Green River When its owner brought a six-shot, .32 ACP-caliber pistol to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, he declared it to be “the ugliest gun ever made,” and he may be right.
According to a press release from the museum, the Warner Infallible (its official designation, not an adjective) has been described as “the orphan child of self-loading pistols: awkward, ugly, repeatedly maligned, and reportedly dangerous to your health.”
The gun was manufactured from 1917 to 1919 by the Warner Arms Company of Norwich, Conn., in three variants. About 7,000 were made, all in .32 ACP.
Warner sold the .32 Schwarzlose semi-automatic pistol imported from Germany until production ceased around 1911, then sold Schwarzloses assembled from available parts. When those ran out, Warner paid firearms designer Andrew Fyrberg to create the Warner Infallible, which went into production in 1917.
Infallibles were trademarked “Blocks the Sear” on their grips, a reference to the handgun’s safety mechanism. Their blowback breech design featured a bolt rather than a slide, with a very heavy return spring. They were anything but infallible. Reports claimed when they were incorrectly reassembled, only a small projection stopped the bolt from flying back, free of the frame and into the shooter’s face, when the gun was fired.
Not surprisingly, the Infallible was not a success and production ceased in 1919. Shortly afterward, the Warner Arms Company went out of business.
According to the museum, Infallibles are seldom encountered, and though they are an interesting oddity, they should be considered curios that for safety’s sake should not be fired.
Those with a vintage firearm who would like to learn more about it are encouraged to contact the museum at (307) 872-6435 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for the museum’s Vintage Firearms Research Program.