Book Review
The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser
The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

This is a review by Randy L Harvey of the Osprey Publishing LTD book The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser by author Jonathan Ferguson and illustrator Peter Dennis.

    At a time when most handguns were limited to six rounds, the ten-shot Mauser caught the attention of the world for its unprecedented firepower and formidable high-velocity 7.63×25mm cartridge. This saw its ultimate expression in the first-ever select-fire handgun - the ‘Schnellfeuer' machine pistol, fed by a detachable magazine and offering both full-automatic and single-shot modes. The C96 was the first semi-automatic pistol to see combat, arming both sides in the Second Anglo-Boer War, and seeing service with the German, Russian, Chinese and other militaries. Widely purchased commercially, it was carried by none other than Winston Churchill in the Sudan and South Africa, became prized by the Irish Republican Army and Soviet revolutionaries, and even armed Han Solo in the ‘Star Wars' movies. Featuring full-colour artwork and an array of revealing photographs, this is the engrossing story of the C96 ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser, the ground-breaking semi-automatic pistol that armed a generation of military personnel, adventurers and revolutionaries at the beginning of the 20th century.**

Osprey Publications Ltd has released The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser as Number 58 in their Weapon series. It is a softcover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and color photographs, color illustrations, a cut-away view illustration, original schematic drawings, personal quotes, detailed captions and more. It has a 2018 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-1615-3. The book details the development, use and impact of the ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser in service around the world.


- Introduction
- Development
- The Feederle pistol
- Use
- A global success story
- Impact
- A legendary weapon
- Conclusion
- Glossary
- Bibliography
- Index

The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed. Author Jonathan Ferguson covers various models of the ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser pistol and it’s use by various militaries throughout history. The text detailing the development of the ‘Broomhandle’ is nicely written and well detailed and covers the beginning of the firearm very well and in my opinion leaves no area untouched. Of particular interest to me was the section detailing the use of the firearm. I found it interesting how certain countries had no interest in the ‘Broomhandle’ when it was introduced to them such as Mexico even though initially they were interested in purchasing some and yet other countries such as Taiwan, India and Persia and especially Germany took interest and placed orders and used them for several years in both military and law enforcement roles. Other areas discussed and well detailed are short comings of the firearm, safety concerns that users had, modifications and updates made to the firearm as well as information provided on the reliability, accuracy and stopping power of the ‘Broomhandle’. An area that I was surprised to see and found interesting to read was in regards to the use of the ‘Broomhandle’ in movies such as “Star Wars”, “The Rocketeer”, “Joe Kidd” and “A Game of Shadows”. Also referenced is a children’s toy ‘Broomhandle’ that was released as a spy pistol in relation to the television series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” even though the pistol used in the series was the German P38. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the Luger to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

There is a total of 26 black and white photographs and 48 color photographs. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. Several of the photographs are of period illustrations. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for the discussed periods of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. I appreciate the fact that there are several photographs of just the weapons themselves as opposed to photographs that feature the weapons in a broad generalized military photograph. In my opinion it makes it much easier to study the various weapons and their details. Author Jonathan Ferguson stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to the firearm enthusiast due to the details they contain.

Some of the various models and versions of the ‘Broomhandle’ pistol shown and discussed are:

- Compact 6-shot officer’s model introduced in 1901
- ‘Large Ring transitional flatside’ produced in 1900
- ‘Pre-war Commercial’ model made in 1901
- ‘Bolo’ variant of the C96
- M1930 pistol
- 1920s prototype M712 Schnellfeuer machine pistol
- Persian C96
- Argentine “transitional’ M1930
- ‘Royal MM31’ Mauser M1930
- 20-shot Astra M902
- ‘Broomhandle’ v2.0 Type 80 machine pistol

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.

There are 4 color illustrations by illustrator Peter Dennis. The illustrations are of:

- The ‘Broomhandle’ Exposed.
- A cut-away view showing the internal workings of a 7.63x25mm C96 ‘Broomhandle’ pistol.
- A Victorian personal defence weapon.
- The illustration shows a conflict between British and Boer forces on May 22, 1900 between the towns of Lindley and Heilbron in southern Africa along the strategically important Rhenoster River.
- The “Box Cannon’ unleashed
- A soldier of the National Revolutionary Army empties his ‘Broomhandle’ pistol at a Communist Party of China guerilla in Taiyuan in 1948. (See attached scan)
- A lance for the ‘knights of the sky’.
- The famous encounter in 1914 over northern France between a German Etrich Taube monoplane and a British Avro 504 biplane.

Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.

There are 4 notes included in this volume and they are:

- Dedication
- Acknowledgments
- Artist’s Note
- The Royal Armouries

The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons and their variations, dates, which side of the conflict they were used by and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Jonathan Ferguson’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.

As with the other Osprey Publishing weapons series titles I was impressed with this volume. This is a very nice reference book that contains many close-up detailed subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details various models of the ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser pistol and it’s use by various militaries throughout history. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.


US $20.00 / UK £12.99 / CAN $27.00


Sturmtruppen – The Kaiser’s Elite Stormtroopers
Tankograd – World War One No. 1002
Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of The Great War 1914-1918
Oliver Richter (with Jochen Vollert Collection)

Grabenkrieg German Trench Warfare Vol. 2
Tankograd – World War One No. 1006
Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of The Great War 1914-1918
Oliver Richter (with Jochen Vollert Collection)

The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Ian V. Hogg
Saturn Books Ltd.

Guns of the Reich
Firearms of the German Forces, 1939-1945
George Markham
Arms and Armour Press

Live Firing German Automatic Weapons of WWII
Robert Bruce
Windrow & Greene

Search inside The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser on the Osprey web site:


Osprey Publishing also has The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser book available as:

- eBook (ePub)
- eBook (PDF)

Look inside The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser on the Amazon web site:

https://www.amazon.com/Broomhandle-Mauser-Weapon-Jonathan-Ferguson/dp/1472816153/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1533233565&sr=8-2&keywords=The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser

Look inside the Kindle Edition of The ‘Broomhandle’ Mauser on the Amazon web site:


** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Highs: Well written text and captions. Subject specific photographs and illustrations.
Lows: Nothing to mention.
Verdict: Another excellent volume in Osprey Publishing’s Weapon series. Definitely beneficial to the small arms enthusiast.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-4728-1615-3
  PUBLISHED: Sep 09, 2018

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.


I have always wanted a Broomhandle Mauser! Such a neat gun. Thanks, Randy. I'll get the book.
SEP 10, 2018 - 02:04 PM
You're welcome and thank you Fred. I appreciate you getting the review posted for me. They are a neat handgun and I have always been interested in them. They just look cool and I too would like to own the real deal. Thanks, Randy
SEP 11, 2018 - 12:48 PM
I agree that they are a cool-looking gun and a great piece of history, but in their original chambering they are considered obsolete and in 9mm a handful on the auto version. Other than that they were a good-pointing firearm in spite of the oddly-shaped pistol grips, but the reason I walked away from buying one back in the mid 1980s was that they are a true pain to strip and clean! All the same I look forward to getting a look at this undoubtedly fascinating book and see what I probably missed out on...
SEP 11, 2018 - 03:55 PM

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