Tag Archives: drill and training rifles

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 26


“Plastic-Rubber” Training Models

Wellington Surplus Stores in Perth Australia sell a series of black training rifles. At this time it is unknown who actually manufactures these training rifles. They are made of a plastic material but are sold under the name of “Plastic-Rubber”. These rifles have no moving parts. They are currently selling the following training rifle models.

Daisy 1903 Replica Drill Rifle

In 2003 Daisy Outdoor Products introduced a non-firing drill rifle patterned after the 1903 Springfield Rifle. This rifle was designed specifically for drill purposes and is extremely strong. The black stock is made from a high density plastic material and all other parts are made from steel. It also has an operating bolt and functional sights. It can be purchased with a padded rubber *** plate to prevent floor damage. Although the company identifies this model as a drill rifle it is probably best described as a training rifle. In 2008 the US Navy let contract number N68836-08-P-1833 in the amount of $140,288 for an unknown number of these drill rifles. They are also being used by Navy ROTC units. The Daisy Replica Drill Rifles are among the most durable and functional rifles of this type. They can be purchased directly from Daisy Outdoor Products.

Recently while doing research on the internet, John Spangler located a US Navy document relating to the Navy supply sole search order to purchase 600 Daisy 1903 drill rifles and related replacement parts. This document is dated in 2009 and also it had other relevant information relating to the Navy Contract for Daisy drill rifles. NAVEDTRA 37123-B mandates that all of the Navy drill rifles will be replaced by the Daisy 1903 drill rifle. The Navy has over 18,000 Daisy 1903 drill rifles currently in use. These were procured under contract N00140-02-C-G605 at a cost of $3.7 million. The current purchase request for additional 600 Daisy 1903 drill rifles and related replacement parts is estimated at $269,622.

Singapore Print Dummy Rifles

Singapore Print is a division of Sean Shauna Enterprise. Singapore Print is a large printing company that has a wide range of printing specialties. Little is known about the design or production of these dummy rifles. Their dummy rifles are made of a plastic material and have little detail. They are advertised to be “near to realistic architecture and weight”. The M16 is 34″ long and the Mark IV is 35 3/4″ long. Singapore has a National Defense Corps. This is a paramilitary organization that also deals with social and cultural aspects of the lives of their young people. There are about 20,000 young people active in this government sponsored group. The following illustration shows a young man holding one of these dummy drill rifles.

The DrillMaster Driller’s M14

(Prototype Pictured)

The DrillMaster BayonetDrillMaster Bayonet

Spinning with the DrillMaster Bayonet

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

Malcolm MacPherson is a retired school teacher who started collecting drill and training rifles over 40 years ago.


A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 25


There are a variety of drill and training rifles being produced today. Most of them have very high detail due to modern production techniques relating to the injection molding of plastic materials.

There is a category called Airsoft Guns. The sport of Airsoft started in Japan in the 1980’s. In Japan it was illegal to own firearms but there was considerable interest in them, so a company started producing spring-powered replicas of firearms that fired 6mm plastic balls. Since that time the Airsoft sport has become popular all over the world. These Airsoft guns are very highly detailed and can cost over a thousand dollars. Although many of these Airsoft guns could be used for training purposes, they fall outside the scope of this study due the fact that they fire a projectile.

Currently there are a number of retail outlets selling non-firing replica firearms. These plastic replicas range from the flintlock era to modern firearms. They are being used in movies, TV and theater productions. There is also some small interest by collectors of specific firearm models. There is no evidence that they are being used for drill or training purposes and therefore are not included in this study.

Parris – 30 The Parris Manufacturing Co. is still producing a drill rifle constructed from wood and metal. These rifles are covered in detail in another section of this study.

DrillAmerica M1 Garand Replica

This drill rifle is manufactured and sold by Glendale Industries. They are located in Northvale, NJ and sell a broad line of parade items. Their web site is www.ParadeStore.com. They have been very generous in sharing information and a quality photograph of the Garand Replica. Their M1 Garand is the only replica drill rifle that is accurately detailed and also weighted to provide the same handling characteristics as the original rifle. Most other drill rifles are much lighter in weight, which greatly changes their handling characteristics. The production of this drill rifle grew out of an expressed need for a high quality Drill or Parade rifle. The first version of this rifle was introduced in 2002 and since that time has been improved based on customers’ suggestions. It is made of a high-impact plastic and can be purchased with either a fixed or a movable bolt mechanism. The parts that replicate the metal parts on the original rifle have the appearance of being chrome plated. Another notable feature of this rifle is that the metal butt plate and the soft rubber pad are reversible for use indoors or outdoors. The rubber butt pad was designed specifically for use on school gym floors to prevent damage. Glendale Industries is the sole distributor of this high quality replica of the M1 Garand. At this time they are producing about 5000 units a year.

The DrillAmerica M1903A3 Replica

The newest addition to the DrillAmerica line will be available in August 2012.

