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· Registered
106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I find Imperial Lugers fascinating, and while I'm no expert in this area, I hope you enjoy this overview of one of my pieces.

Given the magnitude of the conflict during the first World War, the Luger under went a number of significant and substantial changes even after it was accepted as the "P.08" by the military. Some of these changes included the addition of the "lug" (machined into the frame ), the addition of the "hold-open" (which was dropped in the original Military contract - my thanks to Mr. Wood for clarifying this) and in 1916, as in this specimen, the inclusion of the relieved sear bar. For this update specifically, it allowed the Luger's toggle to be cycled by hand, while the safety was engaged. Previous to this specific modification (transition year - 1916), the safety bar, as it was held against the sear bar, would prevent the toggle/action from being cycled while engaged.

I would like to take a minute to credit Mr. Jan Still excellent published works (Imperial Lugers), and other research/text/pictures contained in text offered by Mr. Datig, Mr. Kenyon and Mr. Jones as being the source for much of the information presented in this review.

Speciman: 1916 DWM Military - Serial Number: 2225i

Overall condition 85%+ Blue with 10% straw. No apparent rust, one slight pitting area 2mm x 2mm on left/top barrel. Bore - excellent. Original finish.

According to Mr. Still (PP13 Imperial Lugers), approximately 140,000 DWM Lugers were produced during 1916. Most saw hard use during the next years, and this specimen was obviously a field piece. Not Unit Marked - it is a representative example of military production during wartime years. To note, most Military Marked Lugers (especially Erfurt manufactured) are some of the most richly proofed/stamped Lugers known to exist.

Showing the overall grey/blue finish, this specimen is typical of the DWM Wartime production.
Left Side:
Download Attachment: a1.jpg

Right Side:
Download Attachment: a2.jpg

The proofs/acceptance stamps as they were applied during production. According to Still (PP 22, footnote 5 - Imperial Lugers) they are in order (left to right and I paraphrased Mr. Still's footnote): 1St Inspection (Chamber hardened, Chamber Date Applied); 2nd Inspection (serial Number applied and ready for test fire); 3rd Proof (the piece survived test firing at 20% over-charge of military specified ammunition); Acceptance (the Luger passed final fit/finish and inspection):
Download Attachment: a3.jpg

After that, the barrel land gauge was applied:
Download Attachment: a4.jpg

A picture of the serial number and Military Serialization as it was applied to receiver and the take-down:
Download Attachment: a5.jpg

And the Serial Number of the Luger as it appears on the frame front. Note the Luger Serial Number is correct with the letter suffix - and in this case "i":
Download Attachment: a6.jpg

A three-quarter view of the military serialization:
Download Attachment: a7.jpg

Frame Overview
The frame will be discussed by looking at certain sections.
First is the front frame well. You will note the following - "1", "N", "P", "6" and what appears to be an "X":
Download Attachment: b9.jpg

Rear Frame well. Notice the machining tell-tale marks which differ from other manufacturers:
Download Attachment: b10.jpg

The hold open. ( Edited with Ron Wood's assistance) The hold open was re-introduced in 1912, as the original Miliary contract for the P 08 did not include this feature. This hold open is military serialized:
Download Attachment: b11.jpg

Serailzation of the trigger can be seen with the sideplate removed:
Download Attachment: b12.jpg

The interior of the sideplate. Notice the rougher machining marks.
Download Attachment: b13.jpg

The safety bar as serialized with the last two digits of the serial number digits. This is common:
Download Attachment: b14.jpg

The rear of the frame, GESICHERT and thumb safety:
Download Attachment: b15.jpg

On top of the Thumb Safety, please note the 1mm correct military serialization:
Download Attachment: b16.jpg

Lower down the frame, note the correct relief of the trigger guard as a shallow "V":
Download Attachment: b17.jpg

The left detail view of the strawed MAG release and the trigger. These were typically Strawed, and given this specimens age, still shows a strong hue:
Download Attachment: b18.jpg

The left rear showing the Frame Lug. This LUG, according to Gibson, was in fact used during the production process, to hold the frame in place during the extensive machining process of the Luger's frame:
Download Attachment: b19.jpg

With the Right Grip off, notice again, the stamps:
Download Attachment: b20.jpg

The inside RIGHT GRIP PANEL - with the Military serialization of the last 2 digits of the specimens serial number:
Download Attachment: b21.jpg

