Book Review: Deadly Beauties – Rare German Handguns


Deadly Beauties is a photographic collection of rare and collectible German pistols from 1871 through 1945, split into two volumes. The written sections are quite brief, and the photography is beautiful. More importantly, the photography was well directed by the authors, focusing on the details of the guns which are of the most interest to students of firearms history and development.

It is hard to say much else about the book since its content is so thoroughly photographic, so I will let a partial list of the guns speak for itself:

Volume I

– Mauser C77
– Presentation 1879 Reichsrevolver
– Experimental C96 Carbine in 7.63x41mm
– Borchardt-Luger #5
– Chilean GL-marked Luger
– 1892 Prototype Bergmann
– Mauser C06/08
– Presentation Engraved 6-Shot C96

Volume II

– Artillery Luger with Night Sights
– Nickl “Reihenfeuer” C96 Machine Pistol
– Mauser Nickl .45 Caliber Prototype
– Walther Toggle-Locked Prototype
– DWM Baby Luger
– Stocked Walther Armee Pistole
– Walther Stamped Prototype Volkspistole
– BSW Prototype Double Stack
– Mauser HSv
– Mauser Prototype Sheet Metal HSc

List price is $80 per volume, available from the Schiffer directly (Volume I, Volume II) or on Amazon.


  1. I appreciate the effort on the part of the authors, but it’s hard for me not to think that picture books like these are obsolescent when you have the Internet and modern handheld devices. I suppose the problem is that people don’t want to pay upfront for Internet content, no matter how good it is, but sites like this are in most ways better than dead tree books with pictures:

    • In this brave new internet world we live in, books like this may no longer serve as primary research material, but their value as aesthetic objects is undiminished.
      This past weekend, I found a copy of Smith & Smith’s Small Arms of the World at a book sale for a pittance; I bought it not because it contains information I couldn’t get elsewhere (indeed, Smith & Smith are often full of crap) but because I love books and this one is full of beautiful engravings and photographs.

      • “engravings”
        Then you might be interested in Вооружение русской армии за XIX столетие с Атласом чертежей В.Г. Федоров
        click link:
        scroll down and click floppy disk, then Скачать in middle of screen, pop-up window appear, check Я хочу скачать этот файл and finally click Скачать.
        After unpacking you will get 2 files:
        Atlas Chertegey.pdf which contain drawings
        Voorugenie Russkoy Armii Za 19 Stoletie.pdf which contain text
        BEWARE: This book is in Pre1917Russian language, anyway even if you do not understand that language, you might watch drawings.

  2. I have these books,for people that enjoy reading the internet will NEVER replace books,nothing like sitting at a table or a couch with a favorite drink and leaf thru something as beautiful as these books,my brother in law told me a few months ago “yeah i quit buying books a long time ago,i just read my kindle now” i felt like telling him to drop me off at the next bus stop,cringing really, anyhow these books are gorgeous, wish the authors had put a little more text into them like specifications etc but overall they are beautiful.

  3. Very high quality books in two volumes, with a detailed description of the technical characteristics of various types of firearms. For students studying weapons manufacturing, these are the perfect books to prepare for exams. It will also be useful to students who study other sciences, when I was writing an essay on suicide with the assistance of a doctor, I visit page and was surprised that there were many references to materials from these books, which described not only the danger of careless use of firearms, but there was also a section dedicated to helping with suicide with the help of medicine. In our society, this is a very sensitive topic and if you need to prepare a student paper, you will find a lot of useful information there.

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