RIA: Menz Liliput 4.25mm

The Menz Liliput is one of the smallest functional firearms ever put into mass production. It was offered in 4.25mm (.17 caliber) in addition to the more popular .25ACP and .32ACP. The 4.25mm cartridge is used generated about 17 foot pounds of muzzle energy – trivial by most pistol standards, but still several times that of the even tinier 2.7mm Kolibri. These pistols were made in the 1920s – some sources say from 1920 to 1927, but what I have found seems to point towards a commercial introduction in 1925.


  1. Somewhere here i seen question about something that looked like holster for pistol with thin and very long barrel – i quess it was holster for ww1-2 era “trench periscope”, like the one used in enemy at the gates.

    • More likely a holster for a pocket auto sold in Czechoslovakia. From 1920 to 1946 laws there prohibited sale of any pistol with an overall length less than 20 cm. as such, many manufacturers made special barrels for their .25 and .32 ACP pistols with lengths up to 16cm to bring them up to legal length for sale there. Holsters with extra-long “tubes” to accommodate the long barrels were also common there.



  2. Most interesting thing to me is it’s probably the first semi-automatic design I’ve seen where the barrel is actually part of the slide rather a separate component.

    • Stationary barrel construction integrated with the frame is a feature borrowed from early Mannlicher pistols but the take down process with captive striker spring and dismount bolt seems novel and thoroughly copied by Walfher in their newest 9mm pistol Model CCP.

      • DAO Seecamp pistols have similar integrated Barrel/Frame construction in hammer firing lockwork but they have an additional slide guide at back section for reciprocal breechbolt movement. Striker firing samples like Lilliput, Walther Model9, Raven, jennings, 9mm Walther CCP and lots of Blank Firers use, the striker channel for this purpose instead. Seecamp take down may be accepted as a simplified German Ortgies. Seecamp trigger work very closely follows old CZ45 and their outside looks either. AFAIK.

  3. Several of Alister MacClean’s (Guns of Navarrone) fictional characters carried the .21 Lilliput as a back-up weapon but I never have seen even a picture of one and wasn’t sure they even existed outside his novels. MacLean characterized it as the smallest effective pistol in the world. Thanks for a great piece of firearms trivia

    • “MacLean characterized it as the smallest effective pistol in the world.”
      This firearm indeed is small, but considering that smaller ERIKA automatic pistol existed: http://www.horstheld.com/0-Kolibri.htm which fire same cartridge above statement is false. Also I must ask what “effective” precisely mean? Or which smallest cartridge is “effective”?
      Considering pocket automatic pistol reminds me of Soviet ПСМ:
      which fires bullet with better penetration than similar-sized .25 Auto (6.35mm Browning) cartridge.

    • Specifically, it showed up in “Where Eagles Dare” as the gun Heidi gave Mary when they were “safely” inside the Schloss Adler. It was one of a number of odd handguns that showed up in MacLean’s books, including a Model 1900 Mannlicher in 7.63 x 27.5 (“Ice Station Zebra”), and a “Japanese 9mm Hanyatti automatic” that had a magazine cartridge counter and such a dust-sensitive mechanism that the hero kept a piece of Scotch tape over the muzzle (“The Satan Bug”). (He’d probably have been better off with a plain FN High Power.)

      By comparison, MacLean rarely got fancy or erroneous with heavier weapons. He always described SMGs quite accurately (possibly from prior personal experience), although he followed the British custom of always calling the Erma MP38/40 a “Schmeisser machine pistol”. 😉

      Tom Clancy knew small arms quite well, and incorporated them into his stories very accurately.

      Clive Cussler… OMG. Much as I enjoy his novels, the ones he co-authors with others are the only ones that seem to get anything about small arms correct, other than Dirk Pitt Sr.’s old USAF-issue 1911A1 .45.



      • Another novelist, whose work I enjoyed when a lad, was Gavin Lyall. He was very good with his pistol details and obviously had first hand experience. I don’t recall a Lilliput but in one tale the hero kitted himself out with a Mauser Model 1932 Schnellfeuer. In another an antique pistol was a major factor.(entitled ‘Venus With Pistol’) All good reads as I remember.

