An affordable, Shootable BB Copy
Of The Mauser Broomhandle.
Umarex USA has scored another major hit with the introduction of their latest CO2-powered BB pistol. Coming on the heels of their stunningly realistic copy of the Luger P.08, the new model is a truly amazing take on none other than the classic Mauser C96 semi-automatic pistol, popularly known by its nickname “Broomhandle” due to its peculiar round grip.
The Umarex C96 joins the aforementioned Luger P.08 under Umarex’s Legends line of classic handguns. As a longtime fan of the Mauser broomhandle, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a sample of this beauty.
At this point I feel a bit of history is called for. The original Mauser C96, as its model designation indicates, was produced between 1896 and 1937. Besides seeing extensive service with the German army during World War I, the C96—given the C12 designation by the German military—soldiered on through World War II as well, reportedly becoming popular with members of the notorious Waffen SS. Originally produced in caliber 7.63 Mauser, the C96 (C12) was one of the first truly successful semi-automatic pistols. Sometime during WWI, the broomhandle was also produced in 9mm Parabellum. Pistols in 9mm bear a distinctive figure 9 cut into both wooden grip plates, and the “9” filled with red paint. These pistols are popularly referred to as “Red 9’s” to distinguish them from the original 7.63mm Mausers.
The rear sight is adjustable for elevation
only, as was the original.
The Legends C96 has a non-functioning fire selector
resembling the one found on a real Mauser 712 Schnellfeuer.
The removable magazine takes one 12-gram CO2
capsule and has capacity for up to 19 BB’s.
Incidentally, one of the earliest fans of the C96 was a young British army officer named Winston Churchill. The future British prime minister acquired a C96 before being sent to the Sudan, where he reportedly put his Mauser pistol to good use fighting native rebels.
The Umarex Legends C96 fires traditional 4.5mm steel BB’s powered by a standard, disposable 12-gram CO2 capsule. Undoubtedly, the most remarkable aspect of the Umarex C96 is its semi-automatic blowback action mimics the operation of the real C96 in a most realistic fashion. As far as physical size and weight, the Legends C96 is also quite close to the real deal.
The Legends C96 sports a molded synthetic body with a matte black finish. Weighing a hefty 1.75 pounds, most of the weight is concentrated in its detachable cast alloy magazine. The latter can hold up to 19 BB’s and also houses a disposable 12-gram CO2 capsule. Like the original C96, this BB-spittin’ copy comes with a rear sight adjustable for elevation only, while the fixed front sight is an exact copy of the beefy inverted V found on the original.
The 5-1/4-inch barrel of the Legends C96 employs a smoothbore steel insert. Like the original, the long barrel of the BB copy ensures remarkable accuracy not commonly obtained from a BB pistol.
Interestingly, this Umarex model is really a copy of the Mauser M712 “Schnellfeuer,” the fully automatic version of the C96 with its long, detachable magazine. In fact, this BB model incorporates a realistic but non-functioning “selector” catch molded right out of the left side of the frame. It really would be something to have a BB version of the Schnellfeuer M712!
Shooting the Legends C96 was incredible fun! The semi-automatic blowback action delivered a stout kick with each pull of the trigger. The manual safety also mimics the one on the real C96, by the way. A pivoting catch on the left rear of the frame, next to the hammer, disconnects the trigger when activated. One point of interest regarding function is the breech does not remain open as the last BB is fired. No malfunctions were encountered during extensive tests. I was particularly impressed by the moderate CO2 consumption of the pistol when testing it. Each CO2 capsule yielded close to 70 shots before running dry. The muzzle velocity ran very close to the manufacturer’s advertised figure of 380 fps. This velocity is ample for plinking and even dispatching small rodents at close range.
There is no doubt fans of the real C96 broomhandle will find the Umarex Legends C96 a thrilling addition to their pistol collection. Retailing for just $100, this stunning BB-firing copy of the redoubtable Mauser C96 is sure to please even the most die-hard “Broomhandle” aficionado—and is much more affordable than the real one.
By J.I. GALAN
Maker: Umarex USA
6007 S. 29th Street
Fort Smith, AR 72908
Caliber: .177 (4.5mm) Steel BB only
Power Source: 12-gram CO2 capsule
Mechanism: Single-action, semi-automatic blowback
Magazine Capacity: 19
Length Overall: 11.5 inches
Weight: 1.75 poundsBarrel length: 5-1/4 inches, smoothbore
Sights: Elevation-adjustable rear; fixed front