Unblinking Eye
The Franz Stock Automatic Pistols

 

The Franz Stock Automatic Pistols

by Ed Buffaloe and Ed Dittus

Historical Background

Verifiable historical information about the Franz Stock company or its products is skimpy at best. A great deal of the information to be found on the internet at this writing is either incorrect or unsubstantiated. One point that is made consistently is that the gun was designed by a Walter Decker.

Berlin Addressbook 1922

1922 Berlin Directory Display Ad

Walter Decker filed firearms-related patents in Europe, Britain, and the U.S. from 1911 through 1920, with his address listed as Zella St. Blasii, which has long been a center for gun making in the  central German province of Thuringia. We know for certain that he designed the Decker revolver in 1913, and an automatic pistol in 1915 for which he was awarded patents and which was manufactured by the Franz Stock Company of Berlin. Decker took out a later German patent for a self-loading pistol design, but we have no evidence it was ever manufactured. Otherwise we have little information about him and unfortunately he fades rather quickly from the narrative. There is no evidence that he ever worked for Franz Stock.

One or two on-line sources link Walter Decker with the Becker & Hollander company of Suhl, asserting or implying that he was designer of the Beholla pistol. However, it is well known that the Beholla is a copy of the Menz Menta. We cannot speak to any possible relationship between Decker and the Becker & Hollander company, but Decker is certainly not the designer of the Beholla pistol.

The Franz Stock Maschinenbau & Werkzeugfabrik  (Franz Stock Mechanical Engineering and Tool Factory) is listed in its German patents simply as “Firma Franz Stock,” from which we derive our usage, “the Franz Stock Company.” We find entries in the Berlin directory for Franz Stock beginning around 1908, listed as a machine and tool factory. In 1920 the listing reads: “Machine and tool factory, precision mass items, weapons, telephone, fittings and metal works.” A 1922 display ad simply reads “Franz Stock - Stock Pistolen.” In 1930 the company was merged into the holding company Deutsche Industrieanlagen GmbH.

Beginning in 1935 we begin to see display advertisements featuring thread cutters and chucks, likely an indication that the company business remained primarily machine fabrication and tool making. Listings after 1928 do not include weapons or pistols. There are no listings for Franz Stock after 1946, so the company facilities and/or staff may have been casualties of the war.
Composite-6-S2

Stock Pistol Identification Guide

The company was assigned an ordnance code during WWII (the letters con), but we do not know what they were making for the war effort.

There are areas that need further investigation: more information is needed about Franz Stock and his company, and about Walter Decker. What other products did the Franz Stock company make, and what did Walter Decker do after he sold his patents to Franz Stock?  Likewise, any information about specific guns that we can add to our database would be most helpful. We would appreciate any information readers might provide .*

We develop information regarding the history of the Franz Stock pistol itself in the section entitled “Establishing a Timeline for the Franz Stock Pistols” below. The information in the “timeline” section is critical for some of the conclusions we draw in this article, but the sequence may be difficult to follow if you are not familiar with the pistols themselves, so we have placed it after we describe the pistols. The narrative we have developed leads us to conclude, at least tentatively, that making weapons was a relatively small part of the company business. We estimate that less than 50,000 pistols of all types were made over the course of twenty years.

The Design of the Franz Stock Pistol
7.65mm Franz Stock Pistol Disassembled

7.65mm Stock Pistol Disassembled

The Franz Stock pistols are well made and inherently accurate due to their fixed barrel and precision manufacture.  The design breaks down into three basic parts: the frame, the slide, and the bolt or breech block. The barrel is fixed to the frame and the recoil spring is concentric around the barrel. Surrounding the breech area of the barrel is a tubular cover for the rear of the recoil spring, so the spring is never exposed in the central opening of the slide. The slide has a tubular front portion that serves as a shroud for the barrel, and a rear portion that connects to the frame rails and serves as a platform to hold the breech block. The breech block contains the top-mounted extractor, the rear portion of which has a hook that connects the breech block to the slide. The breech block also holds the striker and striker spring, which are retained by a threaded plug at the rear. The ejector is press fit into the left side of the frame.

