Early Stealth: The High Standard Silenced Pistol

The High Standard HDM Photo Album

The High Standard HDM in Action (Video)

U.S. Army Rangers Lt. Mike Powell sneaks up behind a German Army (Wehrmacht) soldier inside the U-529 and kills him with his High Standard Silenced (HDM) pistol.

Lt. Powell sneaks up behind a German soldier inside U-529, and kills him with his Hi-Standard Silenced pistol.

After its invention by Hiram Percy Maxim at the turn of the 20th century, the firearm suppressor didn’t see much action in the years that followed.

In contrast, it’s often featured prominently in the movies, games and even books of our era.

During WWII, the suppressor found itself in the hands of the Office of Strategic Services – the precursor to the CIA – as an integral part of the High Standard HDM pistol.

These pistols were semi-automatic and held 10 .22 Long Rifle cartridges in a single-column detachable box magazine. The High Standard pistol in the game (Hi-Standard Silenced) only holds eight rounds. But, the pistol is correctly inaccurate at a distance, and is single-action, meaning that the slide must be pulled back (racked) after firing. So, it’s best to use it at close range, as the time between shots is slow enough for the enemy to begin shooting back.

When engaging enemies in Allied Assault, one shot in the head or torso will result in an instant kill. The gun is even effective enough to penetrate two or three men at once, leaving a bullet hole in the wall behind them and killing them all with one shot.

The low speed of a .22LR round makes it prone to ricochets, meaning that if it struck any of the 206 bones inside a human body, it’d be very likely to change course and inflict more internal injury. While it can cause significant and fatal damage, it’s unlikely that a bullet of this type would be capable of passing through more than one body. Of course, there’s always a chance that it might go through one man and into another, but the probability is small. The probability is even smaller that the bullet would cause enough damage to kill two or three men at once. Even though legal concerns mandated that the bullets be full metal jacketed during WWII – which would have increased their penetration – it also likely decreased their damage potential, as it made them less prone to flattening upon impact.

Deliveries of the final HDM pistol were completed in late 1944, according to this Small Arms Review article, though 44 High Standard pistols were suppressed by Bell Telephone Laboratories in late October 1943.

In MOH: AA, the weapon appears to be a High Standard Model B pistol with a suppressor, some of which were among the 44 pistols modified by Bell.

The first research contract for a suppressed pistol was given to Western Electric Company in April 1943, after the first proposals were created in October 1942.

A screenshot photo of U.S. Army Ranger Lt. Mike Powell killing a German Army (Wehrmacht) rifleman inside the U-529 in the Kriegsmarine base in Trondheim Norway, with his High Standard HDM suppressed pistol in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (MOHAA).

Aiming a Hi-Standard Silenced pistol, Lt. Powell sneaks up behind a German rifleman patrolling inside the U-529.

However, Lt. Mike Powell uses the Model B on Feb. 12, 1943 as he infiltrates DORA 1 and scuttles the U-529. This is between the proposal date and the contract date, which makes it unlikely that Powell would have been using the pistol. Of course, he could have been field testing an unproven weapon for the OSS, but given the importance of his mission – the fate of the Atlantic shipping lanes – this is also doubtful.

Powell later uses the weapon while working behind enemy lines in France in 1944 and in the Siegfried Forest in January 1945, times that fit with the weapon’s production schedule.

There’s no doubt that the High Standard HDM pistol was an innovative and important weapon to clandestine warfare, but its creation came after its first appearance in Allied Assault, and it was not the overpowering weapon the game makes it out to be.

~ by John on March 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “Early Stealth: The High Standard Silenced Pistol”

  1. Another great post! Thanks for the info, I find WWII tech pretty cool

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