How the Providence Non Semi-Automatic Pistol Works, Shot Show 2019

Providence Non Semi-Automatic
Providence Non Semi-Automatic

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Prior to SHOT  Show2019, Franklin Armory made a bit of a splash by releasing information about a prototype, magazine fed pistol that was non-Semi-Automatic, but which looked very much like a Semi-Automatic. The pistol in the picture has a pistol arm brace, making it look like a carbine.

The firearm was said to utilize a digital action, and to fire one round with each pull of the trigger.

Jay Jacobson, President of Franklin Armory, was kind enough to take time and explain how the system works. He used the prototype to show the system operating the bolt and bolt carrier.  Jay explained he would not show the internal parts.

First, the digital action has everything to do with a flesh and blood digit, not a numerical one. The digit that powers the system is the trigger finger.

We already have systems that do this. They are called double action revolvers.

There was another system that used finger power to feed from a magazine. It was the Dardick pistol and carbine, an interesting combination of revolver and magazine feed. A few were produced, it was not successful.

The Providence digital system is different. It uses a reciprocating bolt and bolt carrier system to feed cartridges from the magazine into the chamber and to extract and eject the fired cartridge cases.

The bolt head of the Providence system is similar to the AR-15 multi-lug system
The bolt head of the Providence system is similar to the AR-15 multi-lug system

The bolt head of the Providence system is similar to the AR-15 multi-lug system. It locks with a rotating bolt. The bolt rotates about 23 degrees.

The firing sequence is this.

  1. The firearm starts with an empty chamber or a fired case in the chamber.
  2. Pulling the trigger unlocks the bolt, retracts the bolt and bolt carrier, and ejects the fired case if there is one.
  3. The trigger continues to retract the bolt carrier and the bolt, until the trigger releases both.
  4. Then the bolt and bolt carrier move forward, stripping a round from the magazine and chambering it.
  5. The bolt carrier continues forward, rotating and locking the bolt.
  6. There is a fixed firing pin on the bolt carrier. The bolt carrier continues forward. The firing pin on the bolt carrier impacts the primer, firing the chambered round. The fired case stays in the chamber, locked in by the bolt.
  7. The sequence begins again with another pull of the trigger.
  8. An advantage of the system, firing from a locked bolt, would be to take full advantage of a suppressor. There is no gas leakage to the rear of the fired case. No gas or powder fouling is introduced into the action.

There is a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the firearm. Jay indicated, that in production models, the charging handle might be used to put the firearm into “single action” mode.

I presume that would be to retract the bolt and bolt carrier, extracting a fired case. Then the function of the trigger would be to release the bolt and bolt carrier to fire the firearm.

Such an action would be a novel version of a straight pull bolt action.

Another advantage of this non-semi-automatic is legal acceptability. Jay told me they are working to have this action classed as a “C” type action in Europe. That would mean it would be available to most people. The magazines would be limited to 10 rounds.

The initial calibers would be 9mm, 10mm, and .45.

The price has been estimated to be about $1500. No Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price is available at this time.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 25 thoughts on “How the Providence Non Semi-Automatic Pistol Works, Shot Show 2019

    1. I would be very careful before purchasing anything from Franklin Arms, especially a new technology. If they make a mistake on your order…you will pay for it.

    2. It’s moot in California as they do not allow new designed pistols to be sold there. All pistols have to be on a roster and no new designs are accepted to the roster.
      It is a brilliant idea to get around semi auto bans in restricted states.
      I confidently predict that the next Democrat President will use Trumps’ bump stock precedent and order the department of justice to write regulations banning all work arounds of the National firearms act.
      Pistol Braces and binary triggers will be gone with the stroke of a pen.
      It was a very bad precedent for DJT to be by DOJ regulation.
      Of course the enemy will use it as soon as they gain power.
      Just as we are now using the Democrat passed “nuclear option” in the senate to now confirm conservative federal judges

    3. Seems to be a closed bolt system except it’s not full auto. My question is, how do you HOLD THE WEAPON STILL through extraction, bolt coming back, picking up a new round, inserting and firing?