A magazine
FS Stamp - Magazine Baseplate

FS on Magazine Baseplate

safety blocks movement of the sear when the magazine is withdrawn about halfway, as does the manual safety when engaged by turning the lever down. When turned down the end of the safety lever can be felt by the hand grasping the gun. The disconnector is just to the right of the sear; it depresses the transfer bar so it cannot connect with the sear when the slide is out of battery. Grip plates are of hard rubber. The conventional box magazine for the original design holds 8 cartridges of 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP) ammunition. Magazines are distinguished by three vertical slots on the right side and a single small hole on the left side, usually with an F over S stamped on the baseplate, though some early guns may lack this mark.

We have found more than one breech block with the hook on the rear of the extractor broken off. J .B. Wood speculated that this might happen: “...the breech block hook at the rear of the extractor is not liable to breakage in normal use, but could be broken if some ham-handed type attempted to force the breech block forward without first lifting the extractor.” On the other hand, the tail on the extractor has a long thin neck, and breakage problems may be the reason this neck was markedly shortened on later guns--whether due to “ham-handed” shooters or brittle small parts we cannot say.


The 7.65mm Franz Stock Service Pistol

Manufacture probably began late in 1920 (see the “timeline” section below for details) though prototypes may have been made as early as 1918. The “Service Pistol” designation is a late usage, but derives from the company itself. There are two, possibly three, types of the 7.65mm.

Type 1 - 7.65mm

Stock 7.65mm Type 1

Franz Stock 7.65mm Type 1 First Variant

The type 1 pistol is distinguished by the squared-off front portion of the arms of the slide where they merge into the barrel sheath, almost making the barrel sheath look like a separate piece. The slide has 15 triangular-cut serrations that are slightly angled to match that of the rear contour of the gun. The front sight is fixed to the barrel sheath; a broader base supports a more narrow blade. The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide.

The trigger is of the rotating type that pivots on a pin. The transfer bar is internal on the left side of the gun.

The grip plates are of checkered hard rubber with an oval thumb-rest at the top, beneath which is the word “Stock”. Early grip plates have the Stock name in sans-serif characters, but somewhere in the late 5000 serial number range we begin to see serif characters, and the grip plates are slightly thinner. Occasional later guns are seen with the sans-serif grip plates, and a few guns are reported to have mixed grip plates. Type 2 grip plates return to sans-serif characters.

Franz Stock Grip Plates - 7.65mm

Early Type 1

Later Type 1

Type 2

The slide inscription, on the left side, is in all-capital sans-serif italic characters:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN. D.R.P.
CAL. 7,65.

We see a very few 7.65mm guns, noted thus far only in the 24000 serial number range, with no caliber designation and no D.R.P. in the inscription:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN.

Very late Type 1 pistols lack the D.R.P. in the inscription, but retain the caliber designation:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN.
CAL. 7,65.

“D.R.P.” abbreviates “Deutsches Reichs Patent” and indicates that the designated item is patented in Germany. The Decker patents would have expired in 1934 and 1935, and so it is possible the “D.R.P.” was removed at this time, which would give us a time frame for the late 7.65mm Type 1 pistols. However, at this point the connection with the patent expiration should be considered speculation.

The serial number is above the left grip plate, sometimes partially covered by it. The last two digits of the serial number are stamped on the left side of the breech block and on the bottom or front of the slide crosspiece. The finish is blue, with a heat-blue trigger. Magazines are also blued.

Type1-variations

7.65mm Franz Stock Type 1 Slide Variants

At some point the barrel and slide of the 7.65mm pistol were shortened by nearly half an inch, making two minor variations of the Type 1 pistol. This change took place somewhere between serial number 16052 and 19413. The difference is clearly visible in the length of the barrel shroud portion of the slide. Please write to us if you have a gun between these serial numbers so we can determine more precisely when this change happened.*

The earliest serial number we have recorded for a 7.65mm Type 1 is 130, and the highest is 24322, indicating that just under 25,000 Type 1 pistols were likely made in 7.65mm. However, there are gaps in our database, and the total may be significantly less. It is possible that the 6.35mm Type I pistols were in the same serial number range as the 7.65mm, but we have assumed, based on all the data we have collected, that they were in separate ranges and our production estimates are predicated on this assumption. Please write to us if you have a Franz Stock pistol that we can add to our database.*

