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Mauser Pocket Pistols - an Introduction

(Revised 14 Feb 2005)
By A. Winthrop
Photographs by Ed Buffaloe
unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6.35mm Mauser 1910 "Sidelatch"Identifying your Mauser pocket pistol can be a little tricky. It could fall into one of four categories: a Mauser Pocket Pistol 1910; a Mauser Pocket Pistol 1914 (or its slightly modified 1934 version), a Mauser Vest Pocket Pistol or the Mauser HSc.

The Mauser Pocket Pistol 1910, somewhat larger and with a longer barrel than competing pocket pistols and therefore considered more reliable and accurate, was chambered only for 6.35mm (.25 ACP). There were two basic versions of this pistol: one made between early 1911 and July 1913, and another, updated version introduced in January 1914. Those made before 1914 have serial numbers between 1 and 61,000 and those made during or after 1914 have serial numbers between 61,000 and 152,000 (1914-1917) and between 200,000 and 403,000 (1919-1934). The latter figures include 1914 models in both 6.35mm and the larger 7 .65mm (.32 ACP), added to Mauser's pocket pistol offerings in July 1914. No numbers are known to exist between 152,000 and 200,000 for the 6.35mm*.

6.35mm Mauser 1914 Pocket PistolThe pre-1914 versions have come to be known as the "Side Latch" or "First" models. The side plate on these pistols incorporates a latch that allows the plate, trigger\sear assembly and trigger bar and spring to be removed, without having to remove the slide. The pistol had a very good finish and was from the beginning a commercial success in Europe, North America and elsewhere. Mauser reported the following total sales figures: 1911, 11,012 sold; 1912, 30 ,291; 1913, 18,856. These early 1910s are scarce and it is very difficult to find parts for them. Even the largest North American parts dealers failed to identify my early 1910 and none had parts for it.

In July 1914, Mauser came out with the second of its pocket pistol line, a scaled-up version of the 1910 chambered for 7 .65mm. This version was revised slightly in 1934, allowing the use of stamped rather than more costly machined internal parts and sporting a curved, more comfortable grip. Otherwise, the 1934 models were nearly identical in construction to the 1914s. Numbering of the 6.35mm 1934s started around 403,000 and about 25,000 were produced. Production of the 1934s in both calibers continued until 1939.

At about the same time the scaled-up 1914 came out, Mauser modified its smaller 1910s to conform in design (but not in size) to the new 1914s, incorporating improvements in both models that were originally realized during testing of a Mauser 9mm 1912\1914 automatic military model. The 1910s produced in 1914 and later, sometimes called the "Second" or "Neues Modell" ("New Model") 1910, do not have the side latch of the earlier 1910s and the barrel retaining (or takedown) rod is secured by a spring catch on the underside of the front of the frame. The early 1910's barrel retaining rod was held in place by a slot cut into the underside of the barrel, just behind the muzzle.

Because of the changes in the way the barrel is retained, pre- and post-1914 6.35mm barrels are not interchangeable. In fact, few if any parts of the 6.35mm 1910s made during or after 1914 are interchangeable with those of the early 1910s because of a number of other design modifications (different sized striker, different trigger bar pivot design, different trigger sear design, etc.) Exceptions may be some springs (recoil, et al), and grip screws.

The 1914\1934 models in 7.65mm as well as in 6.35mm are often incorrectly referred to as simply 1910s, without distinguishing them from the earlier 6.35mm 1910s. For example, the National Rifle Association's (NRA) Pistols and Revolvers Assembly manual uses a picture of a scaled-up 1914 model to illustrate its section on the 1910 and discusses the two models as if they were the same. However, since the 1914\1934 model design is derived directly from that of the 1910, all models are similar in external appearance, the size differences notwithstanding. The 7.65mm 1914\1934s are 6 .1" in length and 4.5" high, while the 6.35mm 1910s (both the 1914 and pre-1914 versions) are 5.4" in length and 4" high.

A line drawing of the early "Side Latch" 1910 can be found on the web site of a Canadian gun parts dealer, Marstar, under its catalog heading, Mauser Pocket Pistol 1909\1910. The exploded view of the gun's parts linked to the drawing, however, is of a post-1914 version of the 6.35mm 1910. So if you have a 1910 and it matches the drawing in EVERY detail, including the latch shown on the side plate (left side) above the trigger, then the parts depicted in the exploded view won't do you much good. However, if your gun does not have the side latch, then the parts in the exploded view will match yours and Marstar can provide you with a full range of parts.

Properly matched profiles of Mauser's pocket pistol offerings and exploded parts views can be found in the archive section of Gerhard Schoenbauer's excellent website: http://www.vestpockets.bauli.at/.  Production information in German (D) and English (E) on all Mauser's pocket pistols accompany the model profiles.

