By: Cliff Carlisle
Theodor Bergman was an early designer of auto pistols. His first designs were from the 1890s. By 1903 he had designed and was having the Bergman Mars Model 1903 produced in Gaggenau, Germany. The Spanish Army purchased some of these in 9mm Largo (Long) (9X23) for service use. In 1907 Bergman sold the rights to manufacture the M1903 to Anciens Etablissement Pieper in Belgium. The remainder of the unfilled Spanish contract went with the rights to make the pistol. Spain had requested a change in the safety of the M1903. This change was incorporated in the pistols made by Pieper along with a change from 4 groove rifling to 6 groove & the new design was designated the Model 1908.
In 1909 Denmark decided to adopt an auto pistol to replace their Gasser revolvers. After a series of tests they adopted the Pieper made M1908 Bergman Bayard in 9X23 as their service pistol. Cut outs had been added to the magazine housing to make it easier to remove the magazine & concentric rings had been added to the magazine to provide a griping surface to help remove it. Denmark designated this pistol the M1910. 4840 M1910 pistols were delivered by Pieper before the WW1 invasion of Belgium stopped its production.
With the M1910 no longer being produced in Belgium Denmark found it’s self without a source to buy its pistols from. Some design changes had been decided upon by the Danish military including different grips & the design for the removal of the side plate. With these changes incorporated it was adopted as the Model 1910/21. In 1922 the manufacture of the new design was started in Denmark. From 1922 to 1925 2204 M1910/21 pistols were produced at the Danish Army Arsenal in Copenhagen. Pistols made from 1922 into 1924 were stamped Haerens Tojhus (Army Manufacturing Arsenal). Those made later in 1924 & 1925 were stamped Haerens Rustkammer (Army Storage Arsenal). During the same period, the M1910 pistols in service were modified to the M1910/21 configuration and had the new designation stamped on the left side of the receiver. The grips were originally made from Trolite, a plastic material. This material had a breakage problem & a large percentage of the pistols were fitted with wooden grips.
One of the changes between the M1910 & the M1910/21 was the change from the short, narrow grips to tall, wide ones. If you have a large hand the narrow grip is difficult to hold & control the pistol during firing. The 9X23mm Bergman Bayard cartridge is a powerful one. The grip on the M1910/21 fills the hand nicely & makes it much easier to fire.
The top pistol is the M1910/21 while the lower one is the M1910. Note that the extractor of the M1910/21 has been modified to strengthen it. The barrel, just ahead of the receiver, has been cut back farther. This may have been a weight saving change. Note the rectangular locking block at the far right in the photo. This block is cammed down to unlock the bolt from the receiver as the bolt goes to the rear & up to lock it again as the bolt returns to the battery position.
The M1910 on the left has the button to release the side plate. The M1910/21 on the right has the button changed to a special screw. Also note the unusual shaped main spring.
To disassemble either model follow these instructions. Remove the magazine. Make sure that there is no round in the chamber. The right hand cocking knob on the bolt has a pin going through it that serves as the firing pin retainer. Using a tool, push the firing pin in as far as it will go. While holding it in this position, pull the retaining pin out of the cocking knob. Release the pressure on the firing pin & remove it from the bolt. The rear sight on these pistols is also the mainspring retainer. Push the rear sight toward the muzzle and carefully lift it up out of the receiver. The recoil spring will probably try to come out with the sight. To avoid kinking the spring, carefully push it back into the slide. You can re-insert the firing pin into its recess & into the spring if needed. This will straighten out the spring & allow it to come out with the firing pin when it is a removed. The bolt can now be removed to the rear from the receiver. Then the receiver can be pulled to the front and off the frame. The locking block can then be removed from the receiver. On the M1910 the side plate can also be removed by pushing on the round button behind the trigger. The M1910/21 has a screw in place of the button & requires a special tool to remove it.