7.65mm Franz Stock - Type 1 First Variation

Weight

655 g

23.1 oz

Height

109 mm

4.3 in

Length

173 mm

6.8 in

Barrel Length

101 mm

3.98 in


7.65mm Franz Stock - Type 1 Second Variation

Weight

645 g

22.75 oz

Height

109 mm

4.28 in

Length

160 mm

6.3 in

Barrel Length

92 mm

3.61 in

Type 2 - 7.65mm

7.65mm Stock Pistol - Type 2

Franz Stock 7.65mm Type 2, First Variant

The Type 2 pistol is distinguished by the smooth merging of the sides of the slide with the barrel sheath portion, instantly making the gun look more sleek and modern. The Type 2 is nearly identical in size and weight to the second variant of the Type 1. The front sight is a straight blade slightly wider than on the earlier gun. The rear sight is no longer dovetailed into the slide, but is integral with it (a U -shaped channel in a raised area), giving the gun a sharper, less rounded rear profile. There are 12 triangular-cut slide serrations, angled slightly. There is no longer a screw at the rear of the frame to hold the safety detent spring in place. The safety now appears to be tensioned by the same coil spring that tensions the sear. We have not disassembled a Type 2 pistol to the extent of removing these parts to determine the exact internal configuration.

The grip plates on the Type 2 have a more flattened oval thumb rest at the top that does not cover the serial number. The word “Stock” is once again in sans-serif characters on the grip plates.

The slide inscription,

Franz Stock Pistol 7.65mm Rear Profile

7.65mm Stock Rear Profile

Type 1

Type 2

on the left side, is the same as on the late Type 1 pistols, in all-capital sans-serif italic characters:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN.
CAL. 7,65.

At some point in the 32000 serial number range the dash was removed between “Stock” and “Berlin” in the slide inscription.

FRANZ STOCK BERLIN.
CAL. 7,65.

The earliest serial number we have recorded for a Type 2 first variant is 24543 and the highest is 34455. However, we have none recorded in the range between 25000 and 30000, which suggests the possibility that only about 5000 were ever made. However, we must withhold judgment until further data can be collected. Please contact us if you can help.*

7.65mm Franz Stock - Type 2 First Variation

Weight

651 g

22.9 oz

Height

108 mm

4.24 in

Length

162 mm

6.375 in

Barrel Length

92 mm

3.61 in


Transfer-bars

Franz Stock 7.65mm Type 2 First Variant - left side

Franz Stock 7.65mm Type 2 Second Variant - right side

Serial number 31841 on left and serial number 35303 on the right.

The Type 2, second variant pistol has a trigger that slides horizontally, rather than pivoting on a pin, and the transfer bar has been moved to the right side. The transfer bar is visible externally, but is set into the frame with the front portion partially visible just in front of the right grip plate. There is no pin above the trigger. A wire spring has been added to tension the transfer bar upward, and there is a cut near the front of the bottom edge of the transfer bar to allow it room to move down when the bar is depressed by the disconnector. The grip plate, which has a circular boss on the back to position it on the grip, has had the boss relieved to accommodate the transfer bar and spring. No change has been made to the sear or disconnector.

Stock32-35303-R-S1

Franz Stock 7.65mm Type 2, Second Variant

Since some of the guns in this range have the eagle over N nitro proof mark, we estimate that the first Type 2 second variant guns may have appeared in 1939 and some were not proofed until after 15 January 1940. Several late guns, including the one pictured here, have no proof marks at all. The gun that appears here, the highest serial number we have recorded, is roughly finished, with visible machine marks on the frame and lacks the usual polish. The FS stamp is on the side of the magazine rather than the bottom.

The lowest serial number we have recorded for a confirmed Type 2 second variant is 35025 and the highest is 35310. Thus far, all have been in the 35000 range. At this time we estimate that only about 300 were made, but again more data is needed.*

The existence of a third “type” 7.65mm Stock pistol is speculative at this writing, as it may be a one-of-a-kind pistol, possibly a special order. It likely appeared in late 1939 or early 1940, as the single documented specimen has eagle over N proofs. It is said to be the same size as the 6.35mm pistol, but chambered in the larger caliber.

We have been unable to confirm widespread use of the 7.56mm “Service Pistol” by police departments or other government agencies. Individual examples have been documented in use by the Münster criminal police, and several by the Düsseldorf criminal police and the Recklinghausen police headquarters, however the circumstances of their use remain unknown to us. Based on inventory numbers assigned, we suspect there are other examples waiting to be discovered.


