SOLD FOR: $3,225
Make: Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken (DWM)
Model: Lange Pistole 08, “Artillery Luger”
Year of Manufacture: 1917
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Action Type: Semi-Automatic Pistol fed by a Detachable Magazine
Barrel Length: Approximately 7.9” (200mm)
Sights/ Optics: The front sight is a serrated blade dovetailed to a serrated base. The rear sight is a fine-adjustable tangent leaf “V”-notch. The rear sight is marked 1-8, inclusive.
Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: The grips are two-piece checkered wood, each with “87” stamped on the interior. The grips have minor handling wear with some light nicks. There is discoloration around the edges. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue and Straw
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is some stubborn copper fouling. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 9 out of 10.
Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.
Overall Condition: The pistol retains about 94% of the blued metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. There are some scattered small nicks and light scratches. There is infrequent faint surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are tool marked with strong slots. The markings remain clear. Overall, the pistol is in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, though the takedown lever’s retainer is weak and the lever can fall out of the frame when in the takedown position. The slide to frame fit is snug. We have not fired this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box Paperwork and Accessories: The gun comes with a single non-matching magazine and a reproduction wood stock/leather holster rig.
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.
In 1913 Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German Emperor, allowed for the adoption of the Lange Pistole 08 colloquially known as the “Artillery Luger”. The gun featured a longer barrel, 8-position tangent rear sight and a provision for a shoulder stock (no shoulder stock is included with this gun). Although originally intended as a defensive armament for artillery and machine gun crews, the Lange Pistole was used throughout the German military, including as a carbine with a drum magazine (no drum magazine is included with the gun) by the famous Stoßtruppen (storm troopers) during WWI. Some surplus Lange Pistoles survived WWI and were eventually pressed into service during WWII, but not to the same extent as the gun had been used in the First World War.
This particular specimen is from 1917 and was produced shortly after the “fine-tuning” feature had been removed from the front sight, but retaining the fine-tune rear sight. The pistol looks great for its age, and it is intriguing with its British proof marks, but lacking an American import marking. The serial numbered parts all match, and this will make a handsome addition to any collection. Good luck on your bid!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud