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German Items


This Dreyse model 1907 pistol was manufactured some time between 1912 and 1914. It is a self-loading, blowback operated, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered in 7.65mm(.32 ACP) caliber. The pistol has been designed to operate as a striker-fired single action firearm. The sights includes a blade front sight and a V notch rear sight, both of which have been milled into the pistol and are not adjustable.The sidearm is fed by a single column 7 round detachable box magazine. On the pistol's butt there is a European style heel magazine release.The manual thumb safety is located above and behind the left grip and must be in the fire position before the slide is allowed to move rearward. The safety lever moves in a downward 180 degree arc. It is shown above in the fire position. The pistol has a 3.66 inch barrel with 4 groves and a right hand twist. It has an overall length of 6.29 inches and an unloaded weight of 25 ounces. This firearm does not employ a slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The pistol has a blue finish with black checkered grip panels that sport the RMF monogram molded into the top of each grip.  

The pistol was designed by Louis Schmeisser in the early 1900's and originally developed for commercial sale. It was manufactured only 8 years from 1907 through 1915. The Dreyse model 1907 design was heavily influenced by the Browning model 1900 pistol. The Berlin police began purchasing the Dreyse pistols in 1912 and it was later taken into military service in 1917 as a standard substitute weapon by staff officers and rear troops.

This pistol incorporates many interesting design features as well as evidence of a lot of original thought went into its design. For example, the slide is not simply every thing above the receiver in this pistol design. Directly above the barrel there is a longitudinally grooved serrations(later versions had angled slide serrations) and by gripping this and pulling it rearward it will be noted that the slide is only part of the top half of this weapon. Also in this top section is the barrel casing, and a breech block which retracts from the fixed casing above the receiver. When the sidearm is cocked, the firing pin protrudes through the back of the breech block. At the rear of the breech block and on the top of the frame there is a thumb catch that can be pressed to the right to release the entire barrel and slide assembly, which hinges on a pivot screw located just forward of the trigger guard. This allows for easier cleaning of the pistol. Another neat feature of this pistol design is that there is a screw in the barrel housing that locks the barrel in place. By removing this screw, the barrel is unlocked and can be removed. 

The striker firing mechanism of the Dreyse 1907 is rather commonplace. On some of the war time produced pistols a modified firing system has been installed. When the trigger is pulled, it causes the striker or firing pin to be first driven backward a short distance which further compresses the striker spring and allows the striker to hit the cartridge primer with greater force. This system was also used on the Dreyse 9mm models. it is thought that this style of firing system was put in place due to the quality of war time ammunition. This harder hitting system is also insurance against poor quality springs, faulty maintenance, war time dirt and debris and other similar events. All of which could weaken the blow of the striker if the normal mechanism was in use.

An interesting observation about the pistol featured on this page is that there is no center screw attaching the grips to the frame. On many of the Dreyse pistols that I have come across, they have a screw in the center of the grips.


A short history of the Waffenfabrik von Dreyse company.

The Waffenfabrik von Dreyse firm was founded in the early 1840's by Johann Nikalus von Dreyse. The company was generally known for the famous Dreyse Needle Gun but they also manufactured cap-lock revolvers. The Dreyse Needle gun which was used by the Prussian Army, was the first practical bolt action breech loading military rifle. Even though Johann Nikalus von Dreyse died in 1867, there are three twentieth century pistols that bear the Dreyse name. After his death in 1867 the business was continued in a reduced fashion by his son Frantz Dreyse until his death in 1894. After the German Army dropped the Dreyse Needle Gun and adopted the Mauser rifle in 1872, the Dreyse Factory went into a steady decline, almost to the point of collapse until it was purchased in 1901 by the Rheinische Metallwaaren & Maschinenfabrik of Sommerda, Germany. The new owners acquired not only the factory, but also the rights to the patents and the Dreyse name were they went on to produce several weapons under the Dreyse brand name.





The photographs on the left are of the front and back of the Dreyse model 1907, while the pictures on the right show the top and bottom of the pistol. The pistol is shown with the magazine installed in each of these photographs.

The full serial number is located on the inside top of the frame just in front of the magazine well, on the bottom inside of the barrel housing below the breech, and on the top of the breech block visible through the opening on the top of the pistol.

The bottom on the magazine floor plate is marked 789 and then a short distance away is the Roman numeral   

The photograph on the left is of the slide inscription that is found on the left side of this Dreyse model 1907 pistol. The early examples(as pictured) are marked with "DREYSE" along the top, then underneath that is "Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik" and then underneath that is "ABT. SOMMERDA." This inscription indicates that the model of the pistol is Dreyse and it was manufactured by Rheinische Metallwaaren-& Maschinenfabrik which translates to Rhineland Metalware and Machine Factory. The letters ABT. is an abbreviation of the word abteilung which translates to department, while Sommerda is a town near Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany, on the Unstrut river and is the capital of the district of Sömmerda.

Later pistols will usually have the Rheinische Metallwaaren- & Maschinenfabrik changed to RHEINMETALL ABT. SOMMERDA.


Some unique history about this particular pistol....

