Unblinking Eye
The Schouboe Pistol


The Schouboe Pistol
by Ed Buffaloe

The Schouboe pistol was invented by Jens Schouboe.  It was manufactured by Dansk Rekylriffel Syndikat (DRS), which had been founded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1896 to make auto-loading rifles.  The company is best known for making the Madsen light machine gun and later for the LAR assault rifle.


7.65mm Schouboe Model of 1903

11.35mm Schouboe Model of 1907

Detail from Patent Drawing

Model of 1903

The original Schouboe pistol was an unlocked breech design with an internal hammer, chambered for the 7.65mm Browning cartridge (.32 ACP).  It had its recoil spring in the upper portion of the slide and a Browning-style stirrup-shaped connector.  The design was simple and elegant.  The magazine had a detente that allowed it to be inserted in a lowered position where it would not feed cartridges, so the gun could be loaded manually for single-fire.  Hogg and Weeks describe the gun as being well made and reliable, but note that it did not sell well.  It is estimated that less than 1000 were made between 1903 and 1908.

Model of 1907

After the 1903 model was launched, Schouboe began work on a military version.  He intended to produce it in a large military caliber, like .45, but his blowback design simply wouldn’t handle a heavy round.  So Schouboe worked with the ammunition designers at DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken) to design a lightweight bullet of 11.35mm diameter.  The bullet had a wooden core with a thin steel jacket and a base plug of aluminum, and weighed only 55 grains.  The cartridge was a straight, rimless design with a charge of 10.4 grains of powder. The cartridge produced a velocity of 1625 feet per second with the 55 grain bullet.  The 11.35mm DRS Schouboe was known as the Model 1907.  Some had grips that were slotted for a shoulder stock.

Model of 1910 (sometimes referred to as the Model 1912)

In 1910 an updated DRS Schouboe model was produced, but it appears that the changes were mostly ergonomic, allowing the gun to be gripped more comfortably.  This model was tested by the U.S. Ordinance Department in 1913.  They record that the 11.35mm (.447 caliber) bullet was made of wood jacketed with an aluminum composite, and weighed 61.7 grains.  The cartridge was of brass, contained 10.4 grains of powder, and generated a velocity of 1616 feet per second at 25 feet with the light bullets.  The bullets had a mean penetration of 2.14 inches at a range of 6 feet into an oak plank, and 1.31 inches at a range of 100 feet.  At 25 feet, using a fixed rest, a 10-shot group had a radius of 1.41 inches.  Accuracy was considerably reduced at 100 feet.  The report on the pistol noted that the slide did not lock back after the last round was fired, and the magazine was difficult to insert.  Johnson and Haven state that “...the very light bullet gave almost no recoil although the report of the cartridge was very loud and accompanied by a brilliant flash.”

Subsequently, the U.S. military experimented with similar lightweight cartridges for the Colt 1911.  They manufactured some 63 grain bullets which produced a velocity of 1650 feet per second from the Government Model, but the cartridges proved to be much less accurate than the standard 230 grain service round and further research on light bullets was not pursued.

9mm Schouboe

At approximately the same time the 11.35mm Model 1910 was produced, DRS also manufactured the same pistol chambered for a 9mm cartridge, though I have been unable to determine exactly which 9mm cartridge it was.  Since the gun was blowback operated, I suggest it might have been the 9mm Browning Long, which had been designed for use in the 1903 FN Browning.  Hogg and Weeks state that three examples were made in 9mm Parabellum.

Model of 1916

11.35mm DRS Schouboe Prototype

DRS’ last Schouboe pistol was the Model 1916, which had an enlarged trigger guard, a larger slide release/safety lever, a redesigned slide (which may have covered a redesigned recoil spring), and displayed other minor cosmetic changes.  Hogg and Weeks state that probably less than 500 of the Schouboe 11.35mm pistols were ever made.  Production ceased in 1917 when Schouboe left DRS.

Apparently, there are a number of prototypes and variants in existence.  Schouboe must have been experimenting with different ergonomics and features that he hoped would make the gun a commercial success.  Despite the high velocity of the bullet, it lacked the penetration and accuracy desired by the military.   

Copyright 2008 by Ed Buffaloe.  All rights reserved.
Click on the pictures to open a larger version in a new window.


Automatic Arms, by Melvin M. Johnson and Charles T. Haven.  William Morrow & Co., New York:  1941.
2005 Standard Catalog of Firearms, by Ned Schwing.  Krause, Iola, Wisconsin:  2004.
Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers, by John Walter.  Greenhill, London:  2001.
Pistols of the World, by Ian V. Hogg and John Weeks.  Arms & Armour Press, London:  1978.
U.S. Military Automatic Pistols: 1894-1920, by Edward Scott Meadows.  Richard Ellis Publications, Moline, Illinois:  1993.

Special thanks to Gus Cargile, who allowed me to photograph these guns from his collection.

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The guns in this article are from the Gus Cargile Collection.
Gus is interested in buying unusual Colt Automatic Pistols--
Ace, .38 Super, and .45s.
He can be contacted at any
SAXET GUN SHOW or via email.



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