Monday, July 27, 2009

Star Model S and SS Pistols

I've always liked these cute small .380 locked-breech pistols. Well, small compared to the large frame .45 ACP M1911. While they appear to be miniature 1911s the Star design varies considerably in detail.

These compact, all steel locked-breech pistols were chambered in .32 ACP (7.65 mm) and .380 ACP (9 mm Browning Short or 9 mm Corto). They are scaled down versions of the full-sized Star pistols, complete with a short-recoil locked-breech. Whether derivitives of the A or B series (or the M or P sub-variants) is not entirely clear, but at the time of their introduction in 1940 B series pistols had been on the market for nearly a decade. Most parts interchange between the two chamberings, but as the cases are different sizes, there is no way to simply switch out a few parts and change calibers. No .22 LR were made. If somebody remembers a .22 version they are likely remembering the Llama (pronounced ya-ma).

Many of these were issued to military forces. The Spanish Air Forces issued them, and Marine pilots retained them in service up thru the early 1990s. Most model S pistols issued for service seem to have been stamped by the issuing organization on the right side of the slide, forward of the ejection port, as the Spanish Air Force seal is to the left.

The shop I work in recently got one of these and when I went to work that Monday morning I immediately noticed it in the case. This is an "SS" marked gun (sn 1873707) which uses the wide base magazines.  One interesting thing is that the stocks are cheap plastic but are missing the left side thumb rest, i.e. the left panel was made sans thumb rest.  The cash price is a VERY reasonable $230!!!  I wish somebody would tell me again why I'm not buying it.

- S Manual (PDF)
- Super Star Disassembly Instructions (PDF)
- Star Magazines
- Using Proofmarks to Date Your Star

S S .380 ACP 1940 1983 Miniaturized model A/B series; used by WW2 Luftwaffe
S Super-S .380 ACP 1948 1983 Quick takedown linkless version, few made
S SS .380 ACP 1957 1983 S with magazine safety
S Super-SM .380 ACP 1971 1983 As S-Super with adjustable rear sight

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