The ASP pistol, designed by the legendary Paris Theodore, is one of the most famous and enigmatic sidearms of the Cold War era.
Using a Smith and Wesson Model 39 as the starting point, Theodore made an incredible 212 changes that resulted in a streamlined pistol intended for easy concealment, easy draw, and fast shooting at near point-blank range. The design was decades ahead of its time, and many of the features he designed are incorporated in a wide variety of modern handguns.
Perhaps the most forward-thinking modification of all was his implementation of the unique Guttersnipe sight system. Rather than traditional front-and-rear pistol sights, the Guttersnipe was a single machined block of steel approximately two inches in length which was mounted at the top of the slide, behind the ejection port. A tapered recess along the top of the Guttersnipe was painted yellow and allowed the shooter to align this yellow arrow on close-range targets more quickly than traditional two-piece sighting systems.
Although there is very little information available about real-world uses of the ASP by clandestine organizations, some of Theodore’s personal correspondence revealed that he provided several ASPs to personnel from unnamed government agencies. These included “low-signature” and even fully automatic versions. He also mentioned that the commanding officer of the US embassy security detail in Saigon carried an ASP, although it’s not clear how he might have received it.
Even decades later, the ASP is not just a valued collectors’ item but still considered a highly effective close-combat pistol. Many of its features are standard on modern pistol designs. In perhaps one of the best compliments a weapon can receive, it was featured as James Bond’s primary sidearm in several 007 novels by John Gardner, published in the mid-1980s.
Now available is the illustration accompanying the original patent application for the ASP by inventor Paris Theodore. The patent application was submitted in April 1973 and awarded in February 1974. Note, this image is a composite of the original two pages of illustration which accompanied the application.
These posters are 11" by 17" and printed on heavy 65-lb paper for a memorable texture and durability. All printed posters are sourced from a small, local family-owned business. Each poster is shipped in a 12" x 2" cardboard shipping tube.
I got these for my husband for his birthday and he basically instantly nutted with excitement. He has your 101 stories book and loves your daily post. Anything cold war era espionage related he is like a starved crack addict for. So that’s for being his drug dealer and making a awesome birthday for him.
Awesome thick paper. Very well done and will hang well in my office
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