Top End Detail
The top end:
Download Attachment: c18.jpg

Note the Army Test Proof on the barrel, forward of the receiver. This appears as a lesser encountered ERFURT style Proof (which is correct), rather then the more common DWM Proof:
Download Attachment: c24.jpg

Detail of the barrel witness mark, barrel gauge and military serialization on the barrel itself:
Download Attachment: c25.jpg

Forward Toggle Link and extractor serialization:
Download Attachment: c19.jpg

The DWM Logo on the center link:
Download Attachment: c20.jpg

And the detail of the underside of the link:
Download Attachment: c21.jpg

Rear Sight fly-cut and military serialization of the rear link:
Download Attachment: c22.jpg

The Sear Bar. Previous to 1916, the "cut out" would have extended farther to the right, and engaged the safety bar to prevent the toggle's movement when engaged. This, again, was a design change during this production year:
Download Attachment: c23.jpg

Forward Breechblock. Notice the Army Acceptance Stamp on the forward high part of this part:
Download Attachment: c32.jpg

The extractor properly marked "GELADEN" (LOADED):
Download Attachment: c33.jpg

The firing train as it's retained in the breechblock. Notice the firing pin, which at that time, was not relieved (it does not have four areas machined out to prevent destruction):
Download Attachment: c34.jpg

Front Sight base and blade detail (notice the "N" on the forward of the base, second picture):
Download Attachment: c35.jpg

Download Attachment: c36.jpg

Correct wood base magazine detail:
Download Attachment: d41.jpg

Download Attachment: d46.jpg

· Administrator
17,004 Posts
John, very nice posting.

Next time, maybe you could provide a few pictures to help out with the words? ~~grinning~~

Seriously, these type of learning tools, showing extreme detail helps out a vast number of beginning and advanced collectors compare their luger with another example.


· Premium Member
4,384 Posts
Outstanding photographs, detail and presentation of your 1916 DWM. Very educational for both new and old collectors (like me). Thanks for posting on this site.

· Registered
106 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Ed and Jan,

My thanks....

Ed - you should see the number of pictures I had but didn't post... (grin)

Seriously, in learning about this piece, I tried to post the pictures of the areas that I found interesting - and hopefully, others will benefit as well. It's sort of what it's all about, in my mind.. For example - I found in Jan's book (Imperial Lugers) the reference to the Erfurt barrel proof, which until I found that reference, questioned as to whether it was correct or not. And the production data, and detail on the reciever stamps/proofs - including the order and their meaning, and much more about this variation....

In any event, my thanks are returned to you, Jan. And if I can share back with others what I've learned from your research/publications, this site and it's Members - then that's what collecting is all about to me.

My Best to both of you - and my thanks...


Hi guys, I have a luger very similar to John's. It is #8473h also dated 1916. My pistol is identical to John's but i cant seem to find a barrel proof. (is this common, or should i be worried) I'd also like to know the value. Mine is about 95%, but i'm not sure if it has been refinished.

· Administrator
17,004 Posts
Justin, Welcome to the forum, start your own thread, as it is much better to start your own thread, rather than one from 2 years ago ;) then the replies are straight to you.

Tell us other proofs on it, provide pictures if you can, etc. Is it a DWM or an Erfurt?


· Registered
156 Posts
A very nice presentation.
"The hold open. ( Edited with Ron Wood's assistance) The hold open was re-introduced in 1912, as the original Miliary contract for the P 08 did not include this feature. This hold open is military serialized:"

The hold open was re-introduced in 1913.You can find 1913 dated P08s(both DWM and Erfurt) without hold open (mainly from Bavarian Army),with the h.o. added(a little Erfurt proof on the right side of the gun,just above the trigger pin confirms the updating) ,and originally made with the h.o..


I am cataloging my fathers gun collection. Among the weapons is a DWM Luger. The weapon was taken from a German POW In WWII when my dad was in Germany. The gun is devoid of any proof marks. It has the DWM logo on the top of the slide. The date of manufacture (1916) is stamped on the top of the receiver. There are numerical stamps that correspond to the last two digits of the serial number on the front of the frame on several parts of the gun. The serial number is only four digits long. There is no letter in the serial number.
The finish is excellent with little rust visible. If anyone can assist in this reagard please email. I can send photos of the gun via email.

Thanks, John Hardage
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