The Charola-Anitua is an early Spanish semiauto pistol dating from 1898. The mechanism of the Charola is similar in principle to the Mauser C96, with a moving wedge being used to lock the bolt to the barrel/slide (which is machined as a single unit, like the Mauser). Upon recoiling backwards about 5mm, the wedge disengages, the barrel stops, and the bolt continues recoiling backwards to eject the empty case.
While this principle is similar to the Mauser pistol, the Charola-Anitua is a much simpler design and much cruder in execution, with a simplified locking lug and slide assembly.
The Charola was manufactured in several calibers, including 5mm Clement and 7mm. A total of about 3,000 guns made in 5mm and 2,000 in 7mm. The 5mm used a six-round fixed magazine with stripper clips, while the 7mm was made in both fixed and detachable magazine variants (both types holding six rounds as well).
The 5mm Charola was made in 4 different variants:
- The first accounted for 950 units, with 105mm barrels and marked “PISTOLA AUTOMATICA PATENTE CHAROLA Y ANITUA, EIBAR”, and no caliber markings.
- The second type (900 made) has a 95mm barrel, and marked I. CHAROLA, EIBAR, CAL 5 m/m”.
- The third variation (800 made) has a yet shorter 85mm barrel, and these are marked “BEST SHOOTING PISTOL” on the top of the barrels.
- The remaining 400 guns of the 4th series were made in Belgium.
In 1900, Anitua left the company, and Ignacio Charola decided to produce the 7mm model. The 7mm guns all have 85mm barrels, and the “BEST SHOOTING PISTOL” marking on the barrel. Production of all types ended in 1905.
The 5mm cartridge for the Charola (a sharply tapered bottleneck design) fires a 28 grain bullet at 1030fps, and the 7mm fires a 62gr bullet at 720fps.
We found a factory engraved 5mm Charola Anitua and a 7mm Charola-Anitua at the Vegas Antique Arms show in 2012, and the owner was kind enough to let us take some photos of both. You can download both galleries at high resolution here:
A great deal of information on early Spanish pistols can be found on Juan Calvo’s web site, Catalogacion de Armas (in Spanish).