The Astra 903 – Nothing New in Advertising

Maybe it’s just me, but I always get a kick out of really over-the-top vintage advertising. I think that we can agree that the Astra 900 series is (and always has been) a nifty family of hand cannons. Chambered for 9mm Bergman, 9mm Luger or .30 Mauser and firing full auto from detachable magazines, it goes to show that today’s high-speed PDWs like the P90 aren’t all that novel an idea.

But take a look at this piece of an original Astra 903 advertisement:

Astra advertisement

Yep, good for guarding banks – and big game hunting! I guess since Karamojo Bell could hunt elephants with a 7×57, you can go sneak up on a grizzly with a .30 Mauser…why not?

If you read on, you would learn that it’s also accurate to 1,000 meters, skated through a 10,000-round endurance trial, more effective for military use than machine guns, and is guaranteed by the Spanish War Ministry to be virtually immune to wear or breakage. How could you possibly go wrong?

Check out the whole thing here (PDF format):

Astra 903 Advertisement
Astra 903 Advertisement



  1. Imagine a hunter who shootes a 20 round full auto burst on a grizzly ! :)))
    By the way note that most of pistols of that era had such adjustable sights for “non handgun” long ranges.
    I assume when they say that it’s accurate to 1000 meters??… maybe they mean that you can hit a human size target at that range ??? (I doubt even that).
    Ian it would be great to see a video of testing a Mauser c96’s accuracy at 1000 meters/yards ??? What do you think? I guess all folks will like it !

  2. My guess might be that it’s a good sidearm for protection from predators on two feet, or small ones on four, while big game hunting.

  3. Was just wondering if you could did up a Roth-Steyr M1907 pistol. From what i understand it was the first semi-auto pistol adopted by a major land power namely the Austo-Hungarian Empire.

  4. I read a post by a gentleman who said his grandfather could hit an oil drum in the back field with his bring-back C-96, firing from his back porch. He was using the shoulder stock/holster and averaged about 7 hits per 10 round clip. Years later , when selling the property, the writer had the surveyor measure the distance. It was a little over 400 yards. Firing from a rest a good C-96 groups under 3″ at 50 yards, so I don’t think this is unrealistic in still air. I doubt the thousand-yard claim, but I would not volunteer as a target at a thousand yards for any money.

  5. Just remembered. An older gunsmith told me he took his first black bear with a C-96. His companion was using a 30-30 with hollow points and the bullets failed to penetrate the fat layer. The 7.62s drilled through quite nicely. The C-96 is awkward, heavy and overly complex, but it has power, range, and reliability many modern firearms can’t match. I would like to see a match up between a modern DE or Wildey and a C-96 at long ranges.

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