the first place.note 
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Does Ian purchase an exceedingly rare .30-06 Chauchat rifle that will please the internet, or does he purchase an FM 24/29 Chatellerault light machine gun selling at half its typical price? He picks the Chauchat.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product:
    • Ian has a soft spot for "craft-produced" weapons such as the "Chinese Mystery Pistols," copies of western designs by Chinese workshops that usually had no knowledge of what all the parts actually did. Often the shops would make components (like adjustable sights or safeties) that looked the same as the original, yet lacked any functionality. He ultimately wrote a book dedicated to the subject.
    • The Armitage International Skorpion Scarab is a glaring example of this, copying the look and name of the military issue CZ Škorpion machine pistol without the build quality or positive design features. At best, it was consistent in firing off three rounds properly, failing to eject after the third, and then failing to properly chamber the next one before it would work for three shots again. The ultimate fail was when the gun couldn't even be made to work in a simulated drive by shooting, as Ian suspected that gangs were the gun's only possible market.
    • On one occasion, he gets his hands on a Martini-Henry pistol made in Khyber Pass, obviously a forgery and probably made for sale as a souvenir to coalitions soldiers or foreign tourists. To give you an idea of how sketchy it is, the mark on the left side is stamped on backwards. Ian doesn't recommend trying to fire it.
    • Often averted with Spanish copies of various other nations' pistols (see A.K.A.-47 above), which tend to range in quality from "decent" to "better than the original". An example Ian showcased of the latter was the Beistigui Hermanos MM31, a machine pistol based on the C96 Mauser for export to China, which looks just like a Mauser but is internally significantly improved. Despite their gun actually being better than Mauser's famous Schnellfeuer, Beistigui Hermanos often used logos designed to look like a Mauser logo (especially to Chinese buyers who usually couldn't read the Latin alphabet) because that logo was so famous in China.
    • The Rogak P18 was a counterfeit production pistol of the Steyr GB line of pistols (though it's unclear if Rogak actually obtained the licensing rights in America or outright stole blueprints from Steyr). Meant as a cheaper alternative to the GB, the pistols were subtly but very much criticized by gun magazines at the time. As Ian demonstrates in the disassembly, it's because the P18 was horrifically and amateurishly welded and machined.
  • Skewed Priorities: In discussing the EtronX and other electronically-fired weapons, Ian notes that survivalist types would inevitably bring up that an EMP would disable such things compared to purely mechanical firearms. Ian counters that A) why would someone be using such an expensive EtronX as their only survival weapon, B) the EtronX was hardened against normal field abuse, and C) an EMP means nuclear war, and at that point you have more important things to worry about.
  • Sniper Rifle: Modifying a standard service weapon for sniping is never as straightforward as one might think. Also, Ian goes to great lengths to distinguish true "sniper" rifles from the tactically more common "designated marksman rifles" (such as the Dragunovnote ), or less precise "anti-materiel rifles" (such as the Barret M82 in .50 BMG).
  • The Stinger: Several videos have small scenes following the ending title card, usually of Ian making a pop culture reference, like in his S&W Model 29 episode, referencing Dirty Harry.
  • Steampunk: Ian references the genre by name while touring the steam/hydraulically articulated Armstrong 100 ton cannon. He then remarks that, to the people of the time, the idea of moving a giant cannon only with levers would have been sci-fi.
  • Swiss-Army Gun:
    • The Galil, which sports a built in bottle opener in its fore-stock.
    • The Parisian Needlefire Knife-Pistol Combination is a single shot miniaturized version of the Chassepotnote  that features both a knife and corkscrew.
    • The Austen Mk I SMG contained a screwdriver built into its folding stock.
    • The Crossfire MkI combination weapon is both a 5.56 rifle and 12 gauge shotgun with the two barrels sharing a single pump action mechanism. Turned out to be very awkward to usenote  and unreliable, not to mention a high MSRP.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: The Trowel Bayonet, which, in addition to being a terrifying stabbing tool, was also intended to dig small, temporary pits, with both the pit and dirt used to provide around 2 feet of cover.
