Union/Reifgraber .32 S&W Autopistol at RIA

The Reifgraber, aka Union Automatic Pistol, is an interesting mechanical design from an inventor with an interesting personal background.

Joseph Joachim Reifgraber was born in Austria in 1856, and emigrated to the United States at some point before the mid 1880s. He was a machinist by trade, and was clearly a political activist as well, in the mid and late 1880s, he published a German-language anarchist newspaper in St Louis, entitled Die Parole. He also served as delegate to at least a couple trade unionist conventions around the same time.

However, his political activism seems to waned as time went by, and he began to take out patents on firearms development. He submitted both rifles and pistols to US military testing (not exactly the actions of a truly devoted anarchist…). His pistol design here is an unusual short recoil, locked breech action which was marketed by the Union Firearms Company of Toledo, Ohio. Interestingly, it was chambered for the rimmed .32 S&W revolver cartridge, and could be supplied with a second barrel for use with .32 ACP cartridges.