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The History of the
August Menz Company and its Pistols

by Dr. Stefan Klein
and Ed Buffaloe
 

Menz 4.25mm - Model 1925 - Photograph by Stefan Klein

4.25mm Menz Liliput

Recently one of us had the chance to purchase a 4.25mm Menz vestpocket pistol in its original box.  For this reason we began taking a closer look at the history of the August Menz Company and its pistols.

The primary source for information in this article is the magazine Waffenschmied (gunsmith), issues from 1900 to 1945.  The Waffenschmied was a bi-weekly newspaper for gunsmiths and weapon and ammunition sellers.  During our research we also found a very comprehensive article, “Ein Blick zurück – Die Pistolen der Waffenfabrik August Menz, Suhl” by R.A. Dvorsky and H.J. Tillig which was published in the Waffen Digest 1988 (Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart).  Additionally we found an article by James P. Stewart, “The handguns of August Menz,” which was published in the Gun Collectors Digest for 1974.  Most later articles in the German language appear to be based on Dvorsky and Tillig, however Dvorsky and Tillig may have been unaware of Stewart’s article.  Finally, in regard to the Menz P.B. Spezial, we have a superb article by Joe Wotka and Martin Krause, entitled ‘Revisiting the History of the Menz/Bergmann PB “Spezial” Pistol,’ which is a revision of an earlier article published in AutoMag, the journal of the National Automatic Pistol Collectors Association, provided to us in pre-publication form by Joe Wotka.   Each source contains useful information, but may include some incorrect data.  The article below is an aggregation of information from the above sources, along with our own observations from examining various Menz pistols.  Reportage and articles in the Waffenschmied enabled us to uncover and correct certain inaccuracies found in our other source materials.  Any errors are of course our own.


History of the Menz Company

August Menz was born in 1861 and worked as a mechanic and gunsmith.  In 1905 he founded his own company which produced parts for other gun manufacturers.  In 1908 he made his first essay into the handgun field with a repeater known as the Regnum.  It consists of four superposed barrels chambered for the 6.35mm Browning cartridge.  Stewart notes that: “Sequential fire is accomplished by a rotating hammer shaped somewhat like an automotive engine crankshaft.  The hammer is indexed by a pawl in the double-action lockwork so that successive pulls on the trigger result in the discharge of the barrels in sequence.”  Due to the fact that there were already a number of modern self-loading pistols on the market, the Regnum was not very successful.  In 1911 Menz produced a gas-pistol with three superposed 12mm caliber barrels, known as the Scheintod, for which he obtained a utility model (Deutsches Reich Gebrauchsmuster, DRGM), No. 478715.

In 1913 Menz presented his first self-loading pistol, the Menta (Menz Taschenpistole) in 6.35mm Browning.  We found no patent for the Menta, so we must assume it was covered by one or another of the utility models listed below, for which we have no information other than the bare description.  It has been suggested that the method of barrel attachment, via a dovetail fitting from the rear, is based on a design by Alois Tomiska (or Tomischka):  British patent 23927 of 1910.  However, Tomiska’s patent did not include the transverse pin seen in the Menta and indeed claimed that “no additional connecting means [between barrel and frame] are ... required for holding the barrel in position.”  A 7.65mm Browning version of the Menta, which was slightly larger, followed just prior to WWI.

Menta Advertisement from 1913

Menta 6.35mm Advertisement from 1913

With the beginning of WWI the German firearms industry focused on military production.  Demand for the 08-Pistol (the Parabellum Luger) could not be fulfilled, so other guns were also called into use as service guns.  Menz manufactured the Menta 7.65mm pistol for the war effort, but due to high demand other manufacturers such as the Westdeutsches Walz- und Presswerk Becker & Holländer were ordered to produce the pistol.  The Becker & Holländer pistol is known as the Beholla.

August Menz died on 6 September 1918.  The Waffenschmied article from 25 September 1918 reports that Menz had turned a small business into a remarkably successful company.  His son Alfred, born in 1886, took over the business after his death.  After the war firearms production was a difficult business due to treaty restrictions and low demand for handguns.  But Alfred Menz continued production of the Menta pistol, which was equipped with a new barrel release.  The 6.35mm version was eventually renamed and offered as the „Menz 6,35“.

