Mauser Selbstlader M1916
Country of origin

German Empire



Year(s) designed


Production began


Production ended

Some time after 1916

Weapon type

Semi-automatic rifle



Overall length

45.3 inches (115.1 centimeters)

Barrel length

23.6 inches (59.9 centimeters)


10.8 pounds (4.9 kilograms)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

20-round detachable box magazine

Cyclic rate


The Mauser Selbstlader M1916 (German for self-loader), officially known as the Selbstlader-Karabiner Mauser M 1916 by the Ballon-und-Zeppelin-Truppe or the Fliegerkarabine 15 by the German Air Force, is an early German semi-automatic rifle.


The Selbstlader was issued in 1916 with multiple 20-round magazines; the rifle was able to put out volumes of fire impressive for its time. However, only 1000 were made due to high manufacturing costs, reliability issues and its punishing recoil force. To replace the weapon, Mondragón rifles were acquired by the German army and pushed into service. Interestingly enough, the Mondragóns were plagued with even more problems than the already unreliable Selbstladers, but the Germans decided to go ahead and use them anyway. Every Selbstlader was replaced by two Mondragóns, and by then, the Selbstladers were largely phased out of service.

Design DetailsEdit

The Selbstlader is a development of the older 06/08 and 10/13 self-loading rifles. The magazine catch was located in a rather interesting place on the weapon; behind the trigger guard. Reloading the weapon was a complicated process; the magazine release had to be pressed, and the trigger guard swung down slightly for the magazine to be removed. Putting the magazine back in caused the bolt to slam forward and bring the first round into battery.

External linksEdit

Video by Forgotten Weapons


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