Andreas Schwarzlose (best known for his 1907 and 07/12 machine guns) designed this pistol for military and civilian use, and it saw minor commercial success. The blow-forward action was pretty much a developmental dead end, because it made for unusually sharp recoil and was potentially unsafe to handle – the only three commercially available pistols made this way were the Hino, the Schwarzlose, and the Mannlicher 1894 (which was quickly replaced by better Mannlicher designs). The Swiss did tinker a bit with a blow-forward action in their AK-52/53 rifle as well, but this ultimately went nowhere.


Disassembly, mechanism, and shooting:

Slow motion shooting:


  1. Hi,
    Sorry to say that, but the explanation of blow forward action is not correct.
    Fixing the breech does not make the barrel move forward, just becouse the energy must be used somehow. No.

    1. The breech is blowed back (the recoil of the firearm in this system is particularly strong) while the barrel having freedom of movement tends to stay in position due to its inertion.
    2. This is supported by the bullet that drags the barrel forward due to action with the bore.

    If the pistol was mounted somehow to prevent recoil move and if the barrel was without the bore with neglectible friction, there would be no action, only the energy and momentum of the bullet and gases would be greater, but the barrel would not move forward. The analogy with the explosion is improper and in fact does not explain anything.

    That’s what my degree in physics and my knowledge of ballistics tell me.

    P.S. But your blog and videos are great anyway 🙂

    • Happily, I am planning to do some good high-speed video footage of a 1908 in the next week or so, and should be able to see exactly what happens when it fires. You explanation makes more sense than mine, although I would be very curious to see what happens if it is fired from a fixed mount and not allowed to recoil backwards.

      • I’d be happy to see such experiment. But have in mind also the bullet-barrel interaction. It will be present even with a smooth bore but weaker compared to the rifled one. Anyway, fixed mount should couse a difference.
        The explanation is not really mine, it is from the books of ballistics (which is my hobby) and it is in accordance with my knowledge of physics (which is my profession). But in science the experiment is a king.
        Thank you for showing me the weapons I’ve read about as a kid.

    • Yes but we’re not in an ideal system, therefore friction exists. In this case the friction of the bullet on the barrel creates a force that counter the movement of the bullet and pushes the barrel forward.
      And no, the recoil of the firearm in this system isn’t particularly strong because of the cartridge used and the short barrel. 😉

    • Imagine a tube closed at both ends and an explosion inside. In case of one end of this tube being movable, pressure will force to act that tube away from the other side resulting a direction selected by comparation of masses of these ends. A bullet thrown into fire is a good example for this event. On the other hand a forwarding bullet inside a bore can be accepted as a plug as soon as its presence thereat with lessening effects of leaking pressure loss. Scwarzloze 1908 works through this simple principle and it will work even if its frame kept absolute stationary since its mass being much greater than other side.

  2. It should also be mentioned that, backward recoil of that
    pistol quickens the reciprocal movement and simple plugs work through friction.

  3. Hello Ian, thank you for taking the time to put the video up on the schwarzlose. I disassembled it cleaned her up but putting it back together made yell curse words trying to ratchet the guild rod back in place. It seems like a person needs three or four hands to accomplish this goal. Just wanted to share that tid-bit with you. I am a big fan so I look forward to more videos from your channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.