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"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 enthusiast 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 runs another gun related YouTube channel with his friend Karl Kasarda called InRange TV which can be found here.


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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
    • A mechanical engineer by training, Ian also works as a consultant for Armaments Research Services and has written a reference book on French small arms.
  • 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 submachinegun 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 like WAUSER instead of Mauser to complete gibberish.
  • 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; there may have been no more than 2 produced.
    • Nock's 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 flint to ignite the powder in the first barrel, and there was a means for the fire in that barrel to ignite the others. It was deemed impractical for infantry use 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, and after getting two prototypes from gunsmith Henry Nock in 1790, they ordered 500 and then another 100. The problem was that they had dangerous 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 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 no longer than a .357 Magnum, and a bullet diameter of .357 or less. 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. 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, or take advantage of the fact that the action isn't under any spring pressure. 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, and have always tended to distrust any use of electronics in firearms 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 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 four MOA, or maybe as good as two for a sniper's rifle; a far cry from today when any worse than 1 MOAExplanation  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. 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.
  • 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).
  • Bland-Name Product: A real-life example. Ian tested once 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. Also, if you make a joke about the allegedly bad performance of the French army, he has a sobering poster to sell you.
  • 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.
    • Drum magazines, to the point Ian eventually made a dedicated video to discuss them. While cool on paper, 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.
  • Cool Guns: Surprisingly some of the "coolest" weapons featured on the show (in Ian's opinion anyway) have almost been completely forgotten by history. Merwin Hulbert revolvers and the Burgess folding shotgun are just two of many examples.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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 to forcibly deny the extension on the grounds that he was making life unreasonably difficult for the military.note 
  • 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 on 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 different type of both light and hunting ammo. Including a box of a 204 grain hunting rounds with "Hunting Rifle Ammunition" written on it instead of a brand.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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, he would probably discuss, how controllable it is.
    • He found PPSh-41 submachinegun to be comfortable in full-auto, due to its hefty weight and high rate of fire. Thanks to former, it can adsorb much of the recoil, thanks to latter, recoil impulse feels like one constant push, which is easy to mitigate.
    • Ultimax light machine gun, which employ a "constant recoil" principle (bolt stops without actually impacting the receiver) turned out to be very easy to fire accurately in full-auto, despite light weight.
    • On the other hand, after getting experience with full-auto .308 rifles, Ian determined that M14 should be much easier to fire than common belief says. Turned out that rifle vibrates and kicks around so violently, that common belief is right in this case.
    • Ian points out, that due to standard muzzle brake, actual recoil impulse of Soviet AVS-36 rifle is not that hard. Still, vibrations from firing in full-auto makes the rifle uncontrollable.
  • 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 in a 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 M-16's reputation still suffers decades later from its disastrous start, and it had far fewer problems to fix.
  • Nice Hat: Ian will sometimes wear a nation-and-period-appropriate hat when reviewing a gun. For Christmas 2019, he released a 20-minute video about his hat collection.
  • No Product Safety Standards: Defied, as Ian shows the viewer each and every proof mark, especially on European guns.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: While testing the Croatian VHS rifle:
    Ian: What can possibly go wrong firing a rifle grenade on an indoor range? … *nothing happens* … Other than having the safety on.
  • OOC 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.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: 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!
  • Rare Guns: The bread and butter of the show. Many of the firearms Ian reviews are one-of-a-kind prototypes or limited production models with surviving examples numbering in the single digits.
  • 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 no malfunctions....and then not only jammed several other times, but eventually jammed so badly that Ian had to completely disassemble it. It began working again after being put back together, and even he has no idea what happened. 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 replicates 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 was able to demonstrate its reliability on a live firing example (when using clean ammunition). 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 luck 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.
    • 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 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 submachinegun has a reputation for being unreliable due to magazine feeding issues. The magazine itself is a helical feed magazine, and with something as complex as a tube with cogs, springs, and whatnot feeding rounds in a manner fast enough for submachinegun use, you might think the same way. But he's already dumped four full magazines worth (a magazine has 100 rounds each) 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.
  • 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 the later seasons of the show 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.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Ian's take on 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.
  • 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 Broom Handle 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 its 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.
  • 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 AustenMk I SMG contained a screwdriver built into it's folding stock.
    • 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 use and unreliable, not to mention 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, its actually a practical take on the concept. Someone pointed out to Ian that it could be a Norwegian postal worker's sidearm. One commenter on YouTube pointed out that it could be used as a letter opener.
  • Take That!:
  • 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.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: In this video, Ian takes part in a shooting competition using a copy of a South African rifle, and wearing South African style short shorts. Half of the comments seem to be about the shorts.


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