How a Steyr M1912 works

The Steyr M1912 handgun is operated by a system of short recoil, the barrel unlocking from the slide by rotation. As the pistol is being fired and the recoil of the pistol is in motion, a lug and groove system around the barrel rotate the barrel 20° until a lug hits a stop wedge and holds the barrel while the slide is free to continue its rearward travel, the extractor claw withdrawing the spent casing against the breech face of the slide until the casing strikes the ejector and departs the weapon via the ejection and loading port.[1] Shortly after ejection the slide's rearward travel is arrested by the compressed recoil spring and the abutment of mated surfaces of the slide and frame. The recoil spring is now free to return its stored energy to the cycle of the weapon by beginning to return the slide forward.

As the return spring returns the slide forward, the breech face strips a round from the magazine into the chamber and the locking system engages the barrel and locks it with the slide in the battery position. A safety lever on the left side of the frame can be engaged by turning it into a notch on the slide to immobilize the slide. A disconnector system will also prevent the weapon from firing until the whole action is fully closed.

Although the magazine is situated in the grip, it is integral with the weapon and is loaded from above using eight-round stripper clips. To load, the slide is pulled back to expose the action, the clip is inserted along the guides and the rounds pushed into the magazine.The metal strip is then discarded. As with the majority of pistols with integral magazines, a lever can be used to disengage the magazine catch in order to eject the magazine load.