Manufactured by an unknown party, this pistol bears a strong resemblance to known "underground" pistols from the Indochina/Vietnam region. Such weapons were pressed into service for the First Indochina War against the French, and would continue to be used by factions on both sides of the North/South split after the French left; such weapons are often associated with the Viet Cong, and a very similar weapon pictured on page 720 of "Small Arms of the World" by Smith is identified to the "Cao Dai' religious sect from the South. Made chiefly by hand in crude workshops, Smith notes that these weapons have been seen with finish "surprisingly good considering the circumstances under which they were made". Made in direct emulation of the 1911A1, the frame and slide of this pistol are assembled from multiple, smaller sub-components which were assembled and brazed together, in lieu of single piece forged components. The slide is marked "THI DUA AP BAC 1963" on the left side, roughly translated "in emulation of Ap Bac 1963"; Ap Bac in 1963 was the site of a major engagement between the Viet Cong and the U.S.-backed Southern Vietnamese armed forces. Spun by both sides as a victory, the battle is notable as the VC's first "stand-up fight" against the conventional Southern military, scoring about 80 casualties and knocking out 5 helicopters, and was heavily touted in North Vietnamese propaganda. The right side is marked "C.T. HUYEN NGOC-HIEN", with "C12" on the frame below. Consignor statements indicate C.T. Huyen as a VC commander, and "C12" the designation of his unit. Ngoc-Hien is a rural district in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam. The grips are checkered walnut, with a short trigger, dished frame sides, thin hammer, long grip safety and an arched mainspring housing. The magazine is full blue, with "L" (M.S. Little) stamped on the toe, an American-made component. Provenance: The Gus Cargile Collection
Very good, with strong traces of the original blue finish, with a mixed brown and gray patina overall, scattered spotting, minor pitting, and mild handling marks. The thumb safety has been broken off and is absent. The grips show moderate wear on and around the screws, dents and scratches. Mechanically needs adjustment.
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