M1942 liberator
FP-45 Liberator
Country of origin

United States


Guide Lamp Corporation of GMC

Production began

June 1942

Production ended

August 1942

Weapon type



.45 ACP

Overall length

141 millimeters

Barrel length

102 millimeters


454 grams

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

Single shot

Muzzle velocity

244 meters/second

The Liberator was a crude and simple single-shot weapon designed to be dropped into enemy territories in the course of World War II.


The pistol had its origins in the US Army Joint Psychological Committee and was designed for the United States Army in 1942 by the Inland Guide Lamp Manufacturing Division of the General Motors Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. The army designated the weapon the Flare Projector Caliber .45 hence the designation FP-45. This was done to disguise the fact that a pistol was being mass produced. The original engineering drawings label the barrel as "tube", the trigger as "yoke", the firing pin as "control rod", and the trigger guard as "spanner". The Guide Lamp Division plant in Anderson, Indiana assembled a million of these weapons. The Liberator project took about 6 months from conception to end of production with about 11 weeks of actual manufacturing time, done by 300 workers. Most of the pistols were destroyed by the Allies after the war, most without any combat use.[1]


The Liberator's intended purpose was to be used by Allied resistance fighters to assassinate or incapacitate enemy soldiers and take their equipment. The pistols were also intended to play a part in psychological warfare, striking fear into the enemy that hundreds of these single-shot pistols were in the hands of civilians. However, very few Liberators were ever issued to any military force during World War II. The pistol itself was very cheap to manufacture, as all the parts were made of stamped sheet metal, with the barrel being just a simple, unrifled tube. This made the Liberator completely useless at medium to long ranges. It was originally shipped in a cardboard box along with 10 .45 ACP rounds, a wooden dowel to remove any spent cartridges, and an instruction manual displaying how to load and fire the weapon. Extra ammunition could be stored inside the pistol grip.

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