Book Review: Textbook of Pistol Technology and Design

Peter Dallhammer is a mechanical engineer who works for the Walther company, and has written an excellent book on firearms manufacture. If you were going to design a university program around the design and production of small arms, his “Textbook of Pistol Technology and Design: Production, Principles, Progress” could be a foundation of the program. Dallhammer focuses his scope on the 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and takes the reader through the whole scope of design and production. The book is divided into four main sections:

– Production Technologies. This describes the applications and pros and cons of all the major methods of making parts. Machining, molding, MIM, stamping, and so on, plus several types of surface treatments.

– Pistol Principles. This covers all the different options for mechanical design of a pistol. Function and design options for the major components, how different safeties work, how to choose spring types, and some legally-relevant issues like micro stamping and electronic “smart” gun systems.

– US Regulations. The legal elements involved in marketing a pistol in the US. This includes information on importation, as well as both Federal and state level regulations. This is perhaps less useful for an American reader who is probably largely familiar with it, and it is also subject to change if laws change.

– Case Studies. Dallhammer assesses 9 different pistols based on all the criteria explained in the previous sections. These include Glock and H&K, as well as Caracal (remember them?), Taurus and KelTec.

For the person who wants to know what really is involved in designing, manufacturing, and marketing a handgun (or other firearm), this is an outstanding resource. It is not a book with all the answers, but it will go a very long way in ensuring you know all the right questions to ask.

Available from the publisher in Germany (German or English), or from Amazon (English):


      • On second look, no, it’s not the Glock. Given the author works for Walther, I thought it might be a CCP, but it certainly does look like a rotating bbl lockup.

        • Yeah, the G46 barrel rotates on a frame-mounted track. The barrel collar in the photo might rotate the barrel, but it kind of looks like it has a tilt-camming section on the bottom (hard to tell). It also looks like the majority of the bolt (other than the breechface) is an insert rather than integral with the slide – more and more intriguing the more I examine it!

          I’d love to see Ian get a hold of one – unless it’s just a figment of Dr. Dallhammer’s creative imagination.

      • This is Walther Creed… Latest hammer 9mm pistol of the company… Barrel with MIM locking block is made in two pieces and slide with breechblock also… Breech face is İntegral with slide but breech block is separate as being made of plastic… US patent appications, US20130061501 for lock piece and US 20120192492 for slide… MR Dallhammer has no credit on both patents…

          • Both applications were also granted with Serial Numbers; 8997623 for locking piece and 8555537 for slide…

        • Strongarm (and Keith),
          So – conventional-operating pistol with unconventional / simplified assembly method? I should have known; I’ve been using similar techniques on a recent project. Thanks!

    • Looks like a Taurus TS9 (not imported to the USA) or a BBTech BB6. Both have ties to Wilhelm Bubbits . The odd slide inserts kinda give it away.

  1. Hi Ian,
    The book does not seem to be available. Amazon says they don’t know when or if it will be available. The German website does not appear to have a function for purchasing the book. Although my German is a bit rusty.

    Any clues on how to order the book?

  2. I my opinion this review describes the book very well. It is an extension of his doctoral dissertation “Innovation in der Faustfeuerwaffentechnik zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts”, accepted by the Bundeswehr University Hamburg in 2015. So he has indeed become Dr. Peter Dallhammer.

  3. This book looks amazing. I have been gathering notes on manufacturing techniques and formulas for years so this book is perfect. Can we get a heads up when the book becomes available again? I travel a lot doing field work, Im a fisheries biologist, so internet is not always a tool I can use reliably. I do try to check my email though for new forgotten weapon posts and videos.

  4. Mr. Dalhammer was the inventor of Walther P99 trigger workhouse and barrel retain. As known, this pistol was the first striker DA/SA trigger action and had a feature of two stage trigger pull should the slide manually retracted. This means, striker would be cocked SA first, but disconnector acting over the trigger bar as getting it on DA pull as retaining the striker at still SA. This should be a missed point at designing stage but company staffs promptly found an attractive name for this strange lockwork… A real compromise… lMHO…

  5. The barrel is a Walther barrel that’s made in two pieces with the locking block and cam lugs made in one piece and then attached to the rifled barrel around the chamber.

  6. Ian, thanks for the review. I ordered one immediately after watching your video. The comparisons of modern handguns from a designer’s perspective should be especially interesting!

  7. A useful book. A teacher at the university gave it to us to read. I am a bookworm, and I believe that we need different literature to develop our mind and yourself. I am very interested in the topic of personal growth and I often read about it at and such articles literally inspire me – I want to learn even better and know even more! I know that the author of this book, Peter Dallhammer, was also very passionate about self-development and without reading other authors, his writing skill would not be very good, to say the least.

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