Austro-Hungarian used Dreyse Pistols

7.65mm Dreyse Pistol Model 1907
7,65mm Dreyse RepetierPistole
Selbstlade-Pistole Dreyse, Modell 1907

Manufactured by Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabriken, Sommerda, Germany, 1907-1914?
Blowback type automatic pistol
Chambering: 7.65mm Auto (.32acp)
Overall Length 6.3" (160mm)
Weight Unloaded: 25oz (710g)
Barrel: 3.65" (93mm) rifled
Magazine: 7-round detachable box

The Waffenfabrik von Dreyse was founded around 1841 to manufacture the famous Dreyse Needle Gun for the Prussian Army, and they also made needle-pistols and cap-lock revolvers. The Dreyse Factory went into decline after the German Army adopted the Mauser in 1872. In 1901 Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik of Sommerda purchased Waffenfabrik von Dreyse.
The Model 1907 Dreyse Pistols were actually designed by Louis Schmeisser (who had previously worked with Theodor Bergmann) in 1905-6 and were marketed from 1907 onward. The 1st gun, the 7.65mm Auto was the most unusual design. Most of the cranked slide lay along the top of the barrel, with a short section projecting down behind the chamber to serve as the breech block. The breech block was confined within a flat-sided frame with a bridge to carry the back sight and arrest the upper section of the slide. The recoil spring surrounded the barrel, enclosed in the frame and held by a collar engaging the front end of the slide trough a spring catch. Pulling back on the finger grips at the front of the slide brings the breech block into view behind the frame. The Dreyse pistol was fired by a striker whose tail protruded back through the rear of the breech block when the chamber was loaded. The entire top section of frame and slide could be pivoted on a pin in front of the trigger guard, being locked in the firing position by a catch at the rear of the frame. This final refinement was essential to dismantling; removal of the cranked slide would have been impossible otherwise.
The only major modification concerned the firing mechanism. Prior to 1915, the cocked striker had been held by the sear before being released by the trigger; pulling the trigger subsequently pushed the striker back before releasing it, compressing the striker spring to a greater extent. This was inspired by the later 9mm Dreyse due to insensitive wartime ammunition. It allowed a second strike if the first misfired. Another wartime change involved a recess cut in the top front of the slide to facilitate removal of the recoil-spring retaining bush.

Early pistols were marked 'DREYSE Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik ABT. SOMMERDA' on the left side of the frame and an 'RMF' monogram on the grips as shown above. Later pistols are usually marked 'DREYSE RHEINMETALL ABT. SOMMERDA' as shown on the left. A few pistols made in 1914 lack the 'DREYSE' marking. The pistol was also marketed commercially for police forces, including the Royal Saxon Gendarmerie, which are marked as 'K. Sachs. Gend.'

Dreyse M1907 Pistol Assembly Drawing and Parts List

During WW1 the Austrian Army received 7.65mm Dreyse pistols from Germany. The photo on the left shows the Austrian 'NPv' (Nitro-Proof) mark on the frame.

Austro-Hungarian Acceptance date - Serial numbers reported:
Wn15:    54761
Wn17:  177202

6.35mm Dreyse Model 1907 Pocket Pistol

Dreyse was also manufacturing a 6.35mm Model 1907 pocket pistol, which was based on the 1906 Browning pattern, but without the grip safety and it had a unique patented method of assembly. The barrel is located by a cylindrical lump under the chamber fitting into a recess in the frame, where it is held by a metal dovetail rib connecting the top surface of the barrel with the top of the breech block section of the slide. The sprung rib, carrying the sights, lay snugly in its groove. Lifting the back sight clear of the slide allowed the Whole rib to be removed backward, allowing the pistol to be dismantled. The rib reciprocated with the slide, ejection being to the right beneath it. These 6.35mm pistols are simply marked 'DREYSE' on the left side of the slide and have 'RMF' monograms on the grips. There are no records of this pistol in official use by Austro-Hungary.

9mm Parabellum Dreyse Model 1912

This is a 9x19mm Parabellum enlargement of the 7.65mm model, produced from 1912-16. Using such a powerful cartridge in a blowback pistol demanded a very strong recoil spring. Gripping the standard Dreyse slide made cocking very hard, so Louis Schmeisser patented a system of isolating the spring during the cocking stroke. A long arm carrying the sights and a serrated grip, with two lugs projecting downward, was attached to the front of the slide by a pivot pin. The recoil spring bush extended about 50mm back from the muzzle, forming a sleeve surrounding the front end of the recoil spring, and had an upstanding lug which engaged the front lug under the hinged arm. The second underlug locked into a recess on the top of the slide. Lifting the arm by the serrated grip disconnected the recoil-spring sleeve lug and then retracted the slide without resistance. Returning the arm chambered a cartridge and closed the breech, whereupon the arm snapped into engagement with the recoil spring sleeve as it dropped to its rest position. When the 9mm Dreyse was fired, the slide carried the arm straight backward and compressed the main spring to absorb the recoil.
Production have been small and only a few examples survive. The markings are similar to the 7.65mm pistol, except 'DREYSE' is on the right side of the frame, with the remainder on the left side.
Production of all Dreyse pistols were stopped in 1916, however pistols remained in dealer's stocks were still being sold in the early 1920's. There are no records of this pistol in official use by Austro-Hungary.