Steyr, the hometown of modern rifles.

The landscape of Steyr. Photo credit:Forging mind

Steyr, Austria is not a popular Tourist attraction but is a well-known city in military history - the city where the most successful (in the defination of business) bull-pup rifle Steyr AUG was born.

奧地利城市,Steyr,不是旅遊熱門景點,但卻是軍事界家喻戶曉的城市,也就是輕兵器史上最成功(銷售上)的犢牛式步槍 Steyr Mannlicher AUG系列的誕生之地。

The reason why Steyr Mannlicher can be successful in the light weapon design history is not coincident and one of the key factors is the geographical location - It is located at the intersection of the “Iron road ” the route being used to ship iron out of the Erzberg mine and this advantage made it the most important base of  iron trading/weapon forging in Europe since 12th century.


The logo of ŒWG  Photo credit: wikipedia

In the 19th century, a son of a blacksmith named Josef Werndl collaborated with a talented weapon designer Ferdinand Mannlicher and founded the company “ŒWG” - Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft/Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company, which later became the famous Steyr Mannlicher.By manufacturing series of advanced rifles and supplying the army of Austria-Hungary Empire, ŒWG became the largest weapon manufacture company at that moment.

十九世紀時一位鐵匠的兒子-Josef Werndl與一位天才武器工程師Ferdinand Mannlicher合作,成立了”ŒWG-Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft/Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company”也就是後來知名的Steyr Mannlicher前身。憑著他們先進的一系列步槍設計,成為歐洲最大的軍火製造商,也直接提供當時的奧匈帝國陸軍。

After WWI, because of Vertrag von Saint-Germain forbids Austria to manufacture any weapon, ŒWG was forced to shut down their production 禁用字 and change their name to Steyr-Werke, conducting car and bicycle manufacturing for Steyr Automobiles(interestingly, Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche was also in Steyr Automobiles around that period)But Steyr-Werke was still manufacturing rifles in the neutral country Switzerland to maintain their professional practice.

ŒWG在一次世界大戰結束後,由於奧匈帝國戰敗,聖日耳曼條約禁止奧地利生產武器,ŒWG被迫轉型並且改名為Steyr-Werke,開始替Steyr Automobiles生產汽車零件(有趣的是Porsche的靈魂人物Ferdinand Porsche博士也曾在1930年代加入,生產了一系列汽車),但同時還是在中立國瑞士維持Mannlicher系列步槍的製造。

During the WWII, Steyr become one of the important weapon manufacturing base of Nazis, and was heavily using people from the concentration camps to be their labor, one of the underground bunker which was treated as a concentration camp is still existing right next to the center of Steyr city, and now opened as a museum to public in the first weekend of every month.


One of the office building of Steyr Mannlicher built in 1873 and now being used as a residential accommodation.  
其中一棟Steyr Mannlicher於1873年建成的辦公室,現在已成為一般民宅並指定為產業遺址歷史建築。
Photo credit : Forging mind

Josef Werndl built a great foundation for Steyr city to become a modern city in the 19th century, including the became the first city in Europe using electric lights (ŒWG was also making lights) Being Inspired by Ford, Josef Werndl also import the concept of the production 禁用字 to weapon industry and becoming the first weapon manufacturer adapting this concept. By making 8000 rifles per week, ŒWG also provided job positions for the almost whole population of Steyr city, therefore, factories, accommodations, and offices left by ŒWG/Steyr Mannlicher is still everywhere in Steyr. Beside gun manufacturing, iron trading around the mid-centuries also makes the landscape of Steyr really unique, mixing colorful Italian style and tradition German structure system.The intersection of the Enns river and Steyr river is also at Steyr, all the sum gives Steyr a really rich landscape. Almost all the building was preserved luckily during the WWII, because of the Allies force air strike always encountered heavy fog during the raids.

Josef WerndlSteyr奠下不少現代化城市的基礎,包含成為歐洲第一個引進電燈的城市(ŒWG也生產電燈),而他也參考當時剛起步的Ford,將生產線的觀念引進武器製造,成為世界第一個應用生產線的武器製造商,每周8000支步槍的產量也同時供應了幾乎全城的人工作機會,長達百年以上的武器生產,使Steyr四處都留下當時的廠房、宿舍以及辦公室,也造就了現在的Steyr地景。除了槍械製造時期外、中世紀的歐洲各國在此進行鋼鐵交易也讓Steyr的古建築風格多樣,融合了多彩的義大利建築與德意志樣式,再加上Enns Steyr兩條河流谷地的交叉,使Steyr雖然占地小但地景上頗為豐富,這些建築也很幸運地因為二戰盟軍空襲每次都碰到大霧的緣故,被完整地保留下來。

I guess you already known the story afterward. Steyr Mannlicher produced their masterpiece AUG in 1970, rewriting the history of light weapon history, and AUG is still being used in the Austrian Army and other countries. After AR15 series rising with Picatinny rail system in 2000, Steyr Mannlicher seems to be struggling in their downtime - Armies is not interested in bull-pup configuration anymore, RS556 - the Steyr version AR15 which can rapidly change their barrel in AUG style is also not popular in the market. But besides assault rifles, recently a young gun designer in Steyr Mannlicher designed an interesting sniper rifle SSGM1 seems to have its potential. Base on the feedback of Jagdkommando-the Austrian Special Force, the  SSGM1 was adapted by Jagdkommando and there are also rumors about other special units NATO is going to adopt this rifle.

後來的故事,大家應該都知道了,Steyr Mannlicher在1970年代生產了該廠代表作步槍AUG,改寫了輕兵器史,並一直被奧地利陸軍與其他國家採用至今。2000年加裝魚骨的AR15系列起頭後 Steyr似乎狀況不如以往,除了AUGA3叫好不叫座外,能夠如AUG系列般快速換裝槍管的RS556似乎也未能引起市場上太多興趣。但是突擊步槍外,近年Steyr Mannlicher一名年輕設計師參照奧地利特種部隊Jagdkommando建議而設計的SSG M1似乎非常有潛力,除了Jagdkommando剛採用一批外,遽聞其他北約國家也將有不少跟進。

Steyr SSG M1   Photo credit:Steyr Mannlicher

Steyr RS556 Please note the front part of the handguard,
which has the AUG like structure allows users to change barrels quickly.

Photo credit: Steyr Mannlicher

System Sturmgewehr - the submission of the next Bundeswehr rifle starts in 2017, Steyr RS556 is now competing with HK433, HK416, and according to a news report in October 2018, none of them has reached to the Bundeswehr’s standard.They will have to modify their prototype and test them again in February 2019. Can Steyr Mannlicher survive in this battle? let’s wait and see.

2017年開始的德國軍用制式步槍徵選System Sturmgewehr開標後,Steyr RS556目前正與HK433、HK416等強勁對手競爭中,據2018年十月的新聞指出,沒有任何一支步槍有達到德國國防部設定的標準,各廠將會在修改後於2019年二月重新測試。Steyr Mannlicher的後續發展如何,讓我們拭目以待。