Mauser Model 1896 "Broomhandle" 9mm     

                                   

When I decided to add a Broomhandle to my collection, I looked at the various caliber offerings, and eventually settled on getting a "Red 9" pistol, that is, a C96 that was chambered in the then "new" 9mm Parabellum cartridge. This particular variation is also known as the "Prussian Contract", or the "Imperial Army Contract", and covers the 150,000 C96 Mauser pistols ordered for the German Army between 1916 and 1918.

 I decided on this variant for two main reasons. Firstly, 9mm ammunition is much more readily available than any of the other Broomhandle chamberings, should I want to actually "shoot" it. Secondly, a period correct piece with the big red "9" engraved on the handles just seemed cool to me, and just a little "one off" from the regular Mausers. The big red 9 is there of course, to denote that this pistol is chambered in 9mm instead of 7.63 Mauser, a valid concern amongst the trench dwelling inhabitants of the Kaiser's Imperial forces during the First World War.

Maybe it's akin to the red hourglass on a Black Widow spider...but that big, red "9" just seems menacing...

 

The C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser pistol is one of those revolutionary firearms that is really unique, and holds a very significant place in the development of the semi-automatic handgun. Revolutionary, yes, but essentially an evolutionary dead end. Never the less, it is a wonderful piece of engineering and workmanship, and still sports some pretty advanced features over a hundred years after it was designed by three brothers, Friedrich, Josef and Fidel Feederle. Marketed by Mauser as "The Mauser Military Pistol", it was, and is a marvel of early automatic pistol design.

Prussian Army acceptance stamp


It saw service in a number of conflicts, under many different nationalities, and was quite popular the world over. At one time or another, it saw service with the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Bolshevik Revolutionaries, Chinese Warlords, Viet-Cong guerillas, and civilian and police entities from Madrid to Singapore. They are still being encountered in hotspots from Kosovo, to Iraq. A history regrettably dripping with the blood of conflict spanning a hundred years, and all across the globe, but a testimony none-the-less to this pistols enduring popularity.

Various military proofs

 

The C96 was chambered in three major cartridge types, 7.63x25mm Mauser, 9mm Mauser, and 9mm Parabellum. It is loaded via a 10 round stripper clip into a fixed box magazine forward of the trigger. The 7.63 Mauser cartridge propels an 85 grain round nosed bullet at around 1400 feet per second, and was one of the most powerful handgun rounds in the world prior to the advent of various "magnum" cartridges such as the .357 magnum.


This particular pistol is a bit rougher, and more worn than other Broomhandle's I looked at, but then this is a weapon of war.

The Great War...

The War to End All Wars...

 

 

Note the N/S on the hammer indicating this pistol is equipped with the "new safety" (Neues Sicherung).

Also note the matching serial numbers...three in one area. Wow. Germans have always been thorough.

Says it all doesn't it? No mistake on who made this one.

Acceptance stamp and serial number on the bolt handle.

500 meter graduated leaf sight. 500 meters with a 9mm, even with a shoulder stock, is pretty optimistic...Of course, pre-war C96's were incremented out to 1000 meters. Note remaining blue.

Original "fire" blue on safety

And on the trigger

 

A veritable clockwork of interlocking, individually serial numbered pieces

 

First thing I did was spent 5 minutes taking it apart...and 2 hours putting it back together!

Complete shoulder stock and harness rig.

 I don't want to begin to tell you how much metal and woodwork I had to do to get this reproduction to fit.

When it arrived, it would not fit on the pistol, and the pistol wouldn't fit inside it.

God bless the Dremel Moto-Tool(tm)

The Broomhandle is carried inside the stock, which nestles inside the leather harness.

In addition to the pistol, the harness also holds a bore cleaning rod, and a spare magazine spring.

The leather harness has belt loops and can be carried strapped to the leg.

The stock slides into a groove on the back of the Broomhandle, and "snicks" neatly into place, producing a handy short barreled carbine. Ultra cool!

Try this with any other pistol other than early 1896 Mausers and certain Artillery Luger's and you'll end up vacationing in Club Fed. The National Firearms Act specifically excludes these models as exempt due to historic curio status. All other "stocked pistols" are considered "short barreled rifles" and are prohibited or regulated accordingly.

Early morning "natural light" shot

 

Very cool.

Unfortunatly I sold this example one day, in a moment of weakness, and it took me a couple years to find a replacement, which wasn't quite as nice.

 

                                   

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