Beretta 1915: The first of the Beretta pistols (VIDEO)

The Italian military went into World War I having already adopted a semiautomatic sidearm — the Model 1910 Glisenti. However, the 1910 Glisenti was a very complex design and much too expensive to be practical for the needs of the global cataclysm that was the Great War.

With the need for something cheaper, Beretta engineer Tulio Marengoni designed the Model 1915, a simple blowback handgun chambered for the 9mm Glisenti cartridge.

Only 15,300 of the Model 1915 pistol were made, because even they proved to be a bit more than the military really needed.

One of the Model 1915’s most interesting mechanical features is a pair of manual safeties — one on the back of the frame to lock the hammer and one on the left side to block the trigger. This proved a bit redundant, and the gun overall was rather large and heavy.

In 1917, the company introduced a scaled-down version in .32 ACP (7.65mm) — and would also omit the rather unnecessary hammer safety —  in much larger quantities.

The pistol is up for auction with bids starting at $1,500.

[ Rock Island Auction ]