    • The American Krag-Jorgensen Bowie bayonet was also designed to be both a weapon and digging tool, unfortunately it proved to be terrible at both jobs.
    • This odd double barreled pistol knife is perhaps the only knife-gun that Ian actually likes, since, apart from some safety issues, it's actually a practical take on the concept. Someone pointed out to Ian that it could be a Norwegian postal worker's sidearmnote . One commenter on YouTube pointed out that it could be used as a letter opener.
  • Take That!:
    • Remember the Street Sweeper shotgun that the Federal Government put on its naughty list for being marketed to urban youth in the middle of a murder epidemic? Cobray retooled the design slightly into a pistol chambered for .45-70 Government and renamed it the "Ladies Home Companion".
    • Ian points out that the specific China Lake specimen he demonstrated had one of the cam lugs of its locking block sheared off by the cast of Sons of Guns. The disdain in his voice when he mentioned them is noticeable, if subtle.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: If the video of him taking the Taurus Curve to a backup gun match being titled "My Worst Backup Gun Match Yet!" didn't give away that his attempt to use it will be a nightmare, he starts the video on a high note by telling a story about how it came with a nifty little neck holster with an included battery and magnet, which is supposed to automatically activate the Curve's built-in Laser Sight when it's drawn from that holster - and how a part broke and the magnet that actually holds the Curve in the holster fell out the first time he drew the Curve from it.
  • Throw-Away Guns:
    • In a comedy sketch, Ian tries to perform a drive-by with an Armitage International Skorpion on himself as a gangbanger, who ends up just throwing his Jennings 9 pistol after he is unable to get it to function.
    • When attempting to run a Backup Gun Match with a Taurus Curve (as mentioned above), Ian gets fed up with its repeated malfunctions and useless sights and throws it away in the last round and uses a friend's Hi-Point Yeet Cannon instead. Despite Hi-Point's own reputation for poor-quality virtually-disposable firearms, it runs flawlessly, driving home how bad the Curve was.
  • Universal Ammunition: The selling point of the Phillips & Rodgers M47 Medusa is that it can chamber basically any cartridge whose overall length and bullet diameter is equal to or smaller than that of a .357 Magnum (9x33mm). While this is a pretty neat gimmick, Ian thinks the post-apocalyptic scenario in which you would supposedly need one gun to fire several different types of ammo isn't very realistic, and says it's no wonder that too few were sold to keep the company afloat.
  • Urban Legends: Whenever particular gun has a specific "reputation", Ian takes a look at it and either tries to explain the reason for the myth to rise in the first place or debunks it entirely when it's just a tall story. On top of that, handful of his crossover videos are usually dedicated entirely to the subject debunking or at least commenting on specific urban legends regarding guns and/or marksmanship.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • This wiki cannot recommend that you base a drinking game on the number of times that Ian says "cool."
    • "And presto!" is equally overused whenever any kind of alteration is done to or with a gun.
  • Video Review Show: While the show isn't about reviewing forgotten weapons per se, Ian frequently comments on the practical features of the weapons and how they would hold up in a combative environment.
  • Wall of Weapons: Several can be found in his videos, usually located in museums and auction houses he's visiting. Ian also owns a pretty impressive wall of weapons himself which he showcases in this video.
  • War Is Hell: One of the weapons on Ian's wall is a war-trophy Japanese Arisaka rifle with a charred and scorched stock; the soldier carrying it perished in a flamethrower attack. He keeps it around as a reminder of the human cost of war.
  • Weapons Understudies:
    • The Flintlock Trapdoor Springfield. A "Trapdoor Springfield" rifle (an early cartridge rifle) cosmetically modified to look close enough to a flintlock rifle when seen in the background of a movie scene.
    • The L119A1 he reviews is an interesting variation. Almost all of the parts are real L119A1 parts, except for the reciever. The upper is one that has been modified using various L119A1 parts until it was virtually identical to an actual L119A1 upper, and the lower is a semi-auto only clone that the owner put L119A1 markings on, as the actual L119A1 lower receivers have never been available on the civilian market.