M1 Tank Firing Pin For 105mm Ammunition Using Elec Primers

I found this M1 Tank firing pin on a website and bought it for $20 being that it is related to tank ammo. I have to admit that I am puzzled as to how it works being that the M1 tank is fitted with a M68 Main Gun and the ammunition it fires all use electric primers. I know a electrical circuit must be made and maybe this pin hits a plate or something completing the circuit. Or maybe the pin itself has an electric charge running threw it, not really sure?


It is in fact an electric firing pin, the parts are heavily insulated for that reason.

Sure looks familiar to me. As I recall, this “firing pin” does actually strike the primer, ever so slightly, even though it is electric. I think this was to ensure a good contact, since the “firing pin” also transmitted the electricity to the primer. We used to have a test rig that slid into the gap between the breechblock and the chamber, into the space where the cartridge case rim would be. It was a simple affair with a contact plate and a light bulb. When the gun was armed and the trigger was pressed, the light came on to tell you that all was in order with the firing circuit. If you look at fired 105 cases, you might note a slight dimple in the electric primer…


Thanks so much guys! So the firing pin itself carries the electric charge, interesting. That is great, I always wondered about that.



I remember those. What a neat souvenir that would make! We stored those in the arms room at the post I was stationed at in Germany, to prevent any problems when the squadron was back at kaserne. I don’t know about other units there but all our vehicles were fully loaded with warshot tank ammo (MG ammo was on-site nearby) while at the motor pool. Ya never know what some GI will take a notion to doing with a head full of rauchbier, so we kept the firing pins locked up.

It is awesome you recognize it Cyber! It totally validates it as the real thing. I will ask to see if the guy has a 2nd one :-)


That would be much appreciated!