Astra Model 1921 semi-automatic pistol

1921 Piece of the month
We have chosen as our piece of the month for April, date of the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of the 2nd Republic in Eibar, the Astra Model 1921 semi-automatic pistol, also known as Model 400, one of the weapons used by the Republicans. This piece was the winning model of a competition organised by the Spanish Government to issue the Army with a new semi-automatic pistol, replacing the Campo-Giro 1913-16.
Card image cap

The company Esperanza y Unzeta, originally from Eibar, created in 1908 by Pedro Unceta and Juan Esperanza, and which moved in 1913 to Gernika-Lumo (Bizkaia) where they continued to produce semi-automatic pistols in the Eibar style, presented the Astra 400 9mm largo model, competing with a prototype entered by Unceta (Eibar) named “Esperanza” and with Star Mod. 1920 and Mod. 1921 entered by Bonifacio Echeverría.


The Astra 400 won the competition and was proclaimed Standard Issue by the Royal Order of 26 September 1921, as the “Astra Model 1921 Pistol” for the Spanish Armed Forces in 1921, the Royal Carabinier Corps in 1922, Prison guards in 1922 and the Spanish Navy in 1923.  

portada mundo grafico nº1300 sep 1936.jpg Biblioteca Nacional de España

It was used by the Republicans, including some as famous as the actress Juanita Montenegro who featured with her Astra 1921 on the cover of the Mundo Gráfico magazine in September 1936.

This model is basic in understanding a myriad of later designs by the firm, such as the Astra 300, Astra 600, Astra 3000, Astra 4000, Astra 800 Condor, etc., all highly recognised for their quality and issued for use by different armies and armed forces.