The C96 Broomhandle: A Thing of Beauty

The C96 “Broomhandle” is truly a thing a beauty. This 120 year old design comes from an era when it took a factory staffed by hundreds to create a single pistol, all having made a single pass on a single component.

The C96 is an amalgamation of 34 parts working in perfect harmony that to this day deserves to be revered. Invented by the Feederle brothers, this classic handgun is a piece that everyone should fire once.
Bonus full auto footage of an M712 “Schnellfeuer”.

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • LG

    C96 FOREVER!!!!

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      Also, if disassembling an early example, don’t let the much smaller and lighter plunger shoot itself across the room. It’s much harder to find than the later component…

  • Kelly Jackson

    I’m just gonna say it, C96 in 7.62×25 <3

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Umm if you multiply 7.62 by 25 you get 190.5 and that is definitely not less than 3.

  • Cal.Bar

    VERY NICE! I guess hokey religions and ancient weapons really are no match for a good blaster at your side! (especially a full auto one)

  • Blake

    Is anyone making centerfire C96 reproductions that are worth messing with? I’ve searched long & hard & haven’t been able to find any…

    • Kelly Jackson

      Norinco made them back in the early 2000s but I doubt anyone would ever make this gun again, it’s complex and requires a lot more machining than a modern gun.

      • SirOliverHumperdink

        Norinco never made them, just a boat load of importers brought them in from various armories in China, including Fed Ord, Oyster Bay, Century, KFS, (Kengs) , Navy Arms and a couple more . I’ve got one that even has “MADE IN GERMANY’ stamped deeply into the side.

        • Porty1119

          Yikes, I *like* Chinese guns and those sound sketchy as all get-out.

          • SirOliverHumperdink

            That’s what made them interesting. Some even had dragons engraved, fake proof marks, waffenampts, and strange serial #’s.

    • LG

      The Chinese made some in 45 ACP. These are not infrequently seen, but their metallurgy is sub par. If one can not afford a real Mauser C96, “dozens” of “companies” made copies of them. How well they shoot is another matter

    • Jim_Macklin

      To make one today, even with CNC technology would probably cost $15,000 each in a batch of 100 guns or a million dollars for one.

      • randomswede

        1mil is paying a gunsmith $500 an hour over almost year’s time, full time.
        If you can find a gunsmith that charges an honest $500 I think they could do a one off copy in a year.
        Or ask around the Khyber Pass.

        • iksnilol

          How complicated is the bloody thing that it takes a smith one year to make a serviceable example?

          • randomswede

            I doubt it would, and i couldn’t find anyone that charges >= $500 an hour so it’s more like five years for a mortal gunsmith.

      • Bert

        Everybody keeps saying that, but I don’t buy it. The majority of parts have been produced new in the past twenty or thirty years. The assemblage of those parts doesn’t cost appreciably more than an poor quality original gun does, and those parts are for the most part discontinued. People say there is no market for them, and yet the price of originals in questionable condition is skyrocketing, and there are requests all over from folks willing to buy restorations, new productions and facsimiles, hell even a sub market of Han Solo fans and cosplay nerds that “need authenticity.”

  • Blake

    For us mere mortals, Umarex/Legends makes a full-auto CO2 BB C96 🙂

    • gunsandrockets

      I would think a simple blow-back action imitation of the C96 in .22 rimfire would be practical in today’s market.

      • demophilus

        I agree. The lower could be mostly polymer, and take 10/22 mags. The upper could take a scope, if necessary, or you could just put a fiber optic in the front blade sight. Might shoot pretty good — some high end .22 target pistols have a similar layout, mag in front of the trigger housing.

        Might make for a pretty good .22 Magnum, too…

        • gunsandrockets

          You just described the old Tec-22! But that pistol was intended to resemble the Czech Skorpion .32 ACP SMG, and what I’m thinking of is a cosmetic match for the C96 in .22 rimfire.

          However if the features of what you describe is what you want rather than the cosmetics I want, there is always the Ruger Charger pistol. (Of course they are illegal in California)

  • Koh

    Nice reload at the end!

  • ClintTorres

    Dude, did you just pull a gun out of your gun?

    • Giolli Joker

      That was definitely cool!

    • ProLiberty82


    • ProLiberty82

      Disqus makes posting pictures tricky, but here we go:

    • QuadGMoto

      That smile as he did it! LOL!

  • BattleshipGrey

    Between Star Wars, the Rocketeer and the Fifth Element, I’m glad that Hollywood hasn’t completely abandoned the Broom Handle.

    • Jim_Macklin

      I hope they used fake replicas and not real Mausers. Collectors Armory as I recall had them die cast in zinc.

      • randomswede

        For the first Star Wars they probably used the real things as they were “just old junk” and readily available. The replica forums will know for sure.

        • Trey

          Dreadnought Ind. in Texas has a full “han solo” broom handle for sale.. yes it shoots.

          • randomswede

            Did they build the one Jerry Miculek shot on his youtube channel?

          • Trey

            I do not know but will ask next time I see his table at the gun show

    • William Johnson

      One of the bikers had a broomhandle in the original Mad Max and then he has it later when he is disarmed in Thunder Dome.

  • Wanderlust

    Its such a cool old design.

