We’ve mentioned that Adolf Furrer (director of Waffenfabrik Bern) began his career making Lugers and Maxims, which helps explain his obsession with toggle locks. Well, before he developed his own take on the mechanism for the LMG25, he experimented with using stock Luger actions for developing a submachine gun. The result was built in small numbers in 1919, and we found a prototype of the model to take a look at in the British NFC collection:

Prototype 1919 Furrer submachine gun
Prototype 1919 Furrer submachine gun (photo courtesy NFC “Pattern Room”, Leeds, UK)

We have had very little success finding information on this submachine gun – there appears to be very little written about it in English. What we do know is that it is based around a Luger slide and toggle that are pretty much unmodified. The action is rotated 90 degrees to feed from the right and eject out the left, and the lower frame of the pistol has been replaced by a bulkier frame to support a stock and large magazine (most likely 30 or 40 rounds of 7.65 Luger). The barrel still reciprocates back like a Luger, and the muzzle has a gas booster built in to help accelerate the longer and heavier barrel backwards (much like a Maxim or Vickers).

Prototype 1919 Furrer muzzle and gas booster
Prototype 1919 Furrer muzzle and gas booster (photo courtesy NFC “Pattern Room”, Leeds, UK)
Prototype 1919 Furrer action open
Prototype 1919 Furrer action open (photo courtesy NFC “Pattern Room”, Leeds, UK)

This gun is an interesting idea, but completely unsuited for practical use. It’s really bulky, front heavy (and heavy in general), and has all the same shortcomings as the Luger pistol but magnified by the expectation of sustained automatic fire. Judging from the very few photos we found of the production version of the MP1919, not much was changed after this prototype (note the serial number “1” on the action) was made.

If anyone has more information on the gun, we would love to hear from you!



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  1. I am a huge firearm fanatic. What I love about firearms is the mechanical side of things, I came across this website this morning and have been browsing since. It’s a real gem so thanks for such an intriguing collections of firearms, some of them I have not come across before.

    This spectacle is included. Any modern firearm in this fashion I’d dismiss as the toggle lock action has little advantage of a conventional open bolt action. The fact that this is from that era of experiments in firearms after Hiram Maxims genius, just really makes this. And I love the Luger action incorporated, and being largely original.

    It’s a really interesting contraption, I’d love to see some pictures off it fully stripped. I’ve already got a good idea of how it would be manufacture to link the trigger assembly to the original action of the Luger, on it’s side, but would be great to see exactly how they designed it.

    In combat it would be rather unweildly and unpractical, but firing one must be great fun.

  2. Sort of similar to the later Swiss LMG25, in sense of it’s a toggle lock on it’s side type thing. Same sort of layout, nice prototype. Love the Stock…

  3. Mr Furrer specialised in designing and producing weapons which were finicky, overweight, over-complicated, expensive, and very difficult to manufacture. The Swiss MG-25 is a classic of his design philosophy.

    Mind you, that does seem to have been a national characteristic. The Swiss version of the MG-42(Swiss MG-51 series) managed to reverse the entire design philosophy – as in reduced cost & ease of manufacturing by using metal stampings – to produce a weapon which looked similar, but weighed nearly 4Kg more, and was slower, and more expensive to manufacture.

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