    4. No mention of the weight of the trigger pull . . . or how heavy it might get if the spent cartridge case is just a LITTLE bit “sticky” in the chamber.

      And . . . if after releasing the bolt and bolt carrier the firing pin immediately fires the cartridge, in effect it will be like an “open bolt” action as on many machine guns. There is apparently ZERO potential for full auto fire, but the vibration and impact of the feed cycle and bolt travel an instant before the gun fires will not lend itself to fine accuracy. (I remember firing one of the original semi-auto open bolt Ingram pistols in 9mm, and accuracy due to the open bolt shaking the gun was terrible.)

      Still, an interesting “rule beater” of a design – nothing about the MECHANICS of the gun to give the antis a case of the vapors, they’ll have to focus on the cosmetics.

      1. Hey dummy, not sure why I waste my time on a troll, but if it walks like, looks like and quacks like a duck (or you) it is a duck! ATF will determine “function” right or wrong and will find it a stock.

    5. I just wonder how long it would take the ATF to re-write the rules to include this one too? After all, if they were allowed to re-write bumpstocks they can re-write anything – it’s all about distorting the English language to make things into something they’re clearly not. The gun is just an expensive novelty… will end up getting confiscated along with the rest of the semi-automatics, even if it’s not a semi-automatic. Welcome to America – the Democrats & RINOs own it now.

      1. Aren’t WE in a defeatist mood today. There will always be gun control pressure. You have to learn to live with it or give up your guns & take up knitting. Where would we be if they had said “Aw, screw it, the British are going to come anyway”

    6. People with severe myopia and a foggy failure of imagination completely miss the grave significance of this firearm, and in general its design— the operating principle, regardless the patented parts.

      Forget about what your personal feelings are about Jay, Franklin, and “straight lands and grooves.” Think hard, and understand what this is: it is as significant as the SB Tactical brace, the Thordsen stock, or for that matter Slidefire’s bumpfire stock. Only potentially much more so… much more.

      Never mind “the European market,” and remember that several states in the “United” States of America are just as statist, fascist, and treat the Bill of Rights as totally arbitrary, as any European “socialist” state with oppressive gun control and nothing resembling the Constitutionally protected guaranteed civil right of the 2A. The crux of the matter must eventually come to a head: once the cosmestic distinctions between “assault weapons” like an AR-15 and “traditional normal” Fudd-looking guns like a Ruger Mini-14 can no longer be parsed by prejudiced ignorance, and the ”fully semiautomatic” firing actions (regardless of scary looks) therefore must be addressed to achieve gun control… and the gun control idiots realize that magazine capacity cannot limit the firepower of 300 million semiautomatic weapons because there are a half-billion to a billion “high capacity” magazines in circulation… then what?

      This firearm is the “what,” and there definitely is a “there” there. One can imagine this firearm ending up in court, even the SCOTUS, with fevered legalese trying to disentangle the complicated concept of *what semiautomatic firing actually means,* in the exact sense that gun savvy people and gun ignorant people argued about whether the “bump stock” created a de facto fully automatic machine gun. Don’t you see?

      In essence, this Providence is nothing more than a BOLT ACTION SINGLE SHOT FIREARM. It absolutely is. Except, instead of reaching up and cycling the action with your hand and arm… you are cycling the action with your finger. And, your same finger happens to chamber the round, close the bolt, and discharge the cartridge’s primer. Yet, if you simply stuff a magazine in the well, and pull pull pull pull pull… you are doing nothing pragmatically different than you would if you took a true semiautomatic, inserted a magazine, and allowed the firearm’s gas or blowback system to self-load, as you pulled the trigger. Like a “bump stock” and an automatic machine gun— the practical result is the same, but the functioning operating principles are completely at odds with one another on how to achieve the same practical result.