The 6.35mm Franz Stock Pocket Pistol

The 6.35mm pistol appeared sometime in the 1922 to 1923 time frame. The gun is a downsized version of the 7.65mm except the barrel and slide are proportionally shorter, making the gun a true pocket pistol, though slightly larger than what we usually consider “vest pocket” size.  The front sight is integral with the front of the slide. The rear sight is also integral--a U-shaped channel in a raised portion at the rear of the slide. The grip plates are checkered hard rubber with the word “STOCK” horizontally about two-thirds of the way up in all-capital serif characters. The grip plates are secured by two screws, one at the top front and another at the bottom rear. Magazines are blued and have the same three vertical slots on the right side and a single small hole on the left, and are stamped on the bottom with a sans-serif F over S.

There are two types of the 6.35mm.
6.35mm Franz Stock - Type 1

  6.35mm Franz Stock Type 1

Type 1 - 6.35mm

The 6.35mm Type 1 is much like its 7.65mm counterpart, with the arms of the slide squared off just in front of the trigger guard. The slide has 13 triangular-cut serrations angled to match the rear face of the slide and frame. The internal function is identical, including the magazine safety. The serial number is on the frame, just behind the trigger and in front of the grip plate.

The slide inscription, on the left side, is in all-capital sans-serif italic characters:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN. D.R.P.
CAL. 6,35.

The lowest serial number we have recorded for a 6.35mm Type 1 pocket pistol is 329, and highest is 12099, so our estimate is that about 13000 were made. Please write to us if you have a pistol we can add to our database to make this estimate more accurate.*

6.35mm Franz Stock - Type 1

Weight

349 g

12.3 oz

Height

84 mm

3.3 in

Length

119.4 mm

4.7 in

Barrel Length

64 mm

2.5 in

Type 2 - 6.35mm

6.35mm Franz Stock - Type 2

  6.35mm Franz Stock Type 2

The 6.35mm Type 2 follows the same pattern as its larger counterpart, with the sides of the slide transitioning smoothly into the barrel shroud. The slide has 12 or 13 triangular-cut serrations angled to match the rear face of the slide (early guns have 13, later guns have 12). Internal function remains the same. The serial number is on the left side of the frame, behind the trigger and in front of the grip plate, and has an “A” prefix. Type 2 pistols also have the serial number (minus the prefix) on the left side of the slide above the bow of the trigger guard.

The slide inscription, on the left side, is in all-capital sans-serif italic characters:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN.
CAL. 6,35.

Again, we observe that on the 6.35mm Type 2 pistol, as on the 7.65mm Type 2, the “D.R.P.” has been omitted from the inscription.

The lowest serial number we have recorded for a 6.35mm Type 2 pocket pistol is A5, and the highest is A1973, so we estimate that approximately 2000 were made. Please write to us if you have a Type 2 with a higher serial number.*

6.35mm Franz Stock - Type 2

Weight

349 g

12.3 oz

Height

84 mm

3.3 in

Length

120.5 mm

4.745 in

Barrel Length

64 mm

2.5 in


The .22 Caliber Franz Stock Pistols

In 1914 John M. Browning designed the first self-loading pistol for the .22 long rifle cartridge, and in 1915 the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company began to make this gun, which they called the Colt Target Pistol, later known as the Woodsman. In 1920 German target shooting was still dominated by the single-shot target pistol, but the Colt Woodsman soon made its appearance in Germany and the German firearms industry took note almost immediately.

The Franz Stock target pistol was introduced in 1924. It is a little-known fact that the Franz Stock target pistol was the first self-loading target pistol in .22 caliber to be made in Germany. Walther entered the market about two years later. As noted below, the Franz Stock .22 began winning competitions almost as soon as it became available, and in 1928 it won the national championship.

.22 Caliber Franz StockTarget Pistol - SN 54

Franz Stock .22 Caliber Target Pistol

The Target Pistol in .22 Caliber

The basic Walter Decker design was retained, but it was given a 190mm (7.5 inch) barrel. The barrel shroud portion of the slide is eliminated because the extra weight is unnecessary for the low-power cartridge, and the lightweight recoil spring is moved to a housing beneath the barrel. The recoil spring shroud is eliminated. The recoil spring guide rod is permanently mounted in the frame. The top-mounted extractor of the original design becomes a take-down lever, and the extractor is moved to the right side of the gun. The ejector was eliminated--the hardened lips of the magazine serve to eject the cartridge. The magazine safety is eliminated. The slide has 13 triangular-cut serrations. Most of the .22 pistols have a crown over B proof, though some of the early guns have crown over N. The finish is blue with a fire blue trigger. The magazine is nickel plated and retains the three slots on the right side for viewing cartridges.

