Early Automatic Pistol Cartridges – What, When & Why?


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In discussion with a friend recently, the topic of early automatic pistol cartridges came up. Specifically, looking at the context of which cartridges were actually available at which times, and how this might provide helpful context for understanding why particular cartridges were adopted (or commercially successful) or were not.

I decided to see if I could put together a useful video on the subject, and this is the result. We will look at the cartridges available prior to 1900, the ones developed or introduced between 1900 and 1904, and then a few followups which appeared between 1905 and 1910.

Some cartridges became popular because of their ballistic characteristics – like the 7.63mm Mauser and the C96 “Broomhandle” – while others became popular because of the handgun much more than the cartridge itself – like the Browning 1900 and the .32ACP / 7.65mm Browning.

Complete videos on some of the guns mentioned here:

C93 Borchardt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItpOBQFVIhM
Colt 1900 Sight Safety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyWKLfhTmpA
Development of the Colt from 1900 to 1911: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgOicEVA4u8
Webley 1904: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hT38XH97FM
Colt 1908 (Shanghai Police model): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQRvcQWtqfE
Bergmann No.3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZYr0oGMSU
Mannlicher 1905 in Slow Motion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjDzQjG-UBI

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