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I recently found myself in Fredericksburg, Texas (a short drive from TTAG’s secret above ground bunker). I remembered a Jon Wayne Taylor article on a gun store in “Fritztown”: Texas Jack Wild West Outfitter. I decided to test my girlfriend’s patience and stop in. I’m glad I did . . .

Texas Jack has an engraved pre-war (that’s WWI) Mauser C-96 pistol for sale. For those of you unfamiliar with the firearm, tells us that . . .

The Mauser C96 (Construktion 96) is a semi-automatic pistol that was originally produced by German arms manufacturer Mauser from 1896 to 1937. Unlicensed copies of the gun were also manufactured in Spain and China in the first half of the 20th century.

The distinctive characteristics of the C96 are the integral box magazine in front of the trigger, the long barrel, the wooden shoulder stock which gives it the stability of a short-barreled rifle and doubles as a holster or carrying case, and a unique grip shaped like the handle of a broom.

The grip earned the gun the nickname “Broomhandle” in the English-speaking world because of its round wooden handle, and in China the C96 was nicknamed the “box cannon” (Chinese: 盒子炮pinyinhézipào) because of its rectangular internal magazine and the fact it could be holstered in its wooden box-like detachable stock.

With its long barrel and high-velocity cartridge, the Mauser C96 had superior range and better penetration than most other pistols; the 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge was the highest velocity commercially manufactured pistol cartridge until the advent of the .357 Magnum cartridge in 1935.

Mauser manufactured approximately 1 million C96 pistols, while the number produced in Spain and China was large but unknown due to the loss, non-existence or poor preservation of production records from those countries.

I really wish I had an extra five grand lying around right now. The temptation, of course, would be to relegate this beauty to safe queen status. But I know I’d have to shoot it at least once. You?

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  1. My C-96 pales in comparison to the embellishment on that one. Mine cost me a grand some years ago but $5K for that one is worth it for the engraving alone. And you’re damned right you ought to shoot it at least once before it becomes a “safe queen”.

  2. Battalion museum of my first unit had two standard ones brought back from WW1. We used to use one as a familiarisation weapon along with AK and other items. Well that’s what the paperwork said to cover the ammunition.

    The one in photo would just be a safe queen and I try not to buy them now.

  3. I am not too enamored of engraved things, and weapons especially, but that is both an example of fine craftsmanship (the depth of the engraving is impressive), and the longevity and value of firearms. So I appreciate the post, and pic.

  4. That’s a really beautiful gun and I’m curious as to when the engraving was done. Ben Shostle died in 2006 I think.

  5. In 1984 or 5 somebody imported a bunch of well worn broomhandles into the country, and I ordered one, but the thing was too ratty to keep. Same story with a tangent slotted Inglis Hi-Power or two. I did acquire a very nice 1935 Luger and a Lahti M40, but in 2006 I lost my fetish for antiques and we parted ways.


  6. I can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into engraving this gun, but I feel about engraved guns like I feel about tattoos. They can be well done, but they’re not for me. That’s more engraved guns for the rest of you.

  7. While living in Germany, I found a hunting/shotgun sport/milsurp store in the altstadt of Rothenburg a.d. Tauber.
    They had fine custom O/U shotguns with staggering workmanship & pricetags; I originally started at ones up front in the €4k-6k range, before tapping out after being handed one that was €13k. (“Those guns are shit. This is not”)

    They also had a rack of 1890-1918 milsurp bolt-actions, most in rough shape, but many I’ll never see again outside a Forgotten Weapons video. I received a thorough education on the process of buying one as an American servicemember, after being spotted showing too much excitement. (Actually not that hard, but getting command approval was an entirely worse headache).

    And next to that was a display case with two vintage engraved pistols, a Luger and a Mauser. I only had a ’03-vintage 3mp potato-cam, and the pictures do them no justice. I meant to ask about their history, but the ex-wife-mandated 30min of freetime was over by that point.

    If only I had known then…… I’d have spent some of my reup bonus on that Luger, instead of her & jody’s good times.

  8. I’d do more than keep that in a safe. I’d open carry to BBQs for sure. It just screams “I’ll do whatever I want.”:-)

  9. Several years ago, I visited a museum in Bangkok dedicated to showing things collected by the King of Thailand. There must have been at least a hundred Mauser broom handle pistols.

  10. Always wanted a C96 specifically a 9mm version, they are just so unusual looking. But I bet they are a bitch to field strip.

    • There’s something about the looks of that pistol that just screams “EVIL!” If someone in a movie is carrying one, 9 times out of 10 it’s the bad guy. Except maybe a movie about Sir Winston Churchill in the Second Boer War, when his sidearm was a C-96.

  11. My friends in China say that they actually call it 驳壳枪(bo ke qiang) which translates as “Mauser”.

  12. assuming it’s not unfired, shoot it for sure.
    i don’t know why all that embellishment doesn’t strike me as gaudy; stuff like that usually seems overdone to me. it could be that the scrollwork seems to echo the complexity of the unfamiliar abundance of pieces parts/ contraption mechanism.

  13. Must be a generational thing? I love engraving & such. Hate the whole tacticool gun trend. Very nice weapon.

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