1896 Bittner: The Most Beautiful Steampunk Pistol

One of the very last, most common, and best looking of the Austrian manually operated pistols is the Bittner. Designed by Gustav Bittner in 1893 and going into production in 1896 (the known examples were proofed in 1897 and 1898), I think the Bittner is just about the most beautiful pistol I have seen. Several hundred were made; possibly as many as 500. They were produced for the civilian market only, with an option for a fancy presentation case. The Bittner was the last gasp of the manually operated pistol, as successful self-loaders like the C96 Mauser were being introduced alongside it.

Note that the numbers often found on the bottom of the barrel are not serial numbers – they are Vienna proof house sequential numbers. The actual Bittner serial numbers are stamped on the inside of the frame, visible only after removing the side plate.


  1. Finally, You covered a fire arm from my favorite science fiction series!
    Captain Mal carries an updated Bittner pistol in the “Firefly” TV series and the film “Serenity.” Captain Mal’s pistol is the hyper-rare Bittner model 1900 with a more compact magazine spring.

    • Knew I loved it at first sight. I believe Ian is also a Firefly fan as well.
      If ever there were a repro of this, I’d sign up to have it delivered five years from now…

      • “Listen, you don’t know me, son, so I’m gonna say this once: if I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed.”
        That’s the one I was looking for gorramit

  2. All these ring operated pistols have a square opening at rear of the receiver for the bolt’s lug way out… It might be an ideal enterance for insects… Or little machinists wondering what is going on inside….

    • Important to note, given Serb shot Austro-Hungarian Duke= Mass death. Cough. Stuff going on. Napoleons birds dad was seemingly the emperor overall in charge at austerlitz… Charmer, he he.

        • Tirpitz the fleet… What a waste of time that was.

          I once met a German; in Germany… Who went to great lengths to tell me ww1 was not there fault. After 15 years I agree it wasn’t the Kasiers.

          We the British had cAuse for war; to come 3rd after U.S Russia= -population/materials.

          Germany… Well will take folk back Ernst Augustus, King of ENGLAND not just hannover. Time machine. Beep, bdeep.

          Different world I think.

          • Napoleon made Germany not Bismarck; aggressive republican frogs.

            And thus they; the French made 1870 and 1914 discuss.

          • “(…)French(…)”
            For whyabouts of Great War seen from that perspective see La Grande Guerre des Français, 1914-1918 by Jean-Baptiste Duroselle.

      • I forget who the quote is from, but it is apt,

        Every national boundary in Europe Mark’s the line where two groups of bandits, either lost the will or the energy to keep on killing each other.

        On the peaceful side, people chose to go and live amongst each other and trade, and even inter marry.

        I’ve worked alongside a Silesian with a Germanic name, a Czech and a Slovak, who’s dialects were sufficiently close for them to understand almost every word. The Czech guy didn’t have much spoken English (he could understand it well enough, just couldn’t speak it), so the English guys ended up swearing in Czech (with a Pardubice accent!) as well.

        Kafkha was from that same area. Jewish and German speaking

        For some reason,there are still wars, perhaps Kafkha can explain why

        I’m not sure how much of his unpublished work survives

        His agent was supposed to have destroyed it all

        Instead, his agent’s mad cat woman widow hoarded it in a cat piss soaked flat in Israel for many decades.

        Perhaps the answer finally succumbed to corrosive cat piss?

  3. Anyway global warming is probably sorted; Icelands extinct volcanos since, Greenland (The Greenlanders) interesting book; novel. Went cooler… Volcanos are starting to pop. New breed of fish people.

    Meh. Fucking Rona.

    • (Reckons it was Bristol men; black death, found some ye olde Vikings; with no swords,) Shagged some and then drowned them seemingly. The missing Saga; of Ragornok… Skint pirates, from Bristol England.

      Probably sonething to it; noticiably warmer if not “Green” in Eric the Reds time anyway.

      • You’re endless comments that never have anything to do with the videos that Ian puts out are what I was calling gibberish ,but then you knew that already. You really shouldn’t post while in the bag.

        • Er… “Just checked back” Austria-Hungary; the flag is wrong.

          Cough. Iceland…


          Er… Anyway LOOK! A flying pig. Scarper.