  • Jim_Macklin

    I had custody of a Mauser C96 in 7.62 [30 Mauser]. It was LOUD.
    The only tool needed for complete disassembly was a screwdriver for the wooden grips. Every other part was retained by the other parts.
    Taking it apart was more fun than shooting it.
    I had to return it to my brother in law when he was old enough to have it. All parts had matching numbers, including the wooden stock/holster. A genuine curio and relic.

  • Joel

    Churchill reportedly loved his Mauser.

    If you have a 9MM with a shoulder stock, you could try USPSA PCC division with it.

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      He reported it himself in his memoirs.

  • hikerguy

    I guess you could say it was the first PDW of the modern age (That is if we could agree on what exactly a PDW is). Classic design.

  • Bjørn Vermo

    Why do you not show the beautiful internal construction?

  • demophilus

    IMHO, much of the history of semiauto pistol design consists of removing excess parts and machining operations. Like, you take the barrel bushing and barrel link out of the 1911, you get the Hi-Power, make the barrel lock on the ejection port, you get the Sig 22x series, give it a plastic frame, you have a Glock.

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if you did the same thing to the C96. Take out all the complications. A polymer frame, fixed barrel (maybe in a metal chassis), a cast, forged or simply machined locking block backing down into the frame…theoretically, it could be pretty simple, if not cheap.

    Plus, you could make it look like an old school replica, or put a rail on top for a scope, sell something that looks like Han Solo’s blaster, even without Disney’s permission.

    I know I’d buy one. But then again, I have rarely been accused of sanity.

    • gunsandrockets

      There is nothing wrong with the basic layout of the C96. A modernized version could fire big cartridges and have a modular grip as small or as large needed to fit the individual users hand.

      I like the idea of using an inertia-recoil action like a modern Benelli.

  • Tassiebush

    There was just something walm and calming about that!

    • ostiariusalpha

      The light was excellent, it really showed off the details and working of the gun perfectly.

      • Tassiebush

        Yeah that was a big part of it. I think too the audio was also nice. The sound of birds etc.

        • jcitizen

          To me there is just nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than a short pot shot session with just about any pistol. But I definitely drool over broom-handles, I’ve always thought they were way cool every since I was a kid!

          • Tassiebush

            In my context it’d be a rimfire carbine but I totally get the joy and pleasure you speak of. In a lot of ways I wish the simple Stevens single shot pistols were legal for hunting here. I’d love a handy little gun like that.

          • jcitizen

            I fell in love with the Stevens as a youth, but they cost a lot more than a simple Marline model 60, unfortunately.

          • Tassiebush

            The only one I ever saw in the flesh so to speak had been welded up for use as a toy 🙁

          • jcitizen

            : (

          • Tassiebush

            It kills me to think of it.

          • Tassiebush

            Totally with you on the drooling too!

  • mazkact


  • ProLiberty82

    My fantasy WW2 kit would consist of a M712 Schnellfeuer and a SVT-40 with a set of the rare 20 round magazines, I works great for me in Red Orchestra 2 at least.
    Loved that twist ending BTW!

  • Rnasser Rnasser

    A thing of beauty indeed… C96’s and lugers are the personification of “they don’t make them like they used to”.

  • William Johnson

    The safety on mine is sticking and until I get it replaced, the gun will not cycle. I just found out their is a gunsmith in my area that works on them, so there is hope.

  • Will

    I want to fire one of those sometime.

  • Colin

    Was. It a “NAZI issue SS” gun cos that would be “COOL”. EH.?? Your words not bloody mine .(Mp 43).

  • nick

    very neat, the M712 has a co-ax C 96 🙂

    • jcitizen

      Holy crap that thing shoots fast! :O

  • Trey

    Run and gun !

  • Laionidas

    C96 Mauser, the only original steampunk gun, that saw actual military service.

    Kinda surprised about the relative (emphasize ‘relative’) controllability of the full auto bursts, without the stock attached.

  • scaatylobo

    Been a fan of the Broomhandled guns for MANY decades.
    Sadly it is one of the very few designs that I have never owned = very sadly.

  • A guy named Joe

    I like mines but it has an interesting story.
    Mines wouldn’t fire as I purchased it from an individual who decided to make his own parts as he told me, he doesn’t trust the Internet or ordering by phone for gun parts.
    Needless to say he warned me that it won’t fire or cycle.
    After replacing 2 parts he made from scratch which was a spring in the guts of the brromhandle and another part thst looks like a wish bone, the gun functions fine.

  • Mikial

    This one is checked off my bucket list. Had a fellow officer in the Army who had one, and we took it out to the range one day and shot it for an afternoon. Great gun. Worked smooth and was fun to shoot. Would love to own one someday.

  • Tassiebush

    I wonder if many of the Astra broomhandle knock offs are still kicking about?

    • cicso kid

      The Astra copies are quite different internally and according to one old time gun writer they were very prone to breaking parts. Internally they are quite different from the German Guns. Yes they are still around although very scarce. I do know one collector that has one.

  • Mazryonh

    The C96 may be a thing of beauty, but it’s clear that almost no semiautomatic handguns load their ammunition somewhere other than the “pistol grip” anymore like the C96 did. Probably because it makes the gun too large to carry comfortably.

  • jcitizen

    I think my brother has one of those – I’ll have to ask him about it next time I call.

  • jcitizen

    Shotgun News had a big article on the hodgepodge Chinese gun history, and it sounds just as you describe – they should have put your stories in the article, however!

    I agree that the .30 Mauser must have been the most powerful handgun cartridge for a long time.

  • RickOAA .

    Stocked C96 run and gun?