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I must warn you – this is a long thread... As well, it's a more in-depth review of a piece previously shown in this Forum, however - with quite a bit more detail and dissertation. Those on dial-up connections, please be aware of the heavy use of photos!

Also, I would like to credit Mr. Gibson for the original research on this topic, which is supplemented by my own notes and own original research. My thanks to Mr. Gibson, Mr. Shattuck, and several other collectors of note for their support, encourgement and wisdom over the past 16+ years of Krieghoff collecting.

Gibson states that production of the 1938 HK was limited to 50 produced with 18 verified examples. Today, there is still an estimated total production of 50 units, but Krieghoff collectors have now verified 21 examples of 1938 dated HKs. Following is a photo treatise of one of the verified pieces. For that, please understand that I have shown this specific piece on another Forum, so I hope you enjoy it here as well..!

1938 HK – Serial number 9221

With 90% blue and 80% straw, this example is classic of both Gibson’s research and Krieghoff collecting. Bearing serial number 9221, this 1938 chamber dated Krieghoff was pulled from earlier production and sent to the Luftwaffe in June of 1938 to fulfill another 50 units towards the overall original contract, rather then the addended contract. Notes to the proofing and machining marks on this example bear out that it was an earlier production run, rather then post 1937 remarked as “1938”. The grips on this piece are course checkered brown grips, used post “S” and “36” Krieghoffs (although inter-dispersed among latter dates) and in the “1936”, “1937” and S1 Commercial periods.

The left side shows barrel wear and highpoint wear on the side-plate, typical of being carried in the holster. Other areas that are weak on this HK include the grip straps:
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The right side is typical HK at that era: Strawed ejector, trigger (right side mag release is fire blued, as is most common on 1938 and latter):

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Right Receiver: Stamps of this production era run include acceptance of both the frame (as seen on the rail), and the progression of the following: LWaA Stage 1 (early); Proof mark; LWaA Stage 2 (early) (variations noted in 1938 production). On the rail, is again found the LWaA Stage 2. The Barrel proof (right side) is the proof mark. The proof is many times mis-understood by HK novices, as it will generally appear on all of 3 places: the receiver, the barrel and breechblock, but it has been confused with a LWaA stage 1 and/or 2. But, it is totally different (see photo – the PROOF marks are center on the receiver and the right of the barrel) in next photo:

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Frame Serial Number. Please note that Krieghoff’s do not have a letter suffix. Rather, in the Commercial Series, you will note a “P” prefix. As this is military issue, no prefix or suffix exists:

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Left Receiver Serial Number. Note that these were hand stamped, and often times, the baseline will not be aligned.

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Sideplate – inside view. There are several things to note on this piece – including the placement of the two LWaA Inspection marks (1mm) and the military serialization. During the “S” series Krieghoff’s, the placement of the Military serialization changed from external to internal. This change is one of the factors that designates an Early S to a Mid-S Series. This piece was, of course – post “S”, and therefore shows the later style:

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Trigger Serialization. With the side plate removed, the serialization on the trigger can be viewed:

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Rear Frame Well. The machining marks are unique to Krieghoff manufacturing. Some will try to draw similarities between ERFURT and SIMSON given the theory of the “same tooling” and milling machinery - but in fact, Krieghoff used their own pattern, on their own “newly designed” machinery. The HK process gave faster production, better Q&A with a superior finish then either ERFURT or SIMSON (credit to H. Krieghoff who engineered the design change). Therefore, the HK process is readily able to be identified:

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This is also apparent in the front frame well:

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The thumb safety – properly serialized, depending on HK variation and year of production:

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On this Krieghoff, the stamp for “GESCHIERT” is not as worn as later dates, which gives the Krieghoff collector a clue as to when the frame was manufactured and marked. Noted as a Die Type “B” as recorded by Gibson.

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Another HK tