Catalonia’s Attempt at a Pistol: the Blowback Isard
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The Republican factions in the Spanish Civil War had much more trouble obtaining arms than the Nationalist elements, and this led to several attempts to build pistols in small-scale workshops. The best known of these are the RE and Ascaso copies of the Astra 400, but in the city of Barcelona a group of workers attempted to produce a copy of the 1911/Star pistols in 9mm Largo – except as simple blowback actions instead of Browning-type locked actions.
Named “Isard” after a Spanish antelope, no more than about 250 were built (the highest recorded serial number is 207) and they show substantial variation between examples as one might expect of handmade guns. There were two main variants, with the later guns using a two-piece frame and a distinctive extended barrel and barrel bushing.
Today we have four examples to look at, two early type and two late type. Want to learn more about the Isard in particular, or Spanish pistols in general? I highly recommend these two books:
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