      Unlike the novelty and limited use of automatic fire, however, the ubiquitous nature of semiautomatic self-loading firearms is a much more pressing issue to “figure out.” For example, all of the laws in California are presumed for semiautomatic firearms— and the Providence is not, so why can’t this firearm simply ignore and/or bypass all the restrictions for semiautomatic firearms with detachable magazines? You can bet, legal or not, scientifically or not, functioning principle or not, no way in hell California accepts this firearm as not being semiautomatic… after all, you continuously pull the trigger, and rounds start going down range, one after the other, EVEN THOUGH IT IS A SINGLE SHOT BOLT GUN.

      And that is where this whole thing is going to get uncomfortable for everyone… this gun, or similar upcoming similar firearms designs like it are going to force this legal confrontation between the goal of banning all semiautomatics, or effectively realizing that gun control is completely moot, because there is always a functioning method around the restrictive or prohibitive law. Whether SB Tactical braces, whether Thordsen and bullet buttons, whether Slidefire stocks… whether Ghost Gunners or Providence, you cannot stop the signal of American ingenuity.

      This could be the firearm (or a similar principle design) that SCOTUS rules on in a few years, that effectively says, “The arbitrary restrictions and prohibitions on semiautomatics have no practical value, since they function the same as single shot bolt action guns actuated by a single finger— and therefore, restrictions and prohibitions on firearms that restrain the Second Amendment must be based on the real data and effects of guns on public safety, not the action or type of firearms.” And then gun control is lost. You can spin crazy, saturated media hysterics about the “epidemic” of “gun violence” and mass shootings in this country… but when the evidence is brought forth in the form of data and statistics, the entire narrative falls apart. It’s been a big lie for a long time now, as we live in the safest United States in history, with relaxed gun laws in most states over the last quarter century, and with the proliferation of firearms within the citizenry to the point of near-normalization (which is precisely why we find ourselves in such a pitched battle with antigun people today, because they are trying to stop and turn this back)… 100 million gun owners, 400 million guns, 14-17million CCW carriers and growth of the shooting sports and industry across all demographics. And perhaps 100-150 mass shooting deaths annually— in a nation of 330 MILLION people. And the same relatively stagnated gun crime perpetrated by the same prohibited possessors (i.e., criminals, and mostly recidivist criminals in heavily gun controlled urban areas), decade after decade, cyclically accounting for three-quarters of America’s “gun violence epidemic….” Which, obviously, has nothing to do with us 2A Americans.

      In short, the Providence operating design will force the gun control opponents who insist that the true danger and threat is inherent within “weapons of war on our streets,” to examine and dissect their misguided suppositions about guns in the courts, because, as we all know, one gun ain’t all that different from any other gun… it’s the person who wields the gun that matters. And this firearm demonstrates this in a definitive “case closed” kind of way, particularly with regard to the lies about semiautomatic guns with detachable magazines, doesn’t it?

      Be safe.

      1. @ Mort Good explanation but can you imagine explaining this to a judge or even just your run of the mill anti gun. You would lose them with your first sentence. It is a novel idea if it works like it is supposed to and the ATF leaves it alone.

      2. The potential for this to push SCOTUS into a comprehensive ruling exists, but only if it generates demand in states like California and New York. The end game of the hoplophobes (deep state, new world order, whatever your preferred label is) has always been to limit the public to single shot firearms, and then only with permission. They recognize this sort of thing for what it is; passive (so far) resistance, and only an idiot would deny that it is growing, rapidly. That’s why the Left is desperate to keep the border open, and/or get us into another major land war. The only way to save their agenda, is to flood us with new left leaning voters, or engineer a chaotic, martial law situation. We can expect the hysterics to escalate without limit.

    7. Who really needs an explanation of how an AR pattern gun with no a twist land and groove barrel works? Can’t really say “rifling” I guess. While they’re at it, would they please explain how a sling shot and Trebuchet works? I understand they’re working on AR pattern shoulder weapons for both of them too.

    8. They introduced the other thing last year, has anyone actually gotten one yet? Neat idea but seems like maybe they should work on getting products out before inventing new ones.

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