It is said the the Liberator pistol made bay the U.S. in WWII took longer to reload than it did to manufacture the gun, is this true?

The Liberator was a single-shot pistol stamped out of sheet metal for dropping behind enemy lines into the hands of resistance movements during WWII. It was lacking because you only got a single .45 ACP shot at an enemy who probably had a semi-automatic pistol/rifle or a fully automatic submachine gun. Also reloading was extremely troublesome as you had to push a stick down the barrel to push the spent cartridge out. Source

  • 4
    this page says 10 seconds to reload, 7 seconds to manufacture
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 21:27
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    Presumably the claim is only talking about the assembly process, after the parts are made. Surely it takes more than 7 seconds to form the barrel and other parts... longer if you count the time it takes to smelt the steel, etc--all of which are part of the manufacturing process.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 15:19
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    @Flimzy: Could they have meant 'The factory can churn out a gun every 7 seconds?' Or am I being too lenient on the claim?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 3:24
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    @vartec the goal of the liberator isn't to be a combat pistol, its to be an assassination weapon that can be dropped in numbers so great that enemy forces can't find all of them, and those they do find are useless to them. Also with only one shot a .45 is hard to beat in stopping power.
    – Ryathal
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 14:25
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    @vartec - Because it's a big, powerful round that gives a reasonable chance of a one-shot kill or at least incapacitation. The thing wasn't intended for sustained use. The general idea for the FP-45's use was to sneak up on a German soldier, shoot them with the FP-45, and take their gun.
    – Compro01
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


The FP-45 takes about ten seconds to reload under optimal conditions.

Now the manufacturing process is a little harder to determine just based on the vagueness of the word "manufacturing". Obviously it takes much longer than ten seconds to form the sheet metal and assemble the gun. More likely this "less than ten seconds to manufacture" is referring to the average time it took to make a FP-45. This firearm was in production for three months and one million guns were produced.

From the Factory's commemorative website:

Not shown in the Guide publication below are the 1,000,000 FP-45 .45 caliber "Liberator Pistols" that it built in three months during 1942

Some simple multiplication and division puts the average at around 7.8 seconds per gun. Another thing to take into account is that this incorporates a twenty four hour day so most likely the guns were produced even faster just not all day and all night.

So yes, it took more time to reload the Liberator than for the factory to spit one out.

YouTube video of guy shooting and reloading a FP-45 in ten seconds

  • Ummm... What if there happened to be more than just the one machine manufacturing the guns...?
    – user37043
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:30
  • @Pᴇᴛᴇ It takes more than one process to make something of this complexity. Certain machines would stamp certain parts, move down the line, and others would assemble them. Obviously it took longer than seven seconds to to go from sheet metal to completed product. But as with many "facts" that seem suspicions, with the right context it makes sense. The production line comprised of many tools and 300 people could produce one at at least every seven seconds over a period of 11 weeks.
    – Drew_J
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:59
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    There's a bit of a difference between a gun taking 7 seconds to manufacture and guns being produced by a number of production lines at the rate of one per 7 seconds (it doesn't tell us anything about how long each gun takes to be made). Putting this another way, if a car factory produced 24 cars per day, does it really take just one hour to assemble each car?
    – user37043
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:09

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