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Bjorgum 1905 Norwegian Prototype Pistol

Cool Forgotten Weapons Merch!

Niels Bjorgum was a Norwegian artist-turned-gun-designer who decided to try his hand at handguns for the Norwegian military. His design work ran from 1894 until 1921 or so, starting with long guns but later turning to handguns. He was able to convince the Norwegian government to sponsor his work, largely because he was one of very few native Norwegian designers who appeared to have some potential in what would eventually be the 1914 adoption of an automatic pistol by Norway.

This gun is, I believe, a prototype of his 1905 design. It is chambered for the 7.63mm Mauser cartridge, with a clip-fed 16-round magazine in the grip, a series of interrupted threads for locking, and a rotating barrel short recoil action. It is a really remarkably light gun – so light that I would have definite reservations about shooting it out of safety concerns. When it was informally tested by a Norwegian officer, it had four various types of malfunctions over the course of 16 rounds fired – not a great record, but about as good as any of Bjorgum’s guns ever managed.

He would continue to work on several different designs until Norway adopted the Colt 1911 in 1914, at which time he switched to working on a self-loading rifle. This was quickly dismissed by Norway, and he would travel to the US during WWI in an attempt to interest the US military in it. This (predictably) also failed, and in the early 1920s Bjorgum would leave gun designing for good and return to a successful career as a painter.

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