239,859 Pages

Fusil M-1908 "Mondragón"
Mondragón rifle
Type Semi-automatic rifle
Place of origin Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
Service history
In service 1887-1949 (Mexico)
1932-present (foreign users)
Used by See Users
Wars Mexican Civil War
World War I
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Ecuadorian–Peruvian War
Chinese Civil War
Korean War
Production history
Designer General Manuel Mondragón
Designed 1884
Manufacturer Dirección General de Industria Militar del Ejército
Produced 1887
Number built 1,175,400
Variants Automatic rifle
Sniper rifle
Light machine gun.
Weight 4.18 kg (9 lb 3oz) empty
Length 1105 mm (43.5 in)

Cartridge 7 x 57 mm Mauser
Caliber 7x57mm Mauser
Action gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 750 - 1400 rounds/min depending on variant
Muzzle velocity 710 m/s (2300 ft/s)
Effective range 200 m to 550 m sight marks
Maximum range 900m (984 yd)
Feed system 8 round box,
10 round box,
20 round box,
30 round drum,
100 round drum
Sights Iron sights or Scope

The Mondragón was the world's first[1] semi-automatic rifle, and was designed by Mexican general Manuel Mondragón. He began work in 1882 and patented the weapon in 1887. It was gas-operated with a cylinder and piston arrangement, now very familiar but unusual at the time, and rotating bolt, locked by lugs in helical grooves in the receiver; it was also possible to operate it as a simple straight-pull bolt action. The caliber was 7 mm (.284 in) Mauser with an 8-round box magazine; a trial LMG version had a 20-round box and provision for a bipod, like the BAR; the Mexican Army also used a 100-round drum magazine for a light machine gun variant produced in 1910.

Features and usesEdit

The Mondragón was known for its stopping power but suffered from high recoil and poor accuracy[1] when their automatic variants were fired on fully automatic setting. The Mondragón also had a light machine gun variant that could be used with a 100-round magazine.. For this reason, the Mexican army used an improved light machine gun variant of the Mondragón up until 1943, when it was replaced with the Mendoza M-1943 general purpose infantry machine gun.

Initial productionEdit

Because of the Mexican Revolution, few facilities in Mexico were able to mass-produce it and those that could were not able to shut down their assembly plants for the required retooling time needed to initiate production of the new rifles. Mondragón attempted to interest a U.S. firm, without success as they thought that semi-automatic rifles were not practical and could not be produced in the numbers that Mexico wanted . He then turned to Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG), of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, who agreed to manufacture the rifle. In 1901 the first rifles were shipped to Mexico and issued to the army as the Fusil Mondragón Modelo 1900 with an 8 round magazine. In 1908 During the Mexican revolution a completely Mexican manufactured version was again issued to the Mexican Army as the Fusil Porfirio Diaz Sistema Mondragón Modelo 1908 this time with the 20 round magazine. By 1910 however adequate facilities were completed in the Mexican cities of Veracruz, Ciudad Juárez, Guanajuato, Guadalajara and Mexico City where they were produced until 1943.

Use in World War IEdit

With World War I, Germany bought the remainder of SIG's stock that had not been sent to Mexico, issuing them to the infantry, where they proved highly susceptible to mud and dirt in the trenches (a problem familiar even to less complex bolt action rifles such as the Ross). Instead, realizing their potential as portable yet powerful semi-automatic weapons, they were withdrawn by the Central German command and reissued, with 30-round helical magazines, to aircraft crews as the Fliegerselbstlader Karabiner 1915 (Pilot's Selfloading Carbine Model 1915), until enough numbers of machine guns were available.

International salesEdit

In the early 1930s, the Mexican government decided that they could make a profit trying to market the weapon on the international stage. At the time the Mondragón was still considered a quite advanced weapon with its only true rival being the BAR. It was sold to many Mexican allied nations including Chile, Brazil, Peru and Nationalist China. The Weimar Republic of Germany and later Nazi Germany purchased rights to licence manufacture the weapon along with Austria and Japan. Japan however manufactured less than five thousand, as Japanese machine tools at the time were not advanced enough to mass-produce the delicate firing mechanism.[citation needed] When Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army declared victory over nationalist forces in 1949 many of the nationalist's weapons were seized by the communist forces and almost all of the Chinese Mondragón rifles were redistributed to the People's Liberation Army where they remained in active service as sniper rifles and support weapons until the late 1950s, when it was completely phased out due to the widespread introduction of the SKS and Type 68 self-loading rifles. There is no documentation that shows the Mondragon was made anywhere except Switzerland.  No rifle with a serial number higher than 4,000 has been documented or found.

The BAR was designed as a squad automatic weapon and would have issued sparingly, the Mondragon was designed as the infatryman's primary weapon.  The Mondragon rifle would have been issued as the M1 Garand would have been issued, to every infantryman.

World War II and laterEdit

During World War II there were still many of the Mexican rifles in German stocks left over from World War I. These were given as auxiliary weapons to the Waffen SS or sometimes as replacements or complementary weapons to the Kar 98k in the early parts of the war. During the siege of Stalingrad some Wehrmacht troops used them instead of the Kar 98k as they were less susceptible to the frigid climate, and during the later part of the war they were issued to many Volkssturm groups[citation needed]. They also found their way into France when they were given as a donation by the Third Reich to the German allied Vichy French army, many would later be captured and used by the French resistance. Few of the German versions with the helical magazine survive, however the Mexican army still uses the Mexican version in parades and other military celebrations as a ceremonial rifle.[2]


  • Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
  • Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg Austria-Hungary
  • Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil
  • Flag of Chile.svg Chile
  • Flag of France Vichy France
  • Flag of the German Empire.svg German Empire
  • Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Weimar Republic
  • Flag of German Reich (1935–1945).svg Nazi Germany
  • Flag of South Korea.svg Republic of Korea
  • Flag of Japan (1870–1999).svg Empire of Japan
  • Flag of Peru (1825-1950).svg Peru
  • Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Republic of China
  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
  • Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Mondragón", Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare, Volume 18, pp.1933-35. London: Phoebus Publishing Company, 1978.

External linksEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).