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Count von Helldorf’s mysterious silencer carbine

The weapon presented here remains to this day surrounded by an aura of mysteries and legends never verified. For a long time, only drawings were published and its existence seemed to be a myth. The veil of doubt was lifted in 2010, when Gabriel Thérin, a French author, managed to locate a copy of this weapon, kept in the reserves of the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning and to obtain quality photos.


It is a manual repeating carbine, 9mm Parabellum caliber, with a built-in silencer and a claw-mounted scope. Unfortunately, it was not possible to disassemble or X-ray this silencer to discover its internal structure. Given its shape and volume, however, it is likely that it is a silencer with off-center partitions, derived from the famous Maxim silencer. This huge “exhaust pipe” offered the gases produced by the shot a huge volume of expansion, which was to ensure excellent sound damping, especially when subsonic ammunition was used.

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    Luc Guillou

    Luc Guillou, 67, served until 2011 as a doctor in the French Navy where he specialized in diving medicine. Now retired, he is the author of numerous books and articles mainly devoted to the weapons of WWI and WWII. He regularly practices sports shooting with antique weapons and was vice-president of the French Union of weapons' Amateurs (UFA) until 2020.

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