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Fears of a Chinese invasion have Taiwanese civilians taking up target practice by STEPHANIE YANG

People shoot at targets with air pistols during a shooting training session at Taiwan CBQ Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / Los Angeles Times)
People shoot at targets with air pistols during a training session at Taiwan CQB Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

In a leaky warehouse on the outskirts of the city, Su Jun readied his weapon at the commanding shout. Down the line, more armed men clad in camouflage vests, utility belts and kneepads did the same. Another order came and they opened fire.

Shots popped and echoed beneath the cavernous ceiling. The would-be defenders kept shooting, switching between rifles and pistols leveled at cardboard targets. On a final command, the clamor subsided, leaving plastic pellets scattered across the floor. Su let his BB gun drop.

Su, 39, is not a soldier but a tattoo artist. The only time he held a rifle that fired real bullets was more than a decade ago, during the two years of military service then required of men in Taiwan. But while the guns in his hands were fake — and the drill more paintball target practice than military maneuver — the threat in Su’s mind was viscerally real.

People hold rifles.
Tattoo artist Su Jun, 39, attends a shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on May 21, 2022. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

For decades, Taiwan has lived under the specter of military aggression from mainland China, which considers the self-ruled island as part of its territory. But it wasn’t until Russia invaded Ukraine in February that many Taiwanese started wondering what role they might play if a war broke out at home and Chinese soldiers were suddenly on the beaches.

Worried that he might need to take up arms, Su quickly signed up for a beginner’s airsoft gun class and two more after that.

“It just feels like anything is possible,” Su said.

In Ukraine, civilians joined the fight against Moscow with assault rifles and Molotov cocktails. Finnish citizens, also sharing a border with Russia, have rushed to wartime defense courses to learn hand-to-hand combat and how to use weapons. In Taiwan, though, a similar instinct has run up against strict gun control laws and a complicated history between its people and military, dating back to the days of martial law under the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang.

“Guns were an evil thing. You didn’t want to come into contact with them,” said Max Chiang, chief executive of Polar Light Training, which hosts airsoft training classes including those that Su attended. This year, interest in classes has tripled, he said, with at least half of new participants motivated by the war in Ukraine.

People carry air rifles.
A shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

Cross-strait tensions have intensified as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calls for unification have become more assertive in the face of increasing opposition from Taiwan. Even among the concerned, few Taiwanese believe an invasion is imminent. But watching Russia attack Ukraine has highlighted the worst-case scenario in confronting a hostile, territorial and vastly bigger neighbor.

Those fears have reinvigorated debate over Taiwan’s national defense strategy, and whether it can withstand a similar assault from China. Chinese war planes have buzzed the island in recent years, and Beijing’s naval exercises in the South China Sea have unnerved the region. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has stepped up defense spending to record levels, while U.S. officials have weighed in on how Taiwan can best deter China’s expanding military.

President Biden said this week at a Tokyo news conference that the U.S. would get involved militarily to defend Taiwan. The comments appeared to have marked a departure from Washington’s longtime “strategic ambiguity,” a policy that left open the question of whether the U.S. would send forces to Taiwan in a war with China. The White House later said the administration’s stance had not changed, but the statements tapped into a sense of growing unease among Taiwanese and the international community.

A man aims a weapon.
Tech journalist Alan Chen at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

With the U.S. committing weapons but not soldiers to help Ukraine, many wonder whether the same may happen in Taiwan. According to an October poll by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation, 65% of respondents believed the U.S. would dispatch troops to Taiwan. That number had fallen to 36% in April.

Polls in recent months have also shown that a growing majority of the Taiwanese population are willing to fight to defend the island of 23 million from a Chinese invasion. Taiwan has lived with this dilemma since 1949, when Chinese Nationalists fled to Taipei after a civil war with Communist Party forces.

That history became resonant in February when Caren Huang watched on TV as 5,000 miles away Ukrainian civilians took up arms to battle for their home. It was then that she decided she should learn how to shoot a gun.

On a rainy Saturday morning in May, she trekked to Linkou, a district northwest of Taipei whose name means “mouth of the forest.” At the end of a winding mountain road, she was surprised to discover that she wouldn’t be using real firearms. Still, as she held the air pistol in her hand, lighter than she had imagined, it felt sleek, cool and somewhat stress-relieving. In the quiet between shooting rounds, crickets chirped from the thickets of bamboo outside.

