How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system

History of firearms. 

Let’s start with the biography of this truly outstanding person works Bergmann-Bayard system. Theodor Bergmann was born on May 21, 1850 in a family that is far from the most advanced in terms of education: in the family of an innkeeper and brewer Johann Adam Bergmann, who lived in Bavaria, in the Seilauf community, in the Aschaffenburg district.

He received his primary education at a community school, then studied at a vocational school in the city of Aschaffenburg. His name in the history of weapons is known. But Theodor Bergmann himself was never a weapons designer works Bergmann-Bayard system. He was a businessman and industrialist.

True, he still came up with something himself.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system

And he started with household appliances, like ovens and vending machines. And he succeeded in this – he created the Merkur vending machine, which already in 1888 he began to produce together with the Berlin inventor Max Sielaff for the Cologne chocolate manufacturer Ludwig Stolwerk.

By the age of 19, Bergmann was already manager of a steel works in Gaggenau, producing a wide range of products ranging from load-bearing beams to household stoves, as well as bicycles and air guns. Under the leadership of Bergmann, the company expanded the production of pneumatic weapons, and also switched to the production of rifles and barrels for them. This gave him the opportunity to approach inventors looking for a company to produce their inventions, and he soon found such inventors.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system


Scheme of the Otto Brauwetter pistol from the 1892 patent
So, in 1892, a Hungarian watchmaker named Otto Brauwetter, together with the Hagennau company (later becoming Bergmanns Industriewerke GmbH), was granted a patent for a self-loading pistol mechanism. The fate of Brouwetter himself is unclear: he seems to disappear from records after receiving the first patent. Instead, another man emerged whom Bergmann found to turn the patent into a viable mass-produced pistol, and that man was none other than Louis Schmeisser, who became a household name in the history of European firearms.


Pistol “Bergmann” model 1893, made for testing in Switzerland. Length 280 mm, barrel length 135 mm, weight 980 g. Swiss patent No. 5030 dated 1892. Pay attention to the ramrod mounted on the pistol on the left and the corrugated plate on the right, which served to cock the shutter
Schmeisser took Brauwetter’s patent and made it first into a Model 1893 pistol and then into an 1895 pistol. The Model 1893 had a wedge-locked semi-free breech. Loading was carried out from a 5-shot clip, which was inserted into the gun on the right and closed with a swivel cap. It used a 7.5 mm revolver cartridge, which was then in service in Switzerland, but in the end the Swiss military rejected this pistol.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system


Now look how Louis Schmeisser improved Otto Brauwetter’s pistol in his 1895 patent. The design has become much easier …
When cars began to come into fashion, Bergmann immediately turned his attention to them and started producing them as early as 1894. And he didn’t just start, but released a car called the Orient Express, which was in production until 1903, and then the Lilliput model (until 1907). But …

At the same time, he was engaged in weapons. And in the end, in 1910, he sold his automobile business to Benz & & Co. to deal exclusively with weapons.

Then Bergmann divided the design activities of his company into two different areas: the creation of weapons for the civilian market and, accordingly, weapons for the army. Later, he handed over the developments in civilian weapons to third-party manufacturers so that they would produce his samples under license, and he fully concentrated all the forces of the company on weapons of a purely military purpose.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system

"Bergmann-Bayard" - a pistol in the Mauser style
Diagram from a patent for one of Theodore Bergmann’s early pistols – an 1897 model of the year with a very original barrel locking system with a bolt shift to the left. Moving back after the shot, the bolt warped to the right, but got into place and connected with its lugs to the lugs located on the left of the frame. It is simply amazing what technically complex designs the designers came up with then, and how difficult it was to produce them … But they also invented and produced!
The first was the Bergmann-Mars pistol in 1901, and it was Bergmann’s first design created specifically for the military weapons market.

The second was a pistol for the civilian market – Bergmann-Simplex.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system

The Bergmann-Mars pistol interested the military of several armies and even got into several comparative tests conducted along with the Mauser C96, Mannlicher, Browning and Luger pistols. In total, his company manufactured about 1,000 Bergmann-Mars pistols.

But the designer’s creative thought continued to work, and the result of this work was the Bergmann-Bayard pistol. By the way, Louis Schmeisser designed it in 1903, after which it was offered on the arms market under the designation M1903.How it works the “Bergmann-Bayard” system


Pistol “Bergmann-Simplex” (or “pistol number 5), created on the basis of a patent in 1897 (photo of the Rock Island auction)

The same pistol with a stock holster attached to it (Rock Island auction photo)
And … the military of the Spanish army really liked this new pistol, who adopted it under the name “Pistola Bergmann de 9 mm. modelo 1903.

The capacity of his own production seemed to Bergmann insufficient for the manufacture of a batch of 3,000 pistols, and he began to look for a German manufacturer to fulfill the Spanish order. Searched…and didn’t find it!

