View Full Version : 1911 Question

October 23, 1999, 12:59 PM
I was curious if John Browning's 1911 was the first semi-auto handgun ever, or the first one here in the U.S.? If it wasn't the first one ever, then what was and who made it? Thankyou.

James K
October 23, 1999, 03:25 PM
Hi, Drew,

The Model 1911 (the Army designation) was not even the first semi auto handgun in the U.S. Disregarding experimental guns, Colt produced its first auto pistol, a .38 caliber, in 1900, followed by improvements in 1902, and 1903. A hammerless pocket model was produced in 1903 in .32 caliber, a .25 in 1908, .45s in 1905, 1909, and 1910.

Overseas, several auto pistols were in production before 1900, including the Mauser C96, the Mannlicher, the Bergmann, and the Borchardt. The Luger came along in 1900 and improved versions were adopted by the Swiss and the German Navy in 1906 and the German Army in 1908. Browning himself patented a .32 auto pistol that was made by FN starting in 1900, and another Browning design was made starting in 1903.

The first self-loading (semi-auto) pistol to be produced as a commercial venture was the Austrian Schonberger, made at Steyr in 1892. Examples are nearly non-existent today.

So, to answer your question simply, no, the 1911 was not the first semi-auto pistol.


October 25, 1999, 11:33 PM

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question! I'd say that just about sums it up! Again, thanx.

James K
October 26, 1999, 11:07 PM
I forgot Savage, which made a .32 auto in 1907.