        • I didn’t know that already actually.

          They are… Sort of linked. But I accept your point; overall.

          So I did know’ish… I refute they are entirely gibberish though.

          Bit harsh that really after so long; the g35 was as shit by walther as I suggested.

    • Why don’t you fart in a bag, and inhale it? Cut down on C02, or not.

      Severs for the digital economy need to burn 10 whales a minute in equivlent oil. Did you know that?*

      *= Alan Partridge big sheds= Giant chickens.

  4. Watch we will freeze eco person. Because the Earth got to hot, so it changed regardless of Chevy Stingrays.

    (That may have come across as condesending= But…)

    Batteries, colbalt… Each time someone says something less… Or more general than this a Penguin dies.

    Actually I will just shut up.


  5. “Designed by Gustav Bittner in 1893 and going into production in 1896”
    This is… entangled.
    https://en.topwar.ru/56179-pistolet-bittnera-bittner-repeating-pistol.html claims that
    Starting around 1880, Gustav Bittner began work on creating a magazine pistol. Several experimental samples were created and, at the beginning of 1890, a prototype Bittner pistol appeared, which was almost the same as the first industrial production models.
    whilst 1896 is explained as year of patent
    Gustav Bittner 17 October 1896 in the Prague patent office received a certificate for the design of the gun, the loading of which occurred with a special lever.
    http://www.earmi.it/armi/semiautomatiche.htm call this weapon
    la Bittner del 1883 in cal. 7,7 mm
    without giving any explanation what that year mean.

    Regarding Bittners, Gebrüder Bittner company in Weipert (Böhmen) was founded in 1830 by Gustav Bittner Sr. and Raimond Bittner but this weapon was developed by Gustav Bittner Jr. (1843-1906). They have ancestors many years before who were working in fire-arms production, their company was mainly in hunting fire-arms production.

    • This is good source, I go there sometimes. They collect and present the best sources available at net.

      That town Vejprty is in Sumava region in south Bohemia. It was for some reason center of small arms production outside of Praha, Strakonice, Brno and some other minor locations. Bittner himself was apparently Austrian German, not Czech.

  6. When I have my time machine working again (SO hard to get parts!), I’m going back to gay old Vienna and introduce Mr. Mannlicher to the Pedersen clip. (Garand clip? Who and hell did invent that thing?) Why one row of five when you can have two? The Bittner pistol with a 10-rd mag and fairly quick reloading would be a formidable iron, esp. after I stop by his shop and introduce him to the 9 x 20-some-odd mm Parabellum cartridge. “Why do you call it Parabellum? Oh, I see, it’s Latin. Catchy.”

    Heck, I don’t mind prodding history a little.

  7. No safety on this one? Or is the pivot screw for the trigger build to act as a cross-bolt safety? I think so giving the button-like boss on the left side and the screw sticking out of the right side. That’s looking as another clever feature on this beautiful piece.

  8. What was once called The Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum, had when it was transferred up from Sydney to Singleton, in the Hunter Valley in 1973. Had a magnificent specimen of this weapon (? model) superbly engraved and silver and enamelled filled in. Contained within another superb item, its presentation case, made of Red Brazilian Mahogany with much engraving also filled in with silver and enamel. The weapon contained in a fitted sealskin lined compartment, fitted out with sub-compartments for all its accessories. Named to a Australian gentleman, it coming to Australia post Great War as loot, and presented to the old Machine Gun School, Sydney, in the ’20’s. As with so much of the museum quality stock, stolen in the late 1970’s!

  9. Whenever I look at manually-operated magazine-fed pistols like this one, I think of a shooting range where the user focuses on nailing accuracy. I could be wrong.

  10. “Beautiful”?

    I’m not sure any lethal weapon is really beautiful, but that and its cousins look awful to me.

    If you want elegance in an anti-personnel pistol, maybe a Navy Luger or a Smith Registered Magnum, Remington 51, or Mauser HSc. Certainly not that visually incoherent assembly of tubes, slabs, rounded lumps, smooth bits, and straight bits that looks like a post-apocalypse home gunsmith job made from spare parts of other guns and stuff found lying around a hardware store.

    Just my opinion.

    Suggested video: what’s the best looking pistol? (Answer – see above?).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.