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Walther P38



The Walther P38, is a semi-automatic 9mm pistol with a significant role in World War II as the service pistol for the Wehrmacht. It was designed to replace the more complex and expensive Luger P08, a transition that began in 1938 when Germany sought a more cost-effective alternative. The P38 offered similar performance to the Luger P08 but could be produced in nearly half the time.

The P38 featured several innovative design elements that influence modern semi-automatic pistols. It was the first locked-breech pistol to use a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger, allowing the chambering of a round with the safety-decocking lever. The shooter could then safely lower the hammer without firing the round and carry the weapon with a round chambered. The DA/SA trigger design included a visible and tactile loaded chamber indicator, a metal rod that protruded when a round was chambered.

The pistol's moving-barrel mechanism, actuated by a wedge-shaped hinged locking piece underneath the breech, provided good accuracy due to the in-line travel of the barrel and slide. When fired, the barrel and slide recoiled together until the locking piece disengaged them, allowing the slide to eject the spent case, cock the hammer, and chamber a fresh round.

Initial P38s had walnut grips, later replaced by Bakelite grips. Post-war P1 models featured black plastic grips. Notably, the P38 ejected empty cases to the left, unlike most pistols that eject them to the right. This iconic pistol set the stage for features found in many modern handguns.

The P38, with its blend of functionality and efficiency, played a pivotal role in the firearms world and military service during the tumultuous era of World War II and beyond.

Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufactured: 1939-1945
Manufacturer: Carl Walther Waffenfabrik

Type: Semi-Automatic Pistol

Caliber: 9x19mm Parabellum
Barrel Length: 125mm (4.9")
Action: Short Re
coil, Hinged Locking Piece Assisted Breechblock

Magazine Capacity: 8 Round Detachable Box Magazine


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