Müller 1902 Prototype Pistol (Video)

Bernhard Müller designed this locked-breech pistol in 1902, seemingly a hybrid of the Luger and P38 (of course, the P38 did not exist at that time). It appears to use a modified Luger magazine and is chambered for the 7.65mm Luger cartridge. The grip is very much Luger-like, in part because the use of a Luger magazine requires using the same grip angle as the Luger. The pistol is a short recoil action with a pivoting locking block much like what the P38 would later use. It is a very comfortable gun in the hand, but was rejected in Swiss pistol trials.


  1. Most of the “Starting Age” pistols, except Browning’s, follow, Shrinked rifle design, that is, having a barrel extention, or an upper receiver and a breechbolt nestled into it. This rarity
    seems having either a barrel extention, or a long slide nestling the breechbolt therein like today’s samples. The inventor should be of a kind of man being fond of making the jobs in the hard way. The swinging lock piece looks quiet interesting and stange since having a mechanical device to rise the lock piece up but no measure for its opposite side journey. Locking seems through the locking steps over the swinging dismount lever but nothing looks as presented for the unlocking process. Its US Patent; 802 582, contains a rocker in front of the lock piece for this purpose but the pistol in the Ian’s video has not. However, there are moving traces in front of the breech face in the slide inner top and it seems, the front tip of recoil spring guide achieves the unlocking job at instant of initial kick back travel of both barrel and slide.

    The pistol ejects to the left and there it seems no cause in the moving parts lay out to oblige this choice. Safety latch seems locking the “Mainspring connected” cocking/uncocking rod which should not be considered as a positive way, and this rod also seeming a nominate as a “Hand biter or pincher” at instant of recoil through its poping out rear tip.

    Disconnection of trigger and hammer after the discharge seems made through a “Once only or escaping” kind of mechanism and this, also should not be coonsidered as a positive way for a service pistol using powerfull rounds.

    very interesting design for the starting of autoloader pistol age, but not a positive and usable approach for the handgun types of the service purpose. IMHO.

    • Thanks for patent. The placing of an intermediate sear-hammer between the trigger and the sear seems unusual. That portion of the mechanism with the trip seems positively disconnected, but I’m not sure about the rest of it. That mechanism in the patent seems to have carried over to this example as you can hear a click when it is dry fired. My guess as to its purpose is to lighten the trigger pull. A small spring and low mass release the sear-hammer which smacks the sear, firing the gun. IMHO.

      • What I mean with positive disconnection is about the co-working with the slide through which it should be obtained the ensured safety against to the battery off discharging. The one time separators like this sample should not able to cut off the trigger sear engagement if the slide would not go the foremost location over the receiver. IMHO. Thanks for your interest in my post.

        • Thanks for the reply, I find your posts to be thought provoking, but that pesky language barrier. You do well. What I mean by a disconnecter is that you need to pull the trigger for each shot. That is it will not go full auto on you. On this gun it is accomplished by the sear-hammer (Muellers term) not being recocked until the trigger is released.
          It is not clear to me either what prevents out of battery fire. My simple guess is that the curved surface of the hammer can not hit the firing pin until the gun is in battery. But I don’t know.

          • You may be right. But, a disconnector working along with the slide, can also keep the gun’s cocked mode if the trigger is pulled in a battery off situation. This should be very important in a striker or hidden hammer pistol. IMHO.

      • This patent has also a rocker for locking block release. The pistol in the video has not such a part and it works. It would be wonderful to find the related patent or text describing how the unlocking occurs. My guess is about the push of front tip of recoil spring guide with rather lesser leverage or, some over angled cut at the locking recess forcing the locking piece downward out of engament as in the CZ 52.

        • Strongarm,

          Ah, I see what you’re talking about now. The parts identified as #44, #45, and #36 in the patent aren’t present in the pistol in the video.

          It seems that in the pistol in the video the unlocking is done by gravity alone? I wonder if it would unlock if held upside down?

          In the patent these parts are in the design “in order to obtain a sure descent of the upper bolt.” I’m wondering if the example in the video predated the patent and may have occasionally failed to unlock and cycle?

          • Thanks for your interest Brian. Gravity bonded lock release should not be a dependable way to use in a service handgun. Instead, a backward canted locking shoulder in the slide would do much better job for this purpose, or slightly protruding forward tip of recoil spring guide to push the locking block from the behind, would also work in all purpose conditions. I think this gun is an improved model using one of these features. If noticed,
            the locations of recoil spring tunnel in the patents is a lower state than the pistol in the video and would not able to work in the described mode.

          • Strongarm,

            I think I see how this works. The locking surface of the “tilting block” and the locking recess in the slide both have negative engagement. i.e. They’re both angled in such a way that they will not stay securely locked. So, without the “takedown block” that lifts and supports the “tilting block” in engagement, the angled locking surface on the slide and the matching angled locking surface on the “tilting block” tend to push the “tilting block” down.

            Also, there look to be two ramped surfaces in the slide on either side of the locking recess and matching surfaces on the outside edges of the “tilting block” that would move the “tilting block” down, out of engagement once the “tilting block” clears the lifting surfaces of the “takedown block.”

            I don’t think the recoil spring guide strikes the “tilting block,” I’d expect to see some wear mark on the block if that was happening.

          • Brian,

            You may be right. In fact the way what you have described in detail should be the first alternative what I shortly stated as “Backward canted locking Shoulder” or “the way which Cz 52 works”. If true, following or later designers should have missed a very usable method to unlock the slide/barrel engagements, especialy in “Tilting barrel” types.

            You may also be right about the lesser posibility of recoil spring guide to work as a delocker but, what would be the cause to change its locations inside the slide as drawn in the patents then.

    • ” “Starting Age” pistols”
      Can you precise that term?
      Is Mannlicher Model 1901 in this category?
      It is “shrinked” rifle design?

      • Most of early locked breech pistols using vertically moving separate locking blocks like; Mauser C96, Mannlicher 96, Bergman, Bayard, Nambu 14, Borchard, Luger and somewhat more later lahti can be accepted in “Shrinked Rifle” design. They have all an upper receiver with a barrel attached in the front and a breechbolt behind it in the receiver or in barrel extention. This lay out is same as a rifle in the shortened form.

        Mannlicher 1901 should not be considered in this format.

      • Or if you want something even crazier, try the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force’s Type 89 twin machine gun mount!

        In any case, everyone, I apologize if you read my angry rant concerning a ship-mounted torpedo tube discussion in the Hudson MG article and thought I was making myself look totally worthless over something so trivial. I have no excuse to flare up at anyone else over lack of information or good photographs. Again, my apologies.

        • We all make mistakes, very few of us have the intestinal fortitude to admit them. Drive on Mr. Cherndog, drive on.

          Sua Sponte.

  2. Why does not the C96 get more credit as the progenitor of all dropping (or rising) block semi-autos? Mauser dropped the block, Bergman rose it, Mueller here put it on top and dropped it, Walther put it back on the bottom and dropped it — all following in the wake of the Fiderle brothers in the Mauser experimental room.

    Maxim’s first patent gun, by the way, seems to show both a knee-joint lock behind the breechblock AND a rising lock at the breech end of the barrel. The knee joint derived from Winchester, the rising block from where? In any case, predated Borchardt, Mauser, Luger and Mueller here in the European automatic arms’ family tree and not seemingly given enough credit.

  3. On the left side of the pistol above the trigger and slightly forward of it is some sort of sliding lever. do you know what it does? Is it another safety?

    • On the right side is a pin also. I believe it is the pivot for the disassembly block. The knurled portion could be an attempt at helping remove it without tools. Part 31 patent US802,582.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.