Swiss Prototype Pistols: P44/8 and W+F Bern P43 (Video)

Switzerland was an early adopter of the Luger pistol as a standard military sidearm, but by WWII that design was becoming obsolete and the Swiss began looking for a newer sidearm. Several lines of development were pursued, and we have examples of two of them here: the W+F Bern P43 and the SIG P44/8 (the /8 designates the single stack 8-round magazine; there was also a double stack P44/16 made).

These are both mechanically Browning short-recoil tilting barrel pistols, but they do show some significant differences, particularly in the trigger mechanisms. The P44 was developed from Charles Petter’s MAS 35A pistol adopted by the French, and it would go on to become the P47 (aka SIG P210) and the winner of the Swiss handgun trials. As the P210, it is arguably the best quality service pistol ever adopted by any military.

Edit to add: Well, I missed the boat big-time on this one! I don’t have much hands-on experience with the Browning P35 (aka GP, aka Hi-Power) and missed the clear fact that the P43 is in almost all ways a copy of that late Browning design (including the firing mechanism). Whoops!