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A Selection of Chinese Mystery Pistols



During the 1920s and 1930s, a combination of civil wars and international arms embargoes led to a lot of domestic firearms production in China. The size and quality of manufacturing facilities varied widely - everything from massive factories established with European technical assistance to one-man shops only a step or two above being blacksmiths. The weapons produced varied in quality to match. Among other weapons made during this period were handguns mechanically based on several European designs (the Browing 1900, Mauser C96, and Mauser 1910/14, primarily). These handguns show a huge variety of aesthetic designs, gibberish markings, and fake proof marks. They are virtually all single action, simple blowback designs, chambered for .32ACP or 7.63 Mauser. This auction at RIA includes a whole bunch of these pistols, so I picked out a handful of good examples to show some of the elements often seem among them.