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Pistols of Denmark’s Artist-Turned-Inventor Bent Agner Nielsen

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Bent Agner Nielsen was a Danish tinkerer born in 1925, who studied art as a young man and worked as a painter. In the 1970s he became interested in firearms, beginning with engraving work. This soon evolved into an interest in mechanical design, and in 1978 he began work on the M80, an Olympic-style .22 rimfire target pistol. It was released on the commercial market in Denmark in 1980, and produced for most of the decade (including being exported to the US and elsewhere). It was a quite competent and well-made pistol, built from stainless steel and incorporating a few clever design elements. Most notably, it offered a way to easily cock the firing mechanism to allow dry fire practice without actually releasing the firing pin, thus allowing dry fire practice without risk of damaging the pistol.

With this reasonably successful design under his belt, Agner turned to the military and security market for his next effort in the early 1990s. He designed a pair of pistols for the Danish police and military, the M800 in .32ACP and the M900 in 9x19mm. They had a lineage from his target pistols, with fixed barrels and sights mounted to the frame instead of on a moving slide. Unfortunately for Agner, neither was adopted – the police opted to continue using their Walther PP/PPK pistols and the Army stuck with its SIG P210s. Only a small number of both were made; 16 or the M800 and and unknown number of the M900. After a much longer interlude, he returned to the .22 target pistol arena with his M5 design in 2005. Only about 100 of these were produced, and Agner passed away in 2011.

Many thanks to Hunter’s House in Copenhagen for giving me the opportunity to bring this selection of Agner pistols to you!

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