During World War II, the Liberator Pistol stood out as both exceptionally renowned and exceedingly rare among firearms for that era.
Its design, characterized by its ingenuity, was manufactured to fulfill a specific role in the covert action realm.
In March 1942, the US Army acknowledged the urgent requirement expressed by members of the Polish resistance for a substantial quantity of small concealable firearms, to be delivered quickly.
In response, a proposal to rapidly manufacture one million ‘throw away’ pistols chambered in God’s caliber (45 ACP), was approved. To conceal its true purpose, the project was strategically named the Flare Projector or FP-45.
By June 1942, the General Motors Corporation Guide Lamp Division began manufacturing the pistols, achieving a remarkable production cost of only $1.71 per unit.
Constructed using stamped sheet metal and zinc, the pistol underwent design and was put into full production in a remarkably short span of three months.
Liberator Pistol Instructions
Each pistol was packaged with ten rounds of ammunition, a wooden ejector rod, and user instructions presented in the form of a comic strip. The total expense borne by US taxpayers for each pistol amounted to a mere $2.10.
The Liberator Pistol distinguished itself as an unparalleled creation of the war era. Weighing a mere one pound when loaded, made it easily concealable, allowing it to disappear into the shooter’s hand. Equipped with a four-inch smoothbore barrel, it fired a single round, making it truly one-of-a-kind.
Upon discharging the first round, the shooter would need to manually extract the spent casing using the provided wooden ejector rod, followed by manually loading another round into the firearm’s breach. Additional rounds were stored inside the grip of the gun.
The pistol’s primary purpose was never to make rapid follow-up shots. Rather, the idea was to use the Liberator Pistol to get as close to an enemy sentry, execute them with a single shot to the head, and steal their weapon, ammunition, and gear.
The maximum effective range of the Liberator Pistol was roughly seven yards. As a result, the shooter required nerves of steel to confidently approach an armed enemy combatant at such close proximity, all the while knowing they had literally one shot. No pressure…
How Many Liberator Pistols Were Made
By August 1942, approximately one million Liberator pistols had been manufactured and were ready for distribution. However, the plan quickly unraveled when General Eisenhower, deemed that dropping these behind enemy lines was an inefficient allocation of military aircraft resources.
There is little evidence of the widespread use of the pistol across Europe. It is speculated that some pistols may have been utilized by resistance fighters in Greece, while a limited number found their way to Sweden. Overall, its use in Europe appears to have been minimal.
In contrast, General MacArthur expressed greater interest in the Liberator’s potential and requested the deployment of 50,000 units to the Pacific Theater. Records indicate their delivery to China, the Philippines, and Guadalcanal, yet exact numbers are hard to find.
Liberator Pistol For Sale
Upon searching various online firearms marketplace websites, you can find reproduction FP-45 pistols available for purchase.
Vintage Ordnance is known for making one of the best reproductions of the Liberator Pistol.
Vintage Ordnance’s FP-45 Liberator captures the true essence of the unconventional OSS spy pistol from World War II. It brings an undeniable touch of coolness to even the most extensive gun collections. This FP-45 represents the spy gun of the common man during the WWII era.
If you’re interested in a similar design with a much more affordable price tag for the common man, check these options out.
These small pocket pistols from Bond Arms are the epitome of simple and rugged. There are virtually no moving parts other than the barrel break action to load and unload the ammunition.