Guns & Gear
11 months ago
It looks a lot like a Luger, but it's not. Could it be the Finnish Lahti L-35 or maybe the Italian Glisenti Model 1910? Nope, neither of those. It is a German Haeussler patent pistol developed around 1915 and built by Adlerwaffenwerke ("Eagle Weapon Factory"). And it's so rare that even Steve had not heard of it before he and Keith encountered this example at Rock Island Auction Co. The Haeussler design was apparently developed to improve on the Luger P08 Parabellum. It has the Luger's grip angle but retains the big overhanging hump at the rear of the Luger's predecessor, the Borchardt C-93 pistol. It's chambered in a proprietary 7.25mm cartridge, and it is blowback operated, making it much simpler and easier to manufacturer than the Luger / Borchardt toggle system.
The operating handle on top lets you pull back the bolt. The V-notch in handle is not the rear sight. There's actually a nubby little rear sight at the back of the receiver, so the notch in the handle provides a view of the blade front sight. Push forward on the release lever in the heel of the Haeussler's grip to drop the very Luger-looking magazine. The thumb safety's inconvenient location makes it rather difficult to operate. In keeping with manufacturer's name, the hard rubber grips have an elegant eagle relief-molded into them. What about that big knob on the right-hand side of the receiver? It's actually a takedown knob. Sorry, the guys don't disassemble the Haeussler because they can't afford buy the gun if they lose a part!
As for ergonomics, the Haeussler's grip is large enough to comfortably accommodate a man-size hand, and it balances nicely in the hand like a Luger. With the center of gravity right over the hand and the low bore axis, it was probably a pleasant shooter. Still, if Steve had to choose between this gun and a Luger, he'd stick with the P08!
Despite this example's serial number in the 1200s, only about 100 Haeussler Model 1915 pistols were made. Surely Germany's need to concentrate ammo production on standard military calibers during World War I left this gun an orphan for which its few owners could not get ammo. The Rock Island example is in quite good condition, with about 75% of its original finish intact.