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SAUER Model 1913
"The Pocket Automatic"

Applicable to Model 1913 Automatics & Behorden (Service Model 1913)

J.P. Sauer and Sohn (son) is an old world Prussian arms manufacturer that was established in 1751 in Suhl Prussia, now part of Germany.  They made very high quality long guns (langenwaffen) and pistols as well as other machine parts and supplies, from shovels and farm implements to hinges and house hold supplies.    Sauer is currently located in Eckerndorfe, Germany and has been partnered with SIG Arms since 1972.

Originally manufactured in 1913 to 1930 and upgraded in 1930 and again in 1938. It is a 7 shot automatic with a 3 inch barrel and fixed sights, frame blued with black rubber grips. Available in .32 Auto (7.65 Browining), .25 Auto, .380 Auto (9mm Kurz) and the vary rare .22 Long Rifle.  

The 1913 version was upgraded into the 1930, then slightly modified to be come the Behordenmodell (Service Model) version. The first change was cosmetic -- a simple reshaping of the grip from parallel sided to a raked backstrap.  The second modification is most likely where Glock (and other Sauer imitators) found the idea of a safety built-in trigger safety.  It had a small rectangular bar protruding from the face of the trigger, and pulling the trigger pulled it in to flush position.  When the detent was out, the gun was in / on safe; with the detent depressed or in the in position, the safety was disengaged and allowed the trigger to be completely engaged.

I do not like trigger safeties.  I prefer the internal safeties of a modern SIG Classic.  The argument has been made that for some law enforcement applications, an external safety can reduce the risk of officers being shot with their own guns.  Stupid concept IMNSHO.  Firsts off, if the BG can take you gun, he can simply beat you to death with it if he/she is to stupid to know how to deactivate the safety.  Secondly, weapons retention is a training issue.  Train to a standard where you will not be easily disarmed and equip yourself and your unit with retention holsters and back-up guns.  In simple terms, spend more time in ground combat training and at the gym and less time at Krispy Cream.

The 1913 is easy to disassemble.  To do so, unload it,  work the action, and remove the magazine.  Then just push the rear sight down, and start unscrewing
the rear end of the slide, which is a large internally-threaded cup.

Once the cup is free, remove the breechblock, being careful not to lose the firing pin, its spring, and (not always there) the cocking indicator pin.  Remove the slide and its around-the-barrel spring toward the front.

When you look to inspect the slide rails for wear, you will get a big surprise, as there are none.  Instead, a thick, flat plate rises from the grip, and the barrel is screwed into it.  Viewed from front of back, the plate is shaped like an old-fashioned keyhole that is circular at the top, with a parallel-sided "stem" below the circle, rather like a stylized oak "tree."

The front end of the slide fits the barrel, so the front end can go back and forth, but not slop off to the sides or up and down.  That's easy, with its around-the-barrel spring system. 

The inside of the slide is tube shaped.  The inside of the tube fits closely around the spring, with an internal narrowing forming a shoulder at its front end, and the spring fits around the barrel.  The slide is now positioned along its length, so it cannot get out of alignment with the barrel.

At this point, the slide is located accurately in every way except rotation. To prevent the slide from rotating, the bottom of the slide is cut away, forming a long slot.  The slot (open at the rear end until the end cup is screwed back on) fits the "trunk" of the "tree," and that prevents the slide from rotating. (The around-the-barrel spring butts against the circular portion of the "tree" at its back end, and against the narrower part of the slide at its front end.)  

The Sauer 1913 is a blowback .32ACP (7.65mm Browning) pocket pistol.  Looking at an assembled one, you would never guess that it has no slide rails, and you would probably admire the complex machining of the outside of the slide, which is rather elaborate.  This gun was not cheap to manufacture. 

The main points of interest lie in the slide positioning arrangements and the cup-shaped screw-on rear end of the slide to hold in the separate breechblock. With a bit of redesign, this is potentially a handgun that could easily be made in your basement shop.

Ignoring the Sauer's elaborate machining for a moment, the slide is a tube, narrowed at one end to make a shoulder for the around-the-barrel spring to compress against. It is threaded at the rear end, and has one slot cut in the bottom to marry up with the "tree"-shaped barrel mounting post.  The top is slotted to hold the spring-steel rear
sight/disassembly catch, but that is not a necessity. Slide complete.

The cup-shaped rear end cap is virtually identical with a common pipe cap in design, with one small notch cut in it to engage the spring-steel rear sight, but that notch is not a necessity.

The round breechblock, not being an integral part of the slide, can be made on a
lathe with a minimum number of milling cuts to handle cartridge feeding. There are major production advantages to this separate breech block.  The Sauer's grip is forged and machined steel, quite complex and expensive to make. 

Values vary greatly and are mostly dependant on caliber with the .22 long rifle being the most rare and most valuable, bringing prices of  $300 to $500.  The .380 or 9mm Kurz is next in rarity and value with prices ranging from 250  - 400 dollars and the more common .32 ACP or 7.56 pistol of which many were made and are available, range in price from $125 to 300 dollars.  As with any old gun or marketable product, the true value is what the buyer is willing pay.


Official SIG Arms U.S. Web Site

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