View Full Version : German .25 Auto?

44 AMP
September 13, 2008, 10:43 AM
I'm looking fir any information about a German made .25 auto that a friend has. It is somewhat unusual to me. When he gets me a picture, I'll post it.

The gun is marked "Fritz Mann Suhl". There is a mark he describes as a "crown" over the letter "N", which I assume is a proof mark. The gun is ver small, the grips appear to be homemade replacements. It is rather odd in that the barrel is much lower in the slide than the usual types, and has some knurling on the end.

I'm guessing that it is a pre-WWII gun, made in Suhl, Germany. Any info would be a help. Thanks.

Hard Ball
September 13, 2008, 11:34 AM
"crown" over the letter "N" norrmally odpcayes a po;ice weapon.

Steven Mace
September 13, 2008, 11:56 AM

Mann .25

The construction of this pistol was done by Fritz Mann in 1919.
In spite of many other designers of that time Mann went his own way and by that created a pistol with lots of interesting small details. And for sure one of the most "ugly" ones, still being of reliable function. It was one of the smallest and lightest vestpocket-pistols on the market of that time too.
Among these interesting construction-details you find a removable barrel without stripping the pistol, a load indicator at the side, which is working as detent plunger for the safety-lever, and a groove around inside the chamber, where Mann came in for patent and always stated in the referring manuals, that this would work like a locked breech.
Besides his testes of a stronger .25 cartridge considering this background it also is told, that Mann intented to produce a .32 type of same design. Anyway he dropped these intentions with the production of a normal an more simple .32 construction later on.
The pistol was produced just during a short period of time from 1920 to about end of 1923. Since 1924 it was no longer mentioned in the according gun-catalougues of that time. It seems that not even 20.000 pcs have been produced.
Appearently this pistols did not sell good, being of rather strange design compared to the competitors among vestpocket-pistols of that era.
Therefore this pistol is already kind of scarce today.

Technical Datas:

SYSTEM: self-cocking pistol with mass system and firing pin
BARREL LENGTH : 45 mm , 6 grooves right hand twisting
TOTAL WIDTH : 18.6 mm
TRIGGER : Single Action
SIGHT : groove
SAFETY : safety-lever
FINISH : blued
GRIPS : hard rubber

Reference - http://www.vestpockets.bauli.at/archiv/mann1e.htm

Steve Mace

44 AMP
September 13, 2008, 12:04 PM
That appear to be it exactly. Thank you.

James K
September 13, 2008, 10:18 PM
FWIW, Crown over N was the German commercial Nitro proof mark from 1891 to 1939, when the crown was replaced by the Nazi eagle. Postwar marks keep the N but use the symbol of the proof house in place of the eagle.

The proof mark will appear on police weapons, but does not specifically indicate police use.


September 15, 2008, 06:47 PM
44 AMP, if you can still obtain photos of this firearm from your friend, I would very much like to see them. I have never seen one of these guns in person, and the only photo of one that I've run across is the one that Steven Mace linked to from the Vest Pocket Pistol collector's site. It would be really nice to see pictures of another specimen.

Could you possibly ask the gun's owner how and when he acquired the Mann, and, if he is willing to divulge the information, how much he paid for it? I have no good idea of the real value of something like this (which I'd like to know in the highly unlikely event I encounter one for sale). I have found that my Blue Book 29th Edition, much to my dismay, doesn't concern itself too much with the more obscure old pocket pistols :(.

By the way, has your friend fired the pistol?

Any info/anecdotes about this fascinating little gun would be great!

44 AMP
September 15, 2008, 11:58 PM
But it may take a few days. I have only seen his picture of this gun, and I think I can get the file from him to post, but it may take a while.

The gun apparently belonged to his wife's uncle, and her father kept it for a couple decades after the uncle was killed in a car wreck, and only recently gave it to my friend's wife. The gun has apparently home made wooden grips, not the original ones. He has not (yet) fired it.

Along with posting here, I was doing a bit of google searching about the gun, and did find one site which listed approximate values, although sadly, I cannot remember which one that was. Sorry. It listed the Mann .25 auto with values ranging from $100 to $395 (I think) for a perfect specimen.

