The Mauser C96 is an iconic semi-automatic pistol made by German weapons manufacturer Mauser from 1896 to 1937.
One of the first semi-automatic pistols, the original C96 featured a 10-round internal box magazine that could be loaded via stripper clip. The pistol was originally chambered in 7.63x25mm Mauser.
The C96 was often known as the “broomhandle” by English-speaking countries due to the round wooden grip. With it’s detachable wooden stock stock, the C96 had the stability of short barreled rifles. Detached, the stock could function as a storage box or holster. This unique feature led to the C96’s common nickname “box cannon” in Chinese-speaking nations.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the C96 had superior range and penetration when compared to similar pistols of its day. The 7.63×25 Mauser cartridge was the fastest moving commercial cartridge until the invention of the .357 Magnum in 1935.
The C96 was incredibly popular among British officers in the late 1800s. By WWI the pistol’s popularity had fallen, but it would continue to see combat through WWII.
The 1977 film Star Wars brought the C96 back into the spotlight when it was modified to form Han Solo’s iconic DL-44 blaster.
This unique weapon has been copied countless times over the last 100 years. Federal Ordnance’s M713 and M714 are two of the most common versions found in the United States after the 1990s. These models were available in either the original 7.63x25mm Mauser or 9x19mm with either internal or detachable box magazines.
See how the C96 works on the range in the video below.