Object Title

Roth Steyr Modell 1907 pistol

Roth Steyr Modell 1907 pistol


Austria began replacing its outdated Rast-Gasser revolvers, with this self loading short recoil pistol. Designed by Georg Roth and Karel Krnka, the Roth Steyr Modell 1907 was the first self-loading pistol to be adopted by any military in any country. Krnka is an interesting figure in the history of firearms. Son of Sylvester Krnka with whom he had designed a repeating Russian army rifle, Krnka left the Austrian Army in 1887 to become chief engineer at Gatling Gun and Ammunition Works in Birmingham. By 1898 he became a designer and manager of the G.Roth ammunition factory where he remained until 1908. All Roth patents from this period originate from his inventions, the most successful of all, this pistol.

Since Roth was an ammunition factory and had no weapons production capabilities these pistols were manufactured elsewhere. Around 60,000 of these pistols were manufactured at Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft Gesellschaft (Steyr) and 30,000 at Fegyvergyr.

Chambering the relatively weak 8mm Roth-Steyr cartridge, the results from making a hit with this weapon were not that phenomenal, however compared to the pistol of Austria's enemy of the mountains, the Italians, their Glisenti Modello 1910 pistol, although it had a slightly larger heavier round, the muzzle velocity of the Roth-Steyr provided the Austrians with slightly more penetrative power.

This pistol has a strange reloading system. Although the action of the breech mechanism reloads the pistol, it does not cock the striker. This is done by the trigger mechanism, which is double-action therefore requiring a heavy trigger pull to cock the pistol.

Use and effect

Initially intended for cavalry use, this is perhaps the reason why the pistol requires a heavy trigger pull. As there is no safety feature on this pistol, this reduces the chance of accidental discharge. The pistol found its way into both infantry and air force, becoming known as 'Flieger-Pistole' (Flyer Pistol). It was also used by the Australian air service. The pistol's fixed magazine meant that stripper clips of ten rounds were needed to be carried in order to reload the pistol. The clips had a useful thumb guide at the top of the clip in order to reload quickly and efficiently. The striker-fired system adapted by this pistol is seen in most Glock pistols today. Interesting indeed that this technology is still used in modern warfare today.


Action / Operating system Recoil
Barrel length 13 cm (5.1 in)
Calibre / Bore 8 mm Roth-Steyr (0.31 in)
Capacity (rounds) 10
Country of manufacture Austria-Hungary
Date entered service 1909
Effective range 50 m (55 yd)
Feed Internal magazine
Manufacturer Fegyver és Gépgyár R.T (F.G.GY)
Manufacturer Österreichischen Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft (Steyr)
Muzzle velocity 332 m/s (1090 fps)
Overall length 23 cm (9.1 in)
Primary operator Austria-Hungary
Weight 1 kg (2 lb 2 oz)


Lisa Traynor