Best known as the first semiautomatic service rifle adopted by a mainstream military force, the 1908 Mondragon was designed by Mexican native Manuel Mondragon, manufactured by SIG in Switzerland, and adopted by the Mexican Army (Ejercito Mexicano). The adoption was short lived, however, as the guns proved unreliable with the low-quality 7mm Mauser ammunition made in Mexico at the time (although they ran fine with high-quality European ammo).
After a partial delivery, Mexico refused to pay for or accept delivery of more, and this left SIG in an awkward position. They would try to sell the rifles for several year, including an attempt to market them to Germany during WWI as aviators’ rifles, with detachable magazines and brass-catching bags. No significant purchases resulted, though.
In this video I will examine 4 different examples of the Mondragon:
- A prototype 1900 model self-loader, which uses the 1908-style action but with en bloc clips instead of stripper clips
- A Mexican-issue 1908, complete with bipod and spade bayonet
- A 1908 rebarreled in 8mm Mauser and send to Germany during WWI
- A standard 1908 updated by SIG and never sold