Liberator Pistol Mk II

During WWII, the US manufactured a million FP-45 “Liberator” pistols, at a cost of slightly more than $2 each (about $35 today by official inflation calculations, likely twice that by real inflation), to be air-dropped into occupied territory in Europe in order to arm the resistance unit. The goal wasn’t that it was a great weapon; the purpose was to be just good enough to kill an enemy soldier at point blank range and take HIS gun.

If the US (or anyone else) were to do something like that today, with slightly higher aspirations and the following specs for the RFP, what cartridge, materials, and basic design layout do you think would work best, and what would the unit price be if bought in bulk?

  1. No regard for any particulars of firearms laws in any country; it’s a rebellion weapon.
  2. Designed around a subsonic round, with integral suppressor.
  3. Iron signs, but with simple rail or attachment points for optic
  4. Simple construction, maintenance, operation
  5. 5MOA accuracy or better at 100m


Edit to Add: 2.A) Either integral suppressor or threaded for a suppressor. Obvious trade-offs on size, concealability, size with/without suppression. production costs. An integral sup will make a smaller package than a threaded barrel with the suppressor attached.

2.B) It may be designed to use a sub-sonic loading of a normally supersonic round, with a box of sub-sonic ammo to be shipped / dropped with it for initial engagements, but able to use local resupply. For example, 300 Blackout is “normally” available in subsonic, as is 10mm or 45 ACP, but  7.62x39mm Russian is not (normally ~124 gr at 2300-2450 fps), though  220 gr subsonic can be found. Obviously a “common” ammo type has tradeoffs over a “rare” ammo type.

4 thoughts on “Liberator Pistol Mk II

  1. There’s an interesting concept in Neil Smith’s novel “Pallas” that’s not quite detailed enough for me to know how to build it but might be for someone with more skill and background. That is his “Ngu Departure” 10 mm straight blowback handgun. One neat detail, which may make real world sense, is that it uses “Master padlock” construction — it’s a stack of cut to shape pieces of sheet metal. That applies to the frame and perhaps some other parts, not the barrel of course. The barrel is “tip up” for loading the first round because 10 mm blowback requires a recoil spring so strong that you can’t pull back the slide by hand.
    I’m wondering about the “integral suppressor” bit. Attachment for one makes sense, but integral means it’s not particularly good for concealed carry.

    1. Comment added in post.
      No, I wasn’t thinking primarily for an individual CC weapon, but an “ambush at moderate range with a team” weapon.
      Accurate enough and quiet enough that a distraction can approach the target, then the operator at 50+ meters takes them down. Only concealable enough to smuggle to the destination.

  2. How durable does it need to be? I’m going from the pistol is to manage taking a shotgun, shotgun to manage taking a long gun mentality. The Liberator definitely wasn’t designed to last for more than a few shots.

    If looked at from that viewpoint, the 3d additive plastic pistols become very tempting. Accuracy is still an issue, although the Liberator wasn’t accurate either.

    1. That’s why I said it was something of an upgrade compared to the Liberator. More than a smoothbore one-shot wonder, less than something you’d brag about.
      The Liberator was essentially a point-blank weapon, which would work for some situations but is also a very high-risk usage.
      A carbine-length item with simple folding stock, for example, might fold or be broken down into a package less than 18″ long.
      A Kel-Tek SU16A folds to only 26 inches long and is in full compliance with US gun laws. I’m sure a much smaller unit could be made.
      Or it could be a heavy single shot pistol like a Thompson Contender with removable suppressor.
      Obvious possible cartridge choices would include 45 ACP, 300 Blackout, 338 Whisper, 510 Whisper, 357 Mag and 10mm auto (optimized for very heavy sub-sonic bullet loads).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *