All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Chinese-made Mauser C-96 with Holster, 1930s

Posted: November 17th, 2021 | No Comments »

Now, i’m not a gun expert so i might have got a lot wrong here, but here goes and i’m sure any gun experts out there will add/correct me. As readers of my book City of Devils will know the Mauser C-96 (The “Red Nine” in English in Shanghai and the the “Box Cannon”, presumably due to its look, in Chinese) was the preferred weapon on many late 1930s/1940s Shanghai gangsters. It crops up all the time in newspaper and police reports. The Mauser C96 was a semi-automatic pistol originally produced by the German arms manufacturer, Mauser, between 1896 to 1937. However, crucially many unlicensed copies of the gun were also manufactured in China. In China it often came fitted with a detachable wooden shoulder stock – a “broom-handle grip”.

I knew from my research that they were often warn under the arm in a holster, but had never seen an example of this. I was looking at some pictures the other day and was able to zoom in on this guy – who excellently displays a shoulder holster and a Mauser. This picture is from about 1939. I’m not sure if he’s a good guy or a bad guy, but I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of him to make him draw that thing!…

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