This 9 mm. recoil-operated, rotating barrel (60°), was designed, patented and manufactured by the Oesterreichische Waffenfabriks Gesellschaft at Steyr, Austria (Figs. 256 to 259). The name Steyr-Hahn (i.e. Steyr-Hammer) was used to distinguish it from the Steyr-Roth pistol which did not have a hammer. The name is not official nomenclature. Actual designing seems to have begun in 1910, production in 1911, and distribution in 1912. The first version of this arm established the official nomenclature, the inscription on the left side reading OESTERR. WAFFENFABRIK. STEYR. M. 1911. 9 mm.
The serial numbering started at No. 1 and the pistols were marked with the official government proof mark used for pistols made for commercial use. This mark appears on the left side of the slide. In this original commercial form of the pistol the rear sight is a separate block dovetailed into the sight box at the rear of the slide. It appears that only a comparatively small number of these commercial specimens were made. This is borne out by the fact that one observed specimen, dated 1911, bears the serial No. 867 on the slide and the No. 4070-j (a military number) on the frame which is dated 1912. The slide and barrel are a part of the original commercial production, while the frame was part of a military production.
In mid-1912 the pistol was adopted into the Austrian military service as the 1912 Selbstlade Pistole Steyr. It appears that the Hungarian forces of the Austro-Hungarian Army were equipped with the 7.65 mm. Frommer pistol during World War I. For military purposes the numbering system was changed so as to avoid the use of very large numbers. This system, like the
German, uses a maximum of four digits, and a suffix letter. The first (or possibly second) 9999 would be numbered from 1-a to 9999-a, then from 1-b to 9999-b and so on. The M-12 or military type differs from the earlier commercial type in that the rear sight was made in one piece, the commercial Vienna proof mark was dropped and the Austrian military mark substituted, appearing on the upper part of the trigger guard (right side), together with the official government mark (Wn for Wien ), followed by the Austrian Eagle and two digits (probably an inspector's number). The M-12 has a simple inscription, consisting of the word STEYR followed by the year in which the arm was made. Specimens examined were dated from 1912 to 1918. No figures are available as to the total production of the M-12 for the Austro-Hungarian forces, but the number probably ran into the hundreds of thousands. Specimens in the z series (dated 1919) have been examined. If all the letters from a to z were used as suffix letters, and if each group were filled (which probably was not the case), the total number produced would be well over 250,000. That a great many were produced is evident from the fact that in 1938 there were still so many of them in military stores in Austria that the Germans confiscated them for use of the Nazi police forces stationed in Austria. In order to simplify the ammunition problem these confiscated pistols were rechambered to take the 9 mm. Luger (Parabellum ) cartridge, which in German military parlance is called the Patrone 08. Pistols so modified will show the digits 08 stamped on the slide and should show the German Nitro proof mark on the left side and the military proof on the right side of the frame. No new nomenclature seems to have been given to these modified pistols by the Germans, and since there was no renumbering the serial numbers represent the original numbering put on at the factory.
The O.W.G. manufactured the M-12 pistol on contract for the Rumanian government in 1913 and 1914, but only before World War I started. The Rumanian nomenclature for the pistol is the same as the Austrian, viz. M-12. On the left side of the slide will be found the Rumanian Crown beneath which is inscribed „Md. 1912." The serial numbers are believed to have started at 1 and probably did not exceed 10,000. One variant for the Rumanians, and apparently not made in quantity, was a style provided for a shoulder stock attachment.
Prior to World War I, the O.W.G. also executed a contract for Chile. These pistols were identical to the Austrian M-12, with the exception of the markings. On the left side there appears the Chilean coat of arms and on the right the words EJERCITO DE CHILE. How many pistols were furnished on this contract is not known, nor what system of numbering was used. After the war, however, Chile acquired a large number of service weapons and added their own markings. In consequence it is possible to find Austrian numbered and proofed M-12 pistols which also show Chilean markings. The pistols furnished on contract were not proofed.
The M-12 pistol is a simple, quite strong, wellmade pistol which was found to be very reliable in action. Some cracked barrels have been reported, however, indicating that the barrels were too thin. The pistol requires a special cartridge designed for use with this pistol, but thought to be still available. Like the Roth-Steyr, the magazine well is loaded with cartridges by inserting the end of a clip into a guide and pushing the cartridges downward, after which the clip is removed. The clip carries 8 cartridges. Following World War I, production of this pistol was stopped and none have been made since.
Factory data for the 9 mm. Mod. 1911 Steyr are as follows: total length, 205 mm.; length of barrel, 126 mm.; weight, 960 grams; magazine capacity, 8 ctges.; rifling grooves, 4-Right; initial velocity, 340 m./sec.
Fig. 256. 9 mm. Steyr Mod. 1911. Also known as the Steyr-Hahn.
Fig. 257. 9 mm. Steyr Mod. 1911. Showing method of loading.
Fig. 258. 9 mm. Steyr Mod. 1911. Partially disassembled.
Fig. 259. 9 mm. Steyr Mod. 1911. Sectional view.
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