In 1867, after ruling
Hungary for 150 years, Austria offered Hungary equal power in the Austrian
Empire. With the Settlement of 1867 the Austrian Empire became the
Army was composed of 3 separate armies. The Landwehr, the Honved
& the Imperial. The Landwehr was composed of Austro-Hungarian
citizens of German & Czech extraction, the Honved was the Hungarian
Militia & the Imperial the remainder of the Dual Empires soldiers.
it’s first center fire pistol in 1870. It was a very large revolver
& was issued to noncommissioned officers. This was the M1870
Gasser revolver chambered for the 11.25X36R Werndl Model 1867 carbine cartridge.
The pistol cartridge was loaded with less powder than the carbine round
but the carbine round would fire in the pistol. This did happen enough
that in 1882 an improved M1870 Gasser revolver was adopted that used a
shorter case preventing the accidents that occurred when the carbine round
was fired. This pistol was designated the M1882.
In 1874 the frame of
the M1870 revolver was changed from iron to cast steel. This was
the only change to the pistol but the model designation was changed to
In 1878 Johann Gasser
& Alfred Kropatschek scaled down the M1870, chambered it for a 9X26R
cartridge & submitted it to the Austro-Hungarian government.
It was adopted as the M1878 for issue to officers.
The last revolver adopted
by the Austro-Hungarian military was the M1898 Rast & Gasser.
It was an 8 shot double action that fired an 8X27mm cartridge.
As in most of the other
major countries of the word, Austro-Hungary started military trials of
semi auto pistols in the early 1900s.
One of the pistols
tested was the M1901 Mannlicher in 7.63X21mm Mannlicher caliber produced
by Waffenfabrik Steyr in Austria. It was not adopted by Austro-Hungary
but was adopted by the Argentine Army as the Model 1905.
In 1907, Austro-Hungary
became the first major military power to adopt a semi auto pistol for her
Army. Turkey had issued just over 1000 M1896 Cone Hammer Mausers in 1896
(the very first country to issue a semi auto pistol), Italy had issued
5000 M1896 Flatside Mausers to their Navy in 1899, Switzerland had adopted
the Luger in 7.65mm (.30 Luger) in 1900 & Belgium the Browning M1900
in 7.65 Browning (.32 ACP) in 1900. Both Switzerland & Belgium were
Neutrals and not major powers while Turkey & Italy just made minor
issues. Switzerland had adopted the Luger in 7.65mm (.30 Luger) in 1900
& Belgium the Browning M1900 in 7.65 Browning (.32 ACP) in 1900 but
both countries were Neutrals and not major powers. The pistol
that was adopted by Austro-Hungary was for use by the cavalry and was designated
the Repetier Pistole M. 07. It was chambered for the 8X19mm Roth
cartridge. It was manufactured by both Osterreichische Waffenfabrik
Gesellschaft, Styer (OWG) in Austria and Fegyver es Gepgyar Rezvenytarsasag
(Fegyvergyar) in Budapest, Hungary. During it’s 5 years of manufacture,
approximately 60,000 were produced in Austria & 30,000 in Hungary.
The M1907 is a recoil-operated
pistol that is unlocked by a rotating barrel. Lugs are machined on
both the front & middle of the barrel. As the barrel & slide
recoil together, cams machined in the barrel nose cap cause the forward
barrel lugs to rotate the barrel. As the barrel rotates, the middle
lugs are rotated out of engagement with slots machined in the slide.
The slide is then free to recoil to the rear extracting the empty case
& loading a fresh round as the slide is forced forward by the recoil
spring. Another interesting feature of the M1907 is the trigger mechanism.
The striker is only partially cocked during the firing cycle.
After firing, the striker sticks out of the cocking knob about 7/16”.
When the trigger is pulled, it moves out an additional ¼” before
being released to fire the cartridge. This design was to make the
pistol safer for the mounted troops to use but the required trigger pull
for the final ¼” is very heavy.
In 1911 & 1912
OWG at Styer patented another auto pistol that was chambered for a 9X23
cartridge. It was adopted by the Austro-Hungarian Government as the
M1912. However, production for the Austro-Hungarian military did
not commence until 1914 after the start of WW1. It was called the
Styer Hahn (Styer Hammer) to differentiate it from the hammerless Roth
Styer. However, this was not an official name. Like the Roth
Styer it was locked by a rotating barrel. In this case, the lug that
rotated the barrel during recoil was located in the frame of the pistol.
Approximately 300,000 were produced for the Austro-Hungarian forces between
1914 & 1919. The M1912 was also adopted by Romania and Chile.
In 1914 the Hungarian
Honved (militia) adopted a Frommer Stop pistol in 7.65mm (.32 ACP) &
9mm (.380 ACP). The Frommer Stop was a long recoil operated pistol that
used a rotating bolt head to lock the bolt to the barrel until the end
of recoil. The bolt head is then rotated to disengage the barrel
& it is driven back to it’s forward position by the return spring.
When the barrel returns to battery the bolt is released to move forward,
strip a cartridge from the magazine, chamber it & rotate the bolt into
the locked position. This is not required in a pistol chambered for
the 7.65mm or 9mm (.380) cartridge. It makes the pistol far more
complicated than necessary. One interesting feature is that the tube
above the barrel contains 2 springs, one in front to operate the barrel
& one in the rear to operate the bolt. Again, if it was designed
as a blow back operated pistol there would have been no need for a barrel
return spring. After the end of WW1 when the Austro-Hungarian Empire
was broken up, Hungary kept the Frommer Stop as their service pistol.
It was designated the Model 19 (1919) pistol. Serial numbers as high
as 329,000 have been recorded but the actual number produced for the Hungarian
& Austro-Hungarian forces is not known.
From 1919 until Austria
became a part of the Third Reich the M1912 Styer remained the Austrian
service pistol. When the Austrian army was incorporated into the
German army they were issued German & Czech weapons. The M1912
Styer was then used as a police or reserve weapon. Some of them were
converted to 9X19mm (Luger) by the Germans & issued to German police
units. These have an 08 (Pistol M1908 or Luger) & German acceptance
stamps on them.
In 1929 the Hungarian
military adopted a new pistol chambered for the 9mm Browning (.380 ACP)
cartridge. This was the first blowback, unlocked design adopted by
Hungary. It was designated the Model 29. 50,000 were produced
between 1929 & 1936.
In 1936 the design
of the M29 was modified to simplify the pistol. The new design was
adopted as the Model 37M in 1937. Production was about 200,000 pistols.
Early in 1941 Germany ordered 50,000 37M pistols chambered for the 7.65mm
(.32 ACP) cartridge. By mid 1941 the Germans had requested that a
manual safety be added to the pistol. By the end of WW2 approximately
90,000 Model 37Ms had been manufactured for Germany.