Origin of a Flare Pistol: Shpagin’s SPSh-44

This flare pistol is coming up for sale at RIA on June 23.

After finishing his work on the PPSh-41 submachine gun, Georgiy Semyonovich Shpagin was tasked with creating a simplified flare or signal pistol for the Red Army. They had entered the war with a 1930 pattern type, which was quite nice, but more expensive than really necessary. Shpagin first created the OPSh in 1943, which was made in 43 and 44 and then further simplified the design to this 1944 model. This example was made at the Molot plant (factory 356) where Shpagin was based either during or shortly after the war, as evidenced by its wooden grips and lack of date stamp. Later the design would be widely licensed throughout the Warsaw Pact region, and SPSh pattern flare pistols made in Poland and Czechoslovakia are widely available in the US today.