Helfricht pistols

These German pistols, which were also sold under the name Helkra, were reportedly patented by Hugo Helfricht of Zella-Mehlis, and were manufactured by Alfred Krausser of that city. The name Helkra no doubt was derived by combing the first three letters from the names Helfricht and Krausser.

These pistols seem to have originated sometime around 1920. There appear to have been four models (or, more properly, types, as no model designations seem to have been made before the appearance of Mod. 4, which is definitely so-marked). In the first types there is an external safety lever, covered in part by the left grip plate, having (at the left) a knurled head operated by the thumb and extending back of the grip plate to the rear of the frame where the end (hook-like in shape) can be engaged in a notch in the lower edge of the slide. By pushing down on the knurled head in front of the left grip plate the slide is securely locked and the gun cannot be fired.

In the type shown in the Max Leppner Catalog (Zella-Mehlis, Germany) of ca. 1921-1922, which is thought to be Type 3, the safety lever is completely covered, with the exception of the exposed head to the left of the grip plate. The specimen bearing serial No. 335 (shown in the Pistol Atlas) and a specimen examined by the author, from which the serial number had been removed, have the long, exposed safety lever.

In the types preceding Mod. 4 the slide does not extend the full length of the pistol but stops about 3/4 inch from the muzzle end, thus giving the pistol a peculiar and unsightly appearance. Mod. 4, however, has a full-length slide and also has the concealed safety lever. Rifling in all known specimens consists of six grooves with right hand twist. Other than the features mentioned above, there is nothing noteworthy about these pistols. It is reported that a 7.65 mm. version of the Helfricht was made, but none have been encountered, nor have descriptions of any been seen.

These pistols are frequently referred to as the Karl Helfricht or K. Helfricht pistols. No pistols with either of these names have been seen, and what authority there may be for the use of either of them is not known. The pistols bear the inscription HELFRICHT PATENT, and the monogram on the grip plates consists of the letters KH, overlapping. These letters may come from the names Krausser and Helfricht, or there may have been a Karl Helfricht connected in some way with them.

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