When the movie Star Wars was released, one of the more famous blaster pistols was created. The Han Solo Blaster, which happened to be based on the German 1896 Mauser pistol. Other names include C96, Broomhandle Mauser, Red 9 and Box Cannon. The gun was originally issued as a 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge pistol and came with or without a shoulder stock. In WW1, the Imperial German Army had roughly 150K made with 9mm rounds. They also burned a 9 into the handle indicating 9mm, so as not to confuse them with the 7.63mm pistols. The gun was manufactured in Germany from 1896 to 1937 and had a production run of around 1 million, with others being made in both China and Spain.
The mauser was also seen in a few movies including The Naked Runner and
Sinatra in The Naked Runner
Oliver Reveese Sitting Target
During the first 3 Star Wars movies A New Hope (ANH), Empire Strikes Back (ESB) and Return Of The Jedi (ROJ) Han Solo and Luke Skywalker used modified C96 as blasters.
Han Solo carrying a Blaster made from a WW1 GERMAN HENSOLDT Ziel – Dialyt 3x sniper rifle scope, C96 Broomhandle Mauser and a Flash Suppressor.
Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back carrying the ESB Blaster made from a WW2 M19 Tank Telescope, C96 Broomhandle Mauser and a Flash Suppressor.
The blasters are usually referred to as ANH, ESB or ROJ blasters. While the main gun was from the Broomhandle Mauser, the scopes were either from the M19 Tank telescope or the WW1 German Hensoldt Ziel – Dialyt 3x sniper rifle scope.
Today since many of the original blaster parts have become quite expensive people have looked for alternatives.
Broomhandle Mauser Alternatives
- MGC or RMI (Model Gun Corporation in Japan – founded in 1963) – The top of the line replica C96. MGC went bankrupt in 1994. Production was taken over by Taito & Shin Nihon Mokei. Gun production continued as New MGC until it was close-down 2007
- Hudson Industry 1916 Mauser (Produced in 1962). This is another Mauser produced before MGC’s model came out.
- Master Replicas – These are the top of the line reproductions.
- Denix C96 Mauser – These are replicas of the broomhandle mauser, but the detail is rather soft.
- Airsoft Mauser – These are probably the next best substitute, but don’t have quite the same hefty feel
- Resin Han Solo Blaster – These look great when painted to a good standard and are very detailed.
- Hasbro Han Solo Blaster – These are probably the cheapest of the bunch in both quality and substitution, but since you don’t need to add any parts, they can work quite well.
Hudson Industry 1916 Mauser (Produced in 1962)
M19 and Hensoldt Ziel – Dialyt Alternatives
- WW2 M38 & M40 Tank Telescopes – These are the real deal and are cool just because of their historic value.
- Resin M19 – This is good alternative to the real telescope, looks pretty good and doesn’t add much to the weight of the gun.
- Resin Hensoldt Ziel – Dialyt Scope – Again a good alternative, since the real deal is pretty scarce and costs a lot.
- Custom Kits – There are a few custom kits out there that have CNC machined scopes. They don’t function, but look really good.
The MG 81 was a German belt fed 7.92 mm machine gun, used in flexible installations in World War II Luftwaffe aircraft. The flash suppressor was used as the muzzle on Han Solo’s blaster in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Greebies (These are the extra parts on the gun)
The front grill actually came from a Hawker engine kit and can still be ordered http://www.reademodels.com
To Be Continued
M3 Grease gun