Hi, I’m Ian Thanks for tuning into another video episode on Forgotten Weapons.com We have today a couple of early semi-automatic pistols. The 1890’s and the first decade of the 1900’s were really the heyday of automatic pistol invention and manufacture. There were a lot of new ideas floating around, the first really practical automatic pistols were developed during this time. We have three of them here to take a look at. Just to do some overview and some comparisons. We have a Bergman model 1910 21 we have a C96 “Broom-Handle” Mauser and we have an Astra 900 which is to some extent a copy of the Mauser. These pistols were first designed in the 1890s. The first version of the Bergman here was designed in 1894, the Mauser in 1896. These guns are a bit clunky by today’s standards they hadn’t really developed or figured out the best ways to do automatic pistols, but these were the front runners of their day. All three of these particular guns are recoil-operated mechanisms. They all have a bolt carrier or slide that actually recoils slightly. The recoil action unlocks the bolt and allows inertia to do the rest of the work. It is the same type of mechanism on the Mauser. You can see the whole upper assembly slides back a little under a quarter of an inch. There are a number of calibers used during this time. There wasn’t a standard handgun cartridge hadn’t been developed yet, or hadn’t been agreed upon by general consensus. So the original Mausers’ were in 30 Mauser, which is dimensionally very similar to 7.62 by 25 millimeter. The nine millimeter parabellum or nine millimeter Luger was developed during this time And that was used in some of these. This particular model Bergman was developed for the nine-Millimeter Bergman which is a 23 millimeter long casing. A little more powerful than today’s standard 9 millimeter Luger. Bergman also developed pistols in calibers ranging from six and a half a millimeter up to eight millimeter There was a 45 caliber version of the Bergman made for the US pistol trials in the early 1900’s So at this time early in the development of automatic pistols the detachable magazine was not universal standard that it is today. There were some pistols that had entirely blind magazines like the “Broom-Handle” Mauser. You can see it has a removable floor plate, but all loading is done from the top via stripper clip. There were some full auto variants of the Mauser that were built that did actually use detachable magazines 10 and 20 rounders. As you can see the full auto magazines, there is no way to adapt a existing gun to use them. However some guns up the era like this Bergman did use detachable magazines as standard. In this case this one held six rounds there were some experimental longer ones, but the standard was a fairly small magazine by today’s standards. Another element at the time that was popular that has dropped out a favor since was the use of shoulder stocks. Detachable shoulder stocks with side arms. All three of these guns could be had with shoulder stocks or variants of them could be. You can see that there’s a groove cut in the back of the grip and you would have a shoulder stock with a metal tab that would slide up and lock in place here. This allows you to use the gun at longer ranges, the sight is rather optimistically set out to a thousand yards. And while that wasn’t actually practically feasible you could get much better accuracy shooting use with the shoulder stock at somewhat longer ranges. The Astra is a little bit of a different character. The Astra 900 was actually developed and marketed in the late 1920’s . There’s an interesting complex reason for this. The “Broom-Handle” Mauser had developed quite a bit of popularity in China during the Chinese Civil war. Import restrictions prevented other countries from sending rifles into China but handguns were a different matter; you could put shoulder stock on a “Broom-Handle” Mauser and make a decently effective little carbine out of it. So the Astra company redesigned the Mauser pistol a bit you can see that there is a removable side plate here, if you look on the opposite side you can see a whole bunch of pins. The Mauser has a much more complex action to it a whole lot of interlocking components. The Spanish simplify that and use cross pins for a lot of things accessed by this side plate. So they put this together shoulder stock and were able to export these into China where they were quite popular. Semi-Auto versions, full auto versions, and a couple different calibers the Astras’ could be had in 30 Mauser or in Nine millimeter Luger So these handguns are a little dated by today’s standards actually they’re a lot dated by today’s standards. But there’s still blast to shoot. We’ll be doing some shooting with some of these and we’ll be posting the video on Forgotten Weapons.com Check back and take a look. And while these guns were expensive and complex to manufacture they show a real interesting look into the state of firearms development in the 1890’s in the early 1900’s. And were fun to take a look at. Thanks for watching.