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Pál Király
Born 1880
Died 1965 (aged 84–85)
Nationality  Hungary
Occupation Engineer and weapons designer

Pál Király (1880–1965) is an Hungarian engineer and weapons designer.

Work & designs

Király's career as weapon designer had is beginnings in Switzerland, where he emigrated after WW1. One of his designs was called the Kiraly-Waffen. In the 1920s he developed the SIG KE and the SIG Kf.7 Machine Guns, and the SIG MKMO machine-carbine. The MKMO (and its shortened variant, MKPO) was successfully sold to various countries in 7.63 & 9mm Mauser and 7.65 & 9mm Parabellum chamberings.

In 1929 Király designed an advanced 9x19mm pistol, designated as 'KD Danuvia'. 20 guns were manufactured for trials. Among others, Germany was very interested in this pistol, but the 1929-33 market crash put a hold on new developments worldwide. Interestingly, the later Walther P.38 displays extreme 'similarities' with the KD Danuvia. The two guns internally are the same, outside differences were the P.38's distinctive grips and a shorter barrel.

Király most significant development is the lever-delayed blowback workiing principle, successfully applied in many of his designs, like the machine carbines Danuvia 39.M and Danuvia 43.M, and used in the French FAMAS assault rifle.

In 1932 Király designed a self-loading (automatic rifle), which was the first automatic rifle in the world utilizing a muzzle brake. (The more famous Simonov Model 1936 featured the first muzzle brake outside Hungary, 4 years later). The Király rifle was very well balanced, it weighed less than 4 kg [8.8 lbs]. It had a well sealed dustproof operating mechanism, came with a small 10-round box magazine. In 1933 Király introduced a larger version of his 1932 automatic rifle. This gun weight 6.5 kg [14.3 lbs], had heavier, longer barrel, a large 80-round magazine and a muzzle brake. On 7/11/34 the Italians reviewed Danuvia's available arsenal, showed interest, but eventually decided to stay with their own weapons. (Except for the 12.7mm Gebauer GKM's, to which the Italians had no equal.) In 1939 the Honvédség adopted Király's Machine-Carbine with the Danuvia 39.M designation. A modernized version was adopted in 1943 under the Danuvia 43.M designation. His last Hungarian design, designated Danuvia 44.M was not adopted due to the Soviet invasion of Hungary. His 44.M design was the basis of the Hungarian Kucher K1 Machine Pistol in 1951. He designed the Danuvia 39M and improved it into the Danuvia 43M Submachine gun.

After he moved to the Dominican republic, he designed the .30 Kiraly-Cristobal carbine, which was essentially a copy of his earlier work, specifically the 44M (an improved 43M). He made two more Cristobal carbine versions, the delayed blowback M2 (Cristobal Automatic Carbine) in .30 Carbine and the gas-operated M3 in 7.62x51mm NATO. He patented the latter in 1961 as a competitor to the Belgian FN FAL.[1] His .30 Carbine M2 model was manufactured in about 200,000 exemplars between 1950 and 1966, and "it remained in service until the late 1980s or early 1990s". Although a semi-automatic weapon, its design was "more akin to submachine guns such as the Beretta Model 38 and the Hungarian 39M."[2]

Personal life

Pál Dedai Király (1880–1965) was born in Budapest, Hungary, earned his degree in Machine Design at the Technical university of Budapest in 1902. He became a Professor's Assistant at the University. He also earned a Military Reservist degree with an Artillery Lieutenant rank. During WW1 he served in the military 1914-18 and reached a rank of Artillery Captain. In 1915 he wrote his first publication about automatic weapons. After WW1 Hungary was prohibited from weapon development, so he moved to Switzerland and worked for SIG Neuhausen. From 1928 weapon development was again allowed in Hungary, so Király started to develop automatic weapons for Hungary. SIG refused to release some of Király's research to Hungary as they originally agreed, so Király moved back to Hungary to work with the Danuvia Rt, but he still worked for SIG under contracts in the 1930s. During 1929-44 he was paid from the Danuvia Factory's profit sharings. In 1945 Király escaped to Switzerland before the Soviets came. In 1947 he moved to the Dominican Republic, where he was employed by the Armeria of San Cristóbal, ran by a fellow Hungarian, Sándor Kovács. Király developed several weapons here, the most successful was his Cristóbal Carbine, of which a 1/4 million was sold. His last design was adopted in 1962, when he was 82.


  1., Kiraly-Cristobal Submachine Guns & Machine Pistols
  2. Leroy Thompson (2011). The M1 Carbine. Osprey Publishing. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1-84908-619-6. 

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