Becker & Holländer was sold to Stenda-Werke GmbH which produced the pistol with an improved barrel fixation method until 1926.  Stenda was granted a new patent in 1920 (Deutsches Reich Patent, DRP 334449).  The Metallwarenfabrik Hugo M. Gehring in Arnstadt also produced the pistol as the Leonhardt until 1925.  The Leonhardt was identical to the WWI Menta.

Nordflug Pistol

4.25mm Nordflug

In 1921 Franz Karpinski was granted a patent for a vestpocket pistol, which was sold under the name CYKA (DRP 371665, 379810).  Later he worked for the Nordflugwerke Company in Berlin Teltow, where he produced a pistol, called the Nordflug, chambered for the 4.25mm Liliput cartridge (alias 4.25mm Erika) based on an earlier patent (361177) from 1921.  Both pistols, the CYKA and the Nordflug, are extremely rare.  In 1923, Karpinski then received a patent (395486) together with the Nordflug Company as a supplement to the CYKA patents.  However, the Nordflug company went out of business somewhere after 1923, and we assume that Karpinski started working for Menz in 1923 because one can clearly see the similarities between the CYKA patents, the Nordflug, and the next Menz pistol--the Liliput.

According to Dvorsky and Tillig, in 1922 or 1923 Menz built a new 4.25mm pistol, the „Liliput“, and some time later a version in   6.35mm Browning followed.  On the other hand Stewart gives late 1923 as the production date for the Liliput.  In 1925 Menz was granted a French patent (No. 603742) which in turn mentions a German patent filed on 2 October 1924, which we have been unable to locate after considerable searching.  Possibly the filing date for the German patent is incorrect, or perhaps the patent was never granted in Germany. Quite interesting is the question why – according to Dvorsky and Tillig – Menz was selling his pistol a year or two before a patent was granted.  The first advertisement we have located for the Liliput (6.35mm) appears in the Waffenschmied for March of 1924, and Gerhard Bock’s book Moderne Faustfeuerwaffen und ihr Gebrauch, published in 1923, mentions the Menta but not the Liliput.  We conclude that a manufacture date in late 1923 or early 1924 is likely.

Virtually all sources state that the 4.25mm Liliput was manufactured before the 6.35mm version.  However, the earliest 4.25mm Liliput pistols are very clearly marked “Modell 1925,” which means the 4.25mm Liliput could not have preceded the 6.35mm Liliput.  The first advertisement we have located for the Liliput is dated 25 March 1924 and is for a 6.35mm, and we have also located a box for a 6.35mm Liliput which has the date of purchase written on it:  5 September 1924.  Perhaps the Liliput’s similarity to the Nordflug has caused people to believe the 4.25mm appeared before the 6.35mm, but the evidence seems to prove otherwise.

On 01 January 1928 Menz took over the Gewehrlauffabrik (rifle barrel factory) Schlegelmilch which had existed since 1818.  He equipped it with new machinery and began production of rifle barrels in the same year.

August Menz Advertisement

August Menz advertisement for rifle barrels from the former Schlegelmilch factory
Der Waffenschmied, issue 12. October 1928

Also in 1928 Menz presented a slightly larger Liliput pistol in 6.35mm, which held 8 rounds in the magazine, and which was designated the Modell II.  At the same time the 7.65mm Liliput was slightly reconfigured and renamed the Modell II.

On 12 April 1928 Germany passed a new gun law requiring that most guns be registered.  This had a significant, negative impact on gun sales in Germany.  The Waffenschmied reported on the 25th jubilee of the Menz company in November 1930 that Menz had announced  the company was forced to focus on gas pistols due to restrictions in the new law.  Nevertheless, production of the Liliput Model I in 4.25mm and 6.35mm caliber and the Model II in 6.35mm and 7.65mm caliber was continued.

Despite these difficulties Menz was very creative and provided several new products for the fast growing market of blank and gas pistols:  Gas pistols with integrated flash light, pistol frames made out of horn, shooting keys and pencils, double shot sticks with different replacement barrels up to .20 caliber, and many others.  The list of utility models and patents in this article provide an overview of his creativity in this regard.