Mark 1 Parade rifle

The Mark 1 parade rifle is advertised as a modified version of the Springfield rifle. However, the stock profile and bolt handle shape have the same appearance as the Pattern 17 Enfield rifle. It is only 39 inches long as compared to the 43″ length of the Springfield or the 46″ length of the Enfield. It is made of polystyrene and weighs 3.25 pounds. It can be purchased with a white, brown or black colored stock. The parts that replicate the metal parts on the original rifle have the appearance of being chrome plated. The Mark 1 has no sights or moving parts. It is sold by several retail outlets dealing in parade items.

Red Guns

Red Guns are new category. These are sometimes referred to as “rubber guns” but they are made from various plastic materials. This category include examples of pistols, rifles and shotguns. For the purposes of this study I will only be dealing with rifles. They are such close replicas that they could be easily mistaken for real firearms. To prevent this from happening they are dyed a bright red or blue color. An Australian firm is distributing similar replicas in black color that are nearly impossible to tell from the original firearm. It is uncertain if these would be legal in the United States. The Red Guns are being used for training purposes by the military, ROTC units and Law Enforcement agencies. They offer the same handling characteristics as the real firearm at a small fraction of the cost.

Armament Systems and Procedures, Inc. (ASP, Inc.) is a company that was founded in 1976 by Kevin Thomas Parsons. They are located in Appleton, Wisconsin and produce a wide variety of police and personal defense items as well as the Red and Blue plastic training rifles. These plastic training rifles are made of a patented solid silicon-epoxy resin and have no moving parts. A number of retail outlets are selling Red Guns but it appears that ASP produces all of the Red and Blue Training Rifles. Currently ASP is producing the following training rifle models.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: The last one, Current Production, Continued

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 24


Starting in the 1920’s, the Japanese government required all junior and senior high school boys to have two hours a week of military training. Several companies started producing the necessary training rifles for this purpose. Unfortunately most training rifles did not bear markings that identified their origin. These training rifles had no standard design and were often made from older models of military rifles or parts from these rifles. Therefore you will find many variations of the same model. There are known models that used 1888 Mauser, type 99, type 30, and type 38 rifle parts. These training rifles continued to be produced until the late 1930’s. Some of these rifles could not be fired while others would fire wooden bullet blank ammunition. Many of the blank firing rifles were made with smooth bore barrels. Rarely would any of these rifles fire the standard service round. Nearly all of these training rifles could carry bayonets.

Type 38 Arisaka Training Rifle

The type 38 rifle was introduced in 1905 and production continued until the end of WWII. The change from 6.5 mm to 7.7mm ammunition began in 1939. During the 1920’s and 1930’s a number of the Type 38 rifles were converted into training rifles. Some of the Type 38 training rifles were designed to fire a 6.5mm wooden bullet blank cartridge. Others have no chamber in the barrel and were not designed to fire although they have the necessary parts to do so. They have cast iron metal parts and would never withstand the pressure of the service round. All of the training rifles have a smooth bore barrel and a solid tang on the receiver.

The Type 38 type training rifle shown below has a barrel that is loosely threaded into an extension on the front of the cast iron receiver. The barrel is held in alignment by the rear sight base and the smooth bore barrel has no chamber. The firing pin tip is too short to reach the face of the bolt. It is obvious that it was never intended to fire even the blank rounds. Although the parts are well finished they are rather coarse castings, being generally oversize. None of the metal parts have been hardened and there is considerable upsetting on mating parts. There is little evidence of heavy use so the parts must be very soft.

On the right side of the butt stock there is a small metal plate with Japanese writing and it has the number 39 stamped into the surface of the plate. The receiver has no markings other than the number 67 which is stamped into the left side of the receiver just above the wood surface. Overall, this training rifle is in good original condition. I would assume that this rifle saw very little use.

Type 38 Variation

This is an unusual training rifle variation. It has a cast iron receiver with a steel dust cover. I suspect that this specimen was made in the early 1930’s when materials were still plentiful. It is chambered for the 6.5 mm wooden bullet blank and has a smooth bore barrel. It was brought back by a GI following WWII, complete with sling and bayonet.

Japanese training rifle bayonets are basically the same shape as the standard service bayonet. However, they are not heat treated and can be easily bent. They are generally not sharpened and have some rounded edges. Often the grips are held on with wood screws. Then scabbards are nearly service quality but somewhat thinner.