Franz Stock Target Pistol Disassembled - SN 54

Franz Stock .22 Target Pistol Disassembled

The front sight is adjustable for height using a screw on the right side. The rear sight is dovetailed into the slide, and hence adjustable for windage. The configuration of the rear sight varies from gun to gun--some may have been custom installed at the factory, while others may have been installed by the owners after purchase.

In 1925 the gun was offered with a 100mm (3.9 inch) barrel by special order only; guns with the short barrel are quite rare today, as we have only documented three, all of which were late production. We have documented a single specimen with a 140mm (5½ inch) barrel, which was likely also a custom order.

The slide inscription, on the left side, is in all-capital sans-serif italic characters:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN. D.R.P.

There is no caliber designation. The serial number is just above the left grip plate. We have documented serial numbers for the .22 Target Pistol from 1 to 1000, plus an additional four unproofed guns in the 34000 range.

The guns in the 34000 range are minor variations of the original design, having only 12 slide serrations, no retaining screw at the rear for the safety lever spring, and a slide inscription minus the D.R.P.:

FRANZ STOCK-BERLIN.

Clearly, we need more information to form a good estimate, but at this time we suggest that only just over 1000 target pistols were made. Please write to us if you have a .22 caliber Stock pistol.*

.22 Caliber Franz Stock Target Pistol

Weight

696 g

24.6 oz

Height

107 mm

4.2 in

Length

256.5 mm

10.1 in

Barrel Length

190 mm

7.5 in

The Practice Pistol in .22 Caliber

In 1933 the company began to advertise a practice pistol in .22 caliber with the same size and configuration as the 7.65mm service pistol. The gun appears to have been a resounding failure, as we have only documented two examples, though there may be more. The concept was that police departments could buy the service pistol in 7.65mm and also the practice pistol in .22 caliber, so shooters could get adequate practice with the much cheaper .22 ammunition using a gun with the exact same feel as their service gun. However, we have been unable to document large sales of the 7.65mm pistol to police departments, so there was little demand for the version in .22. The two known example of a practice pistol have serial numbers 107 and 143, so we believe they were numbered in their own series. They have 12 slide serrations, and the slide is slightly narrower than that on the 7.65mm pistol (note the flattening of the sides of the barrel shroud). They appear to be relatively late production pistols, with no D.R.P. in the inscription; 107 has a crown over B proof and 143 has eagle over N.

Franz Stock .22 Practice Pistol Franz Stock .22 Practice Pistol

Franz Stock .22 Caliber Practice Pistol - Note the extractor on the right side.


Field Stripping the Franz Stock Pistol

  1. Remove the magazine and make certain there is not a cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Draw the slide all the way to the rear and lock it open by tilting the safety lever up into the locking notch.
  3. Lift the extractor lever (or the top-mounted release lever on the .22 pistols) and press on the back of the breech block.
  4. Push the breech block all the way forward and lift it up and out of the slide.
  5. Release the safety lever and ease the slide off the front of the frame.

Note: The striker will catch on the sear, and so you must push the breech block against the resistance of the striker spring. To obviate this, remove the plug at the rear of the breech block before locking the slide open, and take the striker and spring out before pushing the breech block forward.


Establishing a Timeline for the Stock Pistols

Two patents for a self-loading pistol were filed by Walter Decker on 24 April 1915, but due to World War I they were not granted until 18 October 1919 (German patent 304279) and 28 June 1920 (German patent 303268). On 27 February 1918 the Franz Stock Company filed a German patent for an updated magazine safety mechanism; and on 29 April 1920 they filed an Austrian patent on the design shown in Decker’s first two patents. So we presume that by April 1920 Decker had sold some of his patent rights to the company, although he filed a British patent for his grip safety mechanism a month later, on the same day one of his German patents was granted, 28 June 1920 (British patent 145051).

1921 Waffenschmied Advertisement
1921 GECO Catalog Listing for Franz Stock Pistol

1921 Ads for the Stock Pistol
Top - from der Waffenschmied
Bottom - from the GECO catalog

It was in 1920 that Franz Stock’s listing in the Berlin directory first mentions weapons as part of the business, so it is likely that production began sometime that year. The first mention in print for the Stock pistol comes in the second half of 1921: the German magazine der Waffenschmied (The Gunsmith) published an article by Gerhard Bock on the 7.65mm Stock pistol in its 25 August 1921 issue, and the first advertisement for the pistol appeared in the same issue. The #30 Geco (Gustav Genschow Co.) catalog (mid- to late- 1921) also featured the Stock Pistol. Bock’s article, plus evidence from advertising, indicates that the 7.65mm pistol was the first to be manufactured.