Then he turned to the well-known Belgian manufacturer Henri Pieper, who owned the Anciens Etablissements Pieper company, which produced weapons under the Bayard trademark.

Pieper turned out to be a prudent and far-sighted person. He not only fulfilled the Spanish order for Bergmann, but also acquired the right from Bergmanns Industriewerke to manufacture his pistols for sale on the civilian market.

This is how this unusual double designation appeared in the trade name of this pistol. Then the pistol was upgraded again and later released under the designation “Bergmann-Bayard” 1908 (not to be confused with the pistol “Bayard” 1908).


Pistol “Bergmann-Bayard” M 1910/21 (issued in 1935-1940) From the collection of the Royal Armories in London
A characteristic feature of this pistol was the stamp on the left side of the magazine receiver, which is an image of a knight galloping on a horse with the inscription Bayard under it. By the way, although this pistol was adopted by the Spanish army in 1908, the production and delivery of all 3,000 weapons dragged on for two years and was completed only in 1910.


A characteristic “chip” of the pistol was the annular grooves on the magazine and on the “washers” of the shutter, for which the latter was pulled back. The store stopper was in front of the trigger, which was convenient: it was enough to move your finger forward and press it, as the store fell out of its socket. The pistol weighed about one kilogram, had a length of 254 mm, with a barrel length of 101 mm. The initial velocity of the bullet was 350 m / s, the aiming range was 100 m, and there could be two magazines for it – for six and ten rounds
One of the reasons was that Pieper hurried to release the Bergmann pistol also on the civilian market in Europe.

And back in 1910, he managed to conclude a contract for the supply of the same pistol to the Danish military. So, Denmark became the second state whose army received this pistol. True, for the Danish military, several changes were required to the original design of the pistol.

For example, semicircular cutouts were made on the side walls of the magazine receiver for easier removal. Ring grooves were arranged on the stores so that, again, the fingers on their surface did not slip, and it was more convenient to remove them.
An S-shaped mainspring was introduced.

All these changes were made to the design of the pistol all in the same 1910, but did not require much work. After that, 4,840 pistols of this new model were ordered by the Danish armed forces. Deliveries of pistols to Denmark began in 1911 and were completed in a year, in 1912.


Advertising pistol “Bergmann-Bayard”. The 9mm Largo cartridge is also shown here.
Until the start of the First World War, no one made new large orders to Anciens Etablissements Pieper, but the updated model of the Bergmann-Bayard pistol of 1910 was willingly bought on the civilian market, where it successfully competed with the German Mausers.

Then the First World War began, Belgium was occupied by Germany, and the Anciens Etablissements Pieper company continued to produce these pistols, now for the needs of the German army.

Immediately after the end of the war, the release of this pistol in Belgium was discontinued, although a small number of Bergmanns were nevertheless assembled from parts that were preserved in warehouses.


Scheme of the device of the pistol “Bergmann-Bayard” in 1908. Please note that the barrel of the pistol, unlike the same “Mauser”, was made exceptionally rigid due to the T-shaped flat plate located on top of it, and the front sight was also installed on it. The barrel was one piece with the bolt carrier and, when fired, moved back with it, after which it stopped, and the bolt moved on, cocking the hammer, which hit the spring-loaded striker passing through the bolt body. The ejector is located on the top of the shutter. Up ejected and spent cartridges
And here the Danish armed forces again needed the same pistols and spare parts for the M1910 pistols they already had at their disposal.

But now they could not get them from the Anciens Etablissements Pieper company. Of course, there were a lot of all kinds of pistols in Europe at that time. And it would be possible to order a new pistol of any other system. But … the strength of tradition and habit outweighed everything.

And then in Denmark they decided to produce these pistols on their own. We bought a license, and in 1921 Danish pistols, once again modified, having received a new M1910 / 21 index, went into the Danish army and were in service with it until 1946, which set a kind of record – 35 years in the ranks of the Danish army!

Well, in total, about 15.5 thousand pistols of this system were produced during the period from 1903 to 1935.

  1. The Bergmann-Bayard system was invented by two Belgian inventors, Auguste and Louis Bergmann, and Léon Bayard.
  2. The Bergmann-Bayard system was patented in 1892, and was the first of its kind to use a magazine pistol for semi-automatic fire.
  3. The Bergmann-Bayard system uses a short-recoil action, in which the barrel and breech are locked together during firing, then move rearward together while the bullet is traveling down the barrel.
  4. The recoil action of the Bergmann-Bayard system is managed by a short-recoil spring housed in the frame of the pistol.
  5. The Bergmann-Bayard system utilizes a toggle-lock system, in which the barrel and breech are locked together by two locking bars that are connected to the frame.
  6. The Bergmann-Bayard system uses a 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge with a rimless bottlenecked case.
  7. The Bergmann-Bayard system was adopted by several nations, including the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Danish Army, and the French Navy.

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