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Korean Pusan Iron Works 1911 Copy



During (and probably for a short time after) the Korean War, a Korean facility called the Pusan Iron Works did fabrication and repair of 1911-style pistols. This particular example is serial number 247, a gun almost completely fabricated by Pusan. Interestingly, these pistols often include a small number of US-made parts (barrels seem to be the most common). It appears that the factory was able to secure a small number of parts from captured damaged US 1911 pistols, and made use of them when possible. This pistol has a firing pin and recoil spring guide that are American-made. In addition, I am aware of at least one pistol with an American complete frame but Pusan slide - likely a gun that was captured in unserviceable condition and repaired with Korean parts.

Pusan Iron Works is an example of the blurry zone between truly crude handmade guns and proper factories. Unlike some Chinese or Vietnamese gun copies, the Pusan pistols are fully functional mechanical copies of the 1911 - no dummy elements like non-functional safeties. However,r the production quality of the Pusan parts is low; made to the right basic shapes, but apparently without the benefit of jigs and fixtures to make parts identical and interchangeable. The Pusan guns also exhibit uniform markings, and several hundred were definitely made - unlike the one-off production of individual craft shops. They are a really interesting example of domestic Korean wartime production arms.

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