A row of people watch a man shoots a weapon.
An instructor demonstrates shooting techniques at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

For most of her life, the 44-year-old former financial analyst assumed that Taiwan would eventually unite with mainland China. Growing up under martial law, Huang remembers learning about her Chinese identity and the greatness of the Chinese nation in school. At 17, she and her family emigrated to New Zealand, where she gradually realized the cultural and political differences between Taiwan and mainland China.

When she returned to Taiwan after college in 2000, China was on an economic upswing. The country was opening up to the outside world and seemed rife with business opportunities. Huang thought that by working more closely together, both sides of the Taiwan Strait could benefit.

Many of her friends felt the same way. But as China’s meteoric growth tapered and the government tightened its grip on civil society, including its crackdown in Hong Kong, her doubts deepened.

“As long as it’s an authoritarian country, they can regress at any time,” Huang said. “Then whatever rights you have, the government can take it all back. I feel like this is the scariest thing. If their political system doesn’t change, then I think it will be very hard for Taiwan to join with China.”

Even as she began to favor independence, Huang had thought it highly unlikely that China would attack Taiwan. She didn’t rule out minor skirmishes, but the economic and political ramifications of an all-out invasion seemed too high to justify. Seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin launch a war on Ukraine made her feel that nothing was certain.

“If they really need me to pick up a gun and defend the country, or if they need any kind of first aid, or if they want us to do anything else to help, then I’ll do it,” Huang said.

People handle weapons.
A shooting training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

That kind ofresolve is crucial to Taiwan’s ability to repel an invasion, experts said, especially given China’s advantage in numbers. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army totals about 975,000 active-duty personnel, according to U.S. estimates, compared with Taiwan’s 169,000. However, the collective will to fight is difficult to gauge in a society where military service and training are not highly valued and often derided.

“Military men have no social status in Taiwan,” said retired Adm. Lee Hsi-ming, who served as the chief of the general staff of Taiwan’s Armed Forces. “This is the military’s problem, and the whole nation’s problem.”

To engage more citizens, Lee has proposed training civilians in combat to form a volunteer defense force, similar to Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces. Two years ago, the idea of sending civilians out to die was met with widespread backlash. There was notably less criticism when Lee raised the prospect again this year. Such an initiative would need government backing to succeed, he said.

People aim weapons.
Personal trainer Chris Chen, 26, shoots at a target. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

The more concerning problem, though, said Lee, is a young generation that is reluctant to enlist in the military even as it becomes increasingly vocal against Beijing.

“If you are very provocative and you don’t have the capability to defend yourself, that kind of provocation will be dangerous,” Lee said. “It’s better for Taiwan if we have a robust, resilient defense capability, but we don’t do any provocative things.”

In preparation for potential conflict, some Taiwanese have sought out disaster response seminars and first-aid classes in recent months. Yet those who envision themselves engaging in war have found BB gun training to be their best bet.

Alan Chen, a journalist who writes about military technology, had essentially considered airsoft guns toys. But the invasion of Ukraine, along with several tactical shooting YouTube videos, persuaded him to try them out in case he was called back to serve.

A person holds a rifle.
Tattoo artist Su Jun at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

“If things really go down, I don’t want to be the one that hinders someone else,” the 38-year-old said. After his first few classes, his concerns shifted. “Now, I’m kind of worried that my teammate might shoot me accidentally, because I know that they haven’t gotten that training.”

Taiwan started to transition to an all-volunteer military several years ago, but has had trouble attracting new recruits. Currently, young men are required to complete four months of military service and return periodically for training as reservists.

Chris Chen, a 26-year-old personal trainer in New Taipei City, could envision a life in the military, given the proper training. But he said his four months of conscription had confirmed the rumors: Serving in Taiwan’s army was largely a waste of time.

A man holds a weapon.
A man showcases air gun models at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

“I trained like my father did, which is you only shoot in one position, and six shots every time,” Chen said in between drills at Polar Light’s two-day advanced tactical shooting course. “I need to come to these kinds of lessons to actually learn something.”

Chen’s criticisms are common among men who have completed Taiwan’s mandatory military service. Recruits have described the exercises as boring and aimless, largely consisting of chores and paperwork, while practice in firearms is limited.

