German Jager Pistol Video

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Today we have a video for you on a German “Jager” pistol, so named because it was made by the Jager company. Jager was a well-respected maker of high quality sporting arms, having been established in 1901 in Suhl, Germany. With the onset of World War One, Kaiser Wilhelm decreed that all arms manufacture would be directed to military needs, and Jager responded by designing this pistol for use by the officers’ corps. It was not formally adopted by the German army, but several thousand were purchased privately and used by German officers.

The pistol is very interesting mechanically, because it uses two stamped sideplates and separate milled front and rear straps instead of a single solid frame. As far as we can tell, it was the first pistol made using stampings for major components, is its construction method remains unique to this day. So let’s take a closer look!

We were generously given access to this pistol by Brian Wilhelm, who has posted a whole slew of great photos of it in this thread at If you’re interested in seeing more details than we could address in the video, those pictures are an outstanding resource. Thanks, Brian!


  1. This pistol’s design suggests that the Jaeger firm did not have access to forgings or broaching equipment. The extra parts and pinned dovetail assemblies had to cost a lot more than a comparable pistol of this era using conventional construction – say the Walther Model 4. Necessity is the mother of invention!

    • Yep, exactly. I expect Jager was only making the pistols to be able to maintain a workforce during the war, and planned to go back to sporting arms as soon as they were allowed again – so they probably didn’t want to make the investment in forging and broaching equipment.

  2. Fascinating bit of machinery there. Seems like the concept of stamped slide and breech block found in the SIG Classic series of handguns had an interesting grandparent! Thanks to Brian for allowing it to be seen!

  3. I’m wondering if the slide was made from a piece of bar stock steel and the “wings” forming the side of the slide were just thin sections that were them bent to shape in a brake?

  4. How was the structure stability of this screw assembled frame ? Did some parts of the construction failed after number of shots (like 1000-2000 etc.) ? Thats maybe a big question, but I suppose there are some testing reports made since the gun is almost 100 years old.

    Do you have some idea how this could be recreated and redesigned (upgraded) with modern machining and stamping technologies ?

    • I don’t think the frame would have structural problems, because it doesn’t really take any forces during firing. It’s there to hold the magazine and trigger and give you a way to hold the gun. The forces from firing go mainly into the slide, which just rides on top of the frame. I don’t know of any period testing reports, though.

      It would be pretty easy (relatively speaking) to make a modern version of this design, and you could skip the stamping step too. Done today, the side plates would be water jet or laser cut, and then machined as necessary. The machining on all the other pieces is pretty straightforward.

    • I have to agree with you, I have to wonder how well a screwed together firearm would stand up under hard military use. I realize that a pistol was more a badge of office than a serious weapon and unlikely to ever come out of its holster, but the trenches were pretty unforgiving places for firearms. Also, while we get to see complete disassembly, there’s an awful lot of small parts to lose(especially since you’re not working with a nice, well lighted table). I wonder what field stripping for normal maintenance consisted of – Ian, maybe in the future you could point out where the soldier was supposed to stop and armorer take over.

  5. I’d LOVE to see someone reproduce this pistol and I agree that it could be easily done. As for a shooting test, the only published information that I’m aware of is an older article from a firearms magazine. It is posted in the gunboard thread referenced by Ian above. I might get the nerve up to take it out to the range one day and publish my own shooting test.

  6. If you want to build your own pistol this is the simplest way to go, if you bring the design up to the modern day, and simplify it. Spot welding the barrel to the side plates, and welding all the parts of the frame together from sheet steel. Its a great peice of design.

  7. Very simple weapon, I believe it was made with low cost, because any war is always very expensive. If one day I can, I’ll make one.

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