The Birger m/44 is a prototype Finnish pistol.
The m/44 was designed in response to the fact that the manufacture of the Lahti L-35 was proving to be rather slow and expensive, and so a cheaper pistol had to be produced at some point to replace it. As such, Birger Linkomies was given the task of designing a new pistol by the Ordnance Department of the High Command of the Finnish Army.
Designing of the weapon started in 1943, when it was known as the m/43. In February 1943, 5,000 of these pistols were authorized to be purchased; however, the pistols were not ready to be mass-produced just yet as they were still being designed, in addition to the Finnish not having enough of the required resources to begin mass-production of these weapons due to most (if not all) factories in Finland already being at full capacity. In light of this, a small test batch of 10 to 20 pistols were to be produced before mass-production could commence.
VKT was in charge of the manufacture of these pistols, and were also authorized to suggest improvements to be made to the designs. The final design changes were made in November 1943; these changes were regarded as significant enough as to warrant a complete name change of the weapon to m/44.
This small test batch of pistols would not be complete until the end of the Continuation War, with the pistols only being delivered to the Finnish Army in November 1944; by then, there was really no immediate need for new pistols and the Allied Control Commission were not very keen on projects like this continuing.
After the pistols were completed, the test batch of 25 pistols was sent to the Finnish Army for testing. Testing proved to be less than positive; recoil was noted to be unpleasant, build quality was noted to be rather questionable and the weapon was noted to be far too light to fire 9mm rounds effectively, which led to a poor seal in the breech. The weapons were also known to bulge casings on firing.
Due to these factors, development on the pistols was halted at once and the m/44s were never adopted; despite this, the 25 pistols remained the property of the army until 1968, when they were all sold. The weapons were sold to museums, the teaching collections of the Finnish Army and to private collectors; all 25 pistols are supposedly still in existence, with those circulating around the collector's market fetching high amounts of money due to their rarity.
The m/44 is a semi-automatic blowback pistol with an exposed hammer. The weapon is said to vaguely resemble the Walther PPK, with design cues taken from a variety of pistols produced around the same era; the trigger group was copied from a TT-33.