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:
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 The action is rotated 90 degrees to feed from the right and eject out the left, and the lower frame of the pistol has been replaced by a bulkier frame to support a stock and large magazine (most likely 30 or 40 rounds of 7.65 Luger).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).
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.
We have a bunch more photos, which you can see here, and on the Furrer MP1919 page in the Vault (click here to download the gallery as a high-res archive). If anyone has more information on the gun, we would love to hear from you!