Benke-Thiemann Folding Luger Holster

While most major pistols made before the 1930s had some type of shoulder stock available as an option, the Luger had much more variety of stocks than most others. In addition to the several types of wooden stocks made on military contract, there were also several commercial types of folding stocks made. One of these was the Benke-Thiemann, originally designed by Hungarian Josef von Benke and improved by Georg Thiemann.

This stock was made of sheet metal stampings, and attached by replacing the grip panels of a Luger pistol. When folded, the stock added remarkably little size to the gun, and could still be fired, albeit with a somewhat awkward grip. This was done by cleverly designing the stock to consist of two layers of material which overlaid each other when folded, but then could be held end to end when extended, providing a stock of surprisingly usable length and sturdiness. A single spring-loaded latch was employed to lock the stock in both the folded and extended position.

Ultimately the stock failed to be a commercial success, probably due to costs and worldwide economics in the 1920s when it was developed. Only a few hundred were made, although the serial numbers all have leading zeroes to accommodate an anticipated production in the tens of thousands.

24 Comments

  1. That’s quite an interesting contraption — I wonder how much weight it adds? It looks like this would be ideally suited for a small handed person. It’s odd that this Luger-carbine was given the smallest possible barrel length available.

    “Ultimately the stock failed to be a commercial success, probably due to costs and worldwide economics in the 1920s”

    The US economy was of course booming in the 1920s — and the “gun economy” especially so, with Prohibition creating an explosion of demand by both the good guys and the bad guys. It’s too bad that stocked pistols never got popular enough to achieve any sort of critical mass before 1934.

    • Although some sectors of the U.S. economy experienced the “Roaring Twenties” the arms manufacturing sector wasn’t one of them.

      Large scale production capacity increases during wartime lead to some real economic struggles for U.S. firearms manufacturers post-war. This didn’t really turn around until the ramp-up to the “war economy” that took over for the next “great war” and by that time many of the companies had actually changed hands due to bankruptcy during the “Great Depression.”

      • That seems to be the sad reality of most any arms maker, a boom & bust business cycle whenever the country enters and exits a major war. Though the wind-down of the 21st century Iraq and Afghanistan wars coincided with a major (civilian driven) gun-buying frenzy, a reverse of the “normal” rules.

        I’ve not been able to find any kind of pistol production or sales figures during the time period around the 1920s (an economic activity which these days is generally measured by the number of background checks of potential buyers), but I did find out that the prison population rose substantially in the 1920s, as did the manufacture of handcuffs. I would speculate that more people were probably arming themselves as well during the “roaring” ’20’s, but that’s just a guess.

  2. “designed by Hungarian Josef von Benke and improved by Georg Thiemann.”
    I don’t know Magyar, but maybe someone will be able to find patent for that stock, if it was patented in Hungary.

    • Yes, it was patented in Hungary. You can search in the database of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office here: http://epub.hpo.hu/e-kutatas/?lang=EN. You should know, the original Hungarian name of the inventor is Benke József.
      His patents:
      [Hungarian title]: [Title translated to English], [Application number], [Application date] ([My remarks])
      1. Csuklós pisztolytusa: Hinged pistol stock, 79393, 1920. 09. 01. (According to the patent, Benke was captain [“százados”] at that time, his adress: Budapest.)
      2. Pisztolyfelerősítő szerkezet fegyverek számára: Pistol mount for weapons, 89322, 1922. 09. 30. (Some kind of “underbarrel” – “sidebarrel”? – pistol mount especially for shotguns. According to the patent, Benke was captain at that time, his adress: Budapest.)
      3. Teljes vagy csökkentett forgássebességet átvivő tengelykapcsolás: Fluid coupling for full or reduced rotational speed transfer, 88126, 1923. 03. 29. (According to the patent, Benke was – how you put it? – staff major [“vk. őrnagy”=vezérkari őrnagy] at that time, his adress: Budapest.)
      4. Csuklós pisztolytusa: Hinged pistol stock, 91507, 1925. 05. 14. (I think, this is an improved version of the 79393rd patent. According to the patent, Benke was staff major at that time, his adress: Budapest.)
      5. Felfogóernyő világos helységben vagy szabadban vetített álló vagy mozgó képekhez: Screen for projection in bright room or open air, for both slides and motion pictures, 91934, 1925. 05. 18. (According to the patent, Benke was staff major at that time, his adress: Budapest.)
      6. Szerkezet lőfegyvereknek pisztollyal való összeépítésére: System for guns to mount pistol, 92065, 1925. 07. 13. (According to the patent, this is an improved version of the 89332nd patent. According to the patent, Benke was staff major at that time, and he received the title(?) of “vitéz”, his adress: Budapest. “Vitéz” was some kind of nobility and honor in Hungary [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Vit%C3%A9z].)
      7. Sorozatelsütő-készülék önműködő kézilőfegyverekhez: Full auto trigger device for semi-auto small arms, B-10461 (96060), 1929. 07. 22. (You can switch between single-shot and pull and release fire with this device, without the modification of the pistol. There is the possibility to make such device, which shoot twice during both the pull and release sequence. According to the patent, it is possible and it is advised to use with the hinged stock. According to the patent, Benke was lieutenant colonel [“alezredes”] at that time, his adress: Budapest.)

      8. Céltábla célzáshibamutatókészülékkel: Target with a device, which shows the improper sighting, B-11347 (102623), 1930. 03. 01.
      I’m not absolutely sure, but I think the inventor of this patent is the namesake of Benke József. Why should I think it?
      1. The profession of the inventor of this patent is “qualified gardener”.
      2. There isn’t military rank designation.
      3. The inventor’s adress: Szabadhídvég.
      4. The inventor of this patent is vitéz Benke József. According to the database of the Order of Vitéz [http://katonahoseink.hu/vitezirend/index.html], there were two vitéz Benke József.