Mauser WTP I

Mauser's Vest Pocket Pistol was patented in 1918 and introduced for sale in 1921 to take advantage of a rapidly growing market for VERY small pistols for personal defence. The WTP (Westen Taschen Pistole) fitted into the palm of the hand and was chambered only for 6.35mm. It came out in two models: the WTP I and the WTP II, the latter coming into production in 1938 and featuring smaller, improved grips, a relocated safety and a "signal pin", like those on Mauser's larger models, that protruded through the rear of the slide to indicate by sight or feel that the striker was in firing position. The earlier model's black, hard rubber grips were replaced after 1938 with brown plastic grips. There were about 50, 000 WTP I’s produced (on sale in 1926 for 36 Reichsmarks) and far fewer WTP II’s made, as production ceased in 1940 to make way for military manufacture.

If your gun is a WTP  I, its grips stop well below the slide and it is marked "W.T.P. - 6.35 - D.R.G.". If the grips go nearly all the way up to the slide and the gun is marked "T. - 6.35" you have a WTP II.

Before moving on to the last of the Mauser pockets it should be noted that in 1922 Mauser changed its name to Mauserwerke A-G from Waffenfabrik Mauser A-G and this change is reflected in the identifying slide markings.  During this transition, the Mauser banner, which appears on the side plate, was also changed but only slightly. Some Mauser pockets made during the transition have no Mauser banner, perhaps reflecting some indecision on what the new design was to be.

Photograph by Ed Harris

The Mauser HSc came out in 1939 and was produced by Mauser at least until 1946. The HSc was not derived from Mauser's earlier pocket pistols.  It was a totally new design, being more streamlined in appearance. Its quality is considered to be inferior to the 1910s and 1914s but still good. It was chambered for 7.65mm (.32). HSc serial numbers started at 700,000 and ran to around 952,000. After the war, during the French occupation, about 17,000 more were produced from leftover parts and numbered sequentially up to about 970,000.

Those HSc Mausers in the 745,338-781,415 serial number range that were marked with the Eagle/135, about 4,000 in all, had the high-polish blue finish of earlier commercial models and are among the most prized by collectors. Later military models, marked with the Eagle/135 Waffenamt (801,145 - 885,126 serial number range; about 31,000 made), were left unpolished before blueing and show machining marks.

The Eagle/N proof mark indicates commercial production. There were only about 30,000 of these made for the civilian market as most firearms manufacture during the war years was dedicated to the military or police. This was especially true of HSc-production and even most commercially produced HScs found their way into the military as they were purchased privately by higher-ranking officers who by 1944 were required to wear pistols instead of the traditional sword or dagger.

As for Mauser pocket pistol value, I have read on the Web that the range for the post-1914 6.35mm 1910s runs between about US$150 for one in average condition to US$450 for one in excellent condition. This is probably true for the scaled-up 1914\1934s and for the HSc. Special military or other markings can boost these values greatly. The early 1910s are very scarce so my guess is that a Mauser collector might pay somewhat more for these. The early 1910s originally sold in North America for US$13.50 each, according to a Mauser rifle and pistol brochure published in 1912.

While the monetary value of most Mauser pistols is not very high, every source I have come across in two months of on- and off-line research says that Mauser 1910s and 1914s are among the best made and finished pistols ever produced. This is why any of the Mauser pocket pistols are worth the effort to restore.

With only a little work, I got my early 1910 looking and working great. After carefully sliding its wrap-around walnut grip off to the rear of the frame, I cleaned it gently with white car polish, wiped it dry and applied a few coats of high quality car paste wax to it, making it look nearly new. The metal parts just needed cleaning with a little Hoppes No.9 and then I gave everything a light coat of oil before reassembly.

My task was made easy because the pistol had been well maintained (and little used, judging by the internal\external condition) by my father and its two previous owners, a father and son, both German officers who carried the pistol in WWI and WWII. The gun was surrendered to my father by the son, an army captain, shortly after his US Army 155mm gun battalion moved into a German village during the early days of occupation following the war.

By far the best single Internet source of images (side views, field stripped and complete parts layouts) and historical\tech information on Mauser's 1910s\14s\34s and WTPs is the Web site of Gerhard Schoenbauer, an Austrian collector (http://www.vestpockets.bauli.at/). Mr. Schoenbauer's downloadable .JPG images are scans of pistols from his own collection. Some of Mr. Schoenbauer's historical\tech information has been incorporated here. Mr. Schoenbauer's Web site also offers images and information (in English as well as in German) on many other handguns in his collection.

