151ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne

Pistolet Automatique de
7 millim.65 genre "Ruby"

During WW1, La Grande Guerre, the French military which had suffered severe losses in men and material in the horrible opening battles of 1914 and early 1915, forced the military authorities to look for a replacement foreign handgun for its soldiers. A reason was that the three national armories (MAS, MAC and MAT) were forced to prioritize the manufacture of rifles and machine guns for the war effort, Northern France, the most industrialized region, was under German Occupation, so the French then looked to Spain for its solution. Spain which had its arms making industry in the northeastern Basque region was a natural source of supply for a handgun and it manufactured handguns in calibers common to European military usage, so began the use of the Pistolet Automatique de 7 millim.65 genre "Ruby" or otherwise known to us as the Ruby Pistol in the French Army.

The Design

The Pistolet Automatique de 7 millim.65 genre "Ruby" is a simplified copy of the Browning 1903 that was made by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium, which was easy to produce and relatively inexpensive. The pistol is a simple blowback weapon with an internal hammer, in 7.65mm (32 ACP) caliber, and had a nine round magazine. the biggest changes was in the safety mechanism and the elimination of the grip safety.

A Firm is Chosen!

The French Purchasing Commission chose the firm of Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar to manufacture the pistol, which had began producing these weapons since 1914, as it main contract. A contract was given in the amount of 10,000 pieces a month beginning in August 1915 but it was eventually raised to 30,000 pieces. Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar quickly realized that it would be necessary to obtain cooperation with other manufacturing firms to meet the demand so they made contracted with other Spanish companies to help manufacture the weapon. (There were over 30+ companies that manufactured these pistols and I have listed some of the different companies that made the pistols)

  • A: Gaspar Arizaga, Eibar. No trade name used.
  • AA: Azanza y Arrizabalaga, Eibar. "Reims", "Modelo 1916".
  • AE: La Armeria Elgoibaresa, Eligobar. "Lusitania".
  • AG: Francisco Arizmendi y Goenaga, Eibar. "Ideal", "Roland", "Brunswig".
  • AH: Acha Hermanos, Ermunda. Possibly no trade name used. Pistols marked Looking Glass seem to be post WWI.
  • AK: Fabrica de Armas Alkartasuna, SA, Guernica. "Alkar". "Kapitan".
  • AL: Aldezabal y Leturiondo, Eibar. No trade name used.
  • AZ: Arizmendi, Zulacia y Cia, Eibar. "Cebra". Some may be overstamped "Beistegui Hermanos".
  • BA: Fca. de Bersaluzze, Areito, Aurena y Cia. "Allies".
  • BH: Beistegui Hermanos, Eibar. "1914 Model Automatic Pistol".
  • CU: ?
  • CZ: ?
  • EC: ?
  • EU: Esperanza y Unceta, Guernica, "Model 1915 (or 1916), Astra Patent", "Brunswig Model 1916", "Victory".
  • GB: Gregorio Bolumburo, Eibar. "Regent", "Regina", "Gloria:.
  • GN: Garate, Anitua y Cia, Eibar. "Express", "Danton".
  • GU: Gabilondo y Urresti. "Ruby".
  • HE: Hijos de A. Echeverria, Eibar. "Vesta" (code may also be marked on slide), "Izarro".
  • I: Bonifacio Echeverria, Eibar. "Izarra".
  • IG: Isidrio Gatzanaga, Eibar. "Destroyer" (safety behind grip), "Indian".
  • IO: La Industria Orbea, Eibar. No trade name used.
  • IS: Iraola y Salaverria y Cia. No trade name used.
  • JE: Javier Echaniz. "Defender".
  • LC: Laplana y Capdevila. Trade names are unknown.
  • LH: Lasangabaster Hermanos, Eibar. Possibly "Douglas".
  • MB: Fa de Martin A. Bascaran, Eibar. "Martian".
  • RG: ?
  • RH: Retolaza Hermanos, Eibar. "Liberty", "Paramount", "Stosel", "Titan", "Titanic", "1914 Model Automatic Pistol".
  • V. Fabrica De Armas, Durango "Vencedor"
  • VB: Victor Bernado y Cia, Eibar. No trade name used. Some have extended barrels.
  • VD: ?
  • ZC: Zulaica y Compania, Eibar. "1914 Model", "Royal", "Vincitor".

What resulted from this is that some of the smaller manufacturers, who by-passed Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar and dealt directly with French purchasing agents, produced some lesser quality handguns that were unsafe. Some of these arms would fire when the slide ran forward to chamber a round, others fire when the safety was moved from safe to fire or even some went full automatic. Despite the small amount of unacceptable "Ruby"s, Spain was able to supply enough of them to meet the French demand. All "Ruby" pistols were shipped to Manufacture d'Armes de Bayonne (MAB) where they were to inspected and then shipped to the various units.

Numbers Made

It is impossible to know how many of these pistols were delivered to France as most of the records were either destroyed during the bombings of WW2 in France or in Spain due to the Spanish Civil War.

The Pistolet Automatique de 7 millim.65 genre "Ruby" was used in later French conflicts such as the colonies in Syria and North Africa, WW2, Indochina and Algeria.

Who They Were Issued To

Here is a little information that I got from an original 1917 and 1918 French Infantry Squad Leader's Handbooks (Manuel de Chef de Section d'Infanterie) and it says that the Ruby Pistol was issued to Telephonists, Stretcher Bearers, Chauchat Gunners along with Loaders, and 37mm Mortar Crew according to the regulations. In the 1918 manual it also lists them to be issued to Tank Crewman.

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 6.2 inches (157mm)
  • Weight Unloaded: 2 lbs. 14.7 oz. (875 grams)
  • Barrel Length: 3.43 inches (87mm)
  • Caliber: 7.65mm Browning ( 32 ACP)Magazine Capacity: 7 to 9 rounds

Nomenclature

The Pistolet Automatique de 7 millim.65 genre "Ruby" is composed of the following principal parts:

  • The frame, of which the various mechanisms are brought up on;
  • The slide, which houses the extractor, the firing pin and its rebounding spring, the rear and front sights;
  • The barrel;
  • The lock mechanism, which contains the trigger, the trigger bar, sear, and hammer with its spring;
  • The recoil spring and recoil guide;
  • The safety;
  • The grips and its screws;
  • The magazine and magazine release catch

Disassembly and Reassembly

  • Disassembly
    1. To withdraw the magazine from the grip of the frame, slide the magazine release catch fully to the rear and at same time withdraw the magazine.
    2. Precautions to take: It turns out these guns present a common danger, that has caused many serious accidents. Do not believe that the weapon is unloaded because one withdrew the magazine; because a cartridge can still remain in the barrel. It therefore is necessary the extract the round from the barrel. Then, only then is the weapon is considered emptied.
    3. With the above precaution and to avoid an accident, pull the slide fully to the rear to extract any cartridge that may be in the chamber.
    4. Rotate the safety lever over the letter "F" and this will help hold the slide in the rear position.
    5. To remove the barrel, use the following procedure, turn it from left to right, then pull it forward, then rotate it from right to left and this will allow it to be completly removed from the slide.
    6. To remove the slide from the frame, slightly pull the slide to the rear and then forward and this will release the slide from the frame then , remove the slide from the frame.
    7. The recoil spring and guide then can be removed from the frame.
    8. The right grip then can be removed for maintenance.

This is as far as the weapon is disassembled for normal cleaning and lubrication.

  • Reassembly

Proceed as for disassembly but in the reverse order

(1) F or the words ( Fire, Feu )

  1. Maintenance
    • Cleaning: The pistol having been disassembled to the above procedures, clean the rails of the frame and slide, all accessible parts of the trigger mechanism, wipe the interior and exterior of the barrel, and clean the magazine.
  2. Lubrication
    • Lightly oil the hammer notch, the rails of the frame and slide, the trigger mechanisms, exterior of the barrel and exterior of the weapon it self.

Left hand side view of the Pistolet Automatique de 7 millim.65 genre "Ruby". Attached to the pistol is the regulation lanyard (reproduction) which is made of leather and is secured to the weapon by means of a hard leather knot. The loop end of the lanyard is intended to be attached to the belt. The lanyard has been correctly coiled per the instruction guides of the period.

Right hand side view of the pistol

The slide is marked "1915 Patent "RUBY" Cal 765mm" with both the 6 and 5 underlined. It also has the French added "safety knob" on left side of slide which is supposed to push out on the holster when holstering or upholstering to avoid moving the safety over to fire position. The safety has a bulbous end common to the pistols and this one is marked with an "F" and "S".

This particular "Ruby" was made by Gabilondo y Urresti-Eibar, the original manufacturers of the "Ruby" pistols as indicated by the markings on the upper left right of the receiver of a circuled "GU".

You can see the lanyard is attached to a metal ring which is connected to a wire staple loop type on the left side of the heal of the butt.

The bottom of the pistol is normally where you will find a star or stars on either side of the magazine release, which was mark of French acceptance of foreign weapons, but this one is devoid of the markings which is not uncommon though. The magazines were also marked with the circled codes for the various manufacturers as the French found out that Ruby pistol magazines were not really generic and they varied from manufacturer to manufacturer. This particular magazine is serial numbered which was done after WW1 as was the coding done on the magazines.

This is the Mle.1916 holster (reproduction) It is constructed in the form of a right triangle, a wire loop is attached to the back of the holster which is then secured to a J-hook of the Y-straps used to hold the waistbelt and its various accoutrements on the waistbelt. These holsters were normally issued to above mentioned except for the Chauchat Gunners and Loaders which utilized a different type of holster.

The back side of the holster. You can see the leather attachment used to secure it to the waistbelt.

The interior of the holster. You can see where two extra magazines are held in the magazine pouches.

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