Chinese Mystery Pistol at RIA

Many unique and interesting pistols were made in China in the 1920s and 1930s, and this pistol is a good example of them. It is not a copy of any specific Western handgun, although mechanically it works like a Mauser 1914 pocket pistol. It is chambered for .32ACP (the other common caliber for these handguns is 7.63mm Mauser). This one is coming up for sale in the September Premier Auction at Rock Island on Saturday, September 13th.

I would very much like to put together a better reference on these non-standard Chinese pistols – if you have one I would love to get detailed photos of it! Please contact me at if you can help…


  1. I noticed the resemblance of the “hump” arrangement on the slide to that of the charger guide on the Model 1900/01 Mannlicher automatic pistol. While this one is certainly mostly “inspired” by the M1914 Mauser, I suspect the maker had a Mannlicher close to hand as well.

    As to why it was made, I’m thinking the recipient was probably a senior officer in one of the “territorial governors'” (i.e. warlords’) armies of the day. A quality “foreign” handgun was a prestige item for such military types, and frequently were gifts from their liege-lord.

    In this case, the governor/lord may not have wanted to, or been able to, spring for an authentic Mauser, and probably figured if it worked, fine, and nobody in the other ranks would know the difference anyway.



  2. There used to be a guy who came to the Ohio Gun Collector’s Association show who collected them. He even had a flier which (as I recall) that included some of the line drawings in the A.B. Zhuk book on handguns. He said he liked them because there were so many different kinds, and nobody else wanted them, so he could get them for very good prices.

    Somebody else might know who he was.

  3. The gun has multiple Mauser, Browning and FN stamps but has it “.32 ACP”, “.32 Auto” or something like this stamped at least once?

  4. Notice the lanyard ring on bottom plate of magazine. For me it looks similar to lanyard ring in Mauser C96, however it may be inspired by other European automatic pistol.

  5. I think this would be an excellent subject for a book. I’ve encountered a few of these “mutts” in my 30+ years of collecting and, considering the prices, probably should have acquired some of the better examples. I have always been curious about their functionality and reliability and would have enjoyed test-firing them (with a Ransom rest, a long trigger lanyard, and a big tree to hide behind :)). If I didn’t already have two writing projects in the works, I would be considering the subject myself. Who knows what one could turn up with some research.

  6. Back yard firearm manufacture still goes on in China to this day. So much for gun control working. Same with the huge underground manufacturing going on in Australia. Some very interesting home made submachine guns coming out particularly in Western Australia.

  7. Barrel attachment looks borrowed from Mauser 1910/14. hammer/sear from Webley-Scott 1913, non functional front knob under the barrel. from Glisenti 1910. The slide catch seems also retaining the barrel through back lug. All over construction reflects a belief that, greater the outside surface, higher the respectability. However, the pistol certainly shoots the round what assigned for or in other case, there would be no chance for the maker to survive his job. With little differences, this pistol seems a popular member of models of that age.

  8. Brownings, brownings, brownings! Mauser, mauser!

    He he…

    Looks quite well made all the same, that phoney rear sight has given me an idea for a toggle lock.

    I bought a Chinese “modern” machete in Africa, which had made for children stamped on it… Transliteration problems, presumably.

  9. It strikes me as odd that someone who knew how, and bothered, to make a working pistol, would then create a non-functional sight arrangement. Very odd.

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