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The Vault

One More Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA!

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This particular Chinese pistol is a great example of all the elements of a proper Chinese Mystery Pistol: sights that don’t function, gibberish markings, mechanical derivation from the Browning 1900, aesthetic elements form the C96 Broomhandle Mauser, and clearly handmade parts. However, this one is a particularly high quality example of the type.

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Japanese Inagaki and Sugiura Pistols at RIA

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The most common Japanese pistols used during World War II were the Type 14 and Type 94 Nambu designs, by a huge margin. However, there were a number of other handguns used in small numbers, and today we’re looking at two of those. The first is the Sugiura, essentially a copy of the Colt 1903 [...]

A Selection of Chinese Mystery Pistols at RIA

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During the 1920s and 1930s, a combination of civil wars and international arms embargoes led to a lot of domestic firearms production in China. The size and quality of manufacturing facilities varied widely – everything from massive factories established with European technical assistance to one-man shops only a step or two above being blacksmiths. The [...]

Shansei .45ACP Broomhandle Mauser at RIA (Video)

During the Chinese civil war in the 1920s and 30s, international arms embargoes made rifles difficult to acquire – which led to a lot of popularity for pistols with shoulder stocks. The C96 “broomhandle” Mauser in particular was popular, and it was copied by a number of Spanish firms for sale in China as [...]

Chinese Pistols Coming Soon!

I just recently spent some time at RIA doing video for their upcoming Regional auction, and happened to notice a batch of guns they were in the process of sorting and writing descriptions of for the April Premier auction: a whole slew of Chinese Mystery Pistols.

I really need to come up with a better [...]

SIG KE-7 Photos

The KE-7 was a short-recoil, open-bolt light machine gun developed by SIG Neuhausen between the World Wars. It was offered for sale in basically any cartridge a nation might request, and were sold primarily to China and Latin America. I have a full Vault page on the KE-7 with a number of manuals, and today [...]

Another Chinese Pistol

Here’s another example of the inter-war Chinese pistol trade – this one from Roger Papke of Handfuls Of History. It’s interesting to note that this pistol is virtually identical in design to the one recently sold at Rock Island, but has much different markings.

The construction of this piece matches in almost every detail [...]

Mauser C96 with Chinese Hand-Made Frame

After posting my video of the oddball Chinese pistol in the recent RIA auction, I received a number of emails from folks with similar sorts of guns. One was from a fellow named Leonardo, who ended up with an interesting Chinese creation courtesy of Fed Ord. About 20 years ago, they were selling really junky [...]

Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA

Many unique and interesting pistols were made in China in the 1920s and 1930s, and this pistol is a good example of them. It is not a copy of any specific Western handgun, although mechanically it works like a Mauser 1914 pocket pistol. It is chambered for .32ACP (the other common caliber for these handguns [...]

Ole Krag’s Experimental Pistol: Made By Norinco

In 1908, Ole Krag (the same man associated with the Krag-Jorgensen rifle) applied for a US patent on an automatic pistol design. This design, along with many others, would be submitted to the Norwegian military pistol trials taking place around that time, and would fail to in them (the winner was the Norwegian copy of [...]