Frommer Hungarian series

Rudolph Frommer of Budapest, Hungary, made important contributions in firearms inventions, some of them very ingenious. In the period 1899 to 1912 he originated two basic designs, both of which, in a number of variant forms, were made by Fegyver es Gepgyar Reszvenytarsasag (The Small Arms and Machine Factory, Ltd.) of Budapest.

Mod. 1901-The first pistol, design patents for which were obtained in the period 1899-1901, is characterized by having a small-diameter, tubular jacket with recoil spring mounted around the barrel. The pistol is often referred to as the Mod. 1901, though there seems to be no such official designation. Very likely it had none. It seems to have been offered commercially in 1903 and it appeared at the Swedish trials of 1903 and 1904 and at U.S. trials in 1905. It was not adopted as it seemed too complicated. The pistol had the turning head, recoil-operated system and used an 8 mm. cartridge of Roth design. This particular round was later known as the Roth-Steyr cartridge and was used in the Austrian M7 service pistol. The 1903 Frommer pistols were charger loaded from above into a butt well magazine of 10-round capacity. The rifling characteristics were stated to be as follows: diameter of bore, 0.314 inch; number of grooves, 4; direction of twist, right; one turn of rifling in 10 inches; depth of grooves, 0.008 inch; width of grooves, 0.155 inch; and width of lands, 0.09 inch.

In addition to the army trials already mentioned, it was submitted for trials in the United Kingdom, Austria, and Spain, in all of which it was rejected.

Mod. 1906-In 1906 a smaller and simplified version was introduced and became known as the Mod. 1906. In its original form, the pistol could be had either as a top-charging pistol with fixed butt well magazine (as in the earlier style) or with an insertable sheet-metal box magazine of the later conventional pattern, such as used by the Brownings. The first 1906 pistol was chambered for a small, underpowered 7.65 mm. cartridge, first designed by Roth for a vestpocket pistol ca. 1899. This little cartridge was later given over to J. P. Sauer u. Sohn (German agents for Roth) who adopted it for a small Rothstyle pistol known as the Roth-Sauer, and it became known as the Roth-Sauer cartridge. Frommer adopted it at the same time that Sauer did and the cartridge became known also as the Roth-Frommer and, curiously, the Frommer pistol became known as the „Roth-Frommer," an appelation which is quite incorrect.

By 1910 the pistol was further modified, with the hope of increasing its sales appeal (Figs. 167, 168). A grip safety was added and the chambering was adapted to the more popular 7.65

mm. Browning cartridge. These changes improved the popularity of the pistol. The rifling characteristics of this improved model were stated to be: diameter of bore, 0.301 inch; number of grooves, 4; direction of twist, right; one turn of rifling in 10 inches; depth of grooves, 0.0055 inch; width of grooves, 0.120 inch; and width of lands, 0.110 inch.

This 1910 version of the Mod. 1906 Frommer did not have a very long period of production because of World War I and the necessary diversion of all manufacturing facilities to the production of military items.

Stop Pat.-A second type of Frommer pistol, quite different in design, originated in 1911. This was the Stop Patent system, and is frequently called Mod. 1912. The system is characterized by the two-way recoil spring guide and spring system assembled in a tunnel above the barrel. The operating system is a complex rotating bolt head scheme with internal sleeves (Figs. 169 to 171). The Stop system Frommers were made in both 7.65 and 9 mm. (ACP ) calibers. They were used in great numbers in World War I by the Austro-Hungarian armies. The 7.65 mm. Stop was given the nomenclature 19M (19 Minta Pisztoly). In the 1920's, production of the Stop design gave way to the Browning system, as patented by Frommer. The Stop pistols seem to have been very popular in Austria; just why is a mystery. Like the other early Frommers, they were unnecessarily complicated and easily damaged, and malfunctions were frequent. Construction was too light, especially for a military weapon.

Baby-The Frommer Baby is a smaller version of the Stop and was made in both 7.65 mm. and 9 mm. calibers. The same objections apply to this model, which appears to have been designed as a vestpocket model for civilian use. One specimen examined, marked 7.65 mm., has a 9 mm. barrel.

Liliput-The Frommer 6.35 mm. Liliput, while somewhat similar in appearance to the Stop and Baby models, is different in design, having a blowback operated system. This is apparently the first Browning adaptation made by Frommer. Just when this model was first made is not known but it appeared in 1923 advertisements, so it originated prior to that date. Gerhard Bock discusses this pistol in some detail in the 1923 edition of his Moderne Faustfeuerwa f f en, but does not give the date of origin. How many were produced is not known. Since observed specimens have serial numbers in the 400,000 range it is suspected that their numbering either followed the Stop numbering or started at some arbitrary high number, perhaps 400,000, as it is not likely that 400,000 guns of this model were made.

Factory data for the Liliput as produced in 1923 are as follows: total length, 110 mm. (4.33") ; barrel length, 54.5 mm. (2.14"); height, 75 mm. (2.95") ; thickness, 18.5 mm. (0.73") ; weight, ca. 300 gm. (10.5 oz); and magazine capacity, 6 ctges.

Mod. 29-The blowback type, patented by Rudolf von Frommer (or his estate), was adopted by the Hungarian military service under the designation Pisztoly 29M (the letter M stands for the word „Minta" meaning Model). The 29M was chambered for the 9 mm. Browning Short cartridge, the Hungarian nomenclature for which was „9 mm. 29M Eles Pisztoly Tolteny." The pistol was manufactured by the Femaru Fegyver es Gepgyar R.T. (Metalwares, Small Arms and Machine Works, Ltd.) of Budapest. This firm was the post-World War I successor to the Fegyver es Gepgyar Reszvenytarsasag which had made the earlier Frommers. The earlier firm frequently had used the single word „Fegyvergyar" in marking their weapons and the later firm also frequently used the same designation.

