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

Star Firearms — The Model 1921 pistol

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A model 1921 pistol and magazine

The model 1921 is very similar in size, mechanical operation and general layout to the model 1920, from which it is derived.

The Guardia accepted a number of model 1920 pistols into service, and shortly decided they preferred a frame-mounted safety lever, and some other changes. Bonifacio implemented these changes, as well as the addition of a grip safety and produced this gun as the model 1921.

The grip safety is of a unique design, extensing the full length of the backstrap, and pivoting about the lanyard ring near the butt of the pistol. I have no idea by what mechanical method it operates, as I have never seen a stripped model 1921, or a diagram. This was ultimately rejected by the Guardia, and is missing from subsequent Star pistols.

The beavertail is very abbreviated, and the safety lever is of an unusual and rather low-profile shape, much like an extended pocket-pistol design. There is an extended wing on the front edge of the lever, which seems to have been an add on, possibly as a result of direct feedback from end users. There is no safety lever on the right side.

A model 1921 pistol showing detail of the extractor and other components

The extractor is of the external type, a design which continued throughout the classic series for another 60 years. The magazine release has the distinctive dog bone shape of their first ones, on the Mannichler style pistols.

The trigger, slide lock, lanyard ring and hammer appear unchanged from the model 1920. The slide is obviously similar, with identical lockback and stripping cutouts, but has been re-profiled both as a result of the safety lever position change, and to look more like a contemporary Colt pistol. The grip panels appear to be identical, but for the cutout to accept the safety lever.

Production of the model 1921 appears to have lasted less than a year, when it was replaced with the model 1922 pistol.

Some of these, and other models of Star pistols, may be overstamped with "9mm/.38" markings on the slide. This may indicate the chambers were re-cut to accept .38 ACP cartridges. ".38" on Star pistols, or other pistols of this era NEVER means .38 Super. These are dangerously powerful and should not be used even if they chamber.

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.