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Politicians Ruin Everything: Dutch Luger Trials

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The Dutch military started looking for semiauto pistols to replace its aging revolvers around 1899. They tested all the early models; the Roth, Borchardt, Mauser and Mannlicher – and then they obtained a Borchardt-Luger (aka, a Parabellum, or Luger). They first tested a long-barreled model with shoulder stock for artillery crews in 1901. The guns performed very well mechanically, but the officers in charge were dubious about the utility of the gun.

In 1903, another set of trials was run by the Infantry, this time on short-barreled Lugers in both 9mm and 7.65mm. In addition, the Dutch requested a number of special changes to a subset of their guns – this “Dutch Model” was to have Dutch markings and a stronger coil mainspring designed by the Dutch ordnance department. That coil mainspring would be adopted by DWM and became the most significant improvement in the New Model Lugers.

Anyway, the 1903 trials were concluded with much success in 1905, and the Dutch War Minister happily adopted the Luger in 9mm. He wrote out an order to start getting the Army new modern pistols…only to be overridden by the Dutch Parliament. They decided that the new guns were basically too dangerous, and cancelled the adoption. This left the Army in a rather unexpected lurch, and they had to restart production of revolvers in 1906 to make up the shortages in handguns.

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