Ian of Forgotten Weapons discusses the Bergmann Simplex Pocket Pistols, from where they were up for auction at the Rock Island Auction Company. This is a simple gun, with a simple blowback mechanism, and is similar to the 32 automatic in power.
These pistols were introduced just about in 1900, maybe 1901. Bergmann had been going through a whole series of developmental pistols, and when he got to the Number 5 Bergmann – a complex, locked breech pistol – he created a sixth Bergmann with a separate design track. On one side of this new one, there was the blowback pocket Simplex. The other one was for a military service pistol with a locked breech and a much more potent cartridge.
The Simplex was kind of a dead-end. About 4,000 Simplex pistols were made until 1903. The problem with these guns is that they were simply outclassed by other guns at the time, primarily the 1900 Browning model. The Browning was a bit more powerful and was a much more elegant pistol, probably more reliable as well.
Ian takes a closer look at both Simplex models to compare. They share the styling of the early Bergmann pistols, especially with the exposed hammer and the rear of the bolt. They have detachable magazines, and the earlier version has a magazine catch. They have a series of holes in the magazine wells to keep track of ammunition, and there were different magazine sizes. There is a manual safety, a rear sight that is part of the disassembling mechanism, and a basic trigger.
The main variants are the magazine release catches, and barrel length. The later version had slightly longer barrels. There is also a slight difference between the front sights. Serial numbers were on the butt of the gun, and both pistols had the engraved stamp showing where Bergmann was making the pistols.