Original British WWII Swift Training Rifle Mk. III Serial 12139 - Functional with Intact Fork

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice example of British WWII produced Swift Training Rifle Mk.III. This was a rifle shooting training device made in Great Britain during the Second World War. This rifle did not actually fire a cartridge, but shot out a forked probe that punctured a paper target barely an inch from the "muzzle". The system illustrated, to a recruit or trainee, the required sight picture and the correct hold of the rifle as well as the correct operation of the action, the finesse of trigger pull, and the importance of prevention of cant of the rifle.

This example is in very good shape, and as far as we can tell, is functional. It cocks and fires, with the "fork" inside the front hood deploying properly, more than enough to make a hole in a paper target. Definitely use WITH CARE as the spring action is definitely strong enough to cause injury. The retraction spring seems a bit weak, and it returns to position somewhat slowly. The fork can get stuck out at times, but it can easily be pressed back into place.

There is a very nice brass data plate on the side, which reads:

9B / 2030
S.R. MK. III 12139

The wood stock and metalwork are all in great shape. There is even a faded arsenal inventory tag still attached to the rifle. Sadly we only have the rifle, and not the rest of the setup that would come with it, which were most likely discarded long ago. A very interesting training device, ready to display!

More on the Swift Training Rifle

The device, in a transit case and with its associated target frame and targets, was sold mainly to the Royal Air Force to train recruits; whilst the army treated the system with a degree of unjustified[citation needed], but perhaps typical, disdain. There were two main models of Swift training rifle made available over a period of about three war years. These were the A and B series, which were each loosely based on the Lee–Enfield No.3 rifle ( P14 in .303" calibre and P17 in 30.06" calibre); there was also a later B Series Rifle more closely modelled on the British Lee–Enfield No.4 rifle. A similar training rifle was manufactured in Canada at the Long Branch factory. It is arguable whether the latter was a better training rifle, but it was a far cheaper production item at a time when funds were needed to produce the real weapons for which these training rifles were simply economical teaching aids.

The Swift Training Rifle came with a stand that folded out in "Deck Chair" fashion, and onto which was clipped the paper target. The rifle was held at a constant distance from the target by a steel rod bridle hinged from the target frame and hooked into a sling-swivel-like fitting under the rifle's fore-end woodwork. The targets were printed in a series of four different images, each illustrating a particular training scenario.

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