Mauser C96

The C96 is a semi-automatic pistol that was manufactured from 1896 to 1936 in Germany. It was one of the first semi-automatic pistols to see widespread use. It was also manufactured in direct or modified form in Spain and China in the first half of the 20th Century.The main characteristics that distinguish the C96 are the integral box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which can double as a holster or carrying case, and a grip shaped like the end of a broom\'s handle (which earned it the nickname \"Broomhandle\" in the English-speaking world). The Mauser C96 can be considered one of the first personal defense weapons (PDWs), as its long barrel and powerful cartridge gave it superior range and better penetration capabilities than most other standard pistols.There were many variants of the C96, notably the so-called \"Bolo\" version with a shorter barrel and smaller grips (which was manufactured after German handgun manufacturers were required to conform to Versailles restrictions on pistol barrel length). The Bolo earned that name due to the fact that the Bolshevik government of the Soviet Union in 1920s placed large orders for that model. There were versions with detachable magazines varying in size from 6 to 40 rounds (instead of the integral magazine seen on most pre-1930s versions), and models such as the M712 Schnellfeuer (\"rapid fire\") machine pistol from 1932 that was capable of fully automatic fire. All versions were made to use detachable shoulder stocks that doubled as holsters. A small number of carbine models with wooden stocks, wooden foregrips and much longer barrels were also manufactured.During World War I the Imperial German Army contracted with Mauser for 150,000 C96 pistols chambered for the 9 mm Parabellum. This variant was named the \"Red 9\" after a large number \"9\" burned and painted in red into the grip panels, to prevent the pistol users from loading them with 7.63 mm ammunition by mistake. Of the 150,000 pistols commissioned, approximately 135,000 were delivered before the war ended. This was the only time in which the C96 was ever used officially by the German army.The Mauser C96 was sold commercially worldwide; Winston Churchill favored it, and used one at the Battle of Omdurman and during the Second Boer War. The pistols saw service in various colonial wars, World War I, the Spanish Civil War, the Chaco War, and World War II, among other places. Despite the worldwide popularity and fame, the only nation to use the C96 as the primary service pistol of its military and police was China.

Mauser C96
Class Manportable
Type Handguns
Manufacturer Mauser
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1895
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mauser View

Within a year of its introduction in 1896, the C96 had been sold to governments and commercially to civilians and individual military officers.

The Mauser C96 pistol was extremely popular with British officers at the time and many purchased it privately. Mauser supplied the C96 to Westley Richards in the UK for resale. By the onset of World War I, the C96's popularity with the British military had waned.

As a military sidearm, the pistols saw service in various colonial wars, as well as World War I, The Easter Rising, the Estonian War of Independence, the Spanish Civil War, the Chinese Civil War and World War II. The C96 also became a staple of Bolshevik Commissars and various warlords and gang leaders in the Russian Civil War, known simply as "the Mauser".

Winston Churchill was fond of the Mauser C96 and used one at the 1898 Battle of Omdurman and during the Second Boer War; Lawrence of Arabia carried a Mauser C96 for a period, during his time in the Middle East. Indian Revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil and his partymen used these Mauser Pistols in the historic Kakori train robbery in August 1925. Chinese Communist General Zhu De carried a Mauser C96 during his Nanchang Uprising and later conflicts; his gun (with his name printed on it) can be viewed in the Beijing war museum.

Imported and domestic copies of the C96 were used extensively by the Chinese in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, as well as by the Spanish during the Spanish Civil War and the Germans in World War II.

Besides the standard 7.63×25 mm chambering, C96 pistols were also commonly chambered for 9×19mm Parabellum with a small number also being produced in 9 mm Mauser Export. Lastly, there was a Chinese-manufactured model chambered for .45 ACP. Despite the pistol's worldwide popularity and fame, China was the only nation to use the C96 as the primary service pistol of its military and police.

Weight - 1,130g (39.9oz)

Length - 312mm (12.3in) (pre-Bolo)271mm (10.7in) (post-Bolo)

Barrel length - 140mm (5.5in) (pre-Bolo)99mm (3.9in) (post-Bolo)

Cartridge - 7.63x25mm Mauser9x19mm Parabellum9 mm Mauser Export (rare).45 ACP (China)

Action - Recoil operated

Muzzle velocity - 425m/s (1,394ft/s)

Effective range - Approx. 200 m

Maximum range - 2000 m (according to manual)

Feed system - 6, 10 or 20-round integral or detachable magazine; 40-round detachable magazines were also made

Sights - V-notch rear tangent sight adjustable up to 1,000 metres, inverted V front sight

End notes