According to known data, the original draft of a folding non-removable stock for existing types of pistols appeared at the turn of the tenth and twenties of the last century. In any case, it was during this period that the designer Josef von Behnke from Budapest received several patents, both domestic and foreign. However, it is quite possible that he began developing a new accessory during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it was possible to bring unusual products to production only after the collapse of the country and the formation of an independent Hungary.
Frommer-Stop pistol with folded stock J. von Behnke. Photo "The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols"
New folding butts of a number of types that are compatible with existing pistols were called by the names of the inventors — first Benke and then Benke-Thiemann. It is under these names that products are known even now, and also put up for auction. In this case, the first version of such a product had its own designation Minta A - “Model A”. Later, the name of the compatible pistol was added to the names of the developers in the designation of the butt.
The main claim to serial holsters-butts was associated with their large size and certain inconveniences of use. Y. von Behnke proposed to abandon the idea of a single device for carrying and application weapons. In the new project, he planned to use a folding unit that is installed directly on the gun. In order for the weapon, while receiving new parts, to maintain acceptable ergonomics, the butt should have a special design and a specific principle of operation.
As conceived by the designer, the first butt of the new family was to be installed directly on the regular frame of the Frommer-Stop pistol. It should have been removed from the existing lining, and their place was occupied by one of the butt knots. Such an operation was quite simple and allowed to equip a weapon with a butt in the shortest possible time.
To simplify the design and reduce the cost of production, the Benck butt was proposed to be assembled mainly from steel parts made by stamping. Butt consisted of only five large parts, and also included a set of axles, fasteners, etc. Due to the specific principle of operation, the large parts of the butt had a rather complex shape. In the folded position, the butt parts did not interfere with the use of pistol controls and did not impede access to the magazine latch.
Directly on the pistol it was proposed to fasten the front element of the butt, made in the form of a pistol grip with several projections at the back. The stamped part repeated the contours of the standard handle, although it was slightly smaller. Behind from above from such "handle" a pair of horizontal supports of the U-shaped profile departed. Two more similar protrusions, but of smaller length, were at the level of the bottom of the handle. Four pillars had holes for the installation of vertical axes. Due to the different lengths of the supports, the four axes had to be in the same plane.
On each pair of axes, right and left, it was proposed to install movable plates of complex Y-shape. The front part of such a part, mounted on the hinge of the “handle”, partially repeated its shape. In the center of the plate there was a large window that was supposed to fall on the standard trigger guard of the pistol. In the back of the part, which was distinguished by a smaller height, there were elements of another hinge. In front of the hinge, small windows were provided for the latch to work. Two hinged parts associated with the "handle", had the same shape, but were mirrored.
The two rear large butt plates looked like the previous elements. At the same time, they differed in large size, because when folded they were supposed to cover them with them. In fact, in the folded position, these parts performed the functions of the outer linings of the weapon covers. These stock covers also had a window at the trigger level. As part of these parts had their own lining the handle. Unlike the part installed on the frame, this “handle” had sufficient dimensions and shape that corresponded to the standard equipment of the pistol. From the "handle" of the rear part departed two supports mounted at an angle. They were interconnected by a vertical axis. The system in the form of four curved supports and the axis served as a shoulder rest.
For fixation in the folded or working position butt Benke Minta A got the simplest latch. It was located near the first hinge of the rear covers-plates. On the front of the left part a small case with a spring-loaded latch was placed. When fixing the latch entered the window of the right lining and clung to it. The same latch was used in both positions of the butt.
The folding butt of the new design was installed directly on the frame of the Frommer-Stop pistol and had almost no effect on the ergonomics of the weapon. However, when the butt was folded, additional elements appeared under the frame and barrel, which increased the width of the weapon, and hinges stood behind the handle. All this could lead to some changes in balancing and a significant change in sensations. However, this could be an acceptable price for new opportunities.
To decompose the butt of J. von Becken, it was necessary to open the latch under the barrel. After this, the plates of the butt, lying in pairs along the frame, should have been diluted to the side to a certain angle with the frame. Then it was proposed to pull the rear axle-humeral support and straighten the entire structure. As a result, the moving parts became parallel to each other. When two central hinges approach each other, the latch, which had previously held the stock in folded form, reattached a pair of cover plates. Butt was ready to fire.
Reverse transfer to the transport position was also not associated with difficulties. It was necessary to open the latch, make some similarity of a rhombus from parallel parts, and then move the shoulder rest forward and fold the butt plates along the frame, fixing it with the same latch. It took only a few seconds to change the weapon configuration. Even an inexperienced user could easily cope with such tasks.
The folding butt of the design, J. von Becken and G. Timan, had almost no effect on the dimensions of the weapon, although it provided new opportunities. When folded, the butt for the Frommer-Stop pistol was longer than 220 mm with a height comparable to the dimensions of the handle. The folded parts were under the frame, and also stood behind it. The length of the unfolded stock (including the handle) - 450 mm, actually folding part - 390 mm. Folded butt had almost no effect on the overall height of the weapon, but increased its width.
It is known that the installation of the butt Behnke had the most noticeable impact on the performance of the gun. A rather large and relatively heavy accessory changed all the main features of the weapon. First of all, the additional mass, only partially compensated by the lack of regular overlays of the handle, increased the load on the hands of the shooter. In addition, the increased thickness of the handle, as well as the presence of lining around the trigger bracket could affect the convenience of the weapon. Placing the folding devices along the frame appropriately affected the balancing of the gun.
