Salvator Dormus pistol

The Salvator-Dormus pistol was the earliest-patented semi-automatic pistol. It was patented on 11 July 1891 by Archduke Karl Salvator of Austria and Count Georg von Dormus. As the first of its kind, it was designed without the benefit of experience with earlier models. Various modifications were made with approximately twenty prototypes before thirty pistols of a workable design were submitted for Austrian military trials in 1896. This 8mm blowback pistol loaded through the top and had a hinged magazine door on the butt. The pistol had a separate bolt release and safety. The production delay between patent and military trials allowed comparison with other self-loading pistols, and the Salvator Dormus was considered inferior to its competition. The designers abandoned this project; and few pistols survive.[2]

TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originAustria-Hungary
Production history
DesignerKarl Salvator
Georg von Dormus
No. builtabout 50
Cartridge8mm Dormus[1]
Action Delayed blowback
Maximum firing range40m
Feed system5-round magazine[1]
SightsIron sights


  1. McCollum, Ian. "1891 Salvatore-Dormus: The First Automatic Pistol". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  2. Antaris, Leonardo M. (2017). "In the Beginning". American Rifleman. National Rifle Association. 165 (10): 76.
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