Still, Chen acknowledges that some might find training with air guns equally futile.

“People are like, ‘Why are you so serious? You’re shooting BB guns,’” he said. His response to them? “You should always be prepared.”

Aware of such critiques, the government has announced intentions for military reform. Lawmakers have extended the training period for some military reservists from several days to two weeks, and are contemplating extending conscription from four months to one year.

“When legislators try to increase the duration to serve in the military, it was a kind of political suicide in the past,” said Democratic Progressive Party legislator Wang Ting-yu, who sits on Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Equally important, skeptics said, is whether the additional time would be used effectively. The Ministry of National Defense this year launched a bureau to oversee and improve reservists’ training. Wang said in the scenario of an attack, 200,000 professional military members, along with a first tier of 300,000 reservists, would be organized for duty in the first 24 hours. The remaining 2 million or so reservists would serve as supporting personnel.

Wang added that Ukraine demonstrated the need to rally civilians to mount an effective resistance. But he pointed to potential dangers in arming all of them: “Do we need to make these kinds of civilians capable to defend our country? We are debating about that,” he said.

Su Tzu-yun, an associate research fellow at Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a government-funded think tank, said the recent inspiration to fight among Taiwanese citizens should be utilized.

“I think this is the most important factor in all wars in history: the determination to defend your country,” he said. “Those who want to practice shooting, target practice, right now Taiwan’s system doesn’t allow that. That needs to change, to let those who want to learn how to fight.”

As an island, Taiwan has a less imminent need for foot soldiers than if it shared a land border with China. Taiwan has pursued an “asymmetrical” approach to warfare, prioritizing weapons and materiel purchases to ward off attacks from the air and sea, with ground forces acting as a last line of defense.

People shoot at targets.
Air pistol training session at Taiwan CQB Club. (Annabelle Chih / For The Times)

If a battle ever reaches that point, many Taiwanese are unsure what will come next.

“Right now Taiwan’s leaders, they need to communicate with society. This will be critical to whether — no matter if it’s territorial defense or volunteer reserves — it works,” Su said.

A civil defense handbook published in April by the Ministry of National Defense was widely panned for its lack of useful information. The book included basic instructions on what residents should do in a war, including QR codes and hotlines to call for help. The ministry is revising it and plans a reissue this year.

Stanley Shen, a 33-year-old engineer, said he found the survival books he purchased himself vastly more helpful than the government-issued one. Until recently, he hadn’t considered how he might respond in the midst of war. But when he saw a YouTuber post about Polar Light on Facebook, he and his girlfriend signed up for the beginner course.

After his first class, Shen said, he planned to buy his own airsoft gun to sharpen his skills.

“No one wants war. But if it really happens, I hope that I can learn enough in this class to improve my ability to keep those I care about and need to protect safe,” Shen said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


Nothing like the threat of getting mugged to change ones mind! Grumpy


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It’s Official! Allen West Will Try to Oust LaPierre at NRA Annual Meetings by S.H. BLANNELBERRY

Lt. Col. Allen West, USA, Ret. wants to be the next Exec. VP of the National Rifle Association. (Photo: Twitter/West)

News broke last week that several former and current NRA board members would like to see someone other than Wayne LaPierre at the helm of the nation’s gun lobby.

Citing the organization’s ongoing legal issues and its admission that Wayne received “excess benefits” to the tune of $300,000 during his tenure as executive vice president (money that he’s since paid back with a personal check), the concerned members tapped former Congressman Allen West to be their guy.

Well, after taking the weekend to pray on it some, it’s now official.  West announced Monday that he will take on LaPierre at this year’s NRA annual meetings and exhibits.

“In the military, we have a saying, it is that Warriors move to the sound of the guns. It is with sincere humility that I have consented to my nomination to be Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association,” said Col. West, in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.

“History has taught us that when the people are disarmed, they are subjugated, enslaved to tyranny and totalitarianism,” he continued. “The Nation’s oldest civil rights institution is the National Rifle Association. I would be honored to secure that legacy going forward for future generations of legal, law-abiding American citizens and gun owners.”

West said that his top goals “are to restore the honor, integrity, and character of this venerable organization along with refocusing on our core competencies, shooting sports/marksmanship, and defense of our Second Amendment constitutional right.”

