Working with Guns Recovered from Ground Zero on 9/11

USA – -( As a museum professional, I’ve had the opportunity to handle some remarkable pieces of American history and the three that I want to talk to you about today all relate to September 11th.

Kimber from the World Trade Center (photo courtesy NRA Museums)

The first piece is a Kimber Classic Royal 1911 pistol that was in the customs warehouse in the basement of the World Trade Center waiting to be exported to a company in Italy that was supposed to take possession of those guns and distribute them over there. A number of years passed and the gentleman who had accepted those guns realized the importance of them to American history and worked with Navy Arms to get one of those guns back into the US and donate it to the museum at NRA HQ. I was working there when that gun came in and I’ve had the opportunity to handle it and be a part of its story and its history.

When you see that gun, you wouldn’t know that it was in the World Trade Center and in that carnage because the gun is in mint condition. That’s because it was in one of the vaults, which was an incredibly secure facility, and miraculously those guns did not sustain any damage while they were down there.

The next two pieces did sustain a terrific amount of damage. One of those is a Smith and Wesson snubnose J-frame revolver that was carried by New York Police Department Officer Walter Weaver. He was 30 years old and was a nine year veteran of the force. He was last seen on the sixth floor of the north tower getting people out of a stuck elevator when the building came down on top of them. During the recovery efforts, his body was not found, but his backup gun – this Smith and Wesson – was found. Based on the serial number, the NYPD was able to figure out who the gun had been issued to and his family subsequently donated it to the museum. I have handled that gun and can tell you that it’s bent and mangled frame is a testament to the carnage that day.

Walter Weaver’s revolver (author photo)

The third piece is a Smith and Wesson Model 5946 semi-auto pistol in 9mm. That gun’s story relates to the Walter Weaver story because I was down in the museum galleries when a gentleman tapped me on my shoulder and said, “I hear you have Walter Weaver’s gun; where is it?” I showed it to him and he explained to me that his name was Dan D’Allara and his twin brother, John D’Allara, was a good friend of Walter Weaver’s. John D’Allara responded to the calls for help with this Smith and Wesson 5946 pistol on his belt. Unfortunately, John D’Allara was lost that day. However, they actually did find John’s body in the rubble, which was a miracle, and his duty gun was there with him as well.

I worked for a number of months with his brother in order to get the pistol, the flag that covered his body when it was brought out of the rubble of Ground Zero, as well as the rounds that had cooked off in the magazine to be put on loan to the museum. That was actually one of the very last things I did there before I left and pursued High Caliber History full-time.

John D’Allara’s pistol (author photo)

So, I just wanted to share with you here on this 18th anniversary of 9/11, these three incredibly historic guns that I am exceptionally honored to have been able to handle in my career – the Kimber from the customs warehouse, the Smith and Wesson revolver from Officer Walter Weaver, and the Smith and Wesson pistol from Officer John D’Allara.

About Logan MeteshLogan Metesh

Logan Metesh is a historian with a focus on firearms history and development. He runs High Caliber History LLC and has more than a decade of experience working for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the NRA Museums. His ability to present history and research in an engaging manner has made him a sought after consultant, writer, and museum professional. The ease with which he can recall obscure historical facts and figures makes him very good at Jeopardy!, but exceptionally bad at geometry.

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Good article and tribute to these people who made the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man.


Thank you for this interesting and important history of these courageous men!


Good article. Never forget who did this and other acts of killing Americans on our own soil. I don’t believe there are any peaceful ones. They all try to follow their unGodly prophet.


How do you fight enemies foreign or domestic when your government is trying to disarm you?


JPM, you are right on the money. I could not agree with you more. Many have forgotten or don’t care about 9/11 and to allow ANY Muslims into USA elected office is nothing short of treason for they will always be against what this Republic stands for (or once did). Thanks, Obama..


Great article. Sadly, too many people today who were alive on 9/11, have forgotten or don’t care any more. The proof of that is when a Muslim can be elected President (image someone named Tojo or Hitler being elected president in 1942) and most recently when 2 Muslims can be elected to Congress. We will suffer for not paying attention to history, especially most recent history.

45 is my other auto

Thanks for the article. The 2 guns from the officers and their story was a nice rememberance to them. Never forget!


“Some people did some things”…..
NEVER forget WHO those people actually were nor WHAT they did !

Deplorable Bill

Never forget those who were mass murdered by the evil followers of islam– “the religion of peace”. There can be no diplomacy with those, who’s goal is your extinction, subjugation or slavery. As much as one recognizes “remember the Spartans”, as much as one recognizes “remember the Alamo”, as much as one recognizes “remember pearl harbor”, as much as one recognizes “remember 911” one should recognize and never forget that payback is a mother. Freedom has never been free, it comes with the highest of costs. Freedom is worth talking about, arguing over, fighting over, killing over, warring over and… Read more »


I wonder how many “illegal” guns were found.