Think of it as a jigsaw puzzle, that when fully assembled, creates one of the most recognizable gun profiles of all time. The C96 Mauser, or as it’s more commonly known, the Broomhandle Mauser, is not only a machine of warfare, but the finest expression of Victorian era gun making, and maybe the ultimate steampunk pistol.

Strangely enough, the C96 Mauser was not invented by Paul Mauser. Rather, the three brothers in charge of Mauser’s experimental workshop, Fidel, Friederich, and Josef Feederle created the prototype without Paul Mauser’s knowledge or approval. Mauser did, however, name the pistol the C96 Mauser Military Pistol in the hopes of spurring adoption by a major military. It didn’t work.

Broomhandle truly was a jigsaw puzzle. Only one screw, which holds the grip panels on, and one single pin are used in the gun. All the other parts assembled into a single elegant, and complicated firing mechanism. Maintenance in the field was, shall we say, challenging. Although never issued us a primary sidearm, the Broomhandle saw service around the world in the hands of German, Chinese, Persian, Turkish, Norwegian, and Indonesian troops and law enforcement.

Broomhandles also found their way into the hands of T.E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, who carried his in World War I. A smaller gripped, shorter barreled version called the “Bolo” was popular with Russian Bolshevik Cheka secret police officials. Even some American Texas Rangers were fond of the big pistol with its detachable stock.

The most famous Broomhandle in history was, of course, the modified movie prop blaster used by Han Solo in the wildly successful Star Wars movies. Most notably, Han used his blaster on Jabba the Hutt’s bounty hunter, Greedo, leading to years of controversy over whether Han or Greedo shot

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