Star Bonifacio Echeverria, S. A. : Armas : Firearms

Star Firearms — The Model 1920 pistol

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A model 1920 pistol as issued to the Guardia Civil

The model 1920 was the first pistol Star made more or less in the 'Colt 1911 style.' Although it has the general outline of the Colt and is indeed locked via a Browning-style tipping barrel and link system, there are a large number of other changes. Most of these clearly indicate that it was not an all new gun simply copied from the Colt-Browning, but that it was an evolution of their previous designs, and a true Star design in its own right.

The pistol retains the rotating trigger and single (right side) transfer bar of the earlier guns and has a side mounted lanyard ring also seemingly identical to that on the 1914. The safety is an all-new rotating lever, but it is mounted high at the extreme rear of the slide, on a very Model-1 looking slide-cocking knob of sorts. The safety rotates to rather odd positions for a modern gun, as can be seen by comparing the photos on this page.

Manuals & Disassembly Instructions

I do not have manuals for every pistol shown on this site. However, in many cases there is a related manual. Partly to make the series relationships clearer, and partly to assist with speed and accuracy of updating, all manuals can be found in one place, the manuals page. All manuals available are provided as downloadable PDFs, or you may purchase a printed copy of the entire set of handgun manuals.

There are no manuals specifically about the Model 1920 or 1921 pistols, but later Classic-series pistol manuals should be close enough for basic stripping.

1920 "Military" Model

The 1920 pistol was made in at least four variants, all of which were only made from about 1920 to 1921. The 9 mm Largo / 9 mm Bergman-Bayard version was used in small quantities by the Guardia Civil as a service sidearm. Subsequent models continued to be improved to meet the needs of the Guardia until the basic design of the Model A was settled on.

Guns were originally chambered in 9 mm Largo exclusively. Reportedly, some or all were later modified slightly (re-cutting the chamber) to also accept the .38 ACP cartridge, and then overstamped to indicate this change. Hence, the offset ".38" stamp in the photos here. As a general rule, pistols marked 9 mm / 38 are designed to fire .38 ACP and 9 mm Largo ammunition, but NEVER .38 Super. Read more detail on ammunition for older pistols.

Military models seem to have been parkerized, but it is hard to be sure with an 80 year old gun; other issue guns made outside of wartime are apparently brightly blued from the factory, so this may have been done at a later time, either by resellers or in a military arsenal refinish.

A commercial model 1920 pistol, still carried daily for personal protection in 2004.

1920 "Export" Models

Three "export" variants were also made, which means simply for commercial sale. All of these seem to be identical to the military model except for finish (bright blue with nice wood grips) and caliber, being offered in 7.63 mm Mauser, 9 mm Parabellum and .45 ACP. Though not impossible, I know of no specifically commercial variants in 9 mm Largo.

For anyone who wonders at the quality and longevity of Star pistols, reader Wally Koz still carries an original, unmodified model 1920 pistol (as seen the above photo) for his own defense on a regular basis in 2004.