Marstar's exploded view can also be of help to you in disassembling and reassembling your gun if it is a 1914 or 1934 model and they also have images of and parts for the HSc. And the NRA's Pistols and Revolvers Assembly manual will be even more helpful as it also includes images, parts lists and other information on the HSc and the Vest Pocket, as well on the 1910s and 1914\1934s. It costs about US$14.

Other references on Mauser pistols include Roy Pender's Mauser Pocket Pistols: 1910-1946; Walther H.B. Smith's Mauser Rifles and Pistols, and Pistols of the World by Ian V. Hogg and John Weeks. Pender's book is out of print but suddenly in GREAT demand, perhaps an indication of collectors' growing interest in Mauser pocket pistols. Pender's son told me that his mother and uncle are trying to reprint the book, which was selling at gun shows last fall for $100. Rutgers Book Center, Highland Park, NJ, is offering copies at $200 each! Rutgers, a gun book dealer, has most good publications on Mauser pistols and rifles at reasonable prices.

Aside from Marstar (http://www.marstar.ca/index.html), you might find parts for your gun at SARCO, a New Jersey parts dealer; World Wide Gun Parts, San Diego, CA; Milarm, a Canadian gun parts dealer, and Gun Parts Corp., Hurley, New York.

Jack First of Rapid City, SD (contact information below), the only person able to identify my early Mauser 1910 correctly, is also a good parts source but he is not on the Web. Thomas Heller (contact information below) specializes in parts for Mauser and other European handguns.  Like Jack, Tom is not on the Web.

I offer this information because a lot of people on the Web helped me in my search for information on my Mauser pistol and how to find parts for it and I would similarly like to help others. These people were mostly gun dealers and collectors so they know what they're talking about. Still, it is always a good idea to keep an open and critical mind because even the experts are sometimes wrong. And since I'm no expert, view my information with an especially critical eye. I've checked and double-checked my information but there still may be errors. If you find any, please let me know.

Below are spec sheets for two of the pocket pistols mentioned above as Mauser presented them in a 1912 sales brochure (the early 6.35mm 1910) and a 1914 owner's manual (for both the 6.35mm and 7.65mm 1914 Mauser Pocket Pistol models). I have also included specs for both WTP models as they appear on Mr. Schoenbauer's Web site. Should you run across similar information for the other Mausers discussed here, I would appreciate receiving it.

Also below, is a guide to on- and off-line reference materials and parts dealers.


MAUSER POCKET PISTOL TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

MAUSER POCKET PISTOL 1910 - 6.35mm (.25 ACP)

  1. "First" or "Side Latch" model (early 1911-July 1913); about 61,000 made.
     "Second" or "New" model (1914-39)
  2. Manufacture date: From early 1911 (Revised in 1914, 1934)
  3. Action: Blowback\striker
  4. Length: 5 1\2" (Barrel: 3 1\8")
  5. Height: 4"
  6. Pistol weight, magazine empty: 15 oz
  7. Pistol weight, magazine full : 17 oz
  8. Empty magazine weight: 1.23 oz
  9. Thickness: .85"
 10. Length of line of site: 4.6"
 11. Cartridge: 6.35mm (.25 ACP)
 12. Weight bullet: 49 grains
 13. Charge of nitro powder: 1.23 grains
 14. Muzzle velocity: 750 feet\sec.
 15. Muzzle energy  :  61 foot\lbs.
 16. Penetration:
     in pine at 10 yds., 2 1\2"
     in pine at 25 yds., 2 1\4"
 17. "Guaranteed" shot pattern:
     at 10 yds., 2" circle
     at 25 yds., 6" circle
 18. Nine-round magazine (ten-shot if one in chamber).
 19. Wrap-around walnut grips.
 20. Markings (These can vary):
    a. Manufacturer: Waffenfabrik Mauser A-G.Oberndorf A.N.Mauser's Patent
    b. Serial number: Stamped on back end of frame, front left
       side of slide. Last three numbers only on takedown rod catch
       and internal parts.
    c. Mauser logo stamped on side plate, left side of gun, above grip.
    d. One small crown, over another small crown, over a U on front
       right side of slide.