The problem with the "blue books" and other listings is that they are, like the pirates say "Arrr, not rules, but more lioke guidelines, ya might say".

A dealer will look in the book, and offer no more than he has to, but may be able to sell a gun for much more, IF it is demand locally, and thanks to the Internet, local now covers a lot more area than it used to. Pocket pistols are collected by a few people, but not near as many as collect other guns. If you know a collector, they might be very willing to pay a premium over "book" price to get a rare specimen, while on the other side of the coin, someone just looking for a gun might not be willing to pay "book price" for an old .25 auto, and it might sit unsold in a dealers case for a long time at book price.

Back in the mid 70s, a S&W M29 .44mag would sell, and sell fast for $400 when the MSRP was $283.50, because the factory was two years behind on orders, and demand was high. Look at the jump in Winchesters (even newer ones) when the New Haven plant closed, and it looked like there would never be any more made. The market is ....funny sometimes.

A lot (not all, but a lot) of the pre WWII European pocket pistols have exquisite machine work, some of them being fully polished internally even. But they do not usually bring a lot of money on the market.

I will try to get a picture. The owner has no desire to sell, as it has sentimental value to the family.

September 16, 2008, 07:35 PM
44 AMP said:

But it may take a few days. I have only seen his picture of this gun, and I think I can get the file from him to post, but it may take a while.

The gun apparently belonged to his wife's uncle, and her father kept it for a couple decades after the uncle was killed in a car wreck, and only recently gave it to my friend's wife. The gun has apparently home made wooden grips, not the original ones. He has not (yet) fired it.

Thanks for your continued efforts on the picture. No rush, and no problem if it doesn't work out somehow.

The owner has no desire to sell, as it has sentimental value to the family.

I'm sorry to hear about his death, and I can see why your friend wouldn't want to part with the gun.

If you know a collector, they might be very willing to pay a premium over "book" price to get a rare specimen, while on the other side of the coin, someone just looking for a gun might not be willing to pay "book price" for an old .25 auto, and it might sit unsold in a dealers case for a long time at book price.

A lot (not all, but a lot) of the pre WWII European pocket pistols have exquisite machine work, some of them being fully polished internally even. But they do not usually bring a lot of money on the market.

Quite so, and the limited appreciation for these little guns among the gun-buying public is occasionally responsible for some very gratifying surprises in dealers' showcases. Not long ago, I got a very reasonable deal on a Mauser WTP I that was in good shape save for a missing magazine heel catch. It had been sitting in the corner of a part-time dealer's case for a long time, he told me (it was the first time I had stopped in to his store).

September 28, 2008, 09:20 PM
I just ran across this Mann .25 that is missing parts :( on Gunbroker.com:


What a shame that it is not complete. Darn.

October 21, 2008, 09:32 PM
Sorry, have to put my pointless opinion in. Cool but man that thing is ugly.:D

44 AMP
October 22, 2008, 01:49 AM
I am sorry to say there won't be any pics of the gun available to me in the forseeable future. The fellow that has the gun was relocated recently, and no longer works with me. I did give him my email and ask him to send me some pics, so I could post them, but unless/until he does, sorry.

October 24, 2008, 08:48 PM
No problem, 44 AMP, thanks for trying.

October 28, 2008, 07:35 PM
"a groove around inside the chamber, where Mann came in for patent and always stated in the referring manuals, that this would work like a locked breech."

So that's where Seecamp got the idea!

44 AMP
October 29, 2008, 10:41 PM
My friend came through, with un-needed apologies for it taking so long. Note the size of the gun! The hands are average size (160lb male).

The grips are home made, probably 50 years ago.

That is one tiny gun!

Hope you enjoy these j-framer!

October 31, 2008, 08:13 PM
Many thanks to you and your friend!

I much enjoy seeing old, unusual firearms like this one. Not to mention that I have a particular affinity for tiny handguns.

March 30, 2009, 07:40 AM
Good Day, and hello
I am looking for a manual for the Fritiz Mann 25cal pocket pistol. Mine was made in 1921, complete and intact but I don't want to disassemble without a manual.
thanks for any help in this regard.

