The Salvator-Dormus was designed by Archduke Carl Salvator and Sir Georg Dormus in 1891, and was patented and production began the same year. In the first (and only) Austrian weapon trial the weapon was entered in in 1896 or 1897, the Salvator-Dormus was rejected in favor of the Rast & Gasser M1898 revolver; it would not be until 1907 when Austria would adopt a semi-automatic pistol. Very few of the Salvator-Dormus pistols were made; roughly 50 were made, with most being made around 1896 or 1897 for those trials.
The weapon is often erroneously considered a straight blowback weapon in many sources; the Salvator-Dormus is actually a delayed blowback weapon. The weapon's action is unique in that it uses the shooter's finger pressure on the trigger to act as the delaying force. The weapon is loaded with a 5-round en bloc clip that would fall out the bottom of the handle when all ammunition was expended. There was a cover on the bottom of the pistol grip which would expose the cavity where the clip drops out from. As there is a cover at the bottom of the pistol grip, in theory one can fire up to three clips (15 shots) before having to empty the grip, with the empty clips falling to the bottom of the grip and get stopped by the cover, with subsequent clips falling on top of other clips.