The Roth-Krnka M.7, more commonly known as the Roth-Steyr M1907 and officially known as the Repetierpistole M.7, is an Austro-Hungarian service pistol, and was the first semi-automatic service pistol adopted by the land army of a major power.
Originally designed by Czech designer Karel Krnka who was then working for an ammunition company helmed by Georg Roth, the original Roth-Krnka design was submitted to military trials in 1906, which it won. After which, the Roth-Krnka design was adopted as the new service pistol for the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserliche und königliche Armee cavalry in 1907, replacing the Rast & Gasser M1898 revolver. Unfortunately, as Roth lacked any production capabilities, the Austro-Hungarian government decided to buy all rights for the pistol and ordered production of the Roth-Krnka in the Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft, or ŒWG (now known as Steyr Mannlicher), and Fegyver- és Gépgyár factories in Steyr and Budapest respectively, which is where the Roth-Krnka got its common name, the Roth-Steyr. A good 99,000 pistols were produced, with the army receiving 59,334 from ŒWG and 38,213 from FÉG, with the remaining several hundred pistols being sold on the civilian market. These pistols were mostly used in World War I by several European countries like Yugoslavia and Poland, but Italy received them as war reparations from Austria-Hungary after World War II and ended up using them during World War II.
The Roth-Steyr has a rather unusual style of locked breech and an extremely long bolt. The bolt itself is also rather interesting; the front part of the bolt is completely hollow but fits tightly over the barrel, while the rear part is completely solid with the exception of a sleeve for the striker. There are cam grooves cut into the inside of the bolt and there are studs on the barrel which fit into said grooves. When fired, the barrel and bolt both recoil together for about half an inch (1.27 centimeters) in the hollow receiver; during said operation, helical grooves cut into the muzzle bush cause the barrel to rotate 90 degrees clockwise and is then held while the bolt continues into its most rearward position, which cocks the action. The Roth-Steyr is known to have a heavy trigger pull, similar to most hammerless revolvers; this is a safety measure as it is also intended for use with mounted cavalry. Unlike most pistols, the Roth-Steyr does not have a detachable magazine; instead, rounds are fed into the weapon via stripper clips. Ten rounds can fit into one magazine. The left side of the weapon has a lever which acts as a bolt release. The weapon has wooden grips and a lanyard ring on the bottom of the pistol grip. It has fixed sights, and rifling for the weapon is four grooves with a right-hand twist.
The Roth-Steyr uses a proprietary cartridge, the 8mm Roth-Steyr; no other weapons are known to use this cartridge.
- Despite its name, Steyr really didn't have anything to do with the original design of the Roth-Steyr, other than performing some minor improvements.