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Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia Fiel Pistol

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol,
Branded  A. Fornasari –ROME–

by Ed Buffaloe

1914 Fiel Pistol

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel No. 1 Pistol

I bought the pistol below at auction without really knowing what it was. It was listed as not working and no one recognized the brand name so there wasn’t much interest. The right side, with the trademark bullet on it was not shown. But it was the trademark that allowed my friend, Robert Adair, who is an expert on Spanish pistols, to identify the maker. I am indebted to him for sharing what he knows.

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol marked A. Fornasari

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol marked A. Fornasari

Actually, not a lot is known about Erquiaga, Muguruza y Compañía, the maker of my pistol. They participated in the 1914 Eibar Exposición Regional Vasca de Arte y de Industrias Guipuzcoanas and their entry in the guide says that their “installation of revolvers and pistols is much visited” and that “the specialty of this house is the manufacture of the renowned Fiel brand of automatic pistols.” The statement that their installation included revolvers leads me to believe the company history may go back further than the information provided below but I have been unable to uncover any additional information.

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. may have had an earlier history making revolvers but apparently made their first 6.35mm automatic pistol in 1912, branded as “Fiel” which is Spanish for “faithful”. According to Robert Adair, citing Juan Calvo, the 1912 Fiel pistol was likely designed by one Miguel Culla y Suso who patented a gun under the name Marte in 1909 (Spanish patent 46062) which, according to Calvo, was sold under the brand names Fiel and Diane. This was a unique design which, judging from its extreme scarcity today, was made in very small quantities. The gun shown here is of a much simpler design than the Marte patent of 1909.

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol marked A. Fornasari

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol marked A. Fornasari

Apparently, by 1914, Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. had switched to manufacturing pistols on the Browning design. Matthews shows both models on page 376 of his Volume II, but the image of the later gun appears to be a reproduction, possibly from a catalog, rather than a photograph. The gun shown is marked AUTOMATIC PISTOL CAL 6,35 FIEL No 1 and appears identical to my gun except for the slide inscription.

Fiel/Fornasari showing number 24 stamped on barrel and transfer bar

Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia. Fiel Pistol marked A. Fornasari

The gun is hammer-fired and disassembles like a browning. The transfer bar is on the left side. Disconnection after firing is accomplished by camming the transfer bar down against a curved surface in the frame cutout on the left side. The manual safety lever is of an unusual external design not seen on other brands. I assume that the safety was intended to lock the hammer but on my gun it is so worn that it no longer works. The safety is tensioned by a spring and plunger inserted from the bottom right side and secured by a screw.

Barrel through ejection portThe slide inscription reads:


The Fornasori/Fiel has no external serial number but the number 24 is stamped under the grips, on the base of the barrel, on the bottom of the slide, and on many small parts.

The gun is rust blued and has generic checkered horn grip plates. The magazine release is unusual in that it does not rotate on an axis but slides back and forth smoothly. There are ten flat-bottom plunge-milled slide serrations on each side. The slide has two cuts for the safety lever; the rearmost cut is intended to lock the slide when the safety is engaged; the forward cut is to lock the slide open for disassembly and has a small “D” just in front of it. There are three small ersatz proof marks on the left side of the frame and on the barrel, visible in the ejection port. Also visible in the ejection port is the bullet trademark of Erquiaga, Muguruza y Cia., the only means we had of identifying this gun as a Fiel.

A. Fornasori must have been a retailer in Rome, but I have been unable to locate any information about the company.


Fornasari Fiel SN 24 disassembled


  • Guia Official de la Exposición Regional Vasca de Arte y de Industrias Guipuzcoanas, Eibar, 1914.
  • Matthews, J. Howard.  Firearms Identification, Volume II. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison: 1962.
  • Zhuk, A. B.  The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Handguns. Greenhill, London: 1995.

Special thanks to Robert Adair who identified this gun and provided most of the company information..

Copyright 2023 by Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved.

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