Semper Fi

Bob Morrison

March 30, 2009, 07:50 AM
I once read a test and review of the little gun with history, in a paperback gun book, that I still have. Made me want one, but I have only seen like two for sale over the years. The nicer one was of course priced way too high for me. Here it is. Handguns '95 7th. Edition. Big paperback book. Field strip, says to pull back the bolt, turn the knurled muzzle, and withdraw the barrel. This is after removing the mag and clearing the gun, of course. Exploded view, I no got.

April 19, 2009, 06:13 PM
Hello I own a gun Fritz Mann 6.35 you can see in the pictures, my intention is to sell it, is in excellent condition and works, if you know someone who might interest me confirm. Greetings.

April 19, 2009, 10:58 PM
mjrlobos, I'm seriously interested in buying your Mann .25. How do we get in touch to discuss price, etc?

May 23, 2009, 09:02 AM
I have also one of these guns, i think mine is in a very good condition compared to the ones i've seen, i have the original box also. Think im going to sell it because i cant find ammo here in Sweden, and i dont know if i am able to buy from USA. If none of you can sell me a box of .25ACP ammo so i can testfire the Mann pistol

May 23, 2009, 02:14 PM
Hi soxxor,

I am very interested in Mann pistols - since this thread was started, I have been gathering all the information about them that I can.

For my own research purposes, could you possibly provide the serial number of your gun? And if you possibly can, I would LOVE to see photos of the pistol and its original box! It would be a big help to me as I compile data about the Mann pistols.

If you cannot take pictures, could you at least describe your Mann pistol in detail? As you may be aware, there were several variations - some of the early models had cast aluminum grips instead of plastic ones, and I hear that some of the very first guns may have been produced in an odd proprietary caliber different from the standard 6.35mm.

I'd appreciate any info (and particularly photos!!!). The original box is a real "bragging rights" piece to a collector! Congratulations on owning such a desirable combo!

August 18, 2009, 03:24 PM
I've got one. Apparently some were manufactured for export. I've got the original user manual in English as well as a manual in German. Cautions about firing: be careful about hand placement or it will take a little nip out of the web of your hand. Also, the original Mann grips will crack easily and are impossible to find so use those handmade replacements. Unfortunately I've got only the box bottom, not top. Anyone interested in PDF copies of manuals (not production quality) can email me directly.
[EMAIL="[email protected]"]

August 23, 2009, 01:28 PM
Hi lawbartels,

As I asked soxxor above, could you share the serial number of your gun for research purposes? Also, given that you reference fragile grips, I'm assuming your gun has plastic grip panels, not the early aluminum ones?

August 24, 2009, 04:22 PM
Serial # 142XX-12. Plastic grip panels. Any return info re. manufacture date, export etc. will be appreciated.

August 27, 2009, 07:51 PM
Thanks lawbartels - always good to hear when one of these little guns turns up, particularly when it's in the hands of someone who appreciates it.

By the way, I assume you accidentally transposed the digits of the date suffix - given the serial number, the year of manufacture should be "21".

September 15, 2009, 06:59 PM
I also have the Mann .25, I got mine from my grandfather who was in WWII so when he was in france he found it, I have the gun with homade plastic grips 65+ years old and original capture of enemy equitment certificate.
Serial no. 38540
Does anyone know the value?

September 16, 2009, 08:23 PM
Bravo, wth182! Assuming you have accurately reported the serial number, your gun sets a new record in the database that I am compiling of surviving Mann pistols.

In my research about the Mann .25 pistol, I have heard it said that there were "about 20,000 made". This is from several sources, but none that I consider too reliable or authoritative. The 20,000 number seems to have been based on very scanty evidence, as I have recorded a number of serials that are well higher than 20,000 - up until now, the highest serial number that I had a reliable report of was 35535-21 (the "21" suffix just refers to the year of manufacture). Now that I have the serial number of your gun, we can say that the total number of units produced seems to have approached 40,000, if not more. This is assuming no major gaps in the serialization, which I think is a reasonable assumption since I have observed serial numbers nicely spaced throughout the entire range.

If you could possibly post pictures of your gun, that would be terrific, and a close-up of the serial number would really be a great help to me.

