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The Steyr 1912, or Steyr Hahn, was the standard service pistol of the Austrian forces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War One.
The Steyr 1912 was designed to meet requirements for an auto-loading service pistol for general issue to the Austrian regiments of the Austro-Hungarian military. Firing a unique 9 x 23mm cartridge slightly more powerful than the 9mm Luger. It used a fixed internal magazine, loading from the top using a stripper clip, similar to the Mauser C/96. It proved to be successful in service, being reliable, powerful and accurate.
The Steyr was originally produced as the Model 1911, with a fixed front sight forged into the slide, and sold on contract to Chile and Romania. The Austrian military demanded an adjustable front sight, and it was replaced by a drift adjustable sight dovetailed into the slide. Total production equalled approximately 300,000.
After the end of World War One, the new Austrian army inherited large stocks of Steyr 1912s, which it continued to issue until absorption into the German military after the anschluss of 1938. The Germans converted several thousands Steyrs to fire the 9mm Luger cartridge, and these may be found with a triangular German proof above the trigger guard.
A conventional full-slide contains the barrel, the components being locked together by two lugs on top of the barrel engaging recesses in the slide. The barrel is held in the frame by a helical lug beneath the breech, which engages a groove in the frame. Slide and barrel move back together for a short distance after the gun fires, drawing the helical lug through the groove in the frame to rotate the barrel through about 20ø. This disengages the top lugs from the slide and, as they do so, a fourth lug under the barrel strikes a transom in the frame and brings the barrel to a stop. The slide continues moving back, extracting the empty case and cocking the external hammer, then returns to chamber a fresh cardidge from the magazine. Barrel and slide then move forward and the helical lug rotates the barrel back into engagement with the slide. The magazine, integral in the butt, is loaded by pulling back the slide to open the action, inserting a charger and forcing the cartridges downward. A quick-release catch allows the contents to be ejected through the open action.
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