This Dreyse 1907 pistol was manufactured some time between 1912 and 1914. The Berlin police began purchasing the Dreyse pistols in 1912.

The picture on the right is a close up of the unit marking that is stamped into the left side of this pistol. As can be seen, this pistol was assigned to K.P.P.B. VII No. 82. I really enjoy collecting the unit marked pieces because it helps to tell the history of the item.  The stamping, K.P.P.B. VII No. 82. indicates that this pistol was assigned to the Imperial-era Police force. Or more specifically, the mark indicates K.onigliches P.olizei P.rasidium B.erlin, Waffe no. 82.  Which translates to Royal Police Headquarters Berlin weapon number 82.

The letter "K" in the "K.P.P.B." stamp was used only during the German Imperial era that ended with the abdication of the Kaiser in November 1918. The same basic marking was used on the pistols of the uniformed Schutzmannschaft(police force) as well as those of plainclothes detectives.  The markings of detectives included Roman numerals, either IV or VII.  The VII stands for Abteilung VII or Department VII of the Imperial-era Berlin police.  This department was the political police. One source states there were no more than 21 of these detectives in the Imperial era although the property number 82 on this pistol suggests there were more. A friend and fellow collector by the name of F. Kennedy has also informed me that his records show that the highest known number for K.P.P.B. marked Dreyse 1907 pistols is 6862, but this pistol is lacking the Roman numerals.

The Berlin police were reorganized in 1919-20 and the political police became Department IA during the Weimar era.  Ultimately, these formed the nucleus of the Gestapo. The word gestapo is a contraction of Gheime Staatspolizei which translates to Secret State Police. They were the official secret police of Nazi Germany and were under the administration of the Schutzstaffel(SS) or Protective Squadron. The gestapo was administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt(RSHA) or head office of the Reich's security service and was considered a dual organization of the Sicherheitsdienst(SD) or security service and also a suboffice of the Sicherheitspolizei(SIPO) or security police. This pistol remained in service with the political police into the 1930s as evidence of the K.P. 82 stamp located on the front grip strap as seen in the picture below, and probably even longer with the Gestapo. 

I had considerable difficulty in translating all of the unit markings on this pistol. The unit markings found on this pistol are so rare that I have been informed by historians and researchers that it is the only one known to exist. In the words of one historian, he wrote to say "I will be very surprised if there is another marking like it in the world!".

The unit markings on this pistol will be featured in the book "History Writ in Steel - German Police Markings 1900-1936" by author Don Maus. This book will be in stores in March of 2009. It is to this author that I am indebted with the help of better understanding the complete meaning of the unit mark that is on this pistol. If it was not for him and his exhaustive research, this unit mark would still be a mystery and a little less would have been known to the firearm collecting world about the history of the Imperial-era police force and the many markings they used.  

The picture on the left is of the three crown over N markings that were stamped on German firearms manufactured before April 1, 1940. The Crown over N stamp indicates that the gun has been proof fired with a "nitro" propellant which is also known as smokeless powder. The stamp is only applied to firearms that have successfully passed the proof firing test. The top crown over the letter N stamp is located on the slide, the middle stamp is located on the barrel casing, while the bottom stamp is on the frame.

The photograph on the right is a stamp of K.B. 82. This second unit stamp is located on the front strap of the grip and was applied around 20 years after the K.P.P.B. VII No. 82. unit marking seen in the pictures above. This stamping indicates that the pistol was used by the Kriminalpolizei(detective force) in Berlin and is item or weapon number 82. This later unit marking did not distinguish between the normal criminal detectives and the political police. 


These next two photographs are taken from the same Dreyse 1907 pistol from above. When an item first arrives, I tear it completely apart to not only give it a thorough cleaning, but to photograph and document every stamp and marking. I will end up taking dozens and dozens of pictures of each item. So as can be seen in the above pictures, this Dreyse 1907 has been broken down to just about the frame or receiver. This will also give me a good idea if a particular firearm is safe to shoot.  


These next two photographs show us the front and back of the side plate of the Dreyse 1907 pistol. This side plate would normally be installed on the left side of the pistol. If one looks closely at the picture on the right, they will notice the milling marks that are normally hidden by the grip. Knowing that these parts are machined and not cheaply stamped out of a piece of sheet metal will give any owner of such an item a greater appreciation for the craftsmanship and time it took to build each one.



How to disassemble the pistol.

1. Make sure it is unloaded and not cocked.

2. Push the latch on the back of the pistol to the right and open the action.

3. Push in on the recoil spring bushing located at the front of the pistol and around the barrel. This part is also correctly referred to as the barrel    collar.

4. Very carefully lift up on the slide and ease the bushing out from around the barrel. Be careful as it is under spring tension and can easily become    airborne.



History Writ in Steel - German Police Markings 1900-1936" by Don Maus

German Handguns by Ian Hogg                

German small arms markings by Joachim Gortz & Don Bryans                             

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger               

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson                  

Mauser military rifle markings by Terence Lapin               

Handbook of military rifle marks 1866-1950 by Richard Hoffman & Noel Schott  

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