Unique L-35 Lahti Target Pistol with Stock & Bipod

The Lahti L-35 pistol was adopted by the Finnish military with the intention of it replacing the Luger, although production was never great enough to accomplish that goal. Early in its production, a couple of special target models were made for field shooting use, and this is one of them (serial number 052). It has a much longer barrel than normal, extended sight radius (your choice of aperture or open notch sights), and a detachable buttstock with a very interesting design of bipod. A door in the side of the stock allows storage of spare sight parts, cleaning gear, and a spare magazine. Truly a unique pistol – thanks to Sako for giving me access to film this example from their factory museum!


  1. Interesting gun, you didn’t mention the caliber. When you were showing the differences between it and the standard it appeared to be about 9mm bore. It reminds of our “bicycle” guns from 100+ years ago but most of them were single shot.
    The tool / patch box was interesting also. Keep up the great work. You must have the most interesting job in the world, at least in my mind.

  2. It reminds me of the muzzle loading “buggy guns” that were built to fit under the seat of a horse drawn buggy for those friendly after church shooting matches.

  3. Wonderful pistol, but what good is such a complicated design if you don’t have the time or money to produce it in significant numbers?
    Someone at that factory was having fun making an amazing design which is better than the Luger, but too complicated to be made for use in any practical manner . For that reason , it is useless, unless they can sell it to Mauser for redesign into a more realistic gun.

    • “(…)Someone at that factory was having fun making an amazing design which is better than the Luger, but too complicated to be made for use in any practical manner .(…)”
      In 1930s Finland regarding automatic pistol choice politics win over manufacturing complication, see 9 mm Saloranta military pistol in https://www.jaegerplatoon.net/ALMOST2.htm
      which was simpler and did not get neither production or further developments

  4. The attachment point on the left side was for a rubber eye shield. This allowed the shooter to keep their left eye open but the view of the target blacked out. This improve the acuity of the sight eye. These are still used in many precision shooting sports, Biathlon for example.

    • In college .22 rifle competition in the ’70s, we used something similar: punch a hole in a piece of cardboard and screw the aperture rear sight hood into the hole to hold the cardboard, to block the view of the non-sighting eye. A piece of translucent plastic (to let the light through) would be even better.

    • Meanwhile in America, stupid anti-gun people would think you’d give the pistol a long barrel, bipod, and a stock just so you can snipe little kids in the head after magically infiltrating a school. I have yet to see anyone do THAT before. JUST KIDDING.

      Serious content: if you really wanted a stocked pistol, then make the stock part of the grip anyway and forget having a separate component altogether. At this point, the pistol ceases to be a pistol and becomes a short-barrel rifle. OOPS.

  5. I’m sure it doesn’t actually do so but that charging hook sure looks as if it could strike the aperture sight when the v notch is in use.

    • You might be right, I rewatched the video and Ian only pulled the bolt part way back and it did appear to get very close to the aperature when it was folded down. Possibly, it was intended to remove the aperture. I would be more worried about my hand or wrist.
      Also, the bipod shoes look a lot like my shooting sticks from back when I was doing a lot of winter coyote hunting. I realized that the sticks would slide down in the deep snow and cause them to be to short so I purchased a set of cross country ski poll baskets and they worked fine after that. I was using a much heavier gun (around 10#’s) so the larger diameter basket were required. The small disks appear to be about right for the weight of this handgun.

  6. Shoe grass is literally dry grass formed into pads to fit inside the Lappish winter boot, under the foot. It provides insulation. The Lapps sell shoe grass to other Scandinavians. They keep the best varieties for themselves, natch, and so would you and I. The Finns here will correct me, but I think no satisfactory artificial substitute for shoe grass has ever been found.

  7. Thanks Ed.
    I’m 80 years old and have lived in a cold climate (Michigan) all of my life and had never heard of it before… I guess your never to old to learn a new trick.

  8. What an interesting pistol.

    Back in the mid eighties, I toyed with the idea of (Bubbaficating) a slightly heavier but artillery Luger length barrel and bigger better rear sight for my M40 lahti.

    I had a very similar set up on a Ruger Mki. 22 pistol

    I wonder whether that barrel was diverted from a Suomi, and adapted to the L35?

    Adding a bit of weight to the L35 slide and bolt is probably no bad thing, and for field shooting, the L35 has lots and lots of weight already.

    It’s very interesting to see the different colours in the blueing. There’s a mystique about “special steels” going into the L35, an the different blueing colours do suggest a variety of steels, including some with nickel.

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