During the late 1800s there were several companies developing semi-automatic pistols for the world market but only a handful would actually prove to be successful, consequently any of these early semi-automatic pre-1899 pistols are extremely rare.
Although the Schwarzlose 1898 pistol was not one of the most successful pistols, the uniqueness of the design was actually revolutionary and could almost be considered a prototype with very few ever manufactured.
The functioning of this model is based on what is termed a rotating bolt mechanism and is actually very similar in design to the current M16 series of rifles, only 110 years earlier.
I was going to attempt to describe the complicated workings of this unique pistol but as luck would have it I ran across this excellent Forgotten Weapons video that not only describes some of the pistol's history and the mechanics but also the pistol in action. Well worth watching.
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