Mannlicher 1901 & 1905 Pistols (Video)

The Model 1901 and 1905 automatic pistols were the final development of the Mannlicher system. In this iteration they used internal magazines, a straight walled 7.65mm cartridge, and a delayed blowback system in which the slide had to overcome a spring-loaded wedge before it could open.

The Model 1901 was a compact version with an 8-round magazine, and the 1905 was a larger frame with a 10-round capacity, although both use identical mechanisms. The guns were moderately successful on the commercial market, although the only military adoption of the design was form Argentina, which bought about 6,000 of the 1905 model guns. These were surplussed onto the US commercial market in the 1960s, and are generally distinctive for the bright spot on the right side where the Argentine crest was ground off prior to sale (although some have been refinished to hide this).

Both the 1901 and 1905 are very comfortable, sleek and elegant guns to handle and fire.

Related material:

High speed footage of an Argentine 1905 firing
Roth-Theodorovic prototype pistol with a similar Tambour safety


  1. If noticed, delay mechanism seems same with Maxim Silverman 1896 pistol. The friction spring has two functions in this sample as being one for mmainspring and increasing the tension by the hammer rotation as going to the cocked form. Negative side for this kind of delay devices being applying the same force during the slide manual traction therefore, tiring the user.

    Disconnecting the sear and trigger bar after discharge, seems not related with slide movement therefore, once only after each trigger pull. In case a super speed trigger finger presented, this device should be prone to double discharge and this kind of escaping disconnectors are also open to battery off firing if the slide and hammer contact surfaces permit to reach the blow to the firing pin if the slide remains slightly separated from breech by cause of a weak recoil spring or other effects to be directed to the slide when the gun in rest position.

    Take down process of this pistol should be the forerunner of the “Slide slip off the barrel” type which widely used in Walther pistols.


    • My view is that the Maxim-Silverman delay is much simpler and probably ineffective. While increasing spring tension on both guns would slow them down more, the M-S could also increase the delay by increasing the contact area between the delay mechanism and the reciprocating parts. This Mannlicher can have the delay increased by making the front edge of the semi circular lug steeper.
      Also the M-S delay works when the reciprocating pieces are moving front or back. The vast majority of the delay on this gun is when the slide moves rearward. Of course, just IMHO, but details are interesting.

      • ln fact, MS delay spring also has a front lug and counterfitting recess on the breechbolt and the two gun very much resemble each other on this department. Besides, powefull blowback firearms using full lenght delay devices, also use strong return springs which create violent impacts when returning home giving wear and tear on the contac surfaces and the mass and MS like delay devices also are usefull on their slow down returning travel. lMHO.

  2. This was also, according to Hogg, the first open-topped slide.

    I am told a number of the Argentine guns were converted to .32 ACP and make fine plinkers. Any news of these would be welcome.

    • “first open-topped slide.”
      Do you know who first introduced open-top-front-bridge (as in Beretta modello 1934 for example) automatic pistol?
      What are advantages/disadvantages in open-top vs open-top-front-bridge comparison?

  3. “Model 1901 was a compact version with an 8-round magazine, and the 1905 was a larger frame with a 10-round capacity, although both use identical mechanisms”
    So Model 1901 vs Model 1905 relation is like FN 1910 vs FN 1910/22 relation?

  4. I wonder how would be Mannlicher reaction, if he would live longer and stay active in fire-arms designing area, to introduction of 6,35mm Browning cartridge and vest-pocket automatic pistol craze?

    • My prediction, and this is highly speculative of course, is that he would be devastated by defeat of his country in war. His life would probably end in process or soon afterwards. Remember, he gave his country so much and in good faith.

      • “war”
        If you think about First World War, also called Great War:
        6,35mm Browning was introduced in 1906 and 6.35mm market “explosion” shortly after that – see for example Steyr Pieper Model 1909 (Steyr Kipplauf Pistole), considering whole Europe and assuming 1913 to be cut-off date, there were several models of 6.35mm vest pocket automatic pistols.

