|The Whack-Job |
After researching and writing on gunboards for almost 30 years about Paris Theodore's truly innovative ASP pistol, I finally got to examine one in person this morning. Immensely enjoyable to hold a piece of firearms history in my hand.
The pistol was not an original ASP from Paris Theodores shop on 39th St in New York city - which I use to go to with my NYPD relatives in the 70s to buy holsters - but rather an early example from Armament Procedures in Appleton WI. It was in immaculate condition. With the original box and all the documents that came with the pistol. As well as original copies of articles from gunrags of the period.
It also had the three mags the ASP came with from the manufacturer. That was unusual as those mags are worth a lot of momey by themselves and are usually taken and sold by themselves by unscrupulous dealers.
It also comes with an IWB holster - sadly, NOT an original Seventrees holster - but it comes with an original Seventrees dual magazine pouch with the magnets inside to hold the magazines in place.
The ASP is slightly bigger than my S&W CS9 amd approximately thesize of my 3914NL (The poor mans ASP!) Very light weight. And very slippery in my hands due to the black Teflon coating and complete melt done on the pistol. I was wearing my 3914NL so I was not too disappointed when I left empty handed from my dealer.
But it was fun to actually hold the ASP and see all the original goodies it came with. And to try and make a sight picture using the Guttersnipe sight. Much easier to use my Novak low mounts on my CS9 and 3914NL. While the ASP was truly innovative and the great grandfather of all the small, thin, ultra concealable single stack 9mms we enjoy today, S&W did improve upon it with the excellent 39XX series guns.
Even though they shamelessly stole the design advances from both Theodores ASP and Kelseys Devel guns. Regards 18DAI
Blue lives matter.
I remembered drooling over these in Guns and Ammo magazines back in the days. Good memories...Elmer Keith articles and such.
You can only control what you can control. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I had a chance to buy one some time back and passed, I wish I had purchased it... someday I will run into one at a "good" price and buy one, its my "Grail Gun".
I owned a Devel for a period of time in the 90s, neat gun. If you ever run across the Harris Publications "Guns '91" you'll see it.
Good post, 18DAI.
Tomorrow's battle is won during today's practice.
ASP also made a revolver. A Ruger Security/Speed Six in .44 spcl. 5 shot. I owned one a long time ago but traded it for a Colt AR15a2 in 1988 during the ban years. It must of been fairly rare as I have never heard or read about it since.
I had an ASP years ago, but that was after the 3913 and it's brothers had hit the market. I sold since it would bring more to a collector than what I could buy a new 3913 for at the time and still have change left over.
The guttersnipe sight system looked good on paper, I'm sure. In actual use, well, point-shooting is just as effective. The worst part is that the ASP is slick- literally. Teflon-coated, no grip checkering or front strap texturing. These are scarce and highly collectible pistols, but time has passed them by.
Walked into a pawn shop probably 15 years ago that always has a bin of odbball mags for $5-15.
Found an ASP mag, which I had just read an article about on Para's old S&W forum.
Put an ad on there, and a guy from about 15 minutes away bought it. He had recently bough an ASP from a pawn shop for a VERY good price...imagine that!
I quit school in elementary because of recess.......too many games
|The Whack-Job |
The ASP was VERY slippery! At one point I was turning the gun over and it started to slip out of my hand.
I much prefer my CS9 or 3914NL. Similar size, better grip and sights.
BUT - it was fun and interesting to examine a piece of firearms history. The ASP gave us all the small, concealable, sub compact single stack 9mm guns we enjoy today. Regards 18DAI
Blue lives matter.
I worked with an officer that had an ASP which he carried for a backup and while off-duty. This was really a groundbreaking effort that may have need off target on a few issues, but attracted enough attention that S&W woke up and started designing versions of their semi-autos that addressed shooters' needs far more directly. I can still recall the excitement which followed their introduction of the Model 669. You'd think the popularity of the J-frame revolvers would have died then and there. It didn't (of course), but seeing the big corporation actually listen to "modern" defensive shooters was something at the time.
"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
IIRC, the Model 469 (carbon steel) preceded the 669 by a few months. A 469 appeared on the cover of Combat Handguns magazine in 1983. I've still got that issue, packed away in a box in the garage. The 469/669 was inspired by the Devel conversions of the S&W Model 59.
Along with Devel, Curt Hardcastle was also chopping S&W autos back in the late 1970s/early 1980s. These conversions died out after S&W introduced their compact 9mm pistols.
My first 9mm pistol was the successor to the Model 469, the Model 6904, which I purchased in April, 1989. I still have it. Fine pistol.
|teacher of history|
My EDC is a 669.
|The Whack-Job |
Both the inventor of the ASP, Paris Theodore and the inventor of the Devel guns, Charlie Kelsey, went to S&W - individually - and wanted to enter into an agreement with S&W to produce guns that they had created.
According to the stories, both men were treated rudely and met with a "not created here" - not interested attitude. But that didn't stop Smith from stealing heavily from the designs of both men. First with the 469 "Mini gun" and later with the 39XX series pistols.
Reportedly, Charlie Kelsey of Devel fame, was very angry over the appearance of the new 469. It is told that he purchased a 469, modified amd improved it and sent it back to the head of S&W. Along with an "in your face" letter. I don't know if these stories are true, but I like to think so.
One of the guns made by S&W that IMO embodies closest what the ASP pistol wanted to be, is the Chiefs Special 9mm or CS9. Small, light weight, easily concealed. With a spurless hammer. It is extremely quick into action from concealment. And a joy to carry all day.
Both Paris Theodore and Charlie Kelsey were truly innovative designers. Innovative is an adjective that is overused in describing some of todays production guns. And seldom warranted, IMO. We can see the designs of both these men in the small single stack carry guns made today. The ASP and Devel guns were far ahead of their time. Regards 18DAI
Blue lives matter.
I had a 3913 Ladysmith for a few years a long time ago. Stainless slide and clear anodized frame with grey grips. It was a neat gun. With the bold “Ladysmith” engraved on it.
Sold it to one of our female K9 Officers In the early 90’s I’d guess. She has since retired and, it’s been her carry gun ever since.
I had a 3913 NL for a while. I really loved the aestetics of that gun and imagine back in the day it was one of the best ccw guns out there. You can definitely see the lineage from the ASP and Devel pistols.
Not as practical as some of the newer striker fired plastic fantastic pistols out there now so I sold it a few years back.
Still kinda miss that pistol.
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