Landstad 1900: A True Semiautomatic Revolver

The Landstad Model 1900 is a magazine-fed, semiautomatic revolver designed by Norwegian Halvard Folkestad Landstad, who lived in Kristiana (now called Oslo). He designed the gun on his own dime, and presented it to military trials in 1901, which it failed miserably. The gun has a six-round detachable box magazine of 7.5mm Nagant cartridges, a two-chamber cylinder, and a simple blowback action. Its firing cycle is to chamber a round from the magazine into the bottom cylinder chamber by manually cycling the action. The trigger is a long double-action type which rotates the cylinder 180 degrees so the cartridge is in line with the barrel and releases the striker to fire the round. Upon firing, the bolt cycles open, extracting and ejecting the empty case, rechecking the striker, and chambering a new round from the magazine into the bottom of the cylinder.

The purpose of this overly complex system was to provide a semiauto action which did not ever leave a live cartridge under the striker, in the name of safety. Only one example was made, and its bolt broke after just 5 or 6 rounds fired. It was repaired almost immediately, but the Norwegian military had was not interested in further development, and nothing more came of the program. A few years later in 1908 Norway would institute a more serious semiauto pistol trials program which led to adoption of the Kongsberg 1914 (a slightly modified Colt 1911).

Thanks to Jan for allowing me to disassemble and film this one-of-a-kind piece for you!


  1. [OFF-TOPIC so ignore if you wish]
    Heckler & Koch unveiled new machine gun dubbed HK421
    they seems to be boasting about its’ light weight. Said weapon is firing 7,62×51 NATO cartridge and have barrel 13″ or 16.5” in length and weights is about 8.5 kg
    For comparison Negev in 7,62×51 is 7,6 kg and has 508 mm barrel, which is noticeable longer that any of HK421. This lead to question what advantages HK421 furnish when compared to Negev at cost of additional weight?

    • it’s just light weight compared to their previous gpmg, the hk121 which was 10kg or more depending on version and barrel length. I think it’s just a marketing term hk is using to make it sound better. as for advantages over the negev, I don’t know. I haven’t handled it used either so maybe one has an advantage with reliability?

  2. “(…)chambering a new round from the magazine into the bottom of the cylinder.”
    This make it akin to revolver cannon though such cannon are usually feed from device other than magazine and sports more than 2 chambers in cylinder.
    Cylinder (sort of) and magazine was present in Dardick Model 1100
    however unlike Landstat it did not use energy of discharge to rotate cylinder thingy.

    “(…)six-round detachable box magazine(…)”
    This is less than typical Nagant revolver with 7 rounds.

    “(…)presented it to military trials in 1901,(…)”
    According to 7,5 mm Nagant revolvers for Norway were accepted in 1894 to 1899, so they already have very new hand-guns at their disposal, so it seems like inventor’s initiative for me.

    “(…)bolt broke after just 5 or 6 rounds fired(…)”
    This seems as strong contender for worst performing fire-arm in military trial. However maybe there was other one which managed to critically malfunction with less than 5 shots?

    • It’s even closer to the Atkinson & Needham lever-action repeating rifle of 1881;

      Oddly for that late date, the A & N rifle used a Winchester-type tubular magazine under the barrel, and a Colt-Burgess type lever system, but coupled those with the two-chamber “loading block” and what were basically Colt Thuer conversion type metallic cartridges, to allow the “block” to be loaded from the front.

      Only W.W. Greener thought it was a good idea.

      clear ether


      • “(…)Atkinson & Needham(…)”
        After you mentioned that this reminded me about Krag-Petersson
        which was used by Norwegian Navy in end of 19th century, therefore I suspect inventor of presented weapon was aware of its existence. Krag-Petersson is similarly to this weapon odd mixture of repeating rifle (has magazine) and one-shot rifle (one is obliged to put cartridge into chamber using fingers).

  3. Fascinating weapon, but it demonstrates a certain failure mode of weapons design, that wherein the designer focuses on one specific issue to the exclusion of everything else. I completely get that the usual semi-auto pistol is inherently unsafe due to having the chamber loaded (under most conditions with most designs) for carry, but… I think you’re better off focusing on things like preventing the striker or hammer hitting the primer, rather than taking this approach.

    Landstad was obviously an inspired (by Satan, perhaps…) machinist, but… Man, I don’t think he put any thought into manufacture. I can only marvel at the amount of machining that would have been required to manufacture this design, and I have got to wonder what the hell the costs would have been for someone like Kongsberg to put these into serial production…

    It’s an amazing steampunk design, but… Wow. Just… Wow.

    • The curved tubular magazine in the butt was also seen on the early French Clair gas-operated pistol.

      I’d say the Clair brothers’ version made a bit more sense. Other than being gas-operated, its design was very much like some early European bolt-action rifles, notable the Austrian Schulhof.

      Like this one, the Clair was about as “steampunk” as it gets.



    • “(…)designer focuses on one specific issue to the exclusion of everything else(…)”
      Whilst this was certainly important and same time designer managed to get aesthetic similar to revolvers used at that time.

  4. The pistol as a whole failed. But I do see design features in it that were way ahead of its time.

    • There are pieces of perfectly good corn in my poop, too. It’s poor culinary art to go digging them out, I ever. This pistol was rightly ignored.

  5. Pretty cool mongrel from a time when they tried to figure out what would work, not so cool from a manufacturing point of view

  6. Excellent workmanship but stupid calculation…

    7 grams 7,5mm Nagant bullet needs at least 350 grams of bolt and engagements weight with 10cm barrel through blowback.action.

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