But not everyone wants to see Wayne go.

Former NRA President David Keene wrote a blistering opinion piece this week in which he crushed West as a potential candidate and defended LaPierre’s record.

“The fact that those who would take Wayne down have settled on Allen West as their preferred replacement tells a person more than anything else. It tells you that while professing an interest in the future success of the NRA, their real interest is simply to get rid of Wayne regardless of the consequences,” wrote Keene.

“Putting Allen West into a position, which requires managerial competence, would amount to malpractice,” Keene went on to say. “Perhaps in choosing Allen West, their intent is simply to destroy NRA and all that Wayne has worked over these many years.”

Keene is convinced that this attempt to unseat LaPierre will fail.  He also contends that Wayne is still the right person for the job.

“No one is perfect. Wayne has sometimes trusted people who didn’t deserve that trust. I doubt if he or any of us can claim we’ve always been right about everything. But no one could have done a better job for us over years of service, or for America’s gun owners and the Second Amendment, than Wayne,” said Keene.

The NRA board will vote on Monday, May 30, 2022.  Stay tuned for updates.

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Stolen from a Great Blog – My Daily Kona 10 Facts about Mauser

I have or *had* a Mauser pattern Rifle, my dearly departed 03A3, Swedish Mauser and my 98K Clone that I lost in those durn Kayak accidents. *Sniff*Sniff*.The Horror, Durn kayaks and Canoe’s should be regulated by the UN as Weapons of Mass destruction.  Well anyway Those Rifles have stood the test of time and are bone reliable, you work the action, it will work or go bang if you are using decent ammo the rifle will function as it is designed to.   I shamelessly snagged this from “American Rifleman”

Knupp Mauserfacts 0

Everyone knows the name “Mauser” and the bolt action rifles associated with it. Here are 10 facts you may not have known were associated with the Mauser story:

One: There Were Two Mausers – Paul And Wilhelm

Mauser brothers Paul and WilhelmBrothers Wilhelm Mauser (right) and Paul Mauser (left).

The Mauser firm was the work of brothers Peter Paul (known simply as “Paul” ) and Wilhelm Mauser. Following military service, the Mauser brothers’ father Franz became a gunsmith at the royal armory at Oberndorf, a small town on the Neckar River in Germany. The younger brother Paul would develop an interest in artillery through his own military service, which eventually led to small arms design. Wilhelm served as business manager for the company.

Wilhelm died in 1882 at the age of 47. Paul remained the technical director of the company through its major developments and would live to the age of 76 in 1914.

The Mauser factory in Oberndorf am Neckar in 1910.

While many of Mauser’s innovations were patented in the name of Paul Mauser, throughout the article that follows, when we say “Mauser” we’re referring to the company, in general.

Two: Mauser Didn’t Invent The Bolt Action

While Mauser is responsible for many of the design elements that we see in modern turn-bolt actions, they did not invent the system. The first firearm to use a rotating bolt to open and close the breech was the Dreyse Needle Gun, which used a paper-cased black powder cartridge that was internally primed so that a needle-like firing pin had to pierce the case to reach it. Developed in the 1820s by Johann Nicolaus von Dreyse, the design was perfected in 1836 and adopted by the Prussians in 1841. Dreyse’s system gave a massive rate-of-fire advantage over contemporary muzzleloading muskets.

      A Model 1860 Dreyse Needle Gun with its bolt handle visible.

As modern, breechloading firearms were developed, several would use the Needle Gun’s turn-bolt system. Two bolt-action firearms, the Palmer and the Greene (the first bolt action used by the U.S. military), were issued during the Civil War.

The Greene breechloading bolt-action rifle from the Civil War era.

The action of the Greene, showing its turning bolt mechanism and locking lugs.

Mauser’s earliest design was an improvement of the Needle Gun that could be used as a way to convert muzzleloading muskets to breechloaders using a turn-bolt system, a mechanism that the company would eventually become synonymous with.

Three: Mauser Had An Early Connection To America

The Mauser brothers came from a large family and an older brother, Franz, went to the U.S. and would eventually work for the Remington arms company.

