Steyr Model 1907 (M1907)
The Roth-Steyr M07 is credited as being the first self-loading pistol to be accepted by a major army anywhere in the world.
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The Roth-Steyr M07 (or "Model 07") holds the distinction of becoming the first self-loading pistol to be accepted by a major world army anywhere on the globe. Its major operator became the Austro-Hungarian Army - in particular its cavalry services - going into World War 1. Despite its originations in the beginning of the century, the type was still found in use with Italian Army elements by the time of World war2. Production ran into the 1920s to which some 90,000 examples were delivered. Production was handled by Osterreichische Waffenfabrik-Gesell-schaft of Steyr. Once in practice, Austo-Hungarian innovation and quality construction took hold and the weapon proved as reliable as any on the battlefield.
By modern standards the M07 took on a most utilitarian appearance, showcasing a slim forward design with a bulky rear body. The pistol grip was thin with a diagonal grip pattern for optimal ergonomics. The trigger sat inside of an oval trigger guard and there was an ejection port along the top of the frame. Iron sights were affixed forward and aft along the top of the receiver. Empty weight was 2lbs, 4oz and the weapon maintained a muzzle velocity of 1,050 feet per second. The running length of the weapon was 9.18 inches with the barrel - of 4-grooves with a right-hand twist - was 5.18 inches.
The M07 made use of the 8x18.5 Roth M7 cartridge. The cartridge was wholly unique to the M07 and never used in any other weapons platform. The M07 frame held a built-in magazine in her pistol grip to which the operator loaded a 10-round "charger" through the open action. As such, the M07 could hold up to ten 8mm cartridges ready to fire but made for a complicated reloading process. Considering the operator would most likely be on horseback, this compounded problems somewhat.
The Model 07 made use of a rotating barrel during its firing action. The bolt surrounded the entire length of the barrel. The bolt and barrel moved rearwards when the weapon was fired. In this time, the barrel was rotated some 90 degrees and stopped so the bolt could recoil. The same process saw the spent shell casing ejected from the firing chamber and a new cartridge introduced. The barrel was then rotated and locked the breech, returning the bolt and barrel to their original firing positions, ready for the next firing action. The operation of the bolt - requested by Austro-Hungarian cavalry units - could be either by hand or through the weapon's natural firing action - half-cocking the firing pin. The gun was then ready to fire through a simply squeeze of the trigger as normal. This prevented the weapon from discharging prematurely or on accident.