by John Veit

The C-93 was designed by Hugo Borchardt (1844–1921) in 1893. Ludwig Loewe & Company of Berlin, Germany, a manufacturer of machine tools, produced the C-93, a semi-automatic pistol that he had invented based upon the Maxim toggle-lock principle.
Borchardt also developed the high-velocity bottlenecked 7.65×25mm Borchardt cartridge for the C-93. Borchardt’s assistant at the time, Georg Luger, also claimed to have influenced its design.
With over 3,000 manufactured by Loewe and Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken, Borchardt C-93 was the first mass-produced semi-automatic pistol.

The pistol used a toggle lock system, which meant that when the gun fired, a two-piece arm rose and flexed as the gun recoiled, thus allowing the breech to unlock and release the empty cartridge case.

Although it was accurate and its rate of fire was rapid, the Borchardt pistol was expensive to produce and unwieldy to handle due to its almost vertical grip and distribution of weight. Furthermore, its recoil was unexpectedly powerful. These criticisms were noted in the Swiss Army field tests.

However, Borchardt refused to make any changes to his original design.

DWM then appointed Georg Luger to make the requested improvements to the pistol. Luger took the Borchardt design and using the shorter 7.65×21mm Parabellum, which allowed him to incorporate a shorter stroke of the toggle mechanism and a narrower, angular grip.

Luger’s design eventually became the Luger Parabellum pistol.


So it goes, not many know of the “stubborn” Bouchardt, but most everyone knows of Luger and “his” pistol.

Such is life. :-).


Several plus years ago, when the internet was young, and based on an internet contact that came to me out of the blue, I helped Gerald Henrotin, a Belgian, in the translation of some of his books from French to English.

He speaks/writes Flemish,. French, and English. I have trouble with our simple English.

I Americanized the English text of his books on Colts, Lugers, C96, and etc.. I used our (American) English in describing the take down steps of several of the guns. Not being a hardware type, that took some effort, but if it made sense to me, it probably would be very apparent to American hardware types.

Here’s a link to his site and his books with super drawings of the Luger and Colts.

At the bottom are pics of two French hardbound books.

I am the proud possessor of both of them which are cocktail table sized books, and which Gerard signed with a nice note, and sent to me. The books are: Les Pistols Colt, and La Connaissance du Luger. They are in French, but the pics tell the story.

Les pistolets Colt

couvertu.JPG (13697 octets)

Since I live way out in the west and up in the North, WA, most all of their time is spent out of sight in a simple bookcase.

Such is life.

Bouchardt pistol:


George, also modified its recoil spring and housing: