I recently found a very unique item floating around on eBay that I just had to have. It is a mid to late, 1950's, blank firing adapter for the German FN-FAL, G1 rifle, that saw service with the Bundesgrenzschutz.
These blank firing adapters were used when blank cartridge rounds were used in the rifle. With blank rounds, there is not enough back-pressure from the powder gasses to cycle the firearm and eject, then feed the next round. To solve this problem, a blank firing adapter is used when firing blanks. The adapter replaces the flash suppressor and basically blocks off the end of the barrel. This allows the gas from the fired blank round to build up enough back pressure to cycle the rifle. There is a small hole in the end of the blank adapter to allow the excess gas that was not used to cycle the rifle, to escape.
This particular blank firing adapter, or Manöverpatronengerät, was originally issued with the first FN-FAL rifles that saw service with the Bundesgrenzschutz in the mid 1950's.
It is generally believed that these blank adapters were manufactured by Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Belgium, the original manufacturers of the FN-FAL or G1 Rifle, and supplied to Germany with the new-firearm shipments.
The blank adapters were engraved with "On-Off" lettering per the German Bundesgrenzschutz specifications. The adapters are a "twist on-twist off" style, installed after the muzzle flash suppressor was removed.
The early adapters that were made for the BGS are all marked with the "AB-AUF" lettering. The adapters that were issued later to the Bundeswehr did not have the lettering.
Like most NATO style blank adapters, they are painted red to show that a blank firing adapter has been installed (it would be catastrophic to soldier and rifle, to fire a live round with one of these adapters installed!). The red paint clearly indicates that blanks are being fired and to prevent the accidental use of live rounds.
The Bundesgrenzschutz routinely practiced field maneuvers and "mock combat-police missions" with full gear and blank ammo in the field. When they were not patrolling the border (with live ammo), these blank adapters would have been installed for all field training with the exception of live-fire range qualification. If you look closely at the old photos of BGS field maneuvers, you will see these blank adapters installed on the rifles.
It is the little items like this blank adapter that are often overlooked by collectors, however, they played a very big role in the "day-to-day" business of the troopers. This adapter has found a new home in my Bundesgrenzschutz collection and I couldn't be more thrilled!
Enjoy the photo album: