POTD: Yovanovitch Model 1931 Prototype Pistol – The Last of Its Kind
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have the unique and nearly extinct creation of Lazar Yovanovitch. Mr. Yovanovitch was a guy that basically was down on his luck and overall had not had many good things happen to him. In his initial inventing days, he took a pistol design and was welcomed by the Anschutz company that is pretty widely known still today. The company quickly accepted the design and began manufacturing, but would eventually realize that the patent rights belonged to a different country which meant they did not actually have to pay Lazar Yovanovitch any royalties for his invention. It is awful to think about and potentially damaging to firearm history, but that is business for you. Later, he was much more hesitant, but took a new design (this gun today for which little is known about) and submitted it to the Yugoslavian Government for a patent and the military for adoption consideration, both of which were rejected.
” Unfortunately in April of that year Germany and Italy invaded Yugoslavia and that early model was left at home, where it was lost during the invasion. He was eventually captured and interned until after the war, where he eventually settled in Switzerland. Later he relocated to Canada and once again, remanufactured his original 1931 designed pistol. As the basis or starting point he used an original Yugoslavian Model 1922 barrel as manufactured by FN Herstal, to recreate his original 1931 pistol design. This model is actually a simple basic blow back operated pistol with minimal parts, that uses a striker designed firing pin. It is chambered in Cal. 9m/m kurz cartridge (380 ACP). It has a unique one-piece tubular slide/upper receiver with an internal recoil spring around the barrel just like the Browning Model 1922. This slide/upper receiver is mated to a simple one-piece frame forging with a bottom magazine release and a single safety lever on the left side. The upper receiver is marked: “Patent Yovanovitch/Model 1931”. The original barrel is marked on the right side of the chamber: “Kal 9 m/m/FN”. The safety area of the frame is marked “OD” and “ZA” for fire and safe. The pistol is serial numbered “7” on the rear of the frame and the side of the magazine release. It is fitted with walnut grips that are penciled marked on the upper side of each grip with serial number “3344” which is also mentioned in the Small Arms technical review article. It has a very comfortable ergonomic designed grips that is easy to hold and aim. It has a nicely polished and all blued metal finish.”
Lot 3330: Yugoslavia 1931 Pistol 380 Acp. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/67/3330/yugoslavia-1931-pistol-380-acp.