However, most of these “effects” of the butt set were associated with the shooter’s feelings, and led only to discomfort. Training and the development of new habits, probably, allowed to obtain the desired results and to compensate for the unpleasant features of the butt.
As for the folding butt in the working position, in this case, the main advantage was the stabilization of the weapon during firing, dramatically increasing accuracy and accuracy. However, there could also be an inconvenience in the form of a relatively thin handle formed by the overhead part of the stock. At the same time, the metal structure, with sufficient strength and convenience, turned out to be noticeably lighter than the traditional wooden holster-butt.
According to known data, at the very beginning of the twenties Joseph von Behnke ordered one of the Budapest enterprises to manufacture prototypes of a new butt. Probably, these products were tested and then offered to potential customers. However, it did not go further. No one wanted to buy unusual accessories for army pistols.
Butt in the process of transfer to the working position, top view. The plates are released and divorced to the sides. Photos Investmentsinarms.com
However, this did not stop the work. Soon, J. von Becken went to Berlin, where he attracted businessman George V.A. Timan. With his participation, a new version of the folding stock was created. This product was intended for use with Luger / Parabellum pistols. To adapt to the new weapon, the existing butt should have been enlarged, as well as the form of all the main parts should be reworked.
It was proposed to buy German-made Luger pistols, equip them with own-designed butts and then offer them to customers. Through the efforts of G. Timan, the FF Schulze Metallwarenfabrik company was involved in the project, which was to stamp the parts. Another company was invited to sew a new type of holster.
The Luger pistol was larger than the Frommer-Stop product, and this affected the dimensions of the new butt. P Benke-Timan for this weapon in folded form had a length of 225 mm, and the total length of the gun after its installation was increased by less than 50 mm. So, the Luger pistol with a 4-inch barrel after installing the butt had a total length of just over 260 mm. The vertical dimension did not change, and the width increased only by a few millimeters. In the unfolded position, the total length of the entire stock was 500 mm. The length of the pistol grip - about 390 mm. The total length of the weapon with the butt is more than 630 mm.
The folded parts of the butt were noticeably protruding in front of the trigger guard, and the rear hinges protruded beyond the handle and frame. Because of this, a Luger pistol with a Benke-Timan butt needed a new holster. Especially for such a weapon, the production of leather goods of a larger size and a different shape was established.
Y. von Behnke and G. Timan planned to sell pistols with butts to both civilians and law enforcement agencies. In 1926, an unusual “complex” was offered to the Reichswehr. The military tested the proposed product, but did not take it into service and sign a contract for serial supplies. Civilians also showed little interest in the unusual butt. Accessories for pistols were shown at various exhibitions, but this did not lead to an increase in sales.
Serial production of butts to Behnke-Timan to equip pistols "Parabellum" lasted several years. During this time, all 300 butts were manufactured. The same number of sets in the form of a pistol with a butt and a special holster were shipped to a few customers. Just a few years after its launch, production stopped.
The reasons for the lack of large orders for butts were simple and clear. The original project appeared at a bad time. Not so long ago, a major war ended, and the economic opportunities of potential customers left much to be desired. At the same time, there was less money for both armies and potential civilian customers. This situation was complicated by the fact that the collapsible butt was not a “commodity”, and the owners of the pistols could easily do without it.
In such conditions, the original butt for a common pistol had very limited prospects. Not all potential customers could consider it as a new purchase, and it shifted to the category of curious, but unnecessary and virtually unpromising technical oddities.
Special holster for a Luger pistol with a Benke-Timan butt. Photo "The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols"
Yet 300 butts are not lost in warehouses. According to different sources, over time, all manufactured products found their owners. Apparently, they were used for their intended purpose and were installed on the "Luger" serial pistols of various modifications.
The lack of real interest on the part of potential buyers led not only to a quick stop of production, but also to a halt in the development of unusual ideas. The butt for the Luger pistol turned out to be the second and last development in the product line of the J. von Behnke design. After the failure of the serial model, its creators decided not to adapt the butt to other types of pistols.
Production time and small batch production volumes have thus far led to a natural result. The vast majority of folding butts Benke-Timan over the past decade has been lost in certain circumstances. Some butts were broken during use and corny thrown into the scrap, while others could be lost for other reasons. As a result, up to our time, out of three hundred items released, no more than a few survived.
The few remaining samples of an already not the most mass product are now of museum and collection value. In particular, Benke-Timan’s butts regularly appear on foreign arms auctions. These accessories are almost always sold with the Parabellum self-loading pistol. Depending on the state of the weapon and the butt, the price of such a lot can reach 15-17 thousand US dollars.
The usual detachable pistol butts were not without flaws, and the Hungarian inventor offered a curious solution to this problem. Instead of a large and heavy device, a compact folding system with similar functions could be used. However, the project of Josef von Becken and Georg Timan appeared at a difficult time, when he could hardly be recognized and become the subject of truly large orders. As a result, an unusual development was made not for long and in small quantities, and in the future, naturally, it turned into the category of interesting rarities.
On the materials of the sites:
Görtz J. Strugess G. The Borchardt & Luger Automatic Pistols. - Galesburg IL USA Simpson Production, 2012.