With the Model 1896 pistol, Ferdinand Mannlicher made an effort to improve the ballistics of his pistols and make them less awkward, by moving to a locked breech action and a bottlenecked higher velocity cartridge. The very first Model 1896 was a blowback, but this was almost immediately replaced by the locked system seen here.
In 1897, a further improvement was made by replacing the 7-round fixed magazine with 6-round detachable magazines (although stripper clips could still be used to reload them). Some confusion exists about the dates of these guns because they were patented in the 1896/7 time frame, but not released onto the commercial market until 1901/3. Presumably Mannlicher was attempting to garner military contracts before putting in the time and money to market them commercially.
In addition to standard pistols, these were available with longer barrels, shoulder stock lugs with combination holster/stocks, and as sporting carbines.
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