Desperate Birmingham crooks are using antique, century-old pistols, say forensic experts leading the fight against gun crime.
Scientists at a secret Birmingham lab tracking the use of firearms across the country have told the Mail the use of modified Baikal gas-powered guns is decreasing.
Criminals are instead relying on plundered war trophies and collectible weapons, sometimes more than 100 years old.
The “shared” firearms have become the weapon of choice for crooks as modern weapons become more expensive and harder to get hold of.
During the 2011 Birmingham riots a St Etienne revolver - used by the French military in 1892 - was fired at the West Midlands Police helicopter outside the Barton Arms, Newtown.