Menz seems to have had some legal issues; the Waffenschmied reports on a certification which was issued to prove his blank pistols were not covered by the new gun laws.  The Menz blank pistol had a special barrel design which allowed it to shoot gas and paint bullets but prevented the shooting of ball and shootshell ammo (DRGM 1189529)

Menz Advertisement from Der Waffenschmied

August Menz advertisement for shooting curiosities as Christmas presents
Der Waffenschmied, issue 14. December 1931

In 1932 Menz presented three novelties.  A quite interesting one was a six-shot selfloading blank pistol, the design of which was identical to the Liliput pistol.  It fired paper bullet cartridges which were pulverized before they passed the muzzle.  The tiny paper pieces were directed upwards to the front.  Even at a distance of 20cm the remains of the paper bullet did no damage to a sheet of newspaper.

Menz Advertisement from Der Waffenschmied

August Menz advertisement for the Liliput selfloading blank pistol
Der Waffenschmied, issue 14. March 1932

In 1933 Menz created a series of new, larger pistols in 7.65mm, the Models III, IIIA, IV and IVA, which he collectively referred to as the Polizei- und Behördenpistole (P&B).  These pistols differed little from each other, using essentially the same slide and frame with only minor modifications.

Advertisement for the Menz Model III

Advertisement for the Menz Model III
Der Waffenschmied, issue 14. July 1933

In October 1935 the August Menz Company was renamed Menz & Co Kommanditgesellschaft (Waffenschmied, 14.  October 1935). The footnote of the following ad from 1935 announces a new product – the „P.B.-Hahn-Pistole mit Revolverabzug und auswechselbaren Läufen“ (double action pistol with external hammer and interchangeable barrels), later known as the “P.B. Spezial.”  Menz had bought the patent from Adalbert Kàdits.  According to Dvorsky and Tillig the gun was sold as the “P.P.” (Polizeipistole), but all the evidence we have indicates the gun was advertised and sold as the “P.B.” (Polizei und Behörden).   Whichever is correct, Walther filed suit against Menz over the name, which they regarded as too similar to their own product. Walther eventually won this suit.

August Menz Advertisement

August Menz advertisement with a note at the bottom announcing the P.B. Hahn Pistole
Der Waffenschmied, issue 22. March 1935

According to Dvorsky and Tillig, Alfred Menz sold his company to the merchant Theodor Emil Bergman from Berlin in 1938. The sale was likely a result of the legal costs of the aforementioned lawsuit.  Theodor Emil belonged to the Theodor Bergmann family from Gaggenau, which had sold its business to Lignose AG in 1922.  A number of English-language sources report that the Menz company was sold to Lignose, but we do not believe this to be the case, as Lignose had announced they were leaving the firearms business in 1928 (the Waffenschmied, 28 September 1928).  Unfortunately the Waffenschmied does not mention a single word about the transfer of the Menz company to a member of the Bergmann family, which would in our opinion have been important news at the time.  Bergmann produced the Menz pistols with the inscription “Theodor Bergmann Erben, Waffenfabrik Suhl,” and continued to refer to the larger gun as the “Spezial” but omitted the “P.B.”.  The Waffenschmied for 14 May 1940 reports that Theodor Bergmann Erben received two Gebrauchsmusters (utility models), but it must have been right around this time that Bergmann Erben went out of business for reasons as yet undetermined. 


Patents and Utility Models

August and Alfred Menz secured all their products with patents and utility models. (The German utility model is similar to a patent but has a shorter term and less stringent requirements.)  Up until 1927 the utility models were applied for under the name of August Menz.

Patents:

  • DRP 324484, August Menz:  Selfloading firearm, 30 March 1916.
  • DRP 326798, August Menz:  Addition to patent 324484, 19 July 1916.
  • French Patent No. 603742, Alfred Menz and Paul Kempkes:  Culasse pour pistolet automatiques (breech for automatic pistols) from 12 January 1926.  This patent mentions a German patent filed 2 October 1924 which we have been unable to locate.

