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The GAT

gatpistol

I’ve never owned a GAT pistol, though I do have an almost identical pistol I wrote up a while ago. And the very first air pistol I ever owned was a cheap, cast metal,  German-made GAT-type pistol I bnought from a magazine ad back around 1973.  All share a common design: You cock them by pushing the barrel backwards against a spring until it engages the trigger sear. Next, you unscew a plug at the rear of the barrel, insert a pellet or dart, and replace the plug. On firing, the barrel moves forward, compressing air contained in a sleeve surrounding the barrel. This air passes into a port at the rear of the barrel, propelling the pellet out with remarkably little force.

The guns are smoothbore, which means that accuracy isn’t fantastic, but it means that darts can be fired without damaging the bore. There’s also a collar at the barrel in which a cork can be inserted, turning the GAT into a cork gun, and, as you can see in the illustration, a fly swatter projectile!

My GAT also had a rhyme printed on the side of the receiver:

Never let your little gun

Pointed be at anyone

Good advice. When I was in England in 1990, a gentleman at a gun shop in Durham informed me that this is actually a variation on  a poem well known to British Sportsmen:

“A Father’s Advice” by Carl Kauba

If a sportsman true you’d be
Listen carefully to me:
Never, never let your gun
Pointed be at anyone.
That it may unloaded be
Matters not the least to me.
When a hedge or fence you cross
Though of time it cause a loss
From your gun the cartridge take
For the greater safety’s sake.
If twixt you and neighboring gun
Bird shall fly or beast may run
Let this maxim ere be thine
“Follow not across the line.”
Stops and beaters oft unseen
Lurk behind some leafy screen.
Calm and steady always be
“Never shoot where you can’t see.”
You may kill or you may miss
But at all times think this:
“All the pheasants ever bred
Won’t repay for one man dead.”

Good advice.

37 Comments

  1. J.R. wrote:

    I also had a similar one. Always considered it like a toy… in fact, some airsoft guns are more powerful and acurate. In the end, I gave it to a friend. Good as the first “real” gun for a kid, nothing else.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 6:32 am | Permalink
  2. Samuel Whitmore wrote:

    I have a T. J. Harrington & son model J-101 Gat air pistol, but it is missing the screw in breech bolt (plug). Do you know where I can get a replacement bolt?

    Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
  3. montse molina wrote:

    Please if you know where I can buy The gat pistol, please let me know. I want a pistol that can shoot corks!! please contact me!!!

    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  4. mje wrote:

    They’re not hard to find in the U.K., but I haven’t been able to find a retailer selling them in the US, other than some collectors asking ridiculous prices. Maybe one of our readers knows of a source.

    Friday, February 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  5. chris wrote:

    i have a gat pistol for sale if any ones intrested contact me

    Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink
  6. mikeg wrote:

    I have a origional harrington and son “the gat” which I would like to sell if anyone is interested. mike20069@hotmail.com

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  7. Tony Bryant wrote:

    I’m looking to buy the GAT any sellers out there? Please e-mail at tonloc1963@gmail.com

    Thursday, December 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
  8. dazbee wrote:

    I have an original tj harrington & sons ‘THE GAT’ email me. Offers

    Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  9. ray wrote:

    i have an original tj harrington & sons, it also says walton surrey, also says the GAT UMAREX 4.5 any idea what its worth, its in excellent working order.thanks ray

    Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink
  10. McOllister wrote:

    Hi RAY,
    I’m interested, please write to this email so we agree.
    Regards.

    plungerscaptain@gmail.com

    Friday, January 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  11. DARKO wrote:

    i hawe the pistol for sale

    Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 3:12 am | Permalink
  12. tim wrote:

    I have a original gat gun for sale THE GAT T.J HARRINGTON ANND SONS SUURREY. complete. e-mail me offers.

    Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink
  13. steve peers wrote:

    HI,i was wondering if you still have the Harrington Gat for sale, and if so how much do you want for it.
    thanks

    Monday, June 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink
  14. Kirk wrote:

    I have a GAT air pistol for sale. Send me any offer. Only missing 1 dart.

