The Shanxi Type 17 is a .45ACP derivative of the famous Mauser C96, a.k.a "The Broomhandle."
One of the earliest successful automatic pistols, this design originated in Germany in the late 19th Century, when Paul Mauser introduced his C96 in 1896. It was significantly more reliable and easier to use than the earlier Borchardt C93 and achieved immediate success. The new pistol's distinctive grip earned it the nickname of "Broomhandle." Governments all over Europe purchased them, as did private citizens in Europe and America, where it became the first automatic pistol commonly seen in the American west. Prominent users of the C96 included Winston Churchill, who carried a Broomhandle at the Battle of Omdurman, and T. E. Lawrence, AKA "Lawrence of Arabia." Originally chambered in 7.63x25mm, Mauser also produced a variant in 9x19mm for the Imperial German Army (Reichswehr) during WWI. These 9mm Broomhandles were differentiated from the visually-identical 7.63mm model by a large red "9" marked on both sides of the grip, earning the 9mm variant the secondary nickname "Red Nine."
The Mauser pistol is notable for the fact that it uses no pins to hold the weapon together. The only screw in the weapon is the one securing the grip panels. The pistol's components all fit together and remain in place like an elaborate 3D puzzle. The weapon is accurate and mechanically reliable, but expensive and somewhat awkward to shoot. It was quickly outclassed by Browning designs manufactured by Colt in the United States and FN in Belgium. Nevertheless, it remained popular around the world, and production continued in Germany until 1937. It was more robust than the Luger P08, and was still commonly found in the holsters of German soldiers during and after WWII.
In the 1920s, China acquired a large number of Mauser C96 automatic pistols and eventually became the only country to adopt the strange, awkward "Broomhandle" Mauser as a primary military sidearm. The demand was so great, in fact, that even foreign imitations (such as the Spanish Astra Model 900 series) were actively procured, and various local arsenals would go on to mass-produce the German-pattern design. One such indigenous efforts was made by a weapons lab within the country's Shanxi Province, albeit in a modified form. The imported pistols, as well as the majority of Chinese-made copies, fired the German-designed high-velocity 7.63x25mm cartridge, but the Warlord of the Shanxi Provence, Yen Hsi-shan, had the design expanded to chamber the harder-hitting American-designed .45ACP to simplify his supply needs, as his men also used the Thompson submachine gun. When the Republic of China was invaded by Japan, the Broomhandle, including the .45ACP "Shanxi Type 17", saw extensive use in the hands of Chinese Nationalist and Communist troops who resisted the invaders. Many modified their Mausers with the 712 schnellfeuer conversion kit to make them fully automatic. The modified pistols suffered from excessive muzzle climb due to recoil when fired on full automatic, making accurate bursts difficult. The C96 also had ejection problems due to design flaws in the extractor and ejector. Despite being significantly more powerful, .45ACP develops less operating pressure in the chamber than the 7.63x25mm and 9mm rounds the pistol was designed for. Spent cases were ejected from the breech with minimal force as the bolt cycled. Since the C96 design ejects upwards from an ejection port in the top of the weapon, spent casings would not be ejected hard enough to clear the port, causing the pistol to jam due to gravity, of all things.
The Chinese learned to counteract this with a specialized shooting style, "bandit shooting" (so called because it was used against bandits, which were a main concern during 1920s China), where they held the gun sideways; the muzzle climb shifted the gun horizontally, allowing for a deadly sweep in close quarters (though this method is useless at any range beyond about 5 yards). The spent casings would eject to the side, negating the issues with jamming, and the recoil actually helped guide the operator's hand in close quarters to acquire the next target; the idea was to aim at the right-most target and use the muzzle jump to guide your aim to the next target. This technique was feared by the Japanese.
- Main article: Peace Walker Incident
During the Peace Walker Incident, the Militaires Sans Frontières procured design specs allowing for the development of the weapon that the Type 17 originated from, the C96. It was initially developed as a semi-automatic, but further enhancements allowed for it to have fully automatic functions (similar to the M712 Schnellfeuer variant of the C96), and eventually extra ammunition use.
Behind the scenes
Hideo Kojima admitted that he had always wanted to have the Mauser appear in the past Metal Gear games, but had never gotten the chance to until Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Kojima's "Grand Game Plan" for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty indicated that Olga Gurlukovich would have utilized the C96 Mauser as her preferred firearm. The development team for Metal Gear Solid 3 had some problems with the weapon during the game's production, as the motion actor using it was not accustomed to the gun.
The Type 17 can be obtained in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots by achieving the FOXHOUND rank upon completing the game, or by using a password to unlock it. In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, C96 Design Specs can be obtained by achieving an S Rank in Extra Ops 020.
- "An automatic pistol developed by the German Empire during the First World War. Large numbers were produced for use in Germany as well as for overseas export, most notably to China, here it became the favored weapon of bandit gangs.
(Rank 3)The C96 handles much like an extremely compact carbine rifle; its ammo produces strong recoil but boasts impressive stopping power. All in all, a pistol best suited to experienced, confident players.
(Rank 4) This model has been modified to enable full-auto fire. It is difficult to control, but very powerful when mastered.
(Rank 5) This is a full-auto model - difficult to control, but very powerful when mastered.
It has been modified to accommodate larger magazines, providing it with even greater firepower."
- ―C96 Mauser description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
"Chinese Bandit Shooting" is sometimes used as a CQB technique with automatic weapons, notably AKs. This is far more common in third world armies with poor marksmanship standards, where "spray and pray" is the norm. It is rare to see an American shoot like this, as American culture and military doctrine emphasize marksmanship (one shot, one kill). Still, Solid Snake occasionally employs this method effectively with his M4 Custom when facing large numbers of enemies (primarily Dwarf Gekko) in close quarters.