I was at the Birmingham gun show this weekend trying to raise some co-pay money and happened upon an astounding display of Filipino guerrilla slam-fire shotguns. The collection, owned by AGCA past-president George Taylor of Selma, Alabama, included weapons once owned by legendary American guerrilla leader Wendell Fertig.
These sliding barrel slam-fire single shot shotguns have long been a cultural icon of Filipino villagers too poor to be able afford anything else and are known as "paliuntods" or "paltiks."
From Swearengen's The World's Fighting Shotguns, pp. 36-7:
"In their modern form, Philippine guerrilla guns are alleged to be the invention of Ensign Iliff D. Richardson, USNR, who improvised this type of firearm for his Leyte- based guerrilla band. It is suspected that an old- time Philippine Scout showed Richardson how to make the Paliuntod-type guns because they were identical to earlier models. . .The gun was loaded and fired by pulling the barrel out of the breech guide tube and inserting a shell into the breech end. The loaded barrel was then re-inserted into the receiver and aimed at a nearby target. Firing was accomplished by pulling the barrel forward a few inches, then abruptly slamming it smartly rearward against the fixed breechblock. This caused the stud firing pin to crush the shell primer, discharging the gun.Effective breechlocking occurred simply through the inertia of the rearward moving barrel. . .It should be mentioned that Illiff Richardson attempted to manufacture versions of his slam-firing Philippine guerrilla guns in the United States in the postwar period. These guns were typical Paliuntod types, but were constructed of proper materials and were well finished. Needless to say, the Richardson guns did not enjoy good sales, even though they were quite inexpensive. The entire enterprise was a dismal failure. The American market would not tolerate such a primitive firearm, even as a curio."
The purchase price for Ricardson's "M-4 Guerrilla Gun" in 1946 was $7.21. (See video below.)
While Richardson certainly didn't "invent" the paliuntod he may have a claim to have refined it for guerrilla production. Richardson gained literary fame as the inspiration for war correspondent Ira Wolfert's American Guerrilla in the Philippines, a best seller in 1945 and still read today.
From the AGCA table display:
In that book, Richardson, through Wolfert, describes the jungle factory manned by the Philippine guerrillas to produce firearms and other ordnance for use against the Japanese. He wrote, "We scrounged around and got a hand forge, some hack saws, and a file. That was our small arms factory."The "factory" was placed in a one-room house about 10 by 20 feet. Most of the production, Richardson reported, was confined to cartridges using all homemade ingredients excepting the cartridge casings. Everything else -- from bullets to powder -- was improvised.
Here is a link to a video demonstrating the Richardson Industries "M-4 Guerrilla Gun" Slam Fire 12 gauge Shotgun
This collection of now-rare Filipino slam-fire shotguns shows the utter futility of firearms confiscation.