SOLD FOR: $2525
Make: Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken (DWM)
Model: Luger P.08 (Parabellum-Pistole)
Year of Manufacture: 1917, C&R
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action Type: Toggle-Action Semi-Automatic Striker-Fired Pistol fed by a Detachable Magazine
Markings: The bottom of the barrel is marked with a crowned “N”, a lion and the serial number “1555”. The left side of the barrel is marked “Z”. The left side of the receiver is marked “1555”. The trigger bar is marked “55”. The bottom of the chamber ring is marked “C”, “1 / Q”, “Z” on the left side of the fixed lug, “N” on the lug and “N / N” on the right side of the lug. The left side of the forward toggle link is marked with the Imperial German Army Test Proof mark. The top of the extractor, situated on the top of the breech-block, is marked “55”. The top of the front toggle link is marked with the “DWM” logo and “55”. The rear end of the rear toggle link is marked “55”. The left side of the breechblock is marked “55” and the bottom of the rear toggle link is marked “F”, these two markings are visible when the pistol is taken down. The right side of the receiver is marked with three crowned gothic letters and the Imperial German Army Test Proof mark. The left side of the trigger is marked “55”. The locking bolt is marked “55” next to a small faded mark. The bottom of the trigger side plate is marked “21” and is not serial matched. The safety bar is marked “55”. The front of the frame is marked with the serial number “1555” above “L”. The left grip strap is marked “Z / P” on the left side of the magazine well and “T / N” on the right side. The right grip strap is marked “X”at the top, just below the visible portion of the frame and has some faded marks near the bottom. The left grip panel is not serialized while the right one is marked “4418”. The bottom of the magazine’s marking is faded but appears to be “858” above “G” (please see photos). The firing pin and receiver axle are not serialized.
Barrel Length: 4”
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is serrated blade fixed to a banded base fixed to the muzzle. The rear sight is a “V”-notch integral to the rear toggle link.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The grip panels are two-piece checkered wood. The grip panels have light-moderate handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, the panels have some scattered discoloration and the right panel has moderate wear around its retaining screw. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip panels are in Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is erosion concentrated in the grooves.
Overall Condition: The pistol retains about 75% of its metal finish. There are light handling marks, nicks and scuffs. Notably, the finish has worn off the leading edges, there is light wear around the muzzle and moderate wear situated on the rear end of the rear toggle link. The markings remain clear. The screwheads have tool-marks but they remain serviceable. Overall, the pistol is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is barely palpable play between the barrel assembly and frame. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box Paperwork and Accessories: The pistol comes with a single 8-round magazine. The magazine has moderate wear, notably it is coated in light surface oxidation. Overall, the magazine is in Good condition.
Our Assessment: The Parabellum-Pistole 1908, commonly referred to as the Luger, was designed by Georg Johann Luger. Luger was an unlikely gun designer, born in 1849 he was the son of a surgeon, Bartholomaeus von Luger, and while attending university he served as a One-Year Volunteer with the 78th Infantry Regiment (Infanterieregiment 78 ein) of the Austro-Hungarian Army. While in the military Luger proved himself a skilled marksman and he began to develop an interest in the small arms technology. Following four years of service Luger worked a number of jobs in Vienna. Finally, in the 1870s Luger met Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher who recruited him as a sales representative for Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabrik AG (DWM). One of the company’s weapons that Luger marketed was the Borchardt C93 (named after its designer Hugo Borchardt) which was criticized for being too heavy and poorly balanced. Luger decided to rework the design and eventually secured a contract for his new pistol with the Swiss Army which dubbed it the model 1900 which was chambered for 7.65mm Parabellum cartridges. After some minor reworking Luger introduced the Pistole 1904, chambered for 9mm cartridges, which was adopted by the Imperial German Navy, the pistol was henceforth referred to as the Luger. A slightly altered version of the pistol with a smaller barrel was adopted for service by the Prussian Army in 1908, hence the designation P08. The P08 would become one of the most iconic weapons of the 20th century. Following the end of WWI Luger was bankrupted, he had invested in War Bonds which had become worthless following Imperial Germany’s defeat and worse yet he was forced out of his job by his employer DWM which sought to appropriate his patents. The ensuing legal dispute between Luger and DWM would be decided in his favor in 1922, but he was financially ruined by that time and passed away the following year at the age of 74. His pistol would continue to serve the German military during WWII (although the P38 was the Wehrmacht’s standard issue sidearm) and saw service in a number military and police forces after the war.
This particular Luger was manufactured in 1917 as the First World War (WWI) raged into its third year. Imperial Germany was stuck in a bitter stalemate on the Western Front (fighting against Britain and France), but on the Eastern Front (fighting against Russia) it was nearing a decisive victory. It appeared that Germany would be able to settle the war with Moscow and then divert its forces West for a final push against the worn out Western powers (a scenario that ultimately materialized early in 1918). Yet the Western powers received a needed respite in April when the United States declared war on Germany which provided the Western Allies with a fresh manpower pool that Germany had no real hope of overcoming. Numerous major battles were fought that year, with Russia launching the June Offensive which resulted in a decisive German victory and the Battle of Cambrai which saw British forces unleash the first significant armored offensive in history although it did little to change the situation on the ground. It would not be until the following year when the war ended in Germany’s ultimate defeat.
The pistol we have here has been refinished and has some parts which are not original to the gun. The trigger side plate is not original, the right grip panel is not original although we are unsure about the left one, the magazine is for a different pistol and the gun has been refinished. Despite this it remains an aesthetically impressive pistol that is both ergonomic and mechanically sound. It is rare to find a WWI-era Luger in its original configuration, and this one is still well preserved. It should prove a worthy addition to any collection and appeal to collector’s of WWI era historical items. Good luck on your bid!