Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Continental .32 Pocket Pistols, 1900-1914, Part II

A quick vignette of three more European .32 autos:

The top one, in the white, is an Austrian Steyr-Pieper M1908/34. Not content with the bizarre designs churned out by their native sons, Steyr licensed a design from Belgian gun maker Nicholas Pieper. Featuring a tip-up barrel (released by the lever above the trigger guard,) the mechanism was unusual in that the recoil spring was located above the barrel and pivoted with it, being fitted with a hook on the back to engage the slide. The example shown was made in 1920 and was issued to the postwar Austrian State Security Police.

The second one down is a Mauser M1914. A nicely-fitted pistol, the 1914 was a scaled up version of the company's M1910 .25 auto. An odd feature by modern standards was the removable sideplate in the frame, allowing access to the lockwork. The M1914 was a common substitute standard issue pistol in the imperial German army during the First World War, and the example shown sports military acceptance marks and came to America as a war trophy.

On the bottom is the one that started it all: The FN M1900, John Browning's first commercially successful self-loading pistol and the original home for the 7.65 Browning Automatic cartridge, now better known as the .32ACP. The pistol has several unusual features for a Browning design: The recoil assembly is above the barrel, rather than being concentric or located beneath it; also, the pistol requires tools, or at least a screwdriver, to disassemble for cleaning. The successors to this ur-Browning, the Colt M1903 and FN M1910, were vastly less baroque in their construction and seem quite modern by comparison.


staghounds said...

Granted those 1900s are hard to clean, but they don't bareaque easily.

Oleg Volk said...

Some more examples:

Anonymous said...

doe's the Steyer-Pieper function like a barreta 21A? blowback?

Tam said...

Anon 8:16,

Yes. In fact, the original M1908s had no extractor, just like the littlest Berettas.

Beretta obviously uses a less convoluted recoil apparatus.

Jack said...

I inherited an M1914 from my dad, who picked it up while he was in WWII. It has a well worn original nickel (or chrome?) finish. I haven't shot it yet, but it is a neat little pistol. I might see about having a good gunsmith check it out for me and putting some rounds through it.

MuddyValley said...

I have a couple of Sauer 38H's in my collection. They are fun to shoot, surprisingly, very accurate, and the cock/decock lever was probably way ahead of it's time and in a perfect location. They are one of my favorite pistols. Try one. They can be found still at a reasonable price.