MANUFACTURER(S): Osterreichische Waffenfabrik-Gesellschaft, Steyr
OPERATORS: Austria-Hungary; Austria; Argentina
CALIBER(S)*: 7.63mm Mannlicher
SIGHTS: Iron Front and Rear
Detailing the development and operational history of the Mannlicher Model 1900 (Series) Service Pistol.
Entry last updated on 2/26/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Mannlicher Model 1900 series was consistent with the high-end craftsmanship coming out of Steyr. Pistols were made to a high degree of quality and built to last but this often came at the expense of pricey production methods and complicated machining. As such, this excellent pistol saw little in the way of profitability and usage was limited to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (later Austria) and export customer Argentina. The flood of security small arms prior to World War 1 worked well against the Model 1900 achieving any level of noticeable world-wide fame.
The action on the Model 1900 series was of note in that it operated from a delayed blowback firing action. The delay was accomplished by way of a heavy spring that was utilized against the slide during recoil. The spring allowed for sufficient delay in the recoil process to allow the bullet to exit the barrel before introducing a new cartridge into the firing chamber. The Model 1900 series was chambered for the 7.63mm Mannlicher cartridge and fed from an integral 8-round box. As opposed to utilizing a "conventional" magazine by today's standards, the Model 1900 series made use of cartridge "chargers" fed from the top of the weapon into a fixed magazine port buried within the pistol grip. The weapon, therefore, was loaded by having the operator pull back on the slide thus opening the feed. The chargers were then inserted down into the magazine well until the eight-cartridge count was reached, the slide then being closed. If the operator needed to empty the magazine well at any point, a release catch was provided. The operator need only pull back on the slide once and activate the catch to access the magazine and its cartridge chargers.
Outwardly, the Mannlicher Model 1900 sported a thin frame with her barrel protruding passed the receiver. The weapon was light at 2lbs and fit well in the average hand. The pistol grip was thin and slightly ergonomic with a vertical grip pattern and open loop at the base. The trigger was set within an oval trigger guard. There was a slight prawl atop the handgrip at the rear and the hammer was slightly visible above the prawl. Well-built, the Mannlicher Model 1900 as a series sported a most distinct outward design.
Design of this Mannlicher product began in 1900 and early forms featured slightly ever-changing details in the search for ultimate handgun perfection. Of note to these originating models was the revision of the rear sight, moved from above the chamber to the back of the slide to create a longer sight radius for the user and expand the capabilities of the weapon. Early production examples were delivered from Von Dreyse out of Sommerda and were marked as such. Production out of Steyr (Osterreichische Waffenfabrik-Gesell-schaft) did not begin until 1901, handing the Mannlicher pistol its more well-known mark of "Model 1901". Production lasted until 1905 - of which some 10,000 examples were ultimately delivered - and led to the next notable mark, the Model 1905. The Argentine Army became a recipient of the Model 1905 and these examples were clearly marked with the designation of "Md 1905" and the Argentine crest to signify their ultimate destination.