British Flare Pistol
I have a flare pistol like the two shown in the accompanying
photos. It is roughly finished and has the following marks
(all on the left side): "M601" neatly stamped on the hammer,
the 6-digit serial number crudely stamped on the chamber,
and the broad arrow stamped on the frame. There are no proof
or inspectors' marks. The grips are plastic. I assume it is
I found the photos in an ad on the Web. The dealer referred to
pistol 1 as a "No.1 Mk.5 M" and pistol 2 as a "No.2 Mk.5," although
they appear identical.
Can someone tell me the proper designation for my pistol?
09-30-2011 02:38 PM
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I thought the No1 Mk V had a flared muzzle. I guess not. Other than that they would look the same. This one just has the shorter barrel. They should be marked on this side and matching upper and lower numbers on the oppostite. 10 Gauge flares or 12? I think the difference is the No 2 has an automatic ejector.
Both pistols are No2 Mk5 pistols. The No1 Mk 5 is similar but has a longer flared barrel. The calibre is one inch. The number M601 is a war time (WW2) British manufactures code.
M601 is I.L. Berridge & Co of Leicester, who made the pistol. They were commercial knitting machine manufactures, they are no longer in buissiness. When made, the No1 Mk5 or the No2 Mk5 did not have the model number marked in any way. In the 1960's and 1970's many No1 Mk 5's were Factory Thourgh Repaired and were then engaved N01 MK5 on the side of the frame, along with the year the FTR was done and by whom, usually EFD for Enfield. I have yet to see a No2 Mk5 that has been FTR'd.
Has anyone else spotted an FTR'd No2 Mk5, so marked?
Thank you very much, Alan. There is a wealth of information in your reply --
a bit of which I've already guessed. (But confirmation of one's guesses is
always most welcome.)
Just my two-pence worth but although I only ever saw the flared variant of this pistol - thousands of them - they were marked on the L side with the model designation. However, it was a very light pantograph or electric pencil mark and the serial number part was easily misread, leading to them being pretty-well unaccountable. To us Armourers, they were always known as simply 'Berridge types', not realising then that Berridge was tha maker. I remember learning all about the 'rebound action' of the mechanism as an apprentice too. It made learning about the 2" mortar mechanism simple later on!
As soon as they'd been worked on a few times, the barrel axis screw thread failed so we were permitted to use a similar diameter nut and bolt. As they went through Base workshops and later FTR, then the designations were over engraved and new serial numbers allocated to them so while some will still carry the old original MoS serial number, later Base and FTR ones will have a SA 66 A-xxxx type serial number if you ever wondered why. Re numbered ifles were controlled by Aldershot and SMG's by Catterick workshops
The new serial numbers for these Berridge pistols (and all pistols incidentally) was allocated by the Ministry of Defence via the OC of 18 Command Workshops who kept the master ledger of re-numbered pistols.
You can still see them floating around different units although I haven't seen one for several years.............. Or if you do, it's wrapped in old oily cloth, out of sight in a drawer somewhere, forgotten about. Ammo is still in the system but it's VERY expensive
Seen any lately Skippy?
Last edited by Peter Laidler; 10-18-2011 at 10:30 AM.
Thank You to Peter Laidler For This Useful Post:
Last saw one with the Artillery in about 2003 ish.
I did 14 years with the Artillery in 4 Regiments (they still have not told me what I did wrong to deserve it)
There was one (or two) per Battery, never saw one used or saw any ammo issued for them. I was told they were used for setting light to all the un-used bag charges at the end of a firing camp. I never saw them used in this way. They did come in a very nice leather holster with a long shoulder strap.
Coincidence or what................. Saw one being used by a range controller this morning with alloy cased cartridges of current-ish manufacture
I own one of these (a No2 Mk5 flare pistol) but do not post a photo because it looks just like the ones with pictured above in this thread. It is marked, on the barrel and on the frame, PDR 733. I presume this is the manufacturer's code. Does anyone have knoweldge of what company made my flare pistol, and roughly when?
I should add that my flare pistol has M 601 stamped on the left side of the hammer, which I am told is the code for L. Berridge & Co. (presumably, the manufacturer of the hammer, at least).
It'll have been made by Berridges in the early to mid wartime 40's. I don't recognise the PDR prefix but it'll be some foreign marking I expect. I don't think we numbered the barrels to the body although we had barrels as spare parts and had to hand fit them together with all the time and effort that it entails!