Little Tom Pistol: First DA/SA Ever Made

    The “Little Tom” pistols were offered in both .25 and .32acp starting in about 1909, and they stand in history as the first double/single action semi-automatic pistols ever made. This example is in .32acp and we do a bit of shooting with this early self loader, and showcase its unique loading system.

    Transcript …

    – [Voiceover] Hey guys. This is Alex C with TFBTV.

    Today, we’re taking a look at a very historically significant yet little known pistol.

    This is the Austrian little Tom and it was the first semi-automatic double action single action pistol ever.

    A man named Alois Tomischka started a company to manufacture the guns in 1909 and they were called little Toms.

    Offered in 25 and 32 ACP, the guns were produced in Vienna until about 1925 and about 45,000 were made.

    A gun was not a huge success and another strange feature is how the magazine is removed.

    You must lock the action open and insert the magazine from the top.

    In the early 20th century, the semi-automatic pistol had no definitive form yet and nearly every rifle in service loaded from the top so perhaps Tomischka did not see that as unusual.

    After all, popular guns like the mouse or broom handle and various Mannlicher designs were top-loading as well.

    Also unusual is that the little Toms magazine is brass and holds a total of nine rounds.

    This assembly is also quite easy.

    You simply lock the slide with the reel, push the barrel to the back, lift up and out and then once you remove the safety the slide comes off and forward.

    You can also then remove the recoil spring and guide.

    Loading the magazine is quite easy and you might think that it being brass seem quite delicate and brittle but it actually seems well constructed to me.

    And you notice there is a cut for the magazine catch.

    Although no matter how hard you try the magazine will not insert from the bottom of the gun.

    So let’s load up a few rounds and see how this thing performs.

    (reloading magazine) (barrel clicking) (gun reloading)` (gun shots) (gun reloading) (gun shots) – Alright, so this is where I was glad that the little thumb was a double action single action pistol because I did have quite a lot of trouble as far as the reliability went that day.

    (gun shots) It did kind of function okay but it seemed like that the magtech ammunition had hard primers and the federal ammunition I brought just didn’t work at all.

    Maybe some different ammunition will wipe this thing up a little better.

    (hammer clicking) (gun shots) (hammer clicking) (barrel clicking) (gun shots) (barrel clicking) (gun shots) (gun reloading) (gun shots) Anyways, I hope you guys enjoyed this short video of a very historically significant yet relatively unknown little pistol.

    It didn’t work as much as I’d like it to but hopefully I can get that worked out.

    Big thanks to Ventura Munitions for supplying the ammunition.

    We hope to see again next time.

    Alex C.

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