1888 Mauser Training Rifle

This training rifle was based upon an obsolete model 1888 Mauser that had been a military rifle for the Japanese prior to 1900. It has had considerable modification. The barrel sleeve was removed, the magazine cut off and some action parts replaced with crude copies. This Japanese training rifle is made entirely out of wood and is 56 inches long. This is considerable longer than the standard military arm. It is approximately the same length as the Type 99 with a bayonet mounted. Because of this I suspect that this was made late in WWII when steel was very scarce. It has Japanese four characters on the right side of the butt stock. It is said to have been brought home by a US soldier following the WWII.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: Current Production

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 23


No specimen found to date. The photograph is of an accurate replica that was developed from the advertisement.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment:

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 21


The Long Branch Training Rifle was produced at the Long Branch Arsenal near Toronto, Canada in 1943 and 1944. There is no evidence that these training rifles were used anywhere other than in Canada. They were used for preliminary rifle training of all forces requiring ground defense training. There was only one model but they were marked either 1943 or 1944 depending on the year that they were produced. A total of about 4000 training rifles were produced during that period. They continued in use until about 1950.

They worked on the same principle as the Swift Training Rifle but had a much simplified mechanism. They were also patterned after the SMLE service rifle and actually used a SMLE bolt body. Although there were those who questioned the value of such a training rifle, the Long Branch had distinct advantages over the Swift. The simplified mechanism was equally effective and it was much cheaper to produce. In most aspects it was a closer replica of the SMLE service rifle.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: British Drill Rifles

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 20


The Swift Training Rifle system was developed in Great Britain in 1941. At the start of WWII there was a severe shortage of usable firearms both by the military and the general population. This was due to the policy of disarming the population following World War I. American hunters and shooters contributed sporting rifles to arm the British citizens when it was feared that Germany was going to invade England. The Swift Training Rifle is one of the most complex training rifles ever produced. In principle it had two needles that moved forward when the trigger was released and they pierced a paper target that was held in a frame near the muzzle. This allowed the instructor to evaluate the sight picture and whether the rifle was being canted. Viewing the sectional drawing of the Swift shows clearly the complexity of working parts. Before the Swift was ever produced, the military had serious concerns about the practicality of such a device. Under the stress of severe shortages of weapons the Swift went into production late in 1941.

The Swift Training Rifle was used by the British Home Guard. This was a group of approximately 1.5 million older civilian men who were being organized to defend the British shoreline. The RAF also formally adopted the Swift and the ground crews started training with them early in 1942. There were approximately 16000 Swift training Rifles produce from 1941-1943. There were four different configurations of the Swift which were designate MK I, MK II, MK III and MK IV. The MK I and MK II are generally patterned after the Pattern 14 Enfield rifle. There were some modifications made in the MK III and the MKIV to make them look and feel more like the SMLE rifle which was the primary rifle of the British Army. All of these training rifles have a one piece stock and function in the same manner. There is a spring loaded mechanism in the butt stock that requires that the rifle be pulled firmly against the shooters shoulder in order to make the trigger function. You will notice a small ring located at the base of the butt stock that holds the mechanism in the locked position. This ring must be removed in order to use the training rifle.

Since this was a complete system, the training rifles and a sight testing frame were packaged in a very well made wooden transit case. A separate target frame was included with a shipment of rifles. These training rifles are extremely well made and were expensive to produce. One has to wonder why their efforts were not directed toward producing functional rifles.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: The Long Branch Training Rifle

A History of Drill and Training Rifles Part 19


The following are examples of fencing rifles that were used by the United States and Great Britain. The first two illustrations show examples that are the same length and weight as the 1903 Springfield. The second illustration is a close replica of the SMLE used by Great Britain.

This bayonet drill rifle has no markings but is probably Eastern European and possibly East German. The design of the sling mounting seems to be similar to the Russian Mosin. The end of the barrel has a padded knob and the shaft is spring loaded.

The bayonet fencing rifle shown below was made by the English firm of Webley & Scott in 1914. It has Canadian markings on the barrel assembly. The long forward extension is spring loaded and retracts into the barrel assembly on impact.

M 14 Training Rifle

Very little information has surfaced relative to this training rifle. This skeletonized rifle is made of aluminum and closely resembles the M 14 military rifle. A photograph exists that shows these rifles being used by Marines for bayonet drill practice. It has no moving parts but can carry the standard M6 service bayonet. It seems unusual that it was not supplied with a special padded bayonet if it was specifically designed for bayonet drill. The rifle is unmarked but was probably made between 1957 and 1963 when the M 14 was being used by the US military. Since this training rifle is made of aluminum, I would suspect that it was also used in situations where the rifle would be subjected to wet conditions. It is also possible that an aluminum casting was the most economical way of producing a training rifle for whatever the need might have been. There is an additional rod below the barrel that is not typical of the M14 rifle. I suspect that this rod was designed to reinforce the rather slender aluminum barrel which would have been susceptible to bending. The cut outs in the aluminum stock appear to have been made and located to replicate the weight and balance of the M14 military rifle.

Although this rifle does not meet the general requirements of a training rifle, it may have met very specialized training needs. I will classify it as a bayonet drill rifle rather than a training rifle until further information surfaces.

From the paper, Non-Firing Drill and Training Rifles, by By Malcolm MacPherson

The next installment: The Swift Training Rifle