Make: Mauser at Oberndorf
Serial Number: 272e
Year of Manufacture: 1944 (http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/uniforms_firearms/firearms/p38/p38index.htm)
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”, “byf / 44” (Mauser code) and “272e”. The left side of frame is marked “272e” and with an “Eagle / WaA135” Waffenamt mark. The right side of the slide is marked with two “Eagle / WaA135” marks with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika in the center. The left barrel flat is marked with a Waffenamt “135” mark and the left side of the locking block is marked with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika. The front barrel flat is marked “272 / e” and the right side of the locking block is marked with a Waffenamt “135”. The underside of the locking block is marked “272” and “e”. The left rear of the barrel is also marked with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika. The left side of the front sight is marked “6”.
Barrel Length: 5.0”
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 the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are white serrated plastic aftermarket “Franzite” grips. They have a slight a thumbrest on the left side and a rectangular lanyard ring protrudes through the left grip at its bottom rear. The grips show only a few light marks. However, there is a short crack visible at the rear of the grip screw in the left grip and another at the rear of the screw in the right grip. There is also a slight gap between the two grooves at the backs of the grips. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel is blued. The frame, slide, hammer, extractor, trigger and trigger bar all have a greyish phosphate finish.
Finish Originality: All Original. This two-tone finish was the correct finish for 1944 mid-year production.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 95% of its metal finish. There is thinning on the edges of the slide and on the extractor, a few light marks on the sides of the slide and a spot of surface loss on the right side of the frame from rubbing on the trigger bar. There is extremely light thinning in the front strap. The serrations on the slide, hammer, slide release and takedown lever are sharp. The grip screw is sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The double action trigger pull is relatively smooth 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 one blued magazine, marked on the bottom of the left side with “P38v”. There is also an “Eagle / 359” upside down Waffenamt near the top of the spine, indicating was made by Walther. The body of the magazine shows only minimal wear with some light surface frosting sprinkled over the lower right side. The floorplate shows thinning on its edges, a few light marks in its bottom surface and marks through the finish at the back from the magazine release. 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. Mauser was still making the P08 Luger, however, and didn’t start making the P38 until 1942. By the end of the war, they had produced about 300,000. This is a Mauser P38 built in 1944. Its serial number and two tone finish identify it as a 1944 2nd Alphabet Run, Second Variation (“The P38 Pistol” by Buxton, page 28). This pistol is in about Fine overall condition and would rate higher but the grips are aftermarket and the magazine was made by Walther. The pistol retains about 95% of its original finish remaining. It shows thinning on the edges of the slide and on the extractor, a few light marks on the sides of the slide and a spot of surface loss on the right side of the frame from rubbing on the trigger bar. The grips are white plastic “Franzite’ after-market grips. There is a tiny crack at the rear edge of the grip screw on each grip and there is a slight gap between the back edges of the grips. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion. The gun is correctly marked and its serial numbers are matching. By 1944, serial numbers were no longer marked on the magazines, but this one was made by Walther, making its provenance suspect. This pistol is in extremely nice condition for having survived the last year of the war and all the intervening years been then and now, and normally would be highly sought after by the collectors. However, aftermarket grips and Walther magazine are going to diminish their enthusiasm. If the collectors don’t show enough interest, this will make someone a nice pistol for home protection and informal target shooting. With the finish and bore as nice as they are, this pistol should easily furnish someone another 70 years of shooting enjoyment.