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Mauser Model 712 "Schnellfeuer" Machine Pistol
Closely resembling the Mauser Model 1896 "Broomhandle" semi-automatic pistol, the Model 712 "Schnellfeuer" is a selective-fire pistol that features a detachable magazine, detachable shoulder stock, and 50 - 1000 meter rear sight.
The Schnellfeuer-Pistole ("Rapid-fire pistol") was a modification of the popular Mauser 7.63mm Model 1896 "Broomhandle" pistol. Originally developed by the Oberndorf firm, the semi-auto M1896 served with German units throughout the First World War. This design was copied by the Spanish firms Star and Astra, and versions produced by all three companies were sold in large numbers to the Chinese.
In 1930, Mauser dealers in China reported that they were losing sales to their Spanish competitors due to Astra's introduction of a selective-fire version of this pistol. Mauser mounted a vigorous response to this challenge, as designer Joseph Nickl's recoil-operated selective-fire pistol entering production during that same year. With an effective rate of 900 rounds per minute, these pistols were capable of firing an entire magazine in slightly more than one second. These pistols may be distinguished from the original M1896 pistol design by the presence of a detachable 20-round staggered feed box magazine, which could be removed for loading or charged in place with 10-round stripper clips, and by the bar-type selector switch mounted on the left side of the receiver.
Approximately 4,000 Schnellfeuer Modell 712 pistols were produced in 1930-31, most of which were shipped to China to compete against the Astra design. An improved version designed by Karl Westinger was introduced in 1932 to address reliability problems experienced with the original Modell 712. Externally, these guns are nearly identical to their predecessors, and may be identified by their "oval/point" selector switch. Approximately 98,000 were manufactured between 1932 and 1938, most of which were shipped to China.
In 1939, German armed forces began acquiring the Schnellfeuer under the military designation "Reihenfeuer ("Series Fire") Pistole Modell 713." These were widely issued to Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS military police and reconnaissance units, as well as to motorcycle dispatch riders. In addition, the Modell 713 was adopted by the Kriegsmarine for use by naval infantry troops. Although coupling a proven design of compact size with a select-fire capability would seem to be the best of several worlds, the Schnellfeuer proved otherwise.
These pistols could serve as a standard sidearm in semi-automatic mode, but were not markedly superior to the P.08 and P.38 semi-autos already in German military service. With their shoulder stock/holster attached, they also proved both effective and deadly for short range combat. At longer ranges, however, the Schnellfeuer's light weight and high rate of fire in full-auto mode made it uncontrollable except when fired in short bursts. Even then, its effectiveness was questionable. As sufficient MP38 and MP40 submachine guns became available to Nazi troops, the Schnellfeuer was replaced in the inventories of Germany's fighting forces.