Steyr M1912 pistol

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The Steyr M1912, also known as the Steyr-Hahn, is a semi-automatic pistol developed in 1911 by the Austrian firm Steyr Mannlicher, based on the mechanism of the Roth–Steyr M1907. It was developed for the Austro-Hungarian Army and adopted in 1912. It was the standard Austro-Hungarian military handgun of World War I.[2][3] It was able to endure the adverse conditions of trench warfare during World War I.

Steyr M1912
Steyr-Hahn M1912.JPG
Steyr M1912 with box and magazine charger clip of 9×23mm Steyr ammunition
TypeSemi-automatic pistol, Machine pistol (Repetierpistole M1912/P16)
Place of origin Austria-Hungary
Service history
Used by
Production history
No. builtUp to 300,000
  • 9mm P12(Ö)
  • Doppelpistole M1912
  • Repetierpistole M1912/P16
Mass1.2 kg (2.6 lb)
Length216 mm (8.5 in)
Barrel length128 mm (5.0 in)

ActionRecoil operated
Muzzle velocity1,230 ft/s (375 m/s)[note 1]
Effective firing range50 m (160 ft)
Feed system8-round integral magazine, fed by stripper clips
SightsIron sights
Steyr-Hahn M1912. Made in 1915, chambered in 9x23 Steyr with holster and ammunition

The M1912 was originally chambered for the 9mm Steyr round.


The M1912 was developed as the Model 1911, a military pistol, but it was not accepted into service until 1914 as the M12. It was originally issued to the Austrian Landwehr while common army units were issued Roth–Steyr M1907 handguns and Rast & Gasser M1898 revolvers. Orders were also placed by Chile and Romania. During World War I, Austria-Hungary experienced shortages of handguns and production of the M1912 was increased. Germany also placed an order for 10,000 Model 12s. After World War I, a commercial model the Steyr M1911 was produced and was quite popular with army officers, but Steyr had to rely on foreign exports to sustain production. After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the Wehrmacht ordered 60,000 M1912 pistols rechambered to 9mm Parabellum which remained in service until the end of World War II.

Design detailsEdit

The Steyr M1912 handgun is operated by a system of short recoil, the barrel unlocking from the slide by rotation. As the pistol is being fired and the recoil of the pistol is in motion, a lug and groove system around the barrel rotate the barrel 20° until a lug hits a stop wedge and holds the barrel while the slide is free to continue its rearward travel, the extractor claw withdrawing the spent casing against the breech face of the slide until the casing strikes the ejector and departs the weapon via the ejection and loading port.[4] Shortly after ejection the slide's rearward travel is arrested by the compressed recoil spring and the abutment of mated surfaces of the slide and frame. The recoil spring is now free to return its stored energy to the cycle of the weapon by beginning to return the slide forward.

As the return spring returns the slide forward, the breech face strips a round from the magazine into the chamber and the locking system engages the barrel and locks it with the slide in the battery position. A safety lever on the left side of the frame can be engaged by turning it into a notch on the slide to immobilize the slide. A disconnector system will also prevent the weapon from firing until the whole action is fully closed.

Although the magazine is situated in the grip, it is integral with the weapon and is loaded from above using eight-round stripper clips.[4] To load, the slide is pulled back to expose the action, the clip is inserted along the guides and the rounds pushed into the magazine. The metal strip is then discarded. As with the majority of pistols with integral magazines, a lever can be used to disengage the magazine catch in order to eject the magazine load.


Steyr Repetierpistole M1912/P16. This variant with an extended magazine was often fitted with a stock to control recoil.

9mm P12(Ö)Edit

After Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the Wehrmacht ordered 60,000 M1912 pistols rechambered in 9mm Parabellum which remained in service until the end of World War II. In German service, its official designation was 9mm P12(Ö) (Ö for Österreichisch, "Austrian"). Pistols in Wehrmacht service were distinguished by the Wehrmachtadler ("Wehrmacht Eagle") emblem above the trigger and most noticeably a "P-08" or "08" stamp on the left side of the slide, "to show that they chambered German 1908-type ammunition."[5][4]

Doppelpistole M.12Edit

A dual pistol mount and stock was also developed that converted two M1912/P16s into a (double pistol) submachine gun such weapon known as the Doppelpistole M1912.[6][7] However, only a handful were made before it was abandoned.

Repetierpistole M1912/P16Edit

During World War I, a machine pistol version of the Steyr M1912 called the Repetierpistole M1912/P16 was produced. It used a 16 round fixed magazine loaded via 8 round stripper clips, a detachable shoulder stock and a rather large exposed semi-auto/full-auto selector on the right side of the frame above the trigger (down = semi & up = full).[5] Rate of fire was about 800 to 1000 rounds per minute. It weighed about 2.6 pounds. Introduced in 1916, it is considered the world's first machine pistol. Only 960 M1912/P16 were made. This variant saw usage by SS police during the occupation of Austria.



  1. ^ 9mm Steyr cartridge uses a 115 gr (7 g) full metal jacket bullet, with a 1,230 ft/s (370 m/s) muzzle velocity, with 388 ft·lbf (526 J) of energy using Hirtenberger ammunition.


  1. ^ Hogg, Ian; Gander, Terry (2005). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 0-00-718328-3.
  2. ^ McCollum, Ian (2 June 2016). "RIA: Steyr-Hahn Pistol Variations". Forgotten Weapons. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Mud testing the curious Austrian Steyr-Hahn 1912 pistol (VIDEO)". Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Hogg, Ian V.; John Weeks (2000). Military small arms of the 20th century (7th ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications,. p. 99. ISBN 9780873418249.
  5. ^ a b Zhuk, A.B. (1995), Walter, John (ed.), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Handguns, Pistols and Revolvers of the World, 1870 TO 1995, translated by N.N. Bobrov, London: Greenhill Books, p. 176
  6. ^ Jung, Peter (1995). Die K.u.K. Streitkräfte im Ersten Weltkrieg 1914-1918: die militärischen Formationen in der Türkei und im mittleren Osten: die Faustfeuerwaffen [K.u.K. Forces in World War I 1914-1918: the military formations in Turkey and the Middle East: The Handguns]. Verlagsbuchhandlung Stöhr. p. 66. ISBN 9783901208126. Retrieved 29 June 2013. Im Laufe des Krieges wurden spezielle Versionen der M1912 entwickelt, und zwar die die M1912/16 mit Dauerfeuereinrichtung sowie die „Doppelpistole" M1912, die aus zwei gekoppelten M1912/16 mit Anschlagschaft bestand
  7. ^ "No gun will ever say **** you as much as the Doppelpistole M.12". IGN Boards. Retrieved 17 May 2021.


  • McNab, Chris (2002). Twentieth-Century Small Arms. Hoo, Rochester, Kent: Grange Books. ISBN 978-1-84013-381-3.

External linksEdit