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  15. bryn wrote:

    i have the original t.j.harrington j-101 4.5mm gat gun fully working with safety few scuffs scratches but apart from that 100%fully working order and a absolute cracking piece of kit no darts included please get back to me on 07974893698 or cliffordbryn@gmail.com… thanks

    Friday, December 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  16. mel wrote:

    Hi I have THE GAT J.101 F 4.4mm
    T.J.HARRINTON&SON WALTON SURREY in good order not the original screw in back but has a replacement that seems ok be great to get a gen screw if possible? Could any one advice as to the value and age and where I might get correct screw. Thanks

    Monday, December 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  17. Steve wrote:

    Hello,
    If anyone has a Harington Gat gun either in working order or for parts I would be interested in purchasing it.
    Thank you.
    m3koul@yahoo

    Friday, January 23, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink
  18. Steve wrote:

    Or if someone would like the basic shell with trigger let me know. Maybe we could trade something. Let me know if you need the pistol housing and trigger mechanism.
    Thanks,
    Steven
    m3koul@yahoo.com

    Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink
  19. David wrote:

    Looking to buy a Harrrington GAT. (new condition). Had a couple when I was younger.
    Thanks

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink
  20. mje wrote:

    Maybe these people will ship overseas: http://www.airsoft-guns.co.uk/acatalog/Air_Pistols.html

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  21. David wrote:

    Hi MJE,
    I tried the website you mentioned but there is no option to buy on the site. Pity. If anyone has any other ideas of where I could purchase I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink
  22. Jos Evans wrote:

    I have an original Gat for sale if anyone is interested drop me a line. Cheers Jos

    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 1:07 am | Permalink
  23. Rodger wrote:

    I would be interested

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink
  24. Michael Miles wrote:

    I have a original gat but I have it in pieces
    The spring barrel back plug and front. It’s all there just needs to be assembled
    The gun itself could use some paint.

    Not bad though for a pistol that is this old
    I’m in Victoria BC.

    Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  25. Willie du Preez wrote:

    I’ve got an original TJ harrington & son gat for sale. It is still in mint condition and in 100 percent working condition. U can contact me at 0761994146 for more information

    Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 4:23 am | Permalink
  26. Sam wrote:

    I would like to purchase the gat air rifle in the box and the gat pistol in the box. If any body is selling please contact me.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
  27. Sam wrote:

    My email is sharney@appsvillamadonna.net

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
  28. david wrote:

    I’ve got one for sake sensible offers only in uk

    Friday, June 26, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  29. Trevor wrote:

    http://cinedux.com/the-gat.php

    Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
  30. Alan wrote:

    I met Mr. Harrington at a Gun Show in Birmingham in the early 1990s.
    I bought two Gat Air rifles from him. His story about the loan he had from his father to set up the Gat production was fascinating.
    I was using one of them yesterday with some Chimbo ‘cat slugs’.
    Still plenty of life in it.

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 5:34 am | Permalink
  31. Alan wrote:

    My son still has his black Gat in the box with corks, darts and pellets!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 5:36 am | Permalink
  32. Norn wrote:

    I recently acquired a GAT in the original box, but, minus any paperwork and the part where you would load it. Does anyone know where I can get an owners manual and parts?I would sure like to see this in action as I have not used one before.Thanks for any and all help.

    Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  33. Werner wrote:

    Gat 101 4.5mm forsale 0738092251

    Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
  34. Jonathan wrote:

    I’m looking to buy a Gat Gun that fires the little corks – if you have one for sale please get in touch. Jrw@stolt.com
    Thank you

    Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink
  35. Nicola wrote:

    How much does a GAT gun usually sell for?

    Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink
  36. Maldar wrote:

    Hi all,

    I am looking for a GAT Gun which fires the corks if anyone has one for sale?

    Thanks

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  37. Jose wrote:

    I have one for sale … 1917 340 8872
    I’m in the U.S. (Florida) text me offers plz and i will send pictures

    Monday, March 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

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