The production of the 29M pistol took place between 1929 and 1935, starting with Serial No. 1 and continuing until about 50,000. When this model was replaced by the 37M, the serial numbering continued from 50,000.

Sometime around 1932 or 1933, a .22 caliber version of the 29M was developed for gallery practice. The principal difference between the 9 mm. and the .22 models is the slide. The .22 caliber series was numbered from C-10,000, but it seems that only a few dozen were made. Other .22 variants have been reported. The author has examined a specimen Serial No. 3258 (on the frame) which is probably a .22 slide assembled on a regular M29 frame. This modification of the 29M came from the Colt Ace, which was patented in Hungary by Frommer in June 1932. All of this suggests that prototypes or converted forms (such as No. 3258) may date from 1929-1932 and that the complete new specimens (in the C-10,000 series) probably date from somewhere between 1932 and 1935. Because of their rarity not many of these will be encountered.

Mod. 37-In 1936 the M29 was simplified and certain elements eliminated. This redesigned version, also taking the 9 mm. Short cartridge, was adopted by the Hungarian military service as the Pisztoly 37M. Production of this 9 mm. pistol by Fegyvergyar seems to have stopped in 1942.

Early in 1941 the German Ordnance Department (Heereswaffenamt) gave the Hungarians an order for 50,000 pistols of the 37M to be provided with a 7.65 mm. caliber barrel instead of the 9 mm., for exclusive use of the Luftwaffe. While it is not officially confirmed, it appears that the earliest deliveries consisted of pistols having the conventional Hungarian markings, but in 7.65 mm. caliber. Such specimens of the „commercial" 7.65 mm. 37M are said to be found with serial numbers above 200,000, thus indicating that routine production of the 9 mm. 37M was diverted to the 7.65 mm. caliber. Ten specimens with serial numbers ranging from 5152 to 69,909, examined by the author, were all marked „jhv" (German code for Metallwaren, Waffen u. Maschinenfabrik, Budapest) and were made in the period 1941 to 1943. They bore German acceptance marks (Figs. 172, 173).

By mid-1941 a change was made in the 7.65 mm. type. A mechanical safety device was added to the frame, on the left side, the form of markings was changed to read Pistole M.37 Cal 7.65, and later in the year this was again changed to read P. Mod. 37. Kal. 7.65. The German three-letter code „jhv" was assigned to the firm, and this code together with the last two digits of the year of manufacture were added to the left side of the slide. The initial order of 50,000, given by the Germans, was filled by the second month of 1942. A second order was placed in mid-1943 calling for delivery of 60,000 pistols, and work on this second contract continued until toward the end of 1944. By this time combat conditions, bombings, etc. became so serious that the program had to be stopped. The serial numbers for the first order ran, naturally, from 1 to 50,000; those for the second order began at 50,001 and continued to about 90,000.

Mod. 1939-A form of the Frommer STOP pistol in 9 mm. Short caliber has appeared with the marking M1939 and a spade-shaped device (meaning unknown) on the top frame housing. The origin and use of this pistol is unknown. It was made by the Hungarian firm but apparently not for Hungarian service issue. Those seen do not follow either the nomenclature pattern or the marking style of the Hungarian service. They may have been made to fill some foreign order.

None of the pre-World War II Hungarian pistols were restored to production after 1945. In fact, the firm „Fegyvergyar" is no longer cited as a supplier of pistols. Current Hungarian service pistols are reportedly produced by two Budapest firms, Femaru es Szerszamgepgyar N.V. and Tomegyarto N.V. Details of pistols of current Hungarian make are not available. Lugs, in his Rucni Palne Zbrane, shows a photograph of a pistol which he captions a „Madarska pistole vz 48" (Hungarian pistol Mod. 48). From the photograph, this appears to be quite an exact copy of the Mod. PP Walther.

This reportedly unauthorized and but slightly modified Walther was manufactured by the first of the two plants mentioned above, a nationalized arms manufacturing plant. It seems to have been issued to the Hungarian police and special services but not used by the military nor sold commercially (for very good reasons!). A similar arm in 6.35 mm. caliber is reported to have been made and issued for police use.

Like the original Walther Mod. PP it is a blowback, double-action pistol, using the regular Browning type cartridges. The modifications made by the Hungarians consist of the lightening of the trigger guard unit and cutout and added mechanical safety in the form of a firing pin lock which prevents firing until the slide is fully closed, obviously a good feature. The chamber indicator is forced up instead of backward, as in the original Walther.

For the 7.65 mm. model the over-all length is 7 inches; barrel length, 315/16 inches; weight (empty), 1.65 pounds; and magazine capacity, 8 rounds. The military forces are probably equipped with the Russian Tokarev.

Fig.

167. 7.65 mm. (Brng.) Frommer Mod. 1910. Partially disassembled.

Fig.

168. 7.65 mm. (Brng.) Frommer Mod. 1910. Partially disassembled.

Fig.

169. 7.65 mm. Frommer Stop Mod. Sectional view.

Fig.

170. 6.35 mm. Frommer Baby-Mod. Sectional view.

Fig.

171. 6.35 mm. Frommer Liliput Mod. Sectional view.

Fig.

172. 7.65 mm. Hungarian Pistole M 37. World War II production.

Fig. 173. 7.65 mm. Hungarian Pistole M 37. Disassembled to show main features of construction.

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