        “Remember, he gave his country so much and in good faith.”
        But, coming to war, might be motivation for Mannlicher for further work, war lasted in 1918 and its outcome for Austria-Hungary was not known in 1914. Not related to fire-arms but good example is Prime Minister Le Tigre:
        which thanks to his input in France victory in First World War, is deemed as important person in France history by French, so far I know.
        Notice he was similarly aged to Mannlicher.

        However, 6,35 mm vest pocket automatic pistols are not very useful for waging outcome of world war, so I think it would be reasonable to limit to 1906 – 1914 time-frame.

        • The 6.35 cal pistols are funny implement and known to be used by women of ‘light reputation’. I recall from my childhood as boys used to show up time to time with this caliber ‘gun’, tremendously boosting their standing. We used to go around attics a lot in search for old junk. 🙂

          • “used by women of ‘light reputation’.”
            So far I know this was also case in S&W Ladysmith .22 revolver (not to be confused with S&W LadySmith automatic pistol for 9×19 mm) – photo of original .22 Ladysmith: (2nd from top). Which make, hmm, uncomfortable situation for S&W.

            “6.35 cal pistols are funny implement”
            This cartridge become very popular in early 20th century Europe, see for example here:
            (this is Belgian revolver Velodog “style Browning” caliber 6,35 mm)
            Not to mention that there were, many many many, automatic pistols firing 6,35 mm. Some just copies of known models, but other having interesting solutions – see for example Little Tom as early DA automatic pistol.

          • Yeah I know, Zhuk’s book “Revolvers and pistols” is full of small caliber pistols. Actually, when I started my serious interest in firearms, it was at around 15 years of my age, I just kept drawing all kinds of variations in .22LR. And yes, those can be deadly.

          • 6.35mm Browning pistols are about the only automatic pistols small enough to be carried in a small hand bag or in a thigh holster, Women’s clothing often don’t have any pockets, so in any kind of party or formal dress a thigh holster is the only real safe possibility.

            Carrying a handgun in a hand bag is in my opinion not a very good idea even if it’s allowed by local laws, since a hand bag is too easy to steal or simply become lost — and yes, women occasionally do forget their hand bags. With children there is also the issue of them getting their hands on the gun, which has been known to happen, sometimes with tragic results.

          • @Denny: This article about MAB Modèle A automatic pistol has interesting infobox Long Barrel Model A Pistols states that in Czechoslovakia in inter-war period pistols with overall length < 18cm were restricted, so some manufacturers offered long barrel versions. Is that true or not?
            Anyway, returning to alternative that von Mannlicher lives longer, he would be 66 years old in 1914. So I decided to found some elder fire-arms designer and examples are:
            Designer of BAR M1918, which was actually adopted in 1917, was at that time 62.
            Designer of PTRD, adopted in 1941, was at that time 61.
            Korovin, designed sub-machine gun, known under his name:
            in 1941, was at that time 57.

          • Hi Daweo, I read your question regarding ‘legal’ pistol length in CSR during inter-war period. I do not have a clue, but in reality this was not something (if such ruling was in place) the folks from underworld would respect anyway, given the anecdotal evidence. Part of very popular 6.35s there were bigger and more impressive pieces carried, be it legally or illegally. I remember as my father told me that friend of his purchased a “revolver” they went to plink with.

            From today’s prospective, the 7″ (18cm) O/A length would fit as a borderline between “concealable” and “service” type of handgun and it makes sense to me.

  5. is it an US import requirement to have crests ground off?
    sounds unnecesary, to say the least
    cheers from Argentina!

  6. With todays technology in laser cutting/engraving, it should not be that hard to restore the crest, although I am sure some people will go bat-xxxx crazy at the idea. I suggested this for restoring ground mums on Ariskas and Spanish Crests on refurbed but original Model 1893 Mausers (the actual German ones that were used in the Span Am War and had the crests (but not the location manufactured and the date) removed in the 1930’s but all heck broke loose on the milsurps forum).

  7. Is there a patent document for this pistol online? I’ve not been able to find one. The only information I have is an Austrian patent number 48-5681 granted on 29 November 1897, but this isn’t online as far as I’m aware. The only US patent is also in 1897, but for an earlier pistol, I believe.

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