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Designed in 1910 for the Royal Italian Army, the Glisenti M1910 Auto was a semi-automatic 9mm pistol. Despite serving throughout the First and Second World Wars, the M1910 Auto was not a particularly favoured gun by any stretch of the imagination but would not be replaced entirely until the 1950's.
The Glisenti M1910 Auto featured a locked breech design, whereby the barrel and bolt move with the recoil produced from a shot. The barrel, when it reaches the furthest point rearward, then stops (releasing the now unlocked) bolt which slides forward down the chamber, bringing the barrel forwards aswell. This assembly is then locked in place by a wedge located in the frame.
However this design was not particularly strong, meaning that anything more powerful than Glisenti's own 9mm cartridge would cause the gun the fail. Furthermore the screw located on the front of the frame (designed to allow the left side of the gun to be exposed and disassembled) would untighten as the M1910 was used, causing an inherent lack of stiffness in the design.
The M1910 Auto had originally been based on an earlier Glisenti design (the M1906), but this designed did not fire the desired 9mm size cartridge that the Royal Italian Army requested. The design was modified to accommodate the larger 9mm round with the safety mechanism simplified to a small lever located in the front of the grip.
The M1910 Auto was not particularly well desgined, meaning that the desired cartridge, the 9x19mm Parabellum, was too strong for the pistol to cope with. Therefore Glisenti manufactured their own 9x19mm Parabellum based 9mm round called the 9mm Glisenti, which would achieve lower velocities.
The 9mm Glisenti was capable of achieving a muzzle velocity of 305m/s (1,000 ft/s) fired from a seven round box magazine.
The M1910 Auto was intially produced from 1910 until 1915. The inherent weaknesses in the design were attempted to be overcome in 1912 with the Metallurgica Bresica gia Tempini M1910 popularly named the Brixia, which attempted to combat these issues. However the Brixia became was not much renowned as a service pistol, entering the civilian market instead.
The M1910 Auto was adopted by the Royal Italian Army in 1910, hence its designation the M1910. It would serve the Kingdom of Italy as its main service pistol until the Beretta M1915 was adopted in 1934. Nonetheless the M1910 would be used in large numbers during both World Wars before it was replaced by better designed pistols in the 1950's. Total production figures reached 100,000.