Originally featured in Points West magazine in Summer 2016
Liberator Mark II shotgun with collapsible stock
During World War II, the FP4-5 single shot was known as the Liberator Pistol. The idea behind the name was that if these pistols could be dropped in enemy territory, civilians would then have the means to fight back. The prototype pictured above, made for the same purpose, is the Liberator Mark II Shotgun in 16 gauge, produced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company; Winchester number “W1177” is stamped in the metal.
Designed by Robert Hillberg (1917–2012), this shotgun was developed as a semi-automatic with a repositioning firing pin. The Mark I, in 20 gauge, was originally created to be dropped at the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba. The firearm was finished too late to be used in the failed military excursion, but Winchester agreed to test it in 1964 for potential use in Vietnam. Visitors to the Cody Firearms Museum have the opportunity to view three iterations of the prototype Liberator Shotgun, the Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III.
Liberator Mark II 16 gauge shotgun, 1960s. Serial number 1. Gift of Olin Corporation, Winchester Arms Collection. 1988.8.5205