Bergmann Simplex Pocket Pistols (Video)

The Bergmann 1896 Number 2 pistol was a relatively successful compact pocket gun for its day, but quickly became obsolete as semiautomatic handguns developed and improved. Bergman and his chief engineer Schmeisser spent the late 1890s developing and improved version of the Bergmann automatics, pitting into two distinct lines of development. One was the Number 5 (1897) locked breech pistol for military service, which would evolve into the reasonable successful Model 1910. The other was the Number 6 (circa 1899) which would become the Simplex.

The Simplex was a compact simple blowback pistol firing a proprietary 8x18mm cartridge slightly less powerful than the .32 ACP. It used a detachable magazine of 5, 8, or 10 rounds and shared the basic aesthetic lines of the 1897 and 1903 Bergmann pistols, albeit smaller and cheaper. However, the Simplex was in direct competition with the FN/Browning 1900, which was a spectacularly successful and popular design. The Bergmann Simplex was unable to effectively, and only about 4000 were made in total before it was dropped form production.

There are two basic variations of the Simplex, and we have one of each in this video. The early guns have the magazine release located on the front of the magazine well, and the late pattern guns have a more modern style of magazine release button on the side of the frame above the trigger.


  1. “FN/Browning 1900”
    Aesthetic of this automatic pistol influenced Dreyse 1907 automatic pistol

    “The Bergmann Simplex was unable to effectively, and only about 4000 were made in total before it was dropped form production.”
    How many years it was produced? I’m not sure: is 4000 examples only? Consider that it has to rival with well-estabilished market of revolver market AND fire unique cartridge.

  2. They’re “smaller” but I wouldn’t use the word “compact.” Look at the barrel length vs. overall length. Revolver like.

    • True, but the smaller pocket models were meant to be concealed inside one’s coat or jacket. The Bergmann pistols are a bit thinner than revolvers of the era, so they might be easier to hide.

  3. It seems Herr Schmeisser insisted in “Shrinked Rifle” construction in his pistol designs from beginning to end, with exception of one .25 ACP Browning inspired sample. A rifle like receiver with a fixed barrel in the front and a light breechbolt behind it between the sidewalls of this receiver. This is all same from Simplex to Model 1910. Relating to the suppositions about the AK47 design belonging to him, should it be possible for a person of this “Fixed mind”, to change his sticked on lockwork style of “Tilted Block” style to “Rotating Bolt” kind into the short period of nearly one year which is said he had worked on this rifle concept…

    • “Herr Schmeisser”
      I don’t want to be rude, but you probably confused Schmeisser with Schmeisser.
      Dreyse 1907 automatic pistol is design of Louis Schmeisser (1848-1917).
      Alleged influencer of AK is Hugo Schmeisser (1884-1953).
      And there was also Hans Schmeisser which was also active in field of fire-arms (see for example patent DE706863C from 1937 for Abzugsvorrichtung fuer Einzel- und Dauerfeuer an selbsttaetigen Feuerwaffen or patent DE461613C from 1928 for Maschinenpistole)

      • Hugo, a frenetic Nazi, was largely responsible for the original Haenel MKb42. The misnaming of the Erma MP38/40 a “Schmeisser” by British Intelligence during the war pleased him greatly, because he’d once been fired from Erma. His last SMG design was the MP28 modification of the MP18.



  4. I would love to own one of these some day. They just have such an attractive design to them. I might just end up machining one chambered in 9mm one day.

    • I have one Serial 39XX. The interesting thing is that a .32 auto cartridge will chamber in it! The 8X18 Bergman is within a few thousandths of the .32. I didn’t fire it although it would obviously fire because breaking the parts on a valuable collectors item would REALLY make me cry! Even the .32 is a little more powerful than the 8X18, so making a .380 is really problematical. There are many features copied or modified from the C96. The sight is like the C96 locking block put on top with a sight cut in the top. The firing pin is very similar to the C96, and if you pull the bolt all the way open, then pull the trigger, the hammer holds the bolt open, just like the C96.

  5. I gave the Wife a S&W Mod 640-1 which is the .357mg version in all stainless steel. I have a Mod. 340PD which is a titanium/alloy hybrid in the .357mg. Very lite and a hand full shooting the magnums. I bought oversize Pachmayr grips to help tame the recoil.

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