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Ironic that Hessians laid the cobblestones on a street where later fine German pistols were housed.
The preserved cobblestone pavement is only one block long --thank God--and the nearby residents try their best to avoid it. It's very rough on front-end alignment. Living on Captains' Row is not an unmixed blessing, but there is more local political influence concentrated there than in all the rest of Old Town Alexandria.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I still have a dealers/distributors price list somewhere if anyone is interested in viewing it.
Yes please! And I have my Delorean all charged up with 1.21 gigawatts of stored power - time controls are set to August 10, 1988. Mike eludes to the road along Captain's Row being too bumpy to get up to the required 88 MPH, so we'll just use S. Union Street and stop right about here...



Amazing stuff. Thanks for sharing the history of this great company from such a unique perspective, gentlemen.

-Pilotsteve
 

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Potomac Arms. If your interest is MilSurps, the coolest retail store that ever existed. Rack after rack of surplus rifles. I remember Argentine M1891 rifles, crests ground but otherwise reconditinoned to new condition. $19.95 each. I was too young to buy one. If I remember correctly the manager was a guy named Harry. MGMike, did you know these guys? Did you know Charlie Hittle?
 

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Steve, that says something about the images on GoogleEarth. The signs were taken down several years ago, and by now, maybe the building too. It's been a couple years since I've been by there.

Mike9905: Harry (Turner, I believe) retired before the shop closed and probably is dead now. John Richards, who was the owner/manager, died a decade ago. His son Steve ran the gun business upstairs after that, and a younger brother Mark operated a surplus clothing and military gear business, "Full Metal Jacket" on the downstairs floor.

Charlie Hittle worked at Interarms in the '60s, then opened his own gunshop in Prince Georges County, Maryland. In the '80s he was shot and killed in his shop by a holdup man. Charlie's son, who was a P.G. cop, was off duty working in the back and heard the shot. He ran to the front with a Browning High Power and shot the perp 13 times. Charlie was well-liked; nobody suggested it was excessive force.

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Never made it East in time to visit IA, but sure remember the address. I got a price list from Interarms back around '65 or '66. All I had to do was sign a little coupon on the bottom of the sheet, send in $79.50 and they would have send me a nice new PPK. Unfortunately they wanted me to check a box that I was over 18, I wasn't so I didn't .... dumb!
 

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A wonderful history thread. Very interesting indeed. Thanks all, especially Mike who obviously knows quite a lot about it. All in all though it was rather bittersweet. :( ~J
 

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Don't know if it was officially linked with Inter-arms, but there was a gun store on the same block, right on the river bank, called Hunter's Haven. Parking lot had some old medium caliber deck guns and a small WWII German wheel mounted rocket launcher. Underneath, was a pile of rusting Italian and French army helmets. Several years before the gun store went out of business, a new shop called FMJ (spelled out) moved in on the first floor; it was sort of an international Army/Navy store. The gun store was at the top of the stairs. (Grew up in the area so my Dad took me there several times when I a teenager. He didn't own any firearms, but as a retired soldier I guess he liked looking at them. While he said he didn't want any, knowing what they could do on the battlefield, he didn't discourage me.) I saw and bought my first Walther there, a .22 caliber German made Inter-arms PPKS. It was a work of art. Like most gun owners have at least once - I traded it in and regret doing so to this day. Anyhow, Hunter's Haven was a like a "Walther Castle" to me as a teenage boy. Miss the place.
 

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Just rediscovered the store called "FMJ." Still in Alexandria. Still appears to be an well stocked international surplus store. Lots of East German gear which took me back to my time stationed in Berlin - last time I saw a "Grenz Truppen" sleeve cuff, it was being worn by the "enemy."
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
Well then, why don't we hop aboard for another Pilotsteve guided tour of the place. FMJ sounds pretty interesting... they even have a small website with a very nice video about the place. Buckle your seatbelts!









Not much to see from space or from Streetview but it does look interesting. Nowhere near the old Interarms locale.

-Pilotsteve
 

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Pilotsteve - roger, that's it. Closest man-made key terrain feature is the Masonic Temple.

BTW: Great google skills; something tells me you'll soon post pictures of where I live!!
 

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I used to live in "Old Town" on North Royal Street, up close to where the power plant was. Naturally it has been redeveloped but things are always changing everywhere. Some branches of my wife's family have lived in the area since before Alexandria was established. I'm an immigrant myself (from West Virginia).

I also used to visit Potomac Arms fairly often. I happened to be there in the store when the news about the space shuttle breaking up in the air came out. I have also been there when the river was up, too. That part of town floods now and then. Potomac Arms also used to have a small collection of different kinds of artillery, notably including a WWII German 75mm infantry howitzer and a couple of French 25mm anti-guns. One Saturday morning as I was waiting for the store to open, I was examining one of those French guns, I noticed the elaborate inscription and noticed that it was manufactured just about a month before the invasion in 1940. I decided that it was so interesting that the next time I was there I'd do a rubbing of the inscription. Well, the next time I was there, they were all gone. Someone had bought all of them!

One memory that I have of the place is that they sold me one of the last Star BKMs that Interarms had on hand, or at least that's what they said.

Anyway, too bad it's gone. It's so hard to find a gun for sale these days.
 

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I second the motion for Tanfoglio to buy a building and begin importing pistols!

All in favor, AYE...

Thanks for this post/history lesson, has been very eye-opening and informative.
 

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Too late for that part of town. That's a high rent district now. In fact, the high rent district extends away from Washington for 50 miles in every direction anyway.

You may have heard that Beretta is leaving town, too. Beretta's American factory is located south of Washington along Indian Head Highway. They, Beretta, decided the local climate in Maryland was too anti-gun for them. About 150 employees worked there, according to the newspaper, which didn't make it a particularly large employer by my standards. I think they're moving to Tennessee. Tennessee can be a little odd, in that Jack Daniel's whiskey is manufactured in a dry county.

Beretta was located in what was already a firearms factory when they acquired the place. For those of you old enough to have been reading gun magazines in the 1950s, that's where Firearms Import-Export (FIE) International was, which I believe may have actually been in Washington, DC, at one time. Likewise, I believe Interarms (or someone) may have had single-action revolvers manufactured at some little place on the other side of Warrenton, Virginia, for a while (I think the revolvers were called the Dragoon). Anyway, some local history for all of you all.
 
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