Fred Datig


If this has been posted already, please forgive me. I have been away at the Western States cartridge show in Reno, and while I have looked over the Forum, and saw nothing, if I missed it, I apologize for the repitition.

It is my sad duty to report the passing of Fred Datig, an important member of the firearms and ammuntiion collecting fraternity. I am told he passed about two weeks ago, but I don’t have any other details, except that there was no funeral.

I was proud to call Fred a friend, and while I only had the privilege of seeing him about once a year, I will miss him. He was one of the giants of our hobby. Fred wrote the pioneer works on several firearms subjects, and was not afraid to share the knowledge he acquired before most knew much on the subjects, even at the risk of having some wrong and missing information. He wrote on subjects, such as Soviet Weapons, when the information on almost anything to so with them was “secret” and pretty much unknown, sharing much information he had that no one else had been able to acquire. In later years I read occasional criticism of some of the work in his cartridge books and his books on Soviet firearms, but at the time they were written, they were absolutely the best information available, and remain valuable research tools despite the amount of knowledge acquired since they were written, much of which built on Fred’s pioneer efforts.

I am sure that in various firearms publications, we will get much better obituaries about Fred than I can possibly write, from those that knew him better.


Sad news. I met Fred once at a gun show and bought one of his cartridge books. His first three “cartridges for collectors” volumes were my introduction to cartridge collecting. His works were very inspirational to me in my early cartridge collecting days… The drawings of sectioned cartridges in his books were directly responsible for my long time interest in sectioning cartridges.



I feel very shocked by this sad new…

I met Fred in 1965, and he was the guy who gave me the “collecting virus” and introduced me to the “Who is Who” in the community…

Fred was a GREAT GUY. After a very gallant service in the US Army-he was one of the youngest enlisted during the last stages of WWII in Europe, then in Korea, earning several medals including the Bronze Star, PH and the French Croix de Guerre-he had many activities and was the first one to write decent books about cartridges, which figure to-day as classical works.

Avery nice fellow and friend, as I remember, for some “sessions” whe had when he was living in Luzern, Switzerland, We did not see so often eachother when he turned back to California, but still kept in touch, especially about items from his deep knowledge on Russian weapons and artifacts.

He was also extremely generous, and almost often just gave away for free specimens he had, in front of “drooling new collectors”… (I confess, thqat I was one of them …!)

We will deeply regret him, and, on the behalf of our French Branch of ECRA (AFERHM) we send all our sad thoughts to his surviving family.

Ph. Regenstreif


Can I second everything Phillipe has said.

Ken Elks and I used to regularly visit Fred in the 1970s when he lived in Luzern and he was always a great host. We also used to have a stand at his Waffenborse every year. Great fun!

Somewhere I have some good pictures of him back in those days, i willtry to find them.