Samuel Norris, who was Remington’s agent in Europe, would be influential in the infant Mauser company. Norris was impressed with Mauser’s early design and became convinced it could be used to convert needle guns, like the French Chassepot, to fire metallic cartridges. Norris partnered with Mauser and provided financial backing, moving the Mauser brothers to Liege, Belgium.

The action of the Interim Model 1869/70, a prototype that would lead to the first successful Mauser, the M1871.

The partnership crumbled when it failed to interest any governments and the Mauser brothers returned to Oberndorf where they continued to develop a design that would eventually become their first successful firearm, the 1871 Mauser.

Mauser’s first successful model, the 1871, was a single-shot that fired a blackpowder cartridge.

Four: Mauser Took Out An Early Patent Of Its Designs In The U.S.

As a result of the partnership with Norris, Mauser would apply for its first patent in the United States. Granted on June 2, 1868, Patent No. 78,603 for “Improvements in Breech Loading Firearms” was taken out in the name of “S. Norris & W. & P. Mauser.” The patent would cover features like the rifle’s cock-on-opening bolt system and the interface between the sear and firing pin.

Mauser’s first U.S. patent for “Improvements in Breech Loading Firearms.”

It was the first of many patents that Mauser would take out in the U.S., covering everything from ammunition to scope mounting.

A 1915 Mauser patent for semi-automatic pistol design (right) and a 1906 Mauser patent for a rifle magazine (left).

The patent model for the Mauser-Norris rifle is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute, but not currently on public display. Another Mauser-Norris prototype is in the collection of the National Firearms Museum at the NRA headquarters, as are many of the firearms whose images appear in this article.

An early Mauser-Norris prototype, showing the action opened.

Five: The 1888 Commission Rifle Is NOT A Mauser (But It’s Important To Mauser History Anyway)

A Model 1888 Commission rifle made at the Amberg arsenal.

While the German 1888 Commission rifle is often referred to as a “Mauser,” it’s not. As the name implies, in response to the French adopting the revolutionary 1886 Lebel with its modern, high-velocity smokeless cartridge, the Germans formed a military commission to develop a new rifle to replace the black powder cartridge-firing Mauser 71/84. The result was a design that combined innovations of both Paul Mauser and Ferdinand Mannlicher. The rifles used a Mauser-type firing mechanism and safety combined with a Mannlicher magazine that utilized an en-bloc clip. The rifle also introduced the 8 mm cartridge that would eventually become the 7.92×57 mm or “8 mm Mauser” that would be the German service cartridge through the end of World War II.

While the 1888 Commission Rifle was a successful design that soldiered on through World War I, it was quickly outclassed in the rapidly changing world of late 19th-century infantry rifles. Mauser immediately began developing what would become their own groundbreaking design, the Model 1889, that would eventually evolve into the classic 1898 Mauser.

On Mannlicher’s side the ‘88 Commission would lead to the Romanian and Dutch service rifles, Mannlicher-Schoenauer hunting and military rifles and inspire other military rifles, like the Italian Carcano series.

A Model 1888 Commission rifle action (top) compared to a 1903/14 Greek Mannlicher (center) and a 1903 Mannlicher Schoenauer sporting rifle (bottom).

Six: The First Mauser Handgun Was Not A Semi-Automatic…Or A Revolver

A Mauser Model 1896 “Broomhandle” semi-automatic pistol.

While it may be the best known handgun associated with the Mauser name, the  semi-automatic C96 “Broomhandle” pistol was not Mauser’s first handgun design.

In 1878, Mauser developed a revolver for an upcoming German military handgun trial. The M78 was a single-action revolver, the first generation of which had a solid frame with a separate ejector rod, as was common in European revolvers of the time. The second generation M78 had a break-open action with a hinge at the top of the frame that was made in both single-action and double-action forms.

The M78 got its “Zig-Zag” nickname from its method of cylinder rotation. A lug attached to the hammer mechanism engaged the angled grooves on the cylinder to rotate and lock it when the hammer was cocked or the trigger was pulled.

The Mauser Model 1878 “Zig-Zag” revolver.

While the winner of the trials was the 1879 Reichsrevolver, the Zig-Zag would continue in production in various calibers for the civilian market until the Broomhandle was introduced.

