Roth–Steyr M1907

The Roth–Steyr M1907, or, more accurately Roth-Krnka M.7[2] was a semi-automatic pistol issued to the Austro-Hungarian kaiserliche und königliche Armee cavalry during World War I. It was the first adoption of semi-automatic service pistol by the land army of a major power.[3]

Roth–Steyr M1907
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originAustria-Hungary
Service history
In service1909–1945
Used byAustria-Hungary, Austria, Kingdom of Hungary, Kingdom of Italy, Poland, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia
WarsWorld War I, World War II
Production history
DesignerKarel Krnka
ManufacturerŒ.W.G. in Steyr
F.G.GY. in Budapest
No. built99,000
Mass1,030 g (36 oz)
Length23 cm (9.1 in)
Barrel length13 cm (5.1 in)

Cartridge8mm Roth–Steyr
ActionRecoil operated[1]
Muzzle velocity330 m/s (1,100 ft/s)
Effective firing range75 meters
Maximum firing range140 meters
Feed system10-round integral box magazine, fed by stripper clip


The Roth–Steyr pistol fires from an unusual style of locked breech. The bolt is very long. Its rear end is solid, except for a sleeve for the striker, but its front part is hollow and fits tightly over the barrel. The interior of the bolt has cam grooves cut into it, and the barrel has studs which fit into the grooves. When the pistol is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together within the hollow receiver for about 0.5 inch. During this operation, the helical grooves in the muzzle bush cause the barrel to turn 90 degrees clockwise, after which it is held while the unlocked bolt continues to the rear, cocking the action as it does so. For safety in the intended use by mounted cavalry, the pistol has a heavy trigger pull against the firing striker spring, similar to a hammerless revolver.[4]

The Roth–Steyr is a locked-breech pistol, which allows the barrel and bolt to recoil together within a hollow receiver. It is chambered for a cartridge specific to this model. The Roth–Steyr does not have a detachable magazine, but features a fixed magazine loaded from the top with stripper clips. The sights are fixed, the grips are wooden and terminate in a lanyard ring. Rifling is four grooves with right-hand twist.

Production and distribution

The pistol was developed by the Czech designer Karel Krnka, working for an ammunition company of Georg Roth, from an earlier design of Roth–Theodorovic pistol. After development and tests of several prototypes, the final version of the Roth–Krnka won a contest for an Army pistol in 1906, and was adapted as a standard gun of Austro-Hungarian Army as: Repetierpistole M.7. (self-loading pistol M1907).[2] Since Roth had no weapon production capabilities, the government bought all the rights and ordered production in the Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft (OEWG) in Steyr and FEG in Budapest. From 1908 to 1914, approximately 99,000 weapons were manufactured (the Army received 59,334 from Steyr and 38,213 from FEG, plus several hundred were sold on the civilian market).[2] Despite common name for the pistol Roth–Steyr, Steyr works did not participate in its design, apart from minor improvements.[2] Following the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the Roth–Steyr was fielded by Yugoslavia, with limited use during World War II by the Austrians and Hungarians. Italy received a number of pistols as World War I reparations from Austria-Hungary, and these pistols were used by Italian troops during World War II.[4] They were used also in Czechoslovakia and Poland.[2]

See also


  2. (in Polish) Leszek Erenfeicht: Pra-pra-Glock: Repetierpistole M.7, in: Strzał Nr. 1(80)/2010, ISSN 1644-4906, pp. 36–50.
  3. Semi-automatic pistols were adopted earlier only by the Swiss Army and the Imperial German Navy (both: Parabellum), and the Italian Royal Navy (Mauser C96). Erenfeicht, L., p. 49.
  4. Smith, W. H. B. Small Arms of the World (1953) Military Service Publishing Company p.13

Further reading

  • (in German) Karl R. Pawlas, "Pistole Roth-Steyr, Modell 1907 und ihre Vorläufer", Waffen Revue nr. 2, September 1971, pp. 237–264.

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