Osprey's The 'Broomhandle' Mauser


Jonathan Ferguson


Osprey Publishing


$20.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softbound
ISBN: 978-1-4728-1615-5

In the later part of the nineteenth century, the pistol of choice was overwhelmingly the revolver. The type had been improved to a high level of reliability, but often users wanted more. That more was more bullets before reloading. So the move towards this goal was made.

Probably the most well known of these sorts of pistols is the Colt Model 1918. Yet before that was perfected, Mauser decided to give it a go. They developed a most distinctive pistol that had a ten round magazine in front of the trigger housing. The gun was cleverly designed and was able to be disassembled for cleaning without any specialist tools. Indeed, the only screw in the gun held the handle pieces together.

Like all early weapons of this type, it went through a number of variations as features that didn't work quite as well were modified and upgraded. As nice as the gun was, it was unable to get the huge contracts that Mauser wanted. Indeed, the German army chose a competitor, the Luger P08 instead. Still it did have fairly good export success being built in China and Spain to name a few places.

The Mauser rifle was the staple of the German army and it was this gun that the pistol was loosely based. In fact, the pistol came with a stock which also doubled as a holster. This allowed the user to obtain ranges of accuracy that were not possible with other pistols. However, it took time to attach and those few seconds were often too long when it needed to be used right away.

Still, it was a very distinctive gun and that, as much as anything else explains its popularity. It was used in countless movies and books, thanks to how it looked and its ability to fire more rounds than your standard pistol. It was also rifled for different sizes of ammunition and while it didn't have the 'stopping power' of, say a 45, it was still deadly. Its complexity often brought damning comments from some, but it was also highly praised. None other than Winston Churchill used the gun during the Boer War and credits it with saving his life.

In line with other books in this series, we get the full story of the design and development of the gun, including pointing out the differences in the variants. We are also treated with commentary from those who used it and how they felt about it. It makes for another fascinating book in this series and those who have an interest in this somewhat unusual piece will find this to be a great book.

December 2017

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