Bergmann Pocket Models

Production of the 5 and 6.5 mm. Bergmann blowback pistols of earlier type ceased about 1904. Inasmuch as it is reliably reported that the firm of V. Charles Schilling, long associated with Bergmann, actually made these pistols for Bergmann in the period 1896 to 1904, at which time the Schilling firm was taken over by H. Krieghoff, it seems a safe conclusion that these circumstances account for the cessation of production. Pistols of this type and vintage, bearing the name of Bergmann, are found to carry the V.C.S. mark of Schilling.

Some years later, prior to World War I but probably not earlier than 1910, a very different type of pocket pistol made by Theodor Bergmann Maschinen u. Waffenfabrik of Gaggenau (Baden) and Suhl (Thuringia) appeared. Presumably, production was stopped by World War I. In 1920 several pre-war firms, including the Lignose powder company, combined to form the firm Aktien Gesellschaft Lignose-Berlin, which appears to have been primarily a sales organization. This firm marketed several but not all of these newer models of Bergmann pistols under the name Akt. Gesellschaft Lignose - Abt. Suhl, i.e., the Suhl Division of the parent firm in Berlin. The pistols sold by them have the word LIGNOSE on the grips. The Bergmann model nomenclature was not changed. Commercial sale was continued through the 1920's, apparently under both the Bergmann and Lignose names, and later under the name of Lignose. Production seems to have stopped somewhere in the 1930's.

There were two series of these new Bergmann pistols, the „Taschen" (pocket) and the „Einhand" (one band). Both were pocket pistols, so „Einhand Taschen" would have been a more accurate designation for the second series. Whereas the earlier types of Bergmann pistols had been made at Gaggenau, either by Bergmann's Industriewerke or by V. Charles Schilling, these newer pistols were made at Suhl.

The „Taschen" series were a full-slide blowback type, with a mechanical safety. They follow closely the pattern established by the F.N. 6.35 mm. Browning model of 1906-a pistol that has probably had more imitation as to principles of construction and operation than all other systems combined.

Models Nos. 2 and 3-6.35 mm.-These are alike except that the grip frame in No. 3 is longer in order to take a magazine holding 9 rounds, whereas the No. 2 magazine holds only 6 (Fig. 125).

Model No. 4/5. - 7.65 and 9 mm.-The No. 4/5 model follows the same general design, except that it has larger components. The pistol is made for either of two barrels. Provided with a 7.65 mm. barrel it becomes Mod. 4, and with a 9 mm. (Short) barrel its nomenclature is Mod. 5.

The Mod. 4/5 seems not to have been made in considerable numbers. This is probably due, in part at least, to the fact that it appeared only shortly before or at about the time that Lignose took over the other models. For some reason this model was not marketed by them.

The „Einhand" pocket models are characterized by a cocking device which permits cocking and firing with one hand, a feature which Bergmann stressed as being an important feature in a gun used for self defense. The forward edge of the trigger guard is curved, like the trigger, and by pulling it back with the trigger finger the whole guard moves backward and cocks the pistol. This feature was the invention of Witwold Chylewski, an Austrian, and was used in a 6.35 mm. (Browning cartridge) pistol which he designed in the period 1910-1913. Aside from prototype manufacture prior to 1914, no production of the pistol was undertaken until about 1918 or 1919, at which time Chylewski made a contract with the Societe Industrielle Suisse (S.I.G., Neuhausen) for the production of a few hundred pieces. Apparently this was not intended as a production program but mainly for the purpose of getting samples to aid him in interesting some manufacturer. At any rate, Chylewski succeeded in interesting the Bergmann firm and from 1920 on this „one hand" feature was used on the „Einhand" pistols produced by them. The Chylewski pistol bears only a general resemblance to the Bergmann-made pistol. (See section on Chylewski pistol.)

Models Nos. 2A and 3A „Einhand"-These are similar to the Taschen Models Nos. 2 and 3 except for the „Einhand" feature which makes them slightly heavier.

All models in all variations may be found with either wood grips (uncommon) or hard rubber grips (common), the latter bearing either the name BERGMANN or LIGNOSE on the grips.

Some of the Bergmann-marked pistols (Mods. 2 and 3) have a single large letter B on a metal plate set into plain wood grip pieces. These are early post-World War I specimens.

More recently a new and different pistol appeared under the name Theodor BergmannErben (Theodor Bergmann Heirs), quite evidently a sales organization.

The 7.65 mm. Theodor Bergmann-Erben Special (No. 3797, at least) is practically identical to the August Menz 7.65 mm. P.B. Special, the only apparent difference (shown in illustrations) is the shape of the notch on the lower edge of the slide on the left side. Another specimen of the 7.65 mm. Bergmann-Erben Special, marked Mod. II on the slide, is slightly different, having no notch on the slide and having a somewhat different magazine release. Both pistols do have the characteristic Menz features and doubtless were made by Menz, in Suhl. The Menz P.B. Special was advertised as being made in three calibers: 5.6 mm. (.22 cal. Long Rifle, C.F. ), 7.65 mm., and 9 mm. Short. Whether the Bergmann-Erben appears in all of these calibers is not known.

The 6.35 mm. Theodor Bergmann-Erben pistol bears no resemblance to the Menz pistols, except that it is constructed and operates on the Browning principle. Cartridge ejection is at the top rather than at the right side, the safety is at the rear of the frame, it does not have the exposed hammer, and the disassembly is entirely different. It does have the crossed pistols emblem of Bergmann which was used on many but not all of the Bergmann-made pistols.

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