Model: P38 byf-44 1st Alphabet Run, 3rd Variation
Serial Number: 9646q
Year of Manufacture: February to July 1944 (“The P.38 Pistol” Vol. 2 by Buxton)
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” and “9646q”, which identifies this pistol as made by Mauser in 1944. The left side of frame is marked “9646q”, with an “Eagle / WaA135” Waffenamt. (The WaA135 Waffenamt was the code for Mauserwerke Oberndorf used on P38’s starting in 1944). The right side of the slide is marked with two “E / WaA135” Waffenamts with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika in the center. The left barrel flat is marked with an “E / WaA135” Waffenamt and the front barrel flat is marked “9646 / q”. The bottom of the barrel stop is marked “646” and with what could be a “q”. The left side of the lug on the bottom of the barrel stop is marked with an Eagle Holding a Globe with Swastika and the right side is marked with an upside down “E / WaA135” Waffenamt. The left side of the bolt at the rear is also marked with an Eagle holding a globe with Swastika. The left side of the front sight blade is marked “4”.
Barrel Length: 5” br>
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 banded base on the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are dark red serrated plastic with a slight thumbrest on the left side. The grips enclose the backstrap and the left grip has a lanyard ring protruding through it from the grip frame. The grips show a few light handling marks and a few tool marks around the grip screw in the left grip. The grips are in about Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: The finish is blued. The barrel shows rings from lathe marks and the rear of the barrel, the top of the slide, the front strap and backstrap show tool marks that were never polished out prior to bluing. Lack of any polishing of the lathe marks in the round part of the barrel was a characteristic that started with the 1st Alphabet Run, 3rd Variation byf-44 pistol.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There are a few tiny spots of very light erosion in the lands and grooves near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 97% of its current metal finish. There are small spots of pinprick surface erosion scattered over the left side of the slide from its front edge to the rear of the port and on the top of the slide’s arch at the front. There is thinning on the front edges of the barrel band and on the front edges of the slide, with a few light handling marks along the right side of the slide. There is also a light mark in the right side of the barrel near the frame. The serrations on the slide and the rest of the small parts 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 very stiff, and the single action pull is crisp. The slide is tight to the frame. 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 one single stack 8 round blued magazine. It is marked “P.38v” on its lower left sides and with an “Eagle / WaA135” Waffenamt on its rear surface. There are spots of erosion on the sides and spine of the magazine. 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 rate required, and production was ordered to commence at both Mauser and Spreewerke in 1940. Mauser was busy building Lugers at the time, and their conversion to P38s took quite a while, possibly because they didn’t want to make the P38 in the first place. Production didn’t really get started until October of 1942, and completed pistols were not assembled until early 1943. At the beginning of 1944, the serial numbers were not reset to 1 but continued where they left off in 1943, which created two alphanumeric sequences in 1944. In the early part of 1944, Mauser was assembling parts made in late 1943, so some of the guns made in 1944 had 1943 dates. The 1st Variation byf-44 pistols still used the same “Eagle / 135” code stampings as the 1943 pistols, and started in the mid “p” suffix serial number range. The 2nd Variation pistols started in the early “q” suffix range and began using the new “Eagle / WaA135” code for Mauser. The 3rd Variation started in the late “q” range and ran until the end of the ”z” suffix range. All parts were marked with the new code for Mauser and production began to cut corners to increase productivity: the lathe marks on the barrel were no longer polished out. About 91,000 pistols were made in the 1st Alphabet Run, 3rd Variation. This pistol is in about Fine condition with 97% of its finish remaining. The bore is bright with sharp rifling, but has a few small spots of light erosion sprinkled around the front of the bore. The pistol has all the correct markings and the serial numbers match. The collectors should be very interested in this pistol. The markings are very sharp and the lathe marks on the barrel really stand out – this pistol will display well.