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The Broomhandle Mauser

The Broomhandle Mauser Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review November 2017 Title The Broomhandle Mauser
Author Jonathan Ferguson Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2017 ISBN 9781472816153
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.95


From 1896 to 1939, over a million were made. It appears in the fiction of Conan Doyle and Hemingway. It was favored by Winston Churchill. And it seemingly served everywhere in China's civil wars.

Oh, yes: Han Solo carried one.

Sort of.

It's Mauser's iconic C96 "Broomhandle" – "the first practical self-loading pistol". Now it's the subject of a slim, spellbinding study from Osprey – no. 58 in the publisher's popular "Weapon"  series.

Author Jonathan Ferguson's compact little chronicle tells the total tale in just 80 pithy pages. Contents span the firearm's:

  • Introduction
  • Use and
  • Impact

China to prove to be the largest user of C96 weapons. And coverage of Chinese imports, Spanish copies and derivatives, and unlicensed, locally produced versions proved among the book's most fascinating sections.

Intriguing, too, were notes on aircrew Mauser use in early World War I. How about that Bristol Scout with a C96 pistol, stockless SMLE rifle, and rifle grenades with stabilizing streamers strapped to the aircraft's fuselage side in 1914 or 1915? Modify your 1:48 Gavia kit!

Color and B&W photos, drawings, cut-aways, and schematics illustrate the account. Sidebars, a glossary, selected bibliography, and index support Osprey's terrific tome.

And it's annotated.

Back to Han Solo: Mauser's C96 inspired his fictional "DL-44" blaster in the original Star Wars trilogy. Ferguson calls it "part of a cinematic tradition of casting distinctive-looking firearms in a prominent role". And the author adds some surprising notes on "silver screen" Broomhandles.

Spend a lazy evening with one of history's iconic weapons. Grab Osprey's riveting little read.

Roundly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!