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The Alexandrov M1915 is a Russian semi-automatic pistol that was designed by Mikhail Alexandrov and manufactured by the Alexandrov Armory. A Russian take on the Mauser C96, it was the first semi-automatic pistol manufactured and adopted in Russia, and aimed at replacing / supplanting the Nagant M1895 revolver in service.

The Alexandrov M1915 with its 20-round magazine.

History

After the outbreak of World War I in Russia, the Imperial Russian Army used the Nagant M1895 revolver as its only sidearm. While the revolver was somewhat innovative due to its gas seal design and was comfortable to shoot, the weapon was slow to reload and only had a capacity of 7 rounds. Mikhail Alexandrov decided to fix the issue, especially after hearing about the German C96 and how vastly superior it was to the Nagant. Alexandrov used the C96 as its basis and, after encountering issues such as coming up with what cartridge to use, he eventually ended up with the M1915 pistol in late 1915. Alexandrov quickly got the pistol into service, and because the Russians were starting to get desperate with small arms, decided to adopt the pistol with minimal testing. In the battlefields, the M1915 gained a mixed reception; while the M1915 was superior to the M1895 in terms of magazine capacity and rate of fire, the M1915 was much less sturdy in terms of build quality and the magazines were often prone to breaking. The selector switch also was an issue; the indicators for safe and fire were dark, meaning that the user can't directly tell if the weapon is safe when looking at it in the dark. It was also much more bulky than the Nagant, with the protruding magazine and long barrel preventing it from fitting into holsters well. By 1917, before the Bolsheviks took power in Russia, the M1915 received an update that gave it a refined firing mechanism and new magazines, which helped to address some of the issues. During the outbreak of the Russian Civil War, many White Army soldiers (and Mikhail himself) who used the M1915 often sawed the barrel off by 3 inches and used lower-capacity magazines to help fit them into holsters. After Georgy Korsakov took the company over, production continued and was the Soviet Union's principal semi-auto pistol until the introduction of the TT-33, which rendered the M1915 obsolete, although the weapon did see usage by the Red Army in limited numbers during the Winter War and the Eastern Front of World War II.

Facts

  • Barrel length: 5.5"
  • Cartridge: 7.63x25mm Mauser (7.62x25mm Tokarev later on)
  • Designed in 1915, produced from 1916 to 1934 and again from 1941 to 1945.
  • Effective range: 150 meters
  • Feed system: 10 or 20-round box magazine
  • Rate of fire: Semi-automatic (full-auto for certain variants after 1942)
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs
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