      Benke’s latter patents are mechanical pencils, and the co-invetor is Mrs. Benke. According to the patents, Benke was retired major general [“nyugalmazott vezérőrnagy”], and his adress was still in Budapest.)

      • Poresz,

        Thanks for this great information!

        I notice that “91507, 1925. 05. 14” has the finger grooves. And “B-10461 (96060), 1929. 07. 22” is the only one that shows a Luger as the attached pistol.

        • I’ve just read the 79393, 91507, and B-10461 patent.

          “I notice that »91507, 1925. 05. 14« has the finger grooves.”

          The patent descriptions don’t give me clue. We can read in Benke’s first patent (79393):

          “További előnye, hogy lényeges módosítás nélkül vagyis a mindenkori pisztolynak csupán a külső alakjával harmonizáló formában bármely rendszerű pisztolyra (ismétlő vagy forgópisztolyra) alkalmazható.”

          “Additional advantage of this, without major modification it can be applied in any form, which matches with the external shape of any pistol system (repeating pistol* or revolver).”

          * In old terminology it means: semi-automatic pistol.

          It sounds to me, application of finger grooves are not excluded.

          “And »B-10461 (96060), 1929. 07. 22« is the only one that shows a Luger as the attached pistol.”

          According to the patent, this device was not designed specially for the Luger: you can mount it every gun, what has trigger guard.

    • For a timed shooting competition like a 2/3-gun match, a spring-loaded one-touch “transformer” would seem the ultimate design. I’m thinking of the old days when car races typically began with a short foot race, adding a touch of realism (as well as additional danger) to the event. Though it’s unlikely the government would want anyone to have such a compact, instantly-unfolding SBR.

  3. Neato! I’ve seen video and photos (never saw one in the flesh, thanks to the pesky NFA) of an add-on stock for the Glock that fastens on to the bottom of the grip behind the magazine, with a buttplate and a telescoping composite rod for a “stock.” In pistol mode the butt is just under the muzzle, to make it a SBR the stock is unlocked, swiveled to the back, and extended. Supposedly designed for for the full-auto Glock 18, but having fired a C&R Ingliss High-Power with a repro stock the Glock design looks like a (finally) modern solution to a problem as old as the handgun. This is even neater and some 70 years earlier.

  4. With the recent trend towards PDW’s, stock kits for upgrading standard pistols included ( the FAB Defense KPOS comes to mind as an example ), something like this would be a really neat, compact, functional, practical and affordable drop-in solution for not just the Luger but almost any other type of pistol if adapted correctly.

    Someone needs to take ownership of the patent and start making it, or if the patent no longer applies for one reason or the other, introduce a similar design incorporating the positive characteristics of the original. A modernized version in Mil-Spec polymer and/or aluminum alloy would be ideal.

  5. @ Brian

    Thiemann (and another guy called Mütze) got their patent for improving the original locking mechanism of von Benke’s folding stock.

    The original locking mechanism had a few flaws (specified in the new patent):

    1. It was constructed too weak/to small for its purpose. Sizing it up would have resulted in a massive weight gain.

    2. You couldn’t operate it with gloves.

    3. Due to the fact thats it is made out of a special stamped sheet metal it wore out quite fast under regular use.

    Thiemann and Mütze more or less replaced the spring-loaded locking latch by a kind of push-button release.

    It looks like Ian got his hands on a stock with the original locking latch. But I don’t know if these stocks were ever produced or at least retrofitted with the new locking mechanism.

    Regards

  6. Michael,

    Thanks for the info. So it looks like it was originally patented in 1923, that patent was improved in 1927, and produced somewhere in-between.

  7. I used to only want; now, I need.

    Given that Swiss B u. T und so weiter are trying to develop something quite like this, including, perhaps the Czech 7.5mm concept, with a view to police sales, I’d say that this done in polymer of the appropriate type and a red-dot or holosight would be worth some close scrutiny.

    In Euro police operations, the recent mass-casualty terrorist attacks by suicidally inclined mass murderers has led to yet another re-appraisal of police armament. The idea is that a regular, ordinary, plodding cop will be the “first responder” and that s/he will be outgunned by Kalashnikov wielding fanatics. So if it could be turned into a carbine, that might be a bit better.

    The Russians have various designs for similar PDW-type weapons too. The LAPD after the notorious M. Mann “Heat” Holywood bank robbery put a bunch of ARs into a particular NCO’s PD cruiser for distribution as needed… Of course, running the numbers on data demonstrated that the only LAPD who made it through snarled traffic and therefore showed up first were motorcycle cops. So then it was engineered a means to put an Ithaca 37 pump action shotgun on the LAPD motorcycles…

    I can’t speak about poachers, but I’d think on one of the newer pistols, this might be an important feature after all…

    • Oh: It would be Thiemann= TEE-mon. IE= “EE” vs. EI= “I” or “Aye.”

      Drei= “Dri”

      Vielen dank= “Feelin’ donk.”

      “Shoes! Our-feet-r-the-same!” Tchüß! Aufwiedersehen!

  8. Ian:
    I’am one of your Patreon subscribers. I have not received your Forgotten Weapons emails since November. Could you add me to your emails list. I have been watching your videos on UTUBE, but do not know if I’am missing material. Also, are you going to have meet and greet at the NRA Convention. Thank You, Ed Moehringer

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