Model: 1920 Commercial
Serial Number: 3969m
Year of Manufacture: 1921-1928 (“Pistole Parabellum”, page 863, by Gortz & Sturgess)
Caliber: 7.65x21mm Parabellum (.30 Luger)
Action Type: Toggle Action Semi-Auto, Removable Magazine.
Markings: The left side of the trigger under the sideplate, the back of the rear toggle and the bottom of the sideplate and locking bolt are marked “69”. The left side of the frame behind the trigger is marked “m”. The underside of the sideplate is marked “T”. The front of the frame under the barrel and the underside of the barrel are marked “3969 / m” and the underside of the barrel is also marked with a “Crown / N”. The first nine in the number stamped on the barrel is overstamped over another number, which appears to be “8”. The left side of the receiver at the chamber and the left side of the breechblock are marked with a “Crown / N”. The front toggle is marked with a large “DWM” in script. The left side of the frame in front of the safety is marked “GESICHERT” and the right side of the receiver is marked “MADE IN GERMANY”. The insides of the grip panels are un-marked.
Barrel Length: 3 ¾”
Sights / Optics: This pistol is mounted with a “V” notch in the back of the toggle and has a serrated ramped front sight blade that is dovetailed into a serrated ramped base on the front barrel band.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut. The checkering shows moderate to heavy wear that is worn smooth around the edges of the grips. There is a tiny ding in the left grip and a tiny mar in the right grip, with light oil staining in both grips. The grips are tight on the frame and there are no cracks or chips noted. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The finish is blued. The safety, trigger, locking lever and ejector are straw colored. The sear bar spring and the pins holding the breechblock to the front toggle and the rear toggle to the receiver are fire blued.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with sharp rifling. There is extremely light erosion the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 77% of its current metal finish. There surface loss on the front edges of the barrel, the front corners of the frame and the edges of the sideplate, with thinning on the front strap, backstrap, and the edges of the receiver and frame. There also spots of thinning on the left side of the frame in front of the sideplate and the top rear and rear surfaces of the frame, receiver and rear toggle. There are a few scratches in the sideplate and a few spots of light pinprick surface erosion in the sideplate, in the left side of the frame behind the sideplate and in the center of the front strap. There are also a few shallow dings at the bottom of the front strap. The knurling on the magazine release is sharp and the serrations on the safety show moderate wear. The knurling and serrations on the left toggle knob show light wear, the knurling on the right toggle knob shows moderate to heavy wear and its serrations show moderate wear. The screw heads are sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the barrel and receiver are tight to the frame. However, the back of the locking bolt with its knurled section is broken-off, making it a little difficult to turn the bolt for disassembly. We did not fire this pistol. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a total of one tin plated magazine with a wooden bottom piece. The magazine shows surface loss along its spine and the front and sides are mottled with spots of surface loss and frosting. There are two deep scratches in the top of the magazine follower. The bottom piece shows a few very shallow dings on its edges and a few light marks on its bottom surface. The magazine is in about Very Good condition. There is also copies of paperwork from the family of Ist Lieutenant George W. Mickey who brought this pistol home with him after serving with the 92nd Bomb Group (H) in Europe during WWII. The paperwork includes a record of his 35 missions over France and Germany, his Certificate of Service showing his awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and EAME Campaing Medal with 4 Bronze Service Starts, a picture of him with his bomber crew, a personal letter from his daughter whom consigned the gun and a copy of a brief biography of him from “92nd Bomb Group (H) – Fame’s Favored Few” by Turner Publishing Co.
Our Assessment: The Luger pistol used by the German Army in WWI was the P.08, with a 4” barrel and chambered in 9mm. After WWI, the Treaty of Versailles banned the manufacture of pistols with a barrel length of 100mm or longer and to calibers less than 9mm. Fortunately for the Germans, they already had designs for pistols with 7.65mmx21 (.30 Luger) chambers, used in the early Lugers produced at the turn of the Century, and lots of spare parts left over from WWI production. DWM started cobbling together pistols with 3 5/8” and 3 ¾” barrels chambered in .30 luger for foreign sales. These pistols had military markings as well as commercial markings, and some had both. Quite a few were also produced with longer barrels chambered in 9mm Parabellum, so it’s hard to tell who was enforcing the treaty requirements. This pistol was made sometime between 1921 and 1928 with a 3 ¾” barrel and chambered in .30 Luger. The pistol has only commercial “Crown / N” markings but follows the military convention of serializing the small parts. The pistol has its original finish and all of the serial numbers are matching, except that one of the numbers in the underside of the barrel has been overstamped (a “9” over an “8”). This may have been an honest mistake when the barrel was first numbered – it’s hard to imagine how someone could have found one years later with a serial number only one digit off the original number and with the same letter code. The pistol is in about Very Good condition with 77% of its finish remaining. The bore is gray with sharp rifling. This pistol was brought back from the European theater by 1st Lt. George W. Mickey, a decorated navigator with the 92nd Bomb Group (H) 326th Squadron during 1944 and 1945. He acquired the pistol after being appointed Officer of the Guard of 1200 German POW’s who returned with him to the United States after he completed the required 35 air missions. He was one of only two people in his original squadron who made it home, and on many missions only about half of the crews made it back to base, the remainder either killed or shot down and captured. Lt. Mickey picked-up the nickname “Pinpoint” because he never missed a target. This pistol is a common variant that ordinarily doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of Lugers to determine its value. However, this pistol comes with paperwork showing its previous owner was indeed a true war hero, and this should make it attractive to the more experienced collectors as well as to the novice.