Utility models (DRGM):

  • 230749 trigger mechanism for rifles with multiple barrels, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1904).
  • 356618 drop barrel pistol, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1908).
  • 403748 breech for rifles, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 403749 breech for rifle with drop barrel, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 406656 breech for rifle, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 416170 breech casing for drop barrel rifles, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 424786 combination gun, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 424787 combination gun, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1910).
  • 478714 pistol, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1911).
  • 478715 Scheintod-pistol, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1911).
  • 521687 Automatic pistol for rimfire cartridges and lead bullets, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1912).
  • 550130 Breech for automatic pistols, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1913).
  • 736342 barrel fixation for automatic firearms, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1920).
  • 973818 cartridge for Scheintod-Pistols and automatic firearms, Aug. Menz, Suhl (1927).
  • 1056572 blank pistol made of industrial horn or hard rubber, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1929).
  • 1114497 blank pistol,  Alfred Menz, Suhl (1930).
  • 1180550 shooting device, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1931).
  • 1189529 barrels for gas pistols which prevent firing live ammunition, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1931).
  • 1204359 double-shot shooting stick for blank- , gas- or paint bullets, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1932).
  • 1220936 selfloading blank- or gas pistol with magazine, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1932).
  • 1250980 selfloading firearm with magazine, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1933).
  • 1255081 selfloading firearm with magazine, Alfred Menz, Suhl (1933).


Menz Pistols

The following chapter will present the Menz selfloading pistols.  It will focus on the inscription variants and differences.  Vestpocket pistols of the era were based on very similar technical principles so we will not describe each gun’s mechanism in detail.  Due to the large variety of models and variants we cannot guarantee completeness.

Technical Data*

Menta

Menta

Liliput

Liliput

Liliput

Model II

Model II

6.35mm

7.65mm

4.25mm

6.35mm

7.65mm

6.35mm

7.65mm

Length

119

141

94

104

127

124.5

128

Barrel Length

63.5

74

44

51

67

65.5

66

Height

82

103

66

70

90

84

88

Width

25.3

25

17

20

23.5

21

23

Weight

380

640

175

270

500

345

500

Magazine Capacity

6

7

7

6

7

8

7

* Dimensions in millimeters and weight in grams


Menz Menta

The Menta is an unlocked breech striker fired pistol that features an open top slide. The barrel is fixed to the frame with a dovetail guide held in position by a transverse pin.  For disassembly the pin must be pushed out through a hole in the slide, then with the slide locked to the rear the barrel may be pushed backwards and lifted out of the frame, after which the slide can be removed.  The later (post war) version employed a sliding catch on the left side above the trigger to release the barrel.  The early grips are made of checkered horn with an abstract design
6.35mm Menta

6.35mm Menta

7.65mm Menta

7.65mm Menta

at the top, and some identical grips have been found in wood.  Very late grips were made of wood with an “AM” monogram inset.

Export versions are sometimes found stamped “GERMANY.”  The 6.35mm pistol is smaller than the 7.65mm pistol and can be found with the early inscription:

DEUTSCHE SELBSTLADE-PISTOLE MENTA” CAL.6.35
AUSL. PAT. & D.R.G.M.

Later inscriptions are much simplified:

„MENTA“ 6,35

and the late (post WWI variant) inscription:

 „MENZ“ 6,35

Early 6.35mm pistols had 9 flat-bottomed vertical slide serrations.  These were later reduced to 7 and later still to 6.

The 7.65mm Menta had the ejector on top of the slide, like the 6.35mm version, but very early in production (at least by serial number 1365) it was moved to the right side.  The 7.65mm model has two inscription variants which differ only in character height and spacing:

 „MENTA“      KAL 7,65

and 

 „MENTA“ KAL. 7,65


Menz Liliput

6.35mm Menz Liliput

Menz Liliput 6.35mm

The Menz Liliput, like its predecessor the Menta, is a striker fired pistol with an unlocked breech.  It was produced in 4.25mm, 6.35mm Browning and 7.65mm Browning.  The 6.35mm version is the most common and is one of a long line of small 6.35mm vestpocket pistols from the 1920s and 1930s of which the Walther Mod 9 and the FN Baby are perhaps the most famous representatives.

