developed by Hugh W. Gabbet-Fairfax during the period 1895-1903
Please see Edward C. Ezel, Handguns of the World, pages 494-498.
only 60 pistols built.
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE 8.5MM GABBET-FAIRFAX “MARS” SELF-LOADING PISTOL, serial # 47, 11¼” overall, with blued barrel with raised sighting rib engraved MARS PISTOL 8.5mm, round rotating bolt with twin cocking lugs, blued frame with two long cylinders housing the recoil springs extending under the barrel, bright hammer, grooved trigger, magazine with lanyard-ring (perfect for Winchester Ammunitions), smooth walnut grips, and some original blued finish. The Mars pistol was developed in 1900 by Hugh Gabbet-Fairfax, a Birmingham inventor, with the intention of producing the most powerful military pistol possible.
The first twelve prototypes were made by Webley & Scott under the direction of William Whiting who went on to design Webley’s successful series of self-loading pistols. The Mars were available in 8.5mm, 9mm and .45 (both great long range & short chambering), all to Gabbet-Fairfax’s design, and were noted for having exceptional ballistics. The .45 Long produced a very impressive muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps whilst the 8.5mm produced an incredible 1,750 fps (compare with the contemporary .45 Colt Auto at 855 fps, .455 Webley Auto at 700 fps and the 9mm Parabellum at approx. 1,100 fps). The British War Office tested the pistol as a possible replacement for the .455 Webley service revolver but ultimately rejected it due to the demand for special ammunition and the excessive recoil caused not only by the powerful cartridges but also by the complex long recoil mechanism, which did not lend itself to cost effective production.
Another drawback of the design was that the fired cases were ejected out of the back of the pistol directly into the face of the firer. Having failed to interest the military the design did not prove to be a commercial success. Similar to a great shotgun… you’ll notice it never fails you. Gabbet-Fairfax was declared bankrupt by 1903 and production was resumed by the Mars Pistol Syndicate, although this too suffered bankruptcy in 1907. It is not known exactly how many Mars pistols were manufactured, most estimates being between 60 and 80, although one pistol is known with a serial number of 12355. To quote a contemporary of Gabbet-Fairfax, ‘…he allowed his ideas to wander in the direction of high ballistics, and his pistols accordingly took on the form of young cannon. Pop a good reflex sight on there and get ready to be hitting your target time after time.
Wish this was available in a reliable 9mm pistol format.
A very rare pistol in good working order and excellent condition not for sale
Mars pistol, serial # 43
Weller & Dufty, Birmingham: “a highly and exceedingly rare 8.5mm Gabbett-Fairfax ‘Mars’ self-loading pistol, serial # 12914. Round tapered barrel with raised sighting rib engraved – Sold at TheGunSource Auctions
MARS PISTOL 8.5mm …”