One other thing that I am keenly interested to know is the date suffix of your serial number. You reported the serial as "38540", but there should be a -xx (some two-digit number) after it. Please let us know what that -xx number is. The reason I ask is that the only two date suffixes I have ever seen on Mann pistol serials are -20 and -21. As I reported above, even pistol #35535 was, judging from the suffix, apparently still manufactured in 1921. I am very curious to know if any .25s were ever made with a -22 date suffix.

The Mann company seems to have been very short-lived, but during the brief time they made guns they must have really churned these things out.

September 17, 2009, 05:53 PM
Hey I have the pictures i have no suffix, but I did include the serial number picture as well as the certificate of capture with the name rank and ID blocked.

September 17, 2009, 05:56 PM

September 17, 2009, 05:58 PM
And the last

September 17, 2009, 06:42 PM
Wow, that is very interesting - groundbreaking, in fact, as far as my own research goes. Apparently somewhere between production of serial #35535-21 and your gun #38540, they got rid of the date suffix after the serial number.

Thank you very much for obliging me with the photographs, I much appreciate it. What a nice souvenir to have, especially with the capture document.

By the way, I hate to be a pain, but if you could possibly take a closer-up shot of each side of the gun - right and left - it would be wonderful. I would just like to see if there are any differences in appearance, controls, markings, etc. between this very late Mann and earlier examples. If you don't get around to it, no problem at all.

September 19, 2009, 08:35 AM
I will but I can say now that it does have the crowned n in a few places and it does not say Fritz mann sul on the side but "Mann's Patente"

September 19, 2009, 09:56 PM
First post here.

Here's the Mann I picked up recently, serial 11547-21. The magazine is original, though the feed lips are warped and cause the follower to shoot up through the top. If I load any cartridges the magazine unfortunately jumps right out.

Just to test it out, I bought a new magazine from Triple K, though they gave me a 6 week lead time. I probably won't be trying to repair the original, since this gun will wind up in a display eventually.



For size comparison. That gift card is the size of a credit card.


James K
September 19, 2009, 10:05 PM
Hi, j-framer,

This might not apply to the Mann, of course, but people tracking serial numbers and production data of European guns, especially pistols, should be aware that many makers started at 5000, 10000 or some similar high number. Apparently this was a marketing ploy so prospective buyers would believe the new gun was an established product. And, as you note, makers also left large gaps in serial numbers, mostly when beginning production of a new model.


September 20, 2009, 08:43 PM

Thanks - no rush at all on the pictures. As far as the inscription "MANN'S PATENTE" versus "FRITZ MANN, SUHL - PATENTE", I've been unable to perceive any rhyme or reason regarding when one was used and when the other was used. It certainly didn't have had to do with the date of production, as I've seen both kinds of inscriptions sprinkled evenly among examples from 6xxx-21 all the way up to your 38540. "MANN'S PATENTE" does seem a little more common than the other version, though.

The "Crown N" is a German proof mark and will (or should) be found on every Mann. Sometimes they bear another country's proofs as well - the specimen on Gerhard Schoenbauer's "Vest Pocket Pistol Collector" website bears Austrian proofs, for example.


Wow!!! That is a very nice Mann pistol you have there! If you're going to try firing it, you might want to remove those original grips, as it's kind of nice to have them intact and it would be a shame to break them accidentally in the course of the test. But darn it, what am I doing telling you what to do with your own pistol? Getting too protective, as always. :o


Thanks for the heads-up on the serial number ranges - I have noticed this in some instances (I believe the Beretta 1919 started at 100,000, for example?). It is true that my data on the Mann is quite limited right now, and I should be cautious about making assertions regarding production numbers. Just in case anyone is interested, here is a partial list of the serial numbers I am aware of at present (I have several more, but I haven't fully organized my photos/reported information yet):

13034-21 (nickeled and engraved, though I don't think it is factory work)

The placement of the Mann's serial number on the bottom of the frontstrap is very frustrating from a research perspective, because when you find photos of the Mann, or of any other gun, they're typically of the right and left sides. For a gun that has its serial number placed normally on the right or left side of the frame or slide, you'd be able to pick the serial right out and record it. But in the case of the Mann, I have many photos of examples whose numbers I have no way of knowing, because all I have is a right and left shot, or sometimes one side only. Very frustrating.

October 26, 2009, 04:36 AM
Have any Mann owners found problems with magazine retention? I discovered the mag catch on mine does not engage the magazine at all, which has been the reason for the magazine jumping out when loaded.