One can hardly fail to note the similarities between the Walther Model 9 and the Menz Liliput.  From a distance they could almost appear to be the same gun, the frames being nearly identical, with fixed barrel, open-top slide, top-mounted internal extractor, and a disassembly mechanism at the rear.  But there are significant differences in the sear mechanism, the
Early and Late Menz Liliput

Early

Late

Liliput Disassembly Mechanism

position of the external safety lever, and the functionality of the take-down mechanism.  The sear of the Liliput appears to be based on the design of the Walther Model I.  The 6.35mm Liliput has its connector bar and sear lever on the left side of the gun, whereas the 4.25mm Liliput has these components on the right side.  Otherwise, the two guns are quite similar.

The early Liliput disassembly mechanism involves a rotating collar held in place in the slide by a transverse pin.  The safety lever is used to lock the slide back a mere 5 or 6 millimeters; then the collar can be rotated clockwise, after which the slide can be lifted upward (the striker spring must prevented from flying off) and removed.  When the gun is assembled the rear portion of the collar fits around the backstop for the striker spring, sometimes referred to in English as the “doll’s head.” 
Patent Drawing for Menz Liliput

Menz Liliput Patent Drawing

Later, Menz patented a simplified mechanism (French patent 603742), which eliminated the so- called doll’s head in favor of a straight post backstop and utilized a bifurcated block as the locking mechanism.  It was no longer necessary to lock the slide back.  For disassembly of the later Liliput one simply pushes the locking piece in; then the slide may be lifted up, pushed forward, and removed from the frame.  (A takedown similar to that of the early Liliput was later used by Sauer in its WTM Model 28 and 33.)

Somewhere in the 1925 series the spring guide rod is replaced by a short bolt.  The early spring guide rod protrudes through the front of the slide.  The short bolt of the later version is held in place by a notch inside the front of the slide and does not protrude.  With the introduction of the larger Model II in 1928 the name changes from Liliput to “Modell I”.  Export versions of the Liliput are found stamped “GERMANY.”

Liliput pistols in 6.35mm are known with the following inscriptions on the left side of the slide (from early to late):

LILIPUT-KAL. 6,35

LILIPUT KAL. 6,35

 „LILIPUT“ KAL. 6,35
Modell 1925

 „LILIPUT“ KAL. 6,35
Modell 1926

 „LILIPUT“ KAL. 6,35
Modell 1927

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 6,35
Modell I

The pistols were also sold under the name BIJOU in Belgium and as ORZEL in eastern countries.  We find pistols with the inscriptions:

 „ORZEL“ Kal. 6,35
Modell 1925

BIJOU BI No 325664
LIEGE-BELGIQUE

The company Karl Bauer from Berlin sold the pistol with the inscription

 „KABA“ Kal 6,35
SPEZIAL

Inscription Variants and Grip Emblems

Liliput Inscription Variants and Grip Emblems



The grip plates are made of hard rubber and feature the monogram “AM” (August Menz) in a laurel wreath.  Later we find a gold- colored 6,35 in a laurel wreath. Additionally we find a female bust in a laurel wreath. Karl Bauer had an emblem which reads “Kaba Spezial” and after the company was sold to Bergmann they used “Th B Suhl” over two crossed pistols.

The Liliput was offered in nickel, gold and engraved variants, all of which had white grips.

Nickel Plated Liliput 6.35mm

Nickel Plated Liliput 6.35mm

Liliput 4.25mm Engraved and Gold Plated

Liliput 4.25mm Engraved, Gold Plated

A special variant of the Liliput was the 6.35mm blank pistol for cartridges with paper bullets.  The left side is marked: “Nur für Schreckschuss-Patr. Cal. 6,35”.   Externally nearly identical to the 6.35mm Liliput a close look shows it to not even be a real gun. Early versions have what appears to be a true barrel, but is only a fraction of an inch deep and does not reach the chamber.  Later versions have three small holes drilled in the front.  All have an angled hole drilled into the top of the barrel to meet the bore, and some have an additional vertical hole behind this.

4.25mm pistols can be found with the following inscriptions:

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 4,25
Modell 1925

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 4,25
Modell 1926

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 4,25
Modell 1927

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 4,25
Modell I

The 4.25mm pistols were offered in nickel, gold plate, and engraved versions.  These deluxe models had white grips with an emblem which reads 4,25 in a laurel wreath.

