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Warner Infallible: An Optimistic Competitor to Savage and Colt

The Warner Arms Company was formed in (or around) 1911 to import and sell Schwarzlose 1908 blow forward pistols in the United States. It was run by Franklin Warner, who also operated a sporting goods store (Kirtland Sporting Goods) in New York, and thus had a ready retail outlet for imported pistols. The 1908 Schwarzlose did not prove to be a particularly successful pistol, however, and production was shortly ended. When it did, Warner bought up the remaining parts and tooling, with plans to restart production in the US. This appears to have not been a success though, and in 1914 a new pistol was introduced by Warner.

This new pistol was the Infallible, designed by Andrew Fyrberg – a little recognized designer who sold patents to Iver Johnson, CS Shattuck, and Harrington & Richardson among others. The Infallible was a relatively large and awkward .32ACP blowback pistol, and never did sell very well. In 1917 Warner merger his company with Davis & Sons, a shotgun manufacturer. They would produce Infallible pistols until about 1921, and the last stock appears to have finally sold out by 1924.

There are two main variations on the Infallible, differing primarily in the disassembly procedure. The first guns used an easily unlocked lever to connect the bolt to the dual recoil springs. This led to concern that the lever could be inadvertently unlocked while firing, which would then leave only a small bolt stop to prevent the bolt from ejecting out the back of the frame into the shooter’s face. Whether this was a real threat or not, it was certainly perceived to be, as the second variation would replace the disassembly lever with a solid pin that was definitely not going to come out accidentally.

Only about 7600 Infallibles were made, as they were completely eclipsed by the Colt 1903, Remington Model 51, and Savage automatic pistols. Unfortunately, high condition Infallibles are very rare today, but they were originally finished with a completely case hardened frame and look very cool.

Thanks to Ed Buffaloe for the research he has put into the guns, which made this video possible!

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