The Complete Guide To The Borchardt Pistol

Key Point: The 1893 Borchardt pistol, is an early semi-automatic handgun and is considered one of the predecessors to modern self-loading pistols.

This article covers the Borchardt pistol in detail. Who designed it, how did the Borchardt pistol work, and who used it? So, by the time you finish this article, you will know everything there is to know about this wonderful piece of firearm history.

Now, before we begin, it’s important we get clear on what we are talking about here. So, let’s answer this simple question first. What is the Borchardt pistol?

Here is the answer:

The Borchardt pistol, also known as the C-93 pistol, is a semi-automatic handgun developed in the late 19th century. It is notable for being one of the first successful semi-automatic pistols, as well as for its innovative design, which included a detachable box magazine and a grip that angled backward to reduce recoil. The Borchardt pistol was originally produced in Germany, and later in the United States, where it was known as the “Borchardt Automatic Pistol”.

That was the short introduction to this gen of firearm history. Now, let’s go into detail about the history of the Borchardt pistol and how it worked.

The History Of The Borchardt Pistol

The Borchardt pistol, also known as the C-93 pistol, is a semi-automatic handgun that was developed by Hugo Borchardt in the late 19th century. He was a German-American firearms designer.

The Borchardt pistol was first introduced in 1893 and was produced in Germany by Ludwig Loewe & Company. It was designed to use the 7.65x25mm Borchardt cartridge. The cartridge itself was developed specifically for the pistol.

It featured a detachable box magazine that held eight rounds and was loaded into the grip of the gun. It also had a unique grip angle that angled backward to reduce recoil.

Despite its innovative design, the Borchardt pistol was not widely adopted by militaries or police forces. You will see why a little later in the article. Back to the history of the pistol.

In 1894, the Borchardt pistol was introduced in the United States by the Connecticut-based firearms manufacturer, the Sharps Rifle Company. The pistol was marketed as the “Borchardt Automatic Pistol” and was produced in limited numbers until 1899.

Although the Borchardt pistol was not commercially successful. Frankly, it was a failure. It is still considered an important milestone in the development of semi-automatic handguns. The design of the Borchardt pistol influenced later firearms, including the famous Luger pistol. That one was also designed by Hugo Borchardt. Today, the Borchardt pistol is primarily known as a collector’s item and a piece of firearms history.

Now, that you saw its history, let’s take a look at how the pistol actually worked.

How The Borchardt Pistol Worked

Here is a short 2:20 video demonstrating how the Borchardt pistol actually worked.

The Borchardt Pistol And How It Worked

Here is how it worked in plain English.

When the trigger of the pistol was pulled, the firing pin would strike a primer in the cartridge. This caused the gun to fire. As the bullet traveled down the barrel, it would push against the slide, causing it to move backward. This would extract and eject the spent cartridge and load a new one from the detachable box magazine located in the grip of the gun.

So, What Made The Borchardt Pistol Special?

One of the features that made the Borchardt pistol special was its innovative design. The grip angle was angled backward to reduce recoil and make the gun more comfortable to shoot. Also, the detachable box magazine made reloading faster and more efficient than other firearms of the time. The Borchardt pistol was also known for its accuracy and reliability.

So, fast reloading times. Accuracy and reliability. Sounds like a perfect combo doesn’t it? So, why was this pistol not a commercial success?

Why The Borchardt Flopped?

There are a couple of reasons why the Borchardt pistol did not do so well. Let’s take a look at a few reasons.

The pistol was expensive to manufacture, it was relatively heavy and bulky. This made it less comfortable to carry and shoot compared to other handguns of the time.

Secondly, the Borchardt pistol used a unique cartridge that was designed specifically for the gun, which made it difficult to find ammunition. This was a big reason for its eventual downfall. Why is that you ask? Because this limited the practicality of the pistol for everyday use, particularly in countries where the cartridge was not widely available.

Low access to the right bullets and projectiles definitely limited its use.

Finally, the Borchardt pistol was introduced at a time when revolvers were still the primary firearms used by militaries and police forces. It took some time for semi-automatic pistols to gain widespread acceptance, and by the time they did, other firearms manufacturers had developed their own designs that were more practical and affordable than the Borchardt pistol.

Its Impact On Firearm History

Even though it was a flop in terms of its moneymaking potential the Borchardt pistol was an important step in the development of semi-automatic handguns and helped pave the way for the firearms that followed. So, yes it flopped. But the technology and the engineering that made the pistol were solid. And the principles behind it influenced later firearm designs.

In Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned a thing or two. And if you wish to continue reading I suggest taking a look at my article on the Schofield revolver by clicking right here.

Or you can check out the royal-sounding flintlock pistol named the “Queen Anne”, you can see it by clicking here.

Take care!