The Liliput (Model I) in 7.65mm exists in two variants with differing slide serrations.  We know the following inscription variants:

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 7,65
Modell 1925

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 7,65
Modell 1926

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 7,65
Modell 1927

„LILIPUT“ KAL. 7,65
Modell I

 „MENZ“ KAL. 7,65
Model I

„MENZ“ KAL. 7,65
Model II

7.56mm grips show the “AM” monogram or “7,65” with a laurel wreath.

We have found red, green, and black boxes with a gold „Liliput 6,35“ inscription, and brown boxes with “AM” in a laurel wreath and “Liliput 6,35.”  Boxes come with manual and cleaning rod.


Menz Modell II

Menta Model II in 6.35mm

Menz Model II in 6.35mm

The Model II in 6.35mm is essentially a larger version of the Model I, with an 8 round magazine instead of 6.  The Model II in 7.65mm is virtually identical with the 7.65mm Liliput, with minor cosmetic changes--size, weight, and number of cartridges remain the same.  The Waffen- und Munitionskatalog (WUM) (Weapon- and Ammunition Catalogue) from 1932 shows both the 6.35mm Liliput (Model I) and the 6.35mm and 7.65mm Modell II.  They were all sold for nearly the same price.  It is unknown why Menz introduced a larger 6.35mm pistol, but at that time Walther was also offering a larger 6.35mm pistol in its Model 8 and, according to Stewart, 6.35mm was the most popular caliber in Germany at this time, so larger pistols may have been in demand.

We know two variations of the 6.35mm Model II, one labeled for Menz and the other labeled for Bergmann.  We find the following slide inscription on the left side of the Menz:

 „Menz“ KAL. 6,35
Modell II

The Bergmann pistol has a three-line inscription:

THEODOR BERGMANN ERBEN
WAFFENFABRIK
SUHL

and on the right side

Modell II. Kaliber   6,35

Menz Model II in 7.65mm - from Pawlas

Menz Model II in 7.65mm

The grip emblems read “6,35” in a laurel wreath or “Th B Suhl” over two crossed pistols.

The Model II was also offered in nickel.  We do not know if gold and engraved variants exist.

Pawlas shows three types of the 7.65mm version, with different slide and barrel contours.  Grips show 7,65 or AM in a laurel wreath.  The inscriptions are identical:

„MENZ“ KAL. 7,65
Modell II

Additionally we were able to find a Model II with a VENUS inscription.  We do not know if Theodor Bergmann Erben continued production of the 7.65mm variant.  PAWLAS does not show it.


Menz Modell III, IIIA, IV, IVA, and PB Spezial

In 1933 and the years following Menz offered a series of new selfloading pistols which were named “Polizei- und Behördenpistole” (PB, Police- and law agencies pistol).  These Models are ultra rare and expensive.  The Models III, IIIA, IV, and IVA use essentially the same frame with only minor modifications.  The safety lever is at the rear and the magazine release is behind the trigger.  Disassembly is via a lever on the right side of the gun, just above the bow of the trigger guard--when this lever is depressed the slide can be drawn back and lifted up off the frame..  There is a loaded chamber indicator on top of the slide in the form of a small blade that sticks up when there is a round in the chamber.  We have been unable to examine these guns in person and so must rely on our sources for detailed information.  These pistols all have brown grips with the “AM” monogram in a laurel wreath.

Menz Model III

Menz Model III

The first in the series, the Model III, appeared in 1933, and has a single-action trigger that sits in the back of the trigger guard.  The pistol features the following inscription:

„MENZ“ P&B PIST CAL. 7,65
MOD. III.

Menz Model IIIA

Menz Model IIIA

At the same time Menz offered the Model IIIA, which was a striker-fired version like the earlier Menz pistols, with no external hammer.  The inscription reads:

„MENZ“ P&B PIST CAL. 7,65
M
OD. III. A

The Model IV is identical to the Model III, with an external hammer, except that it is a double-action-only gun with a free-floating trigger in the middle of the trigger guard .  These guns are extremely scarce.  One is illustrated in Dutch author P.B.W. Kersten’s book Wapens en Munitie (Leiden: 1946) with the following slide inscription:

„MENZ“ P&B PIST CAL. 7,65
M
OD. IV.

