The now retired blogger Kim du Toit loves it; Han Solo shot a laser version of it; Winston Churchill used it to good effect, so whatever happened to the Mauser C-96? What’s that, you’re asking? Have a look:
Now that’s a beauty. It’s a puzzle literally. The parts are interlocking, with no screws to hold it together. It comes in a wooden carrying case that doubles as a shoulder stock. It fires a cartridge that has pretensions of being worthy for a rifle. The rear sight, to take a line from Jeff Cooper, is graduated out to Fort Mudge (1,000 meters on a pistol!). It was the first successful semiautomatic handgun. What’s not to love?
Well, a few things. I’ve held one in my hand, although I’ve never had the chance to fire one. As others have observed and as my hand could tell, it has an odd feel with the broomhandle grip and strange shape. It’s cartridge, 7.63 x 25, is not so easy to find (and the 7.62 x 25 Tokarev round will blow up a C-96). Carrying one would be a challenge, especially if it had to be concealed.
That being said, I still want one. Actually, what I want is a current production copy, since the originals are antiques and probably not to be fired all that often anymore. What I’d like to see is a company like Pietta or Uberti, companies with experience reproducing classic firearms of the nineteenth century, bring out a new version. Make the design the same. With modern steel, it could be built to handle the Tokarev cartridge in one model and the 9mm Luger in another (just as some of the originals could). $400 would be a good sale price.
Do I need one? No, not really. Can I think of a practical use for one? Nope. But do I want one? Absolutely! Come on, gun makers, you have a ready customer here.