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I just acquired this Flare Projector Caliber .45 (FP-45) or Liberator Pistol (also known as the "Woolworth" gun) from a fellow collector. It is one of the nicest examples I have ever seen.

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During 1942 over a six month period one million pistols were produced by the Guide Lamp Division of General Motors. Actual production of the pistol was about 11 weeks. Using that figure, 300 people produced a pistol with 23 parts every 6.6 seconds, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 11 weeks. This is probably the only pistol that could be made faster than it could be loaded. Loading takes about 10 seconds. The cost to the US government was $2.10 each.

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Many stories have been told about how this pistol was distributed and used. Some are true but most have no basis. The story about how they were dropped into occupied France by the tens of thousands has not been documented. They were used in France but in very limited numbers. Most of the pistols were used in the Philippines and China. Another story is that the pistols were made for the OSS. The OSS had no knowledge of this pistol until after development and production was completed. They were developed for and made by the U.S. Army, who later gave them to the OSS. Most Liberators were destroyed after the war.



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Mark,

Good pictures and information on this rather unique quick production pistol. I have always wondered about this "Liberator" .45acp pistol and never really looked into it. Yours is a very prime specimen. Thanks for taking the time to acquaint us with this most unusual pistol!
 

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Very nice gun and write up Mark. I have always wanted one of these also, probably because I read about them when I was much younger and thought the stories, true or not, were interesting!

Ed
 

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I showed mine to my new father in law 36 years ago and he was unimpressed.He said his a guy who lived 3 doors down from his house had 4 of them. On my next visit to Eau Clair Wis I was introduced to the man. He had been a waste gunner on B24s flying out of Italy. He said they made many runs over Ugoslavia (sp) dropping liberators. He hated the job they opened the rear bombbay doors and he had to go with a line tied around him and stand on a shifting pile of small boxes and shovel them out with an aluminum scoop shovel. He said it was horrible because of the cold wind, hard work, and fear of falling out,or of the bombbay doors opening. He said twice he had to scramble back to his gun because of fighters. I tryed to buy some of them at the tme they were worth about $50 unboxed but he didn't want to sell. He later moved and I lost track of him. Bob
 
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