The first item is not something that I had on my radar at all.
Say hello to Hans, my new Sig Sauer P6.
Hans is a German police gun. He's been around. Check out the detail on the slide:
Yeah, that's right: made in West Germany, baby. Ah, the good ol' days. But Hans wasn't a soldier of the Cold War. He was a police gun. As best I've been able to dope out from the gun boards, the police in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen recently did a massive changeover of their weaponry. Nordrhein-Westfalen is the largest German state by population; it borders Belgium and Holland and contains a number of populous cities, including Dusseldorf, Bonn, and Cologne. In Germany, police equipment is issued on the state level, so when it was decided that the cops of N-W were going to change their issued guns to the Walther P-99, they ordered 40,000 new guns, and sold off Hans and his cousins by the lastkraftwagen-load. How do I know Hans was from N-W? He says so on his slide:
I'm still trying to find out what the other numbers mean. There's dispute on the gun boards; I'm not sure if Hans's 11/81 is a "born on date," or what. Most P6s are dated in a code on the underside of the frame, but some of them, like Hans, aren't. He does have some cool heraldric stamps, though. This is one thing that's neat about old guns: you're not just buying a gun; you're buying a little historical mystery that you can resolve with some sleuthing.
I'd planned to use Hans to learn gunsmithing on -- as I said, a Sig wasn't even on my radar, but the price was too good to pass up -- but the folks who've bought these have been very pleased with them. If you're interested in finding an affordable, dependable carry gun, you could probably do a hell of a lot worse than these -- and if you put aside some cash and are willing to wait, you could even get the folks at Sig Sauer to refurbish it for you. Importers are selling Hans's cousins for $260 and up, which is a *great* price for a Sig. Hans cost me a bit more than that, because of dealer mark-up. This is still a fabulous value. He came with a second magazine, which was very nice; magazines are apparently scarce for these, which is one downside.
The other acquisition wasn't made at the gun show. I saw it in a little shop the day before, had an attack of lust, and decided to see what there was at the show before blowing my earmarked budget. I was sorely tempted by a Colt Python at the show, but it was unfired and I wanted a shooter. So I headed back to the little shop on my way home, and made acquisition #2:
An M-1 Garand. That's all I really have to say; George S. Patton loved it, and I for one would not want to argue the point with him. It was made at the Springfield Armory, and the serial number indicates that it was manufactured in July 1942.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the range.