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The Design Ideas of Georg Luger


The genius of Luger was that he rapidly understood that he needed to come up with a new shorter bullet, in order to be able to redesign the pistol and to reduce its overall weight and size, which he did with the help of the DWM. The bullet – heavily influenced by the 7.65 Borchardt – gave rise to the 7.65 Luger.

The principal ideas were…
• To localise the recoil spring in the pistol handle.
• To have the toggle-lock opening behave differently.
• To re-design the shape and handling of the weapon.
From that evolved a new pistol.

This work took a year to complete. The first drawing of the Borchardt-Luger was awarded a patent (no. 17977) on the 3rd of October 1898, in Switzerland. The purpose of that patent was not only to protect the new trigger mechanism, but the new location of the spring in the handle, its link to the toggle-lock, and finally, to protect the automatic security system installed in the handle. That patent was filed on the 3rd of October, only a month and a half before the tests of the 23rd November 1898.

Although it is another story, it was around this time that the rivalry developed between Borchardt and Luger, eventually leading them both to court for their respective rights on patents. The presence of this rivalry led to the drawing of the new model filed for the no. 17977 patent showing the details of the friction rolls at the back of the toggle-lock, but not revealing the full design of the « ear-like” frame ramps that concerned the new toggle-lock opening system. Although this was a significant feature of the new piece, Luger wanted to avoid Borchardt claiming credit for it.

In the early 1970’s, several experts started to study the subject of the m/93 Borchardt-Luger as little was known about its evolution. Due to the aforementioned rivalry provoking the hidden detail in the patent, few cottoned on to the events that had occurred. A major part of the pistol’s evolution was therefore not evident – the best source of this detail was to be found in the federal archives in Bern, Switzerland, containing the reports of the test commission of 1897 and 1898, along with the patent plans delivered in 1898 and 1899.

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