But the Zig-Zag was also not the first Mauser handgun. In 1877, Mauser designed a single-shot pistol that used a falling block mechanism. A thumb-actuated latch dropped the breech, ejecting the spent case and allowing for another cartridge to be loaded. Pulling the trigger cocked and fired an internal striker. As a single-shot handgun was outdated by the late 1870s (though other European manufacturers were still designing and building them at the same time as Mauser), only about 100 of these C77 pistols were produced before Mauser moved on to a revolver design and ultimately, semi-automatic handguns.

A Mauser C77 single-shot pistol with the action closed (right) and opened for loading (left).

Seven: Mauser Perfected The Clip-Loading System

While we all know that a “clip” is different than a “magazine,” Mauser was responsible for innovations in both areas.

In the late 19th century, there were several competing magazine designs for military rifles. Some, like Mauser’s own 71/84, used a tubular magazine under the barrel, James Paris Lee had invented a detachable (for cleaning) box magazine and Ferdinand Mannlicher had developed a system where a clip of cartridges was inserted into a fixed box magazine and stayed there as the cartridges were expended.

The main advantage of the Mannlicher design was how rapidly a full clip of cartridges could be loaded. But the Mannlicher system also had its disadvantages. Without the clip, the rifle wouldn’t function, and the Mannlicher design couldn’t be “topped up” after a few cartridges had been fired (problems familiar to anyone who has used the en-bloc clip of the M1 Garand). Finally, the bottom of a Mannlicher magazine had to be open to allow the empty clip to fall from the rifle after the last round was fired, allowing for dirt and dust to enter the rifle’s mechanism.

Though they were not involved with the design of the ‘88 Commission rifle, Mauser quickly responded to it with a modern, smokeless cartridge-firing rifle of their own. They developed a rifle for a Belgian trial that would define many of the features of turn bolt firearms that carry on to this day. What would eventually become the Belgian Model 1889 Mauser was a major break from Mauser’s earlier designs. Among its features was a built-in, single-column box magazine that extended below the action in front of the trigger guard.

Mauser sought to retain the advantages of the speed of the Mannlicher clip loading system and eliminate its drawbacks. To this end, the company designed a flat metal clip that held the cartridges by their rims. The clip was inserted into a groove on the receiver bridge, and then the cartridges were “stripped” from the clip into the magazine with the thumb. Pushing the bolt forward to load the first cartridge ejected the clip from the action. The feed lips were built into the magazine box, so single cartridges could be loaded at any time during the firing process.

A Belgian Model 1889 Mauser action with the barrel jacket removed, showing a stripper clip, or charger, of cartridges inserted into the action.

With the stripper clip loading system came several other innovations to the Mauser rifle design. The locking lugs were moved to the front of the bolt, allowing the bolt handle to be moved behind the rear receiver bridge. This placed the bolt handle closer to the firing hand for quicker manipulation. It also meant that the rear receiver bridge didn’t have to be split to allow the bolt handle to pass through, a design element that would eventually become important for the mounting of telescopic sights.

The success of designs like the 1889 meant that the “stripper clip” form of loading and the box magazine would go on to become the dominate design for all non-Mannlicher military bolt action rifles, from the 1903 Springfield to the Schmidt-Rubin straight pulls.

Eight: Mauser Was Influential In The Creation of FN

When Belgium adopted a Mauser design in 1889, they wanted to produce their new rifle in-country. In response, a conglomerate of the nation’s gunmakers formed

Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre or as it was more simply known “FN.” In the early days, 50 percent of FN stock was owned by Ludwig Loewe & Co., a German corporation that also owned Mauser.

Along with 275,000 Model 1889s, FN would also manufacture other models of Mauser. When the Versailles Treaty prohibited Mauser from exporting military weapons, FN became one of the leading producers of Mauser-type rifles, mainly of the 1898 design.

A Venezuelan contract Model 1924/30 rifle made by Fabrique Nationale.

FN also supplied actions to British sporting rifle manufacturers and made large numbers of ‘98 Mauser rifles and actions for the American market, which were sold through companies like Browning, Colt, Harrington & Richardson, High Standard and Weatherby.

An early Weatherby sporting rifle made on an FN Mauser 98 action.

FN’s other famous association would be John Browning, with the company responsible for taking on and developing many of his designs, such as the Hi Power pistol. FN lives on today as FN Herstal and FN America, with FN products, like the M240 and M249 in service with the U.S. military, along with firearms for the civilian and law enforcement markets, like the 509 handgun.