      • MacLean completed the screenplay for Where Eagles Dare before the published book (though I’d imagine a draft book preceded both that included subplots pared down for the movie and a couple of different character names). The silenced pistol carried by Mary in the film is apparently a slightly anachronistic Beretta 950b Jetfire, while Smith and Schaffer wield Walther PPKs.


  4. Well, at least purchasers back in the day could use the rarely used phrase: “No thanks, I believe I’ll choose the more powerful .25 ACP.”

    • According to Barnes, the “mini–auto” rounds were like this;

      2.7mm Kolibri; .105-.108″ bullet diameter, bullet wt. 3 gr (no, that is not a misprint), MV ~650-700 F/S, ME ~ 3 FPE.

      3mm Kolibri; Not the same as the 2.7, cartridge case and bullet diameter are just enough greater that it will not go into the 2.7mm chamber. Ballistically identical to the 2.7, and even rarer.

      4.25mm Liliput/Erika; .17″ caliber, 12-15 gr. bullet depending on loading, MV 800 F/S, ME 17 FPE.

      All of the above are far below the average 73 FPE of the .25 ACP, and the 4.25mm pistols aren’t really that much smaller. Also, Barnes lists all of the above (especially the 2.7mm) as next to impossible to reload (for one thing, nobody today makes primers small enough for the 2.7mm).

      We used to say that even a .22 Short would kill a man if it hit him in the right place, but with these, I’m not sure that would even do it. 17 FPE, BTW, is less powerful than a lot of modern .177in air pistols.



    • Yep. Probably would hurt just as much as if you’d been beaned in the [unmentionables] by any firearm chambered for the “totally weak” 8×22 Nambu (especially if you’d been shot by a Type 94 pistol or if you prefer overkill, try shooting the victim in the groin with the Type 100 SMG).

        • Unless the Japanese hold-out with the Nambu followed up by dropping the empty gun and drawing a katana… By which point you should either shoot him with your own piece (through the pain of getting shot downstairs) or run for the hills (unless his friends are in the hills).

  5. The striker on this is fully cocked by racking the slide I think. It has a safety and the holster is probably another safety- Protecting the trigger, and offering some resistance to the relatively anemic round in case of accidental discharge therin if you drop it perhaps. Tear gas cartridges/guns were sold around that time in Europe this model was probably deemed non lethal like the aforesaid “A stinger”

  6. It looks like the finish was chrome-plating, and not very good chrome-plating. It is interesting in that it looks like the barrel was machined in place, instead of a separate piece pressed into the frame.

  7. “Most interesting thing to me is it’s probably the first semi-automatic design I’ve seen where the barrel is actually part of the slide rather a separate component.”

    it’s very banal in europeans 6.35 pocket pistols before ww2: http://tonnel-ufo.ru/foto/pisto/image774.jpg



    and with germans blank firing pistols like rohm and Rhoner Sportwaffen:



    • First ever produced stationary barrel integrated with the frame pistols should be Mannlicher 1901 Models which pioniered the Walthers and Stars made in following years in the same decade. Nearly all of them were in “Hammer Firing” concept and needing a backside moving guides for slide at top rear of the frame. Front side guiding was accomplised by stationary barrel and its underside clearance cut in the frame. With Walther Model 9 and Lilliput of nearly the same era, it was found out that, the striker channel at back of the slide could be used as the slide moving guides instread of separate milled grooves at the both sides of the frame at back at top. This strong and cost saving manufacturing concept was largely used from that date on especially in German Blank Firers and small caliber pistols like Reck, Rhoner, Simson etc… after WW2 and cheap US .25 Pistols like Raven, Jennings and powerfull 9mm High Point also got used of this very simple and strong concept at last decade of 20.Th century. These striker firers all used the back post on which the back of striker spring guide propped over for compressing the striker spring or Main Spring to cock the pistol and at contrast of today’s common striker firers like Glock, SW, HS2000, Steyr M, etc, their striker were set to fire at nearly the last stage of their backward travel. The most interesting of all, Walther, being famous with their intriqued well thought handguns, used the same concept in their newest 9mm pistol named CCP. This pistol with mentioned adverse cocking fashion, confused most of the users mind at striker firing current pistols control but seems well made and usable. IMHO.

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