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Müller 1902 Prototype Pistol – 100+ Year Old Semi-Automatic Pistol

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In this video, Ian of Forgotten Weapons talks about a European turn-of-the-century trials pistol, a Müller semiautomatic pistol patented in 1902. It was submitted to both Swiss and Swedish military pistol trials. Unfortunately, it failed to win either trial. He also submitted one of the guns to the US for testing, but the government was not interested either.

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Bernhard Müller designed the locked-breech pistol. It is seemingly a hybrid of the Luger and Walther P38, but, of course, the P38 did not exist at that time. A total of 10 pistols were manufactured, making it a ridiculously scarce item. The pistol runs very smoothly, but it would certainly be a very expensive gun to manufacture in large quantity.

The pistol is in .30 Luger caliber and appears to use a modified Luger magazine and is chambered for the 7.65mm Luger cartridge. The grip is very much Luger-like, partly because the use of a Luger magazine requires using the same grip angle as the Luger.

Disassembly is extremely simple. There’s a disassembly lever just in front of the trigger guard. The pistol has a short recoil action with a pivoting locking block much like what the P38 would later use. It’s interesting and typically Swiss to use a complex piece to keep the upper slide assembly on. It could have been done with something much simpler. Reassembly is just as easy as disassembly, just slide the pieces together.

The hammer is a Y-shaped piece because the hammer has to have the opening in the center to be able to slip around the recoil spring and guide rod. The firing pin is a full-width piece, so the hammer contacts both edges of the firing pin. The machining is pretty intricate and very nice.

It’s a very well-made pistol. It just didn’t manage to beat the Luger and its other competitors at military trials even if it is an impressive technological pistol ahead of its time. It is quite elegant, clean, and advanced. It may well be the intellectual basis of the Walther P38.

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