I found this out after I fixed the feed lips on my magazine. Left me feeling like a real genius, for sure. Somewhere in the gun's life, someone bent the feed lips out in a poor attempt to keep the mag in the gun.

At it's most extreme position, the mag catch barely engages the mag. I am tempted to remove the catch/button and carefully file away the front just enough to give the catch more movement.

I guess this is the reason why it appears it was never shot. :P Since I can't shoot it (not that I planned on shooting this much in the first place), I went ahead and got a new case to display the gun in.


EDIT: For anyone needing new grips for their Mann, vintagegungrips.com sells them for about $35 I believe.

October 26, 2009, 07:48 PM

It's your decision, of course, but I implore you not to take a file to any part of your poor little Mann!!!

If you are having problems with magazine retention, it may very well be due to the gun's having been assembled improperly. The stirrup-shaped spring that is responsible for creating the tension on the magazine catch also serves as the trigger return spring - the bottom part of it fits into a groove on the rear of the mag catch, and then the two side prongs bend sharply in on either side of the catch and go behind the mag catch pin (before the pin is installed, of course!). Then the upper ends of the two prongs have to go in the right spots (one against a cutout in the frame and the other against the trigger, as I recall). You are working in very close quarters, and it is a difficult and tedious process to get everything in the right place. It would be very easy for someone mechanically disinclined or just impatient to do it the wrong way, with the result that the catch's function might be impaired or simply reversed.

So before doing anything else, I would suggest you go to Gerhard Schoenbauer's website, which has exploded views of many pocket pistols, including the Mann (about halfway down), and print out the picture showing all the Mann's parts laid out, and study it until you feel that you have a basic feel for what the various parts do. If you are the type who enjoys such work, go ahead and carefully (using the right screwdriver bits and punches!) disassemble the gun. The Mann is actually quite a simple firearm as you will see.

Here's the link to Gerhard's website:


Let us know how you make out!

January 30, 2010, 12:22 PM
I have one of these guns. It was my grandfather's. He was a jazz pianist in the 1920's and carried it for personal protection when he would walk in the city at night when he played the clubs. Don't think he ever fired it - looks to be in perfect condition except the safety lever is popped. (I still have it but can't figure out how to get it back in. Any help?)

Serial number is 12981-21. Plastic grips are intact and quite clean looking. On the side it says MANN'S PATENTE along with the other usual markings, Cal. 6.35, N with crown / star, etc.

I'll try to post some pictures if I can get them scaled down enough.

Any additional info out there? Thanks.

January 30, 2010, 01:30 PM
Okay, was able to get the pictures down to size. So let's try this:

January 30, 2010, 01:55 PM

It is great to have this thread revived with yet another surviving specimen (in fine condition, I might add!). Thank you for the photographs, particularly the close-up of the serial.

Regarding the safety lever, I suggest carefully removing the left grip and the plate that covers the trigger bar. Look at the inside of the frontstrap (higher up) and you should be able to get a pretty clear view (though cramped) of the area through which the shaft of the safety lever passes. Hopefully you will be able to figure out what is responsible for creating the tension on the flats milled into the safety's axle when the safety is in place.

It seems that there should be a leg of a spring that rides in those slots and serves both to keep the safety in place (axially) and also simultaneously to create resistance to the safety's rotation between the safe and fire positions.

February 24, 2010, 02:21 AM
I've acquired another Mann specimen myself. Bought this one off a fellow online for $200. It has a bit more patina that my other Mann, but it's in perfect mechanical shape. It had one broken grip, but the other one is fine.


The serial is 21995-21.

The magazine catch on this one is perfectly functional, and accepts the magazine from both of my Mann .25's. This leads me to believe that my other gun was, in fact, defective. Looking over the defective Mann closer, it seems there was not enough milling done on the inside of the frame to allow the mag release to engage the mag itself.

I've done quite a bit of research into these pistols, considering the small amount of material available on them. I'll post some photographic highlights here, though some of you may have seen some of these before.






