Germany’s semi-automatic Mauser C96 Pistol was first produced in 1896.  Up until the introduction of .357 Magnum cartridge, the C96s 7.63 x 25mm Mauser cartridge was the highest velocity commercially manufactured.  This pistol is considered by many as one of the top military pistols.  Mauser produced nearly one million C96 pistols.  This design was also manufactured in Spain and China, but for unknown reasons, the total produced in these countries remains unknown.


The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has a C96 Mauser on display in the museum.  The museum’s Firearms and Ordnance Gallery holds an extensive collection of various weapons and ordnance spanning throughout history.  A truly ‘must-see’ collection.


Distinctive Characteristics

The Mauser C96 has a number of distinctive characteristics including a long barrel, and an integral box magazine located in front of the trigger.  Its wooden shoulder stock could double as a holster or a carrying case and the broom handle grip on the C96 earned it the nickname ‘Broomhandle’.



  • Service:  1899 to 1961
  • Designers:  Fidel, Friedrich and Josef Feederle
  • Designed:  1895
  • Produced:  1896 to 1937
  • Weight:  40 ounces
  • Action:  Short Recoil
  • Muzzle Velocity:  1,394 feet per second
  • Effective Range:  Up to 650 feet



The Mauser C96 was introduced into service in 1899, quickly becoming a favorite among the British officers.  Issued as a military sidearm, the C96 was used extensively in over a dozen conflicts including WWI and WWII.


The standard cartridge for the C96 was a 7.63 x 25mm though some were chambered for the 9 x 19mm Parabellum.  One of the Chinese manufacturers chambered it with a .45 ACP.  Though a widely popular weapon, China was the only nation to utilize the C96 as the primary service pistol of their military and police force.



The following is a list of some of the many variants that have evolved from the Mauser C96:


Contract Variants

  • 1897 Turkish Army Mauser
  • 1899 Italian Navy Mauser
  • 1910 Persian Contract Mauser
  • M1916 Austrian Contract
  • M1916 Prussian ‘Red 9’
  • M1920 French Police Contract
  • WW2 Luftwaffe Contract


Major Variants

  • M1896 Kavallerie Karabiner
  • M1896 Compact Mauser
  • M1896 Officer’s Model
  • M1898 Pistol Carbine
  • M1912 Mauser Export Model
  • M1920 Mauser Rework
  • M1921 ‘Bolo’ Mauser
  • M1932/M712 Schnellfeuer
  • 9 OBI
  • PASAM machine pistol


Current Day

The C96 and its variants have been used in over a dozen countries nationwide and are still used by some militia today.   This pistol has also been used in a number of films and television shows.  Today, Germany’s Mauser C96 Broomhandle has become a popular choice among collectors.