Nine: Mauser Didn’t Invent The 8 mm Mauser…But They Did Design Two Other Important Cartridges

Though the most famous cartridge associated with Mauser is the 8×57 mm, it was not, in fact, designed by the company, but was developed by the same team that came up with the ‘88 Commission Rifle.

While Mauser designed a plethora of propriety cartridges, two in particular are notable. Their first smokeless powder, high-velocity round was the 7.65×53 mm, as introduced in the 1889 Belgian Mauser. It went on to be one of the most widely-used military cartridges of the early 20th century. In Europe, along with the Belgians, Spain and Turkey used the cartridges in their Mauser rifles. The 7.65×53 mm Mauser was extremely popular in South American countries and would go on to be chambered in many machine guns, from the Maxim to the ZB-30, along with more modern rifles, like the semi-automatic FN-49.

An Argentinean contract Model 1891 Mauser carbine in 7.65×53 mm.

In 1892, Mauser introduced the 7×57 mm cartridge along with an improved rifle that featured an internal, staggered-column magazine and non-rotating extractor that all subsequent Mausers would use. The 7×57 mm would also become a popular military cartridge in Spain, Mexico and South America and was used in firearms designs from the Remington Rolling Block to the Mondragón semi-automatic rifle.

A Spanish contract Model 1893 Mauser chambered in 7×57 mm cartridge, which featured a staggered-column, flush box magazine for the first time in a Mauser design.

The 7×57 mm Mauser was nearly as popular in the sporting world as it was in military circles. Besides being prevalent on the European continent (it was one of the most popular chamberings for factory Mauser sporters), it hopped the Channel and made great inroads with British sporting rifle makers. The Rigby firm was one of the earliest to adopt the Mauser action and the 7 mm cartridge, which it re-christened the “.275 Rigby.” Though an excellent cartridge for thin-skinned, medium-sized game, some British hunters pushed their luck. The 7×57 mm was W.D.M. “Karamojo” Bell’s favorite cartridge for elephants, and Jim Corbett used the round to dispatch several of the famous man-eating tigers he went after.

The 7×57 mm was an extremely popular hunting cartridge, especially in rifles like this Mauser factory-made Model B.

The 7×57 mm also made its way to the U.S. and by the 1930s, Remington and Winchester were chambering their bolt action rifles in the cartridge. Though, by the 1960s, most American manufacturers had discontinued 7×57 mm as a standard chambering, they continued to occasionally do special runs in the caliber, in rifles like the the Remington Model 700 and Ruger 77. The 7×57 mm case would also serve as the basis for an equally popular American cartridge, the .257 Roberts.

Ten: Handguns Were An Important Part Of Mauser’s Business

A “Red 9” Mauser C96 pistol chambered in 9 mm Parabellum.

Though the Mauser name is synonymous with rifles, handguns were also an important part of its business. Their first semi-automatic, and most well-known, handgun was the C96 pistol. Though never officially adopted by the German Army, 150,000 “Broomhandle” pistols would be purchased by them to supplement the P08 “Luger” in World War I. By the time production ended in 1937, more than a million C96 handguns had been produced by Mauser, along with countless copies made in other parts of the world.

After the war, Mauser delved into the pocket pistol market, making a variety of designs in .25 and .32 ACP. To compete with more modern designs, like the Walther PPK, Mauser introduced the HSc in 1940, with a double-action trigger and clean external lines. Many of Mauser’s pocket pistols would serve the German military and police.

A Mauser HSc pistol in .32 Auto that was made for a German military contract and captured by an American G.I.

Though they failed to secure adoption of one of their full-size designs, Mauser made many 9 mm Parabellum handguns for the German military. In 1930, they were contracted to make P08 Lugers and would continue to do so until 1943. Mauser would be the second largest producer of the Walther P38, during World War II.

The “BYF” markings on this P08 Luger (left) and P38 (right) indicate they were manufactured at the Mauser factory during World War II.

After Mauser was reorganized following the war, they re-started Luger production in 1969 and continued making the pistols until 1986. The latest handguns marketed by Mauser were High Power clones they sold between 1992 and 1996, which were made for them by FEG of Hungary.

A post-World War II P08 Luger manufactured for Interarms by Mauser.