SOLD FOR: $3,600
Serial Number: 138398
Year of Manufacture: Two different serial ranges were shared for the standard C96 and the 9mm Contract pistols. If a genuine “Red Nine”, this pistol was produced between 1916 and 1918. If the frame is from a standard C96, it was produced between 1911 and 1915.
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Action Type: Single Action Semi–Auto with Internal Magazine
Markings: The top of the barrel chamber is marked “WAFFENFABRIK / MAUSER / OBERNDORF A/N”, the left shoulder with “138398” (this appears to have been re-marked), the left side with a double crowned “U”. The top rear of the bolt is marked with “8398” with a double crowned “U” and the top of the bolt stop is marked “8398”. The right side of the frame is marked “WAFFENFABRIK MAUSER / OBERNDORF A NECKAR”. The rear face of the frame is marked with “138398”. The rear face of the hammer is marked with a “S” stamped over the top of a “N” (New Safety-Introduced in about 1915) and “398”. The rear of the lock frame is marked “138398”. The action block is marked “8398”. The sear is marked “398”. The top of the magazine floorplate is marked “8398”. The inside surfaces of the grips are stamped with the number “138398”.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The rear sight is a “V” notch sliding elevator sight with markings from “50-500” that is pinned to the barrel extension. The front sight is an inverted “V” notch fixed to a rectangular base on the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece walnut with 23 grooves and a large “9” burnt into both grips and filled with red paint. The “9s” are well formed and appear to be done at the factory. References show that the grip grooves changed from fine (32) to coarse (23) through production. The grips have light-moderate handling wear and show signs of sanding. There are some light nicks and scratches. The serrations are worn, but visible. There are no chips or cracks. The grips are in Very Good overall condition as refinished.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished. The barrel assembly’s serial marking appears to have been re-marked.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. The is infrequent light erosion and a couple of spots of minor pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 8 out of 10.
Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 75% of its current metal finish. Most surfaces have a slightly mottled appearance with thinning and scattered minor finish wear. The grip areas and the front of the magazine show the most notable wear. There is thinning at most edges. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The grip screw is tool marked with a strong slot. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The rear of the frame is slotted for a shoulder stock and the bottom of the grip has a boss for a lanyard ring, with a lanyard ring installed. The barrel extension has minor play to the frame. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a wooden shoulder stock/holster, a leather holster for the stock, and a wooden handled cleaning rod. The shoulder stock/holster does not have a serial number on the mounting bracket. The holster stamp on the back reads “A. PH. HOFFMAN / BERLIN / 1916”. There are some scattered light nicks and scratches. The body of the holster has a couple of grain-line cracks at the mouth and there is some repaired cracking on the “lid”.
Our Assessment: The Broomhandle Model 1896 Mauser is certainly an interesting looking firearm, and the “Red Nine” variants are the most distinctive of any pistol made. During WWI Mauser had two contracts with the military, the first for 7.63mm pistols and the second for 9mm pistols. It soon became apparent that two nearly identical guns with dissimilar ammo was not a good idea. In December 1917, a decision was made to burn a large “9” into the grips and fill them in red paint, with those already issued to be similarly marked in the field, thus creating three variants of the 9mm pistols: those with no marks on the grips, those with factory “nines” and those with “nines” added in the field.
This pistol is a 9mm, but may have had the barrel assembly force-matched to the frame as its serial number appears to be re-marked. The serial numbers are all matching, including those stamped into the grips, and the pistol has the correct “New Safety”. It has been refinished, so it looks nice for its age and it still retains a quite nice bore. The pistol still has its lanyard ring attached to the butt, and to complete the package for the discerning collector, it comes with a wooden shoulder stock/holster (not serialized to the pistol) and a leather holster for the shoulder stock.
There were only about 141,000 of the “Red Nine” pistols made and one can only guess as to what number survived the trench warfare of WWI, not to mention the hard times of post-war Germany. This is a very neat pistol that is sure to be of interest to the collectors and will display well with its included accessories. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California -Bud