Charles Petter

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Charles Gabriel Petter
Born(1880-03-26)March 26, 1880
DiedJuly 7, 1953(1953-07-07) (aged 73)
NationalitySwiss, French
Known forFrench Model 1935 Handgun

Charles Gabriel Petter (26 March 1880 – 7 July 1953) was a Swiss firearms designer.

French Model 1935 Pistol

Charles Petter, born in Lavey-Morcles, studied mechanical engineering in Bern and was a lieutenant in the infantry of the Swiss Army. He became an employee of Krupp in Essen, Germany. During World War I he served in the French Foreign Legion, where he obtained French citizenship and the rank of captain.

He received two French decorations, the Croix de Guerre and membership in the Legion of Honor. (He was made a French citizen by Presidential decree in 1916).[1]

After that, he was director of the French branch of the Belgian company Armes Automatiques Lewis and consultant of the Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques (SACM) in Cholet.[2]

The Petter Browning System[edit]

Petter designed the Modèle 1935 pistol which had some of the same design elements as the John Browning M1911 such as the grooved slide and barrel which interlocked and recoiled together until a pivoting link lowered the barrel, thus unlocking the assembly and further rearward movement of the barrel and slide together, which after reaching the point of greatest movement would be returned to battery. Along the way the slide would strip a cartridge from the magazine and push it into the chamber just prior to the under barrel link forcing the barrel up into engagement with the slide, locking the action. Petter eliminated the barrel bushing and used a full length spring guide which had the effect of removing some of the inaccuracy from the M1911 design and increased functional reliability.

A unique feature of the system was an integrated fire control system. The trigger, hammer, mainspring, and sear assembly were contained in one unit. His design impressed SIG of Switzerland, who licensed it in order to produce their model 47/8 handgun (which became the Sig P210, now known as the Sig Sauer P210).

His French patent ‹See Tfd›FR 782914  (Swiss: ‹See Tfd›CH 185452 , U.S. Patent 2,139,203) for the French Modèle 1935A pistol was acquired in 1937 by SIG and used for the SIG P210 pistol. The Browning-Petter system or Browning-Petter-SIG system of breechblocks goes back to John Browning and Charles Petter.[1]

Private life[edit]

Charles Petter was married twice, in 1909 to Louise Marguerite Paule Charavet, and in 1926 to Xenia Schegloff. His second marriage produced two daughters, Elizabeth and Hélène. He died in Montreux.


  1. ^ a b "Dog and Gun". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  2. ^ Hawks, Chuch. "French Modele 35A Pistol: The First Branch on the Developmental Tree". Retrieved 26 February 2017.

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