BRIEF: French SACM Modele 1935A, 7.65mm Long, 8 rounds.
This is the original FIRST production model, produced only by SACM (only 11,700 made).
Designed by Charles Petter, this modification of the Browning dropping barrel locking system was also popular in Switzerland.
It was adopted by the French Army prior to WW-II and was also made under German supervision.
Similar to Colt M1911 but has much weaker cartridge.
It was a good pistol, with main drawback being somewhat weak ammunition of 7.65mm caliber.
Mle. 1935A was quite an elegant weapon, while the later Mle. 1935S had much more simplified look.
95% of the original black baked enamel (over phosphate/Parkerized finish) is remaining on the metal.
Bore is fairly bright but a bit pitted with decent rifling (it appears sharp but not very deep - probably was made that way).
YEAR OF MFR: 1937 or 1938 probably. (Produced c1937-46)
REMARKS: This is the original production model, produced only by SACM, and can be recognized by the curved lines of its butt and the fact that the muzzle is flush with the front of the slide.
The standard finish of the 1935A is black baked enamel over a phosphate/Parkerized gray first coat. This makes them highly resistant to corrosion.
The black paint shows many minor chips & scratches but not a hint of corrosion, pitting or rust.
Metal parts show lots of machining marks (poor & fast).
Later, the Mle.1935 was also manufactured by the MAC, MAS and SAGEM factories.
SERIAL#: E 1,793A
MARKS: Left of frame: "Mle 1935_A", "E" (stylized script) "1,793-A", "S.A.C.M.","
Bottom of Clip: "35_A"
CLIP/MAG: black phosphate coated with the same baked black enamel on the "outside" tang.
Excellent condition, probably original, marked "35_A" on bottom, fits nice. 8 round box magazine
GRIPS: black plastic, original, checkering pretty sharp, excellent condition
SIZE: 193mm oal, 109mm barrel, 745 gm with loaded magazine
FEATURES: Muzzle velocity 1,000 ft/sec. Had a magazine safety, a safety catch on the slide and a revised firing lock.
Type: Single Action
Chamber: 7.65x22mm Longue
Weight unloaded: 790 g
Length: 188 mm
Barrel length: 105 mm
Capacity: 8 rounds
The French state factory, Manufacture d'Armes de St. Etienne (MAS), worked for some years on an automatic pistol following WW-I, eventually selecting a design from SACM.
This bore some similarities to the Colt M1911, but there were differences, principally that the weapon was chambered for the French Army's 7.65x19.5 Longue round, which was not particularly powerful and used only by French forces.
The new pistol had a magazine safety, a safety catch on the slide and a revised firing lock.
NOTES: After World War 1 the St Etienne Arsenal was asked by the French government to design a new service pistol for the French military.
A Swiss designer working for St Etienne, Charles Petter, took an existing Browning design and modified it by making the firing mechanism a removable module, changing the recoil spring housing, and adding magazine and slide safety catches.
This became the Mle 1935A and in 1935 this pistol had been adopted by French military as Mle.1935.
Initial production began in 1936, the first Mle 1935As were delivered to the French Army in 1937, and due to low rate of production the pistol had been slightly redesigned in 1938, to simplify manufacture.
By the time of the French surrender to the Nazis in 1940, only 10,700 had been built and far less than that were actually issued to French troops.
The Nazis kept the Mle 1935A in production, issuing it to police and collaborators as well as occupying Nazi troops, and called it the P-625(f).
Under Nazi occupation, 23,850 were built.
After World War 2, the Mle 1935A remained in production until 1950, and were issued to French troops and the Foreign Legion alike.
Add the 50,400 made after the liberation, the total number of 84,950 is still a very small number for a regulation arm.
Captured examples were encountered by American troops throughout the Vietnam War; in addition, due to wide use by the Foreign Legion in Algeria, the Mle 1935A also worked its way into most of North Africa, where some are still in use today.
French police themselves also used the Mle 1935A well into the 1980s.
Lanyard loops (anneau de dragonne) were added later, when the guns were transferred from the front line troops to the gendarmerie.
Charles Gabriel Petter led an interesting life. Charles Petter, Swiss born 1880 canton de Vaud, was a mechanical engineer, he worked a few years for Krupps in Essen then moved to France where he married a French girl in 1909.
A lieutnant in the swiss Army, he enlisted (volunteered during WW-I) as private in the Foreign Legion in 1914 and was captain in 1918.
He was granted French citizenship in 1916 after he was decorated Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.
In 1926 he re-married a Russian exilee and lived in France until 1940 when he retired to Switzerland with his wife and daugthers and died in Montreux in 1953.
He was a manager for Lewis guns France from the early 1920s until it closed down in 1933, then technical Manager for SACM in 1934 where the prototype for the PA 1935 A were designed and patented.
As mentioned, he designed the Mle 1935A while working for SACM in Cholet.
He sold his plans & patents to SIG (for use only outside France) in the late 1930s, where he designed the Sig P210 in 9 mm Luger (where you can see the Mle 1935A’s influence), the best, most accurate “out-of-the-box” military handgun.
Survivors were still being retained for police use in the 1990s.
Technically, the Mle.1935 is a further development of the Colt-Browning M1911 pistol.
Mle. 1935 uses same locked breech, swinging link operated locking with single locking lug on the top of the barrel (in the Mle. 1935S the locking lug was formed on the slide, and on the top of the barrel there was a recess).
The hammer and lockwork was designed as a single assembly, removable for cleaning maintenance (first originated in Soviet TT pistol of 1930).
This unit contained hammer, sear and mains spring.
The slide mounted safety locked the firing pin when engaged.
Sights were fixed and magazine single stack, holding 8 rounds.
1. Remove the magazine,
2. Pull back the slide about 5cm until the slide stop matches the little notch in the slide,
3. Pull the slide stop out to the left by pushing from the right,
4. Remove the slide,
5. You can also remove the lockwork package in one single piece.
The photos here do not do the gun justice - It is a rich BLACK all over!
The scratches in the original PAINT have been dramatically overemphasized by the flash.
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