February 24, 2010, 02:23 AM






January 23, 2011, 04:21 PM
I was wondering how I would go about making the gun legal, I have the certificate that allows it to be in the us, but the serial number is not recorded on it, it just says "Pistol French Make, (Manns Patente) Cal. 25 Serial No. "
so its not really on record that it even exists... Also another thing my grandfather brought back was a folding knife that is supposed to look like a pistol you push the hammer to unlock the blade and it has a small leather holster, ill post picture just wondering.

February 2, 2011, 09:21 AM
15475-21 another one I saw good photos of to add to your research.

February 2, 2011, 11:45 AM
You don't have to worry about the lack of serial numbers or record thereoff, they didn't become mandatory until 1968. And your gun is clearly older than that.

February 2, 2011, 12:45 PM
You don't have to worry about the lack of serial numbers or record thereoff, they didn't become mandatory until 1968. And your gun is clearly older than that.

I have to put a minor caveat here: If the gun never had a serial number, it is not a problem. If, however, the serial number was altered/defaced/removed, then it doesn't matter how old it is according to BATF. (Or at least that's how I understand their twisted logic.)

February 2, 2011, 12:52 PM
Went back to read more the thread, in regards to the date suffix, at some point after WWI the date stamp became a mandatory component of the proof mark, making a separate date suffix unnecessary.

September 14, 2011, 07:24 AM
The approx value of this gun is?

September 17, 2011, 05:53 PM

Like any collectible gun, a Mann pistol's value depends on numerous factors, the most important being:

1) Is the pistol in question all matching, with all its original parts? Nothing messed with, altered, damaged, missing, etc.?

2) What is the finish condition?

3) What variation is it?

And probably most important of all, and most difficult to predict at any given time with such an obscure pistol:

4) Who wants to buy it, and how badly?

Depending on the answers to these questions, an individual example's value could be anywhere from $75 for a badly damaged/mismatched parts gun to probably well over $1000 for a rare variation in beautiful condition.

December 3, 2011, 02:58 PM

I just found this thread thanks to a gentleman who sold me a new magazine for my Mann. Very pleased to find all this information. Have never been able to find much before.

In return, I'll add the specs of my gun to what's already here for posterity.

It's kind of a neat story. In short, when my grandmother passed away I was looking through an old desk that had been my grandfather's. He had passed away some years earlier. I found a little secret drawer built into the cubbies of the desk did not appear to have been opened in ages. Inside was this fascinating little gun and an ancient box of ammo. No idea how long that gun sat there unknown to the world; and but for luck would likely be sitting there still.

The serial number is 9083-21. It's in great shape, but the few times I've fired it the magazine feed has been a problem.

A couple photos are attached. enjoy. thanks again for the info.

December 4, 2011, 08:19 PM
Lewiscircle, thanks for the information and photos of your Mann and for telling the fascinating story of its discovery. I love the fact that this pistol was your grandfather's little "secret" for so many years. It fits perfectly with this curious little pistol's role as a deep concealment/hideaway piece, whether it be on someone's person or in a static location like the hidden drawer.

I really enjoy listening to stories that connect these surviving pistols to the past. Hopefully the willingness of people like you to share your stories and information will encourage others to do the same. It enriches all of us when these inanimate objects are connected to the lives of real people, either living or dead. This connection is the linchpin of my interest in these and other vintage pocket pistols.

February 1, 2012, 07:58 PM
I just got a Mann today :D # 13729-21 marked Mann's Patente. I've been looking for one for some time and this thread has been very helpful during my search. Thanks.

February 2, 2012, 07:24 PM

Thanks for telling us about your recent Mann acquisition - I appreciate the number and will add it to the database (I am trying to get around to posting an updated list; since I posted the first one I have gathered many new serial numbers).

If you ever have the means and inclination to post photos, please do! I never get tired of seeing these.

February 25, 2012, 10:37 AM
Just to add, the German DWJ has an extensive article on the Mann company and the special trick they had with a groove inside the chamber to delay the action. They also report on a recent auction in which a .25 with 4mm extra barrel and box brought over $1500 - these little guns are definitely worth keeping.

Vestpocket Collector
April 11, 2012, 03:00 PM

today I bought a Mann Pistol with serial number 52838-21. So there is a new number to add to the list.

Best regards from Germany


Vestpocket Collector
April 12, 2012, 11:33 AM
The number is 32838-21.