The 6.35mm version of the Stock pistol was first advertised in der Waffenschmied in the 25 August 1923 issue, although it is not pictured.

The first advertisement we find for the .22 caliber Stock target pistol is in the 10 June 1926 issue of der Waffenschmied, and the ad states that the gun has won most of the shooting trophies in recent years, including first prizes, indicating that the gun had already been available for several years. In an article about the new Walther .22 target pistol in the same issue of der Waffenschmied Gerhard Bock writes: “At the end of 1924, the Franz Stock company in Berlin launched its .22 caliber sport self-loading pistol, which had been tried and tested in the Berlin shooting club since the winter of 1923/24.” The Stock .22 is pictured in the article along with the Walther. So apparently the .22 Stock pistol was first manufactured in mid- to late- 1923, but may not have been available until sometime in 1924. The lag in advertising may have been due to its limited availability, particularly if we recall that production was quite low to begin with. We might also take into consideration that at this time self-loading target pistols were a niche market. In the 12 December 1928 issue of der Waffenschmied there is an ad stating that the Stock target pistol won the 1928 German shooting championship.

As an historical aside, Franz Stock himself may have been a member of the Berlin shooting club. An article in der Waffenschmied from 1924, regarding the 30th anniversary of the club, states that it was founded by Georg Luger. Gerhard Bock was an active member and a competitive shooter who won the 30th anniversary competition. Prizes were donated by various firearm manufacturers, including Franz Stock.

A 1925 article by Gerhard Bock in the industry publication Kugel und Schrot Zeitschrift announced that the .22 target pistol was available with a 100mm barrel; a few months later it was noted that the 100mm barrel was only available by special order.

There may have been a period of a year or two during which the .22 Stock target pistol was not available, but detailed information is lacking. A 1932 Geco price list notes that the gun was discontinued without specifying whether by the manufacturer or distributor, but it reappeared in the 1937 Geco catalog. We also find an advertisement in der Waffenschmied for 14 October 1933 which states “The Stock target pistol cal. 22 is available again.” The same advertisement says:  “New! The Stock practice pistol Cal. 22 in dimensions like Cal. 7.65 - available from wholesalers .” A year later, in the 14 October 1934 issue we see an ad illustrated with the target pistol that lists all four of the pistols offered by Franz Stock:

  • practice pistol caliber .22,
    1937 GECO Catalog Franz Stock Listing

    1937 GECO catalog listing
    shows the 7.56mm Type 2

  • target pistol caliber .22,
  • pocket pistol caliber 6.35,
  • service pistol caliber 7.65.

The .22 practice pistol is also advertised in the 1935 AKAH catalog. The 1937 Geco catalog lists all four of the Franz Stock pistols; for the first time the 6.35mm is offered in a nickel finish, and the 7.65mm Type 2 pistol is illustrated, though it was likely available at an earlier date.

Finally, a few of the pistols with the highest serial numbers in 7.65mm have an eagle over N proof, indicating they were proofed after 15 January 1940. These were probably the last pistols made by Franz Stock, as war engulfed Europe.

To summarize the timeline, production of 7.65mm pistols began in 1920 or 1921, followed within a year or two by production of the 6.35mm, and in 1924 by the .22 caliber target pistol. In 1925 the .22 caliber target pistol became available with a 100mm barrel by special order. For some reason, production of the .22 caliber pistol was interrupted around 1930, but was restarted around 1932. The .22 caliber practice pistol appeared soon after, and sometime in the mid-1930’s both the 7 .65mm and the 6.35mm pistols were redesigned and the 6.35mm pistol was offered with a nickel finish. The new products of the 1930’s indicate that the Franz Stock Company was trying to diversify and expand its line of pistols. We may legitimately ask why then did production cease in 1940, just when the German military was most in need of well-made weapons? Likely because production capacity for weapons was limited and the machine and tool fabrication capabilities were required for other aspects of military production.