MAUSER POCKET PISTOL 1914\34 - 7.65mm (.32 ACP)

  1. First introduced in 1914 (Revised in 1934)
  2. Manufacture date: July 1914 to 1939
  3. Action: Blowback\striker
  4. Length: 6.1"
  5. Height: 4.5"
  6. Pistol weight, magazine empty: 21 oz
  7. Pistol weight, magazine full : 23 oz
  8. Empty magazine weight: 1.75 oz
  9. Thickness: 1.1"
 10. Length of line of site: 5"
 11. Cartridge: 7.65mm (.32 ACP)
 12. Weight bullet: 74 grains
 13. Charge of nitro powder: 3.08 grains
 14. Muzzle velocity: 1142 feet\sec.
 15. Muzzle energy: 148 foot\lbs.
 16. Penetration:
     in pine at 10 yds., 4.5"
     in pine at 25 yds., 4.4"
     in pine at 50 yds., 4.25"
 17. Shot pattern:
     at 10 yds., 1.4"  circle
     at 25 yds., 3.4"  circle
     at 50 yds., 5.75" circle
 18. Eight-round magazine (nine-shot if one in chamber).
 19. Wrap-around walnut grips.
 20. Markings (These can vary):
    a. Manufacturer: Waffenfabrik Mauser A-G.Oberndorf A.N.Mauser's Patent
    b. Serial number: Stamped on back end of frame, front left
       side of slide. Last three numbers only on takedown rod catch
       and internal parts.
    c. Mauser logo stamped on side plate, left side of gun, above grip.
    d. One small crown, over another small crown, over a U on front
       right side of slide.

MAUSER VEST POCKET PISTOL 1918 (WTP I) - 6.35mm (.25 ACP)

System.........  Self-cocking pistol with mass system and firing pin
Cartridges.....  6
Caliber........  .25 ACP
Barrel Length..  60.7mm, 6 grooves right hand twisted
Weight Empty...  340g
Total Length...  115mm
Total Height...  79.5mm
Total Width....  20.6mm
Trigger........  Single action
Sight..........  Fixed, groove with notch
Safety.........  Lever
Finish.........  Blued
Grips..........  Hard rubber

MAUSER VEST POCKET PISTOL 1938 (WTP II) - 6.35mm (.25 ACP)

System.........  Self-cocking pistol with mass system and firing pin
Cartridges.....  6
Caliber........  .25 ACP
Barrel Length..  51.5mm, 6 grooves right hand turning
Weight Empty...  285g
Total Length...  102.4mm
Total Height...  71mm
Total Width....  21mm
Trigger........  Single action
Sight..........  Fixed, groove with notch
Safety.........  Lever and magazine-safety
Finish.........  Blued
Grips..........  Plastic

MAUSER HSc - 7.65mm (.32 ACP)

Calibre: .32 ACP (7.65 mm)
Action: Hammer - Double or Single Action
Overall Length:   162 mm
Height:           110 mm
Width over grips: 28 mm
Length of barrel: 85 mm
Distance between front and rear sights: 128 mm
Weight of pistol with magazine: 585 grams approx.
Weight of magazine:  50 grams approx.
Magazine capacity:   8 rounds
Weight of cartridge: 4.7 grams
Weight of powder charge: 0.16 grams
Muzzle velocity: 290 m/sec
Number of parts completely stripped: 40


MAUSER INFORMATION\REFERENCE MATERIALS AND PARTS


BULLETIN BOARDS - INFORMATION EXCHANGE:


MAUSER BOOKS:

      • Roy Pender , Mauser Pocket Pistols: 1910-1946
      • Belford & Dunlop (1980), The Mauser Self-Loading Pistol
      • Walter H.B. Smith, Mauser Rifles and Pistols
      • Breathed & Schroeder, System Mauser
      • R.J.Berger, Know your Broomhandle
      • Korn,  Mauser Gewehre und Patente
      • Ian V. Hogg & John Weeks, Pistols of the World
      • Joseph J. Schroeder, Gun Collector's Digest
      • Jan Still, AXIS Pistols
      • Compiled by John Olson, The Famous Automatic Pistols of Europe - Vol. I,   Published by JOLEX


ON-LINE REFERENCE:


ON-LINE GUN\PARTS DEALERS:


OFF-LINE GUN\PARTS DEALERS:

Thomas W. Heller
P.O. Box 398
St. Charles, MO 63302
Tel: 636-447-3006

Tom Heller stocks parts for most Mauser pistols, including the C96, M1910\14\34, WTP, post-war Parabellum and HSc (WWII military and pre-war commercial), P38s and Lugers. He also deals in other European handguns and parts.


Jack First Inc.
1201 Turbine,
Rapid City,
South Dakota 57701
Tel: 605-343-9544
Fax: 605-343-9420

New and obsolete gun parts. Call for 2300 page illustrated catalog. Also gunsmith's catalogs.


* The webmaster for Unblinking Eye has received emails from a collector with a 6.35mm Mauser Pocket Pistol with serial number 152466, and another with serial number 155088, which was purportedly used by the Portuguese police.  Both these guns may actually be 1910/1914 transition models.

Copyright 2005 by A. Winthrop.  All rights reserved.

A Comparison of the Model 1910 and the Model 1914 Mauser 6.35mm Pocket Pistols

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