Walther P38

Walther P 38 Semiautomatic Pistol. Used by the German Military in WWII, and later by Police forces.
Walther P38 German Pistol

It seems the Walther P38 did not always command respect, at least from a number of Bundeswehr (German Federal Defense Force) officers who used variations of the pistol from 1957 until the mid 1990's.  The unofficial nickname used to describe the P38 was "8 warning shots and one well-aimed throw."  More likely, the P38 just took a backseat to its more popular and beloved kin, the legendary Walther PPK, or maybe a little dissatisfaction with the earlier 7.62 mm caliber model.  A minor improvement in the late 1970s fitted the P38 with an  aluminum-alloy receiver, and it was designated the P5, and used by police in  Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Paltinate.  In spite of some unflattering sentiments toward the P38, it made its mark in history, and has survived as an object of desire for collectors.  There is no question that a lot of this is because of the gun's connection to NAZI Germany, and its enduring mystique.   

Sleek in appearance, and looking a lot like the venerable Luger P08 Parabellum, the P38 incorporated some modern technology that is still used today.  It has a double-locking trigger that allows a round to be fired without cocking the hammer, and a very reliable safety catch.  The slide pulls straight back, unlike the Luger, which had a very unique A-Frame-like vertical spring-loaded lever.  Like the Luger, the P38 uses 9mm Parabellum cartridges, except for a small handful of models that were produced in very small numbers on test runs.  It was also tried out with a 22LR and 7.62 caliber arrangement, though nearly all P38s were of the more successful 9mm caliber.  The earlier 1930's models were made with walnut grips, which were later replaced with Bakelite, a hardened formaldahyde-resin similar to today's plastics, only more brittle.  This was done to save on weight and costs.  There was a shorter-barreld version called the P38K, in very limited numbers,  which was used by the dreaded Gestapo (Geheime Staats Polizei or "State Secret Police").

Walther P38 German Pistol

During Germany's massive military buildup in the late 1930's which lead to the start of World War II, the Walther P38 took shape.  Designed to replace the expensive Luger P08 Parabellum, the P38 was adopted for use by the Wehrmacht (German Army) around 1938, thus the name, Pistole '38.  It was also used by some SS officers.  Between 1938 and 1945, around 1.2 million Walther P38s were produced.   Although there were other producers of the P38, the most well known were Carl Walther Waffenfabrik, Spree Werke, and Mauser.  This continued well into the war, almost to the bitter end in 1945 when allied bombing destroyed the Walther factory in Thuringia.  At this point, production was licensed to a French company,  Manurhin (Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rin), due to occupation restrictions and to satisfy war reparations.  In 1953, production of the P38 was resumed in West Germany, and continued until 2000 in the post-1989 reunified Germany.  Today, Carl Walther Sportwaffen GmbH, who is merged with Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH, has a licensing agreement with Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts, to produce its famed PPK, along with many new models. 

Firearm Type: Semi-Automatic Pistol
Nation Of Manufacture: Germany, France, USA
Military Service Dates : 1939-Present, and Used by Police Forces
Variations: P38, P38K. P1, P4, P5
Ammunition: 9mm Parabellum
Wars: World War II
Recent Prices at Auction for Originals: US $500-$4,500

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Here is our authentic replica Walther P38.
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