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What Was the First Automatic Pistol? (Video)

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What was the first true semiautomatic pistol? Let’s take a look…

Before there were self-loading pistols, there were manually operated repeating pistols with magazines – like the 1850s Volcanics. A surprising number of this type of pistol were developed in Austria in the 1880s, and they led directly to some of the first blowback […]

Roth-Theodorovic Pistol w/ Tambour Safety (Video)

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Georg Roth’s company in Austria presided over a wonderful variety of interesting handgun development, and this is one example of that lineage. Roth’s licensed or purchased the patent for this pistol from its inventor, Wasa Theodorovic, and turned it over to his engineer Karel Krnka to develop (I’m simplifying this). The design used a […]

Frommer 1901 Pistol (Video)

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Rudolf Frommer was a self-taught engineer and firearms designer who worked his way up through the FEG concern in Budapest to eventually hold the position of CEO. During this time he developed a series of long-recoil, rotating-bolt pistols culminating in the Frommer Stop, which was adopted by the Austro-Hungarian military. These pistols began with […]

Vintage Saturday: Austrian Prisoners

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Austrian prisoners of war in Murmansk, 1916 (from Prokudin-Gorsky.org – click to enlarge)

This photo is an original color picture, not a modern colorization – taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky, a pioneer of color photography. Also of interest, note that the Russian guard on the far left is armed with a Berdan II rifle […]

Steyr M95 Semiauto Conversion (Video)

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This rifle is a Steyr M95 straight-pull carbine that has been converted into a semiauto by adding a gas piston under the barrel connected to the bolt carrier, and an extension to the stock and receiver for the bolt to travel in. The pistol grip was added so that the trigger group could remain […]

Detailed Photos: Mannlicher 1901/04 Carbine

One of Ferdinand von Mannlicher’s very last firearms was an experimental 1901/04 carbine, scaled up from its original pistol cartridge to a new 7.63x32mm intermediate-sized cartridge. I had a video on one of these very scarce carbines from a previous Julia auction, and also took a bunch of detailed photos of the gun disassembled. Mechanically, […]

Early Pistol Cartridges – What, When & Why?

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In a recent discussion with a friend the topic of early automatic pistol cartridges came up. Specifically, looking at the context of which cartridges were actually available at which times, and how this might provide helpful context for understanding why particular cartridges were adopted (or commercially successful) or were not.I decided to see if I […]

Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

RIA – Swiss Model 1893: A Mannlicher Cavalry Carbine

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The Swiss were the first country to adopt a bolt action repeating rifle with their Vetterli, and followed this by changing to a straight-pull design in the 1880s. The straight-pull Schmidt-Rubin system was quite good, but one potential flaw was that it was a quite long action. This became an issue when the Swiss […]

RIA: A Pair of Arresting Montenegrin Gasser Revolvers

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This is quite the eye-catching pair of revolvers…

The Model 1870 Gasser was a behemoth of a pistol designed by Leopold Gasser for the Austro-Hungarian cavalry – it was built around the 11x36mm cartridge used in their Werndl cavalry carbines. This cartridge was a middle ground between rifle and pistol; light enough to not […]