Special Purpose Handguns

Blog Post
This is a retrospective on special purpose handguns from the end of the past century.

Smith and Wesson Model 39 (Hush Puppy)
The US Navy found a need to silence dogs and geese that acted as sentinels along the river delta in South Vietnam
You’ll note that the handgun had been modified to accept a silencer and could also be fitted with a ‘wire’ shoulder stock. USGOV set up enough of them that it also provided a special holster, pictured above. You will also note that the sights had to be modified to see over the silencer tube.

There was a situation where a friend of mine needed to move through an area of total hostile control during the hours of darkness on a moonless night in the Third World. He asked for a Hush Puppy because the biggest threat was dogs and geese which would alert hostiles to his presence. USGOV was horrified and advised that PETA wouldn’t stand for that sort of behavior. Such is the change in attitude.


Before they were surface to air missiles, the stingers in USGOV inventory were used primarily in assassinations. The Stinger pen gun was usually employed at less than arm’s length and usually in a crowd. 
The precise nomenclature is .22 caliber, 35mm SLR Pistol
The photo (left) is of one of a few different variants that were produced at different times. Early models were produced by the Office of Strategic Services (before 1947). The later models were produced under contract to the Central Intelligence Agency.
This variant appears as though it might be a tire pressure gauge.
Under the Obama Doctrine, USGOV only uses remotely piloted drones to conduct assassinations. It’s considered much ‘cleaner’. (Though quite frankly, how do you pick up a turd from the clean end, Barack?)

Heckler & Koch Mk 23 SOCOM

The Heckler & Koch MK 23 is a handgun system that combines a match-grade semi-automatic pistol chambered for .45 ACP a laser aiming module and a suppressor. It was adopted by the US Special Operations Command for operations in the 1990’s. It’s a ’90’s version of the venerable Hush Puppy. It has drawn criticism because it’s a large handgun but it is still in use by US Special Operations Forces.

It’s entirely possible that I’ve missed your favorite(s) by creating this short list.
Mia Culpa.

10 thoughts on “Special Purpose Handguns

  1. There was also the suppressed .22 built out in AZ for the Spec Ops folks back in the 70's… And danged if I can remember the maker… They were Ruger MKI and MKIIs if I remember correctly.

  2. Thanks LL, I have to get out to my tool box and make sure I put the safety on my tire pressure gauge.

  3. I think that it was a Ruger MK1. If they made Ruger MK2's into special purpose handguns, I don't recall it. They took the MK1 and 'reimagined the barrel'. Cool.

  4. I think that the term "flat" originated with somebody who checked their tires and pushed the wrong button.

    At least now you know why they cost more for the CIA than they do at ACE Hardware. I have no idea what that $1000 dollar toilet seat does, but it must be something magnificent.

  5. There used to be (he's dead now) a guy on Magazine Street in New Orleans who did some nice silenced pistols. All you could hear – with the right ammo – was "click click," when one fired.

  6. You're right LL, it was MKIs with a LONG barrel and suppressor in one piece; but I STILL can't remember who did it… Armour or something like that out of Phoenix.

  7. I thought that Tim LaFrance made that one, but I could be wrong. He solved the problem of the shortened gas tube increasing the rate of fire in a "shorty" M-16 long before the M-4. Not that it has anything to do with the MK-1 Ruger – but in my mind he has credit for both.

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