Some time ago a Model IV was sold in the US (serial number 7) with an inscription which reads simply

“Mod MENZ Cal 7,65”

The low serial number and simple slide inscription probably indicate that this is a prototype, and in fact this model may never have reached full production.

Menz Model IV

Menz Model IV

Stewart states that the Model IVA had a combined single- and double-action lockwork.  Stewart comments, “...it thereby became an almost exact duplicate of the Walther PP (except for the safety location).”  Stewart is the only source for information regarding the Model IVA; it is not mentioned elsewhere, though we have located a photograph of the slide inscription on a IVA, which reads

„MENZ“ P&B PIST CAL. 7,65
M
OD IV  A

Stewart is doubtful that any of this series of pistol were produced in any great quantity, and states that only the Model III was ever shown in contemporary catalogues.

Later Menz refined the P.B. idea, using a design from Adalbert Kàdits for a selfloading pistol with double action trigger and interchangeable barrels.  (See German patent 734985, filed by Hermann Weihrauch Gewehr- und Fahrradteilefabrik--but Martin Krause has discovered that the true author of this design was Adalbert Kàdits.)  This gun was known as the P.B. Spezial or P.B. Special.  The outer form is quite similar to the Walther PPK, with disassembly accomplished by pulling down the trigger guard.  This design has some interesting features which made it unique when compared to competing products.  The safety, which is on the slide, rotates the firing pin block out of alignment with the hammer.  According to Stewart:   “...it was, in fact, a two-stage double action.
Bild 20-T

Theodor Bergmann Erben Spezial

  With the hammer down (uncocked) an initial pull on the trigger merely cocked it.  The trigger then had to be released momentarily and be repulled in order to drop the hammer.”  Most interesting are the interchangeable barrels and recoil springs which can be swapped with a simple tool provided with the gun.  The P.B. Spezial was available in 9mm short, 7.65mm Browning, .22 centerfire and 4mm for indoor training.  All calibers used the same magazine but .22 centerfire and 4mm required steel adaptor cartridges into which the smaller cartridges were inserted.  With the .22 the selfloading mechanism was still functional.  Pricelists of the time show that the price difference between a 7.65mm and .22 centerfire was marginal. Unfortunately the PB Spezial was not very successful so probably less than 1000 were built between 1934 and 1939 (all the known serial numbers are between 3000 and 4000).  The Models III and IV pistols seem to be even more scarce than the PB Spezial.

We find the following inscriptions:

WAFFENFABRIK AUG. MENZ SUHL
MODELL P.B.  „SPEZIAL

AUGUST MENZ WAFFENFABRIK SUHL
P.B.  „SPEZIAL

WAFFENFABRIK AUG. MENZ SUHL
MENZ SPEZIAL MODELL

MENZ SPEZIAL MODELL

T H E O D O R  B E R G M A N N  E R B E N
W A F F E N F A B R I K  S U H L
S P E Z I A L - M O D E L L

The black or brown grips show the word “Special.”  Wotka and Krause point out that the grips are made of Galalith, a plastic- like substance derived from casein which turned out to be not very good for the purpose as they are quite brittle and easily broken.

Menz-ModI-L-T

Theodor Bergmann Model I

According to Dvorsky and Tillig pistols with the P.P. inscription should exist, though we have been unable to document any.  According to Wotka and Krause Bergmann Erben continued production of the Spezial for approximately 200 pistols.  They also point out an advertisement from the 1940 Akah catalogue which indicates that Bergmann was planning updated versions of the Spezial with a button magazine release behind the trigger guard, to be designated the Model I (a smaller 8-shot 7 .65mm) and the Model II (a slightly larger 9-shot 7.65mm).  These guns exist but are extremely rare.  The only one we have documented is a Model I, which is in the white (unblued) and appears to be a prototype.

Conclusion

Menz built a quite impressive number of fascinating, inventive and handsome pistols.  We hope this research contributes to the history of the August Menz company.  Perhaps the reader will now see Menz pistols in a different light.

Copyright 2015 by Stefan Klein and Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved.
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