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Ortgies Automatic Pistols: Not as Boring as You Think!

Prices realized at auction:
Button Safety .380: $920
Standard .32: $805 (with 5 other pistols)
Standard .25: $1,495 (with 2 other pistols)

The Ortgies is a pistol whose interested aspects are often overlooked on the assumption that it is just another identical .32 ACP blowback pistol. Well, it is that – but it is also more.

Mechanically, the Ortgies has a rather unusual grip safety mechanism that is quite different from what we expect to see today. It is also interesting in that the .32 and .380 versions differ only in the easily-interchanged barrel – even the magazines are marked for both calibers.

However, the most interesting part of the Ortgies story (in my opinion) is its production. In less than 5 full years (1919-1923), close to a half million of these guns were made, primarily by an industrial subsidiary of the German government. The guns were in large part a work program, creating export goods which could bring desperately needed hard currency into Germany to counteract the economic devastation of the Versailles treaty.

Have a look at the video and you may come away with a newfound appreciation for the humble Ortgies, like I did!

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