The Patents

German patent 303268 was filed by Walter Decker of Zella St. Blasii on 24 April 1915 and was granted on 28 June 1920. This patent describes the basic functionality of a pistol with a fixed barrel, a reciprocating slide, and a removable breech block. The breech block is held in the slide by a hook on the rear end of the extractor, with disassembly being accomplished by lifting the front of the extractor to release it from the slide. A magazine safety mechanism integral with the magazine release is shown in the patent drawing but not described.

German patent 304279 was filed by Walter Decker of Zella St. Blasii on 24 April 1915 (the same date as the previous patent) and was granted on 18 October 1919. This patent describes a striker that is perfectly round and has no protrusion on the bottom that is tripped by the sear; instead, the sear holds the striker by its front shoulder. The patent also describes the functionality of the magazine safety, which is integral with the magazine release.

 British Patent 145051 Patent Diagram

Patent Diagram
British Patent 145051

German patent 318549 was filed by the Franz Stock Company of Berlin on 27 February 1918 and was granted on 28 January 1920. This patent describes an updated magazine safety mechanism that is separate from the magazine release, and the patent drawing also clearly shows the hook at the rear of the extractor lever that holds breech and slide together. The magazine safety is designed in such a way that even with the magazine removed and the sear locked the gun may still be cocked. This is the magazine safety that was implemented in the Franz Stock pistol.

Austrian patent 85363 was filed by the Franz Stock Company of Berlin on 29 April 1920 and was granted on 15 January 1921. It is identical to German patent 303268, covering the basic functionality of the pistol.

British patent 145051 was filed by Walter Decker of Zella St. Blasii on 15 June 1920 and was granted on 15 September 1921. This is a duplicate of the German patent 318549 for the updated magazine safety.

German patent 582963 was filed by the Franz Stock Company of Berlin-Neukölln on 7 June 1931 and was granted on 26 August 1933. It covers a hammer and lockwork design for a self-loading pistol. The patent indicates the firm was interested in producing a new hammer-fired design in 1931, even though the project never came to fruition.


* Write to edbuffaloe@unblinkingeye.com

Acknowledgements

    Special thanks to Lewis Curtis for generously sharing his knowledge and research about Franz Stock Pistols. As always, thanks to Dr. Stefan Klein for his research in various German sources. This article could not have been written without the information provided by these two gentlemen. Thanks also to Michael Carrick and Doug Kingston for their support and assistance.

References

  • Bock, Gerhard. “Die erste Deutsche Selbstladepistole Cal. 22.” Der Deutsche Jaeger, No. 47: 1925.
  • Bock, Gerhard. “Die neue Selbstladepistole “Stock” Kal. 7,65”. Der Waffenschmied, 25 August 1921.
  • Bock, Gerhard. Moderne Faustfeuerwaffen und Ihr Gebrauch. J. Neumann, Neudamm: 1923.
  • Bock, Gerhard. “Neue Pistolen.” Kugel und Schrot Zeitschrift, 15 March 1925.
  • Curtis, Lewis. “Franz Stock of Berlin, Part I.” AutoMag, Vol. XXIX, No. 6, September 1996.
  • Curtis, Lewis. “Franz Stock of Berlin, Part II.” AutoMag, Vol. XXIX, No. 7, October 1996.
  • Curtis, Lewis. “Franz Stock Pistols - An Update.” AutoMag, Vol. XXXI, No. 7, October 1998.
  • Deutsche Versuchsanstalt. “Selbstlade Pistolen Kaliber .22.” Kugel und Schrot Zeitschrift, 15 May 1925.
  • Friedrich, Horst. Dienstwaffen der deutschen Polizei und Gendarmerie 1919-1933: Historie, Technik, Kennzeichnung. Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Polizeigeschichte eV, Hannover.
  • Lang, Ernie. “The Franz Stock Automatic Pistols.” AutoMag, Vol. 5, No. 12, March 1973.
  • Mathews, J. Howard . Firearms Identification, Vol I. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison: 1962.
  • Maus, Donald L. History Writ in Steel: German Police Markings 1900-1936. Brad Simpson, Galesburg, Illinois: 2009.
  • Pawlas, Karl. Archive for Military and Arms Matters. Nurnberg, 1970.
  • Wood, J. B.  Troubleshooting Your Handgun. Follett Publishing, Chicago: 1978.

Links

Deutsche Industrieanlagen GmbH
Distinguishing the Franz Stock 7.65mm and 6.35mm Types
Franz Stock English Language Manual
German WWII Alphabetic Ordnance Codes
A History of Franz Stock Pistols in Articles and Advertisements

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