Model: P38 ac-42 2nd Variation
Serial Number: 383i
Year of Manufacture: June-December 1942
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Action Type: Single or Double Action Semi-Auto with Removable Magazine. This pistol has a de-cocker lever.
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “P.38”, and “ac / 42” and “383i”, which identifies this pistol as a 1942 2nd Variation pistol made by Walther. The left side of the frame is marked “383i” and with an “Eagle over 359” Waffenamt (Walther). The right side of the slide is marked with two “Eagle / 359” marks with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika in the center. The left barrel flat is marked with an “Eagle / 359”, the front barrel flat with “383 / i” and the right flat with a dot. The dot is probably a hardness punch mark. The left side of the barrel stop is marked with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika and “3”, the right side with an “Eagle / 359” and the bottom with “383 / i”. There is also an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika marked on the left rear of the barrel.
Barrel Length: 5”
Sights / Optics: The pistol is mounted with a flat topped “U” notched rear sight dovetailed into the slide and a Patridge style blade front sight dovetailed into a banded base on the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are black serrated plastic with a slight thumbrest on the left side that enclose the backstrap. A lanyard ring protrudes through a slot molded into the bottom of the left grip. The grips show a somewhat mottled shiny/dull finish where the otherwise bright finish has taken-on a slightly dull look from light wear. The grip serrations are sharp with a tiny nick in one of the serrations on the left grip. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The finish is a military blue.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its metal finish. There is thinning at the front of the barrel band, at the front edges of the slide and at the very bottom of the front strap. There are a few very light handling marks on the barrel and tiny marks on the sides of the slide, with a few light scratches on the left side of the slide. The frame has started to develop a plum colored patina. The serrations on the slide, hammer, slide release and takedown lever are sharp. There is a tiny ding in the back corner of the safety. The grip screw is sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The double action trigger pull is a little stiff, and the single action pull is crisp. The slide is tight to the frame. We did not fire this pistol.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a total of one 8 round blued single stack magazine. The left side of the magazine is marked “P. 38v / ac” and the rear face is marked with an “Eagle / 359” Waffenamt, identifying it as having been made by Walther. This is the correct magazine for this pistol – by the 2nd Variation the magazines were no longer serial numbered. The body shows light wear with a strip of surface loss down the left edge of the spine. The floorplate shows thinning on its front edge and a spot of surface loss on the back from the magazine latch. The magazine is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: The P38 occupies a significant place in history. It was the first locked breech pistol to have a single action/double action trigger. After the start of WWII, Walther could not keep up with the production required, and production was ordered to commence at both Mauser and Spreewerke in 1940. By the end of the war, Walther had only produced about 580,000 of the 1.2 million produced. The 1st variation AC-42 pistols followed the markings of their predecessors, which included marking most of the small parts, including the grips, with the “Eagle / 359” acceptance stamp. By June of 1942, higher production rates mandated that the stamping of the small parts be stopped, the grips were neither serialized nor marked with an inspection stamp and the magazine was marked with an inspection mark only. This pistol was built by Walther in the 2nd half of 1942, making it a 2nd Variation ac-42 pistol. About 65,000 were made in this configuration. All of the part numbers on this pistol are matching and the magazine is correct for this variation. The pistol is in about Excellent condition with 97% of its original finish remaining. The pistol shows thinning on the front edges of the barrel band and slide, with minor thinning at the bottom of the front strap. There are a few light marks on the barrel, a few tiny marks in the sides of the slide and a few light scratches on the left side of the slide. The grips are black serrated plastic that are slightly dull in spots from light wear. There is a single tiny nick in one of the serrations on the left grip. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion. No collection of WWII small arms would be complete without a P38 made by each of the three manufacturers, and many collectors have one from each year that they were made by each of the three manufactures, in addition to most of the common variants. This pistol is in remarkable condition for its age, and shows very little wear. It is sure to catch the eye of the serious collectors.