Albanians and their Revolvers

Albanians and their Revolvers.

by Robert W. Hunnicutt

Life has never been easy in the Balkans, Endemic sectarian violence and blood feuds mean a prudent man never goes unarmed. Going armed in the years before World War I often meant shoving a big 11mm Gasser revolver in your sash. If it was intricately engraved, so much the better. Watch for Paul Scarlata’s study of the Gasser in an upcoming issue.

Keep your Kate Middleton look. The well-dressed Albanian bride sports a Gasser revolver at her waist and a Mauser carbine, while her groom backs up his rifle with a dagger and ornate Broomhandle Mauser. Celebratory gunfire, anyone?

Nobody giggled at his skirt! Gassers, Martinis and bandoleers bursting with ammo gave this pair a bracing martial air.

The Albanian fustanella descends from kilts worn by the Greeks and Romans. The cross-body carry seems to have been the method of choice for the big Gasser.

This well-armed Albanian opted for cross-draw carry. His Martini is elaborately decorated in a Near Eastern motif.

“Start ‘em young” was clearly the watchword in 19th-century Albania. If you’re going to be carrying a gun for the rest of your life, it’s best to start early.

The Martinis are plain enough, but the fighter on the left sports a Gasser with ivory grips and well-filled cartridge belt.

Camouflage is functional, but it’s taken the fun out of military dress. This fez-topped pair has no rifles, but their 11mm Gassers probably make them feel secure enough.

The bride’s not packing in this wedding photo, but her groom, fez at a jaunty angle, has the usual Gasser in his sash, along with a rifle.

A fustanella and Gasser for him, an ensemble a la Turque for her; this happy couple is ready for anything.

Albanian Guard Wearing Costume 1935 Tirane, Albania

Not all Gassers were Austrian. This copy of the Model 1873 “Montenegrin” model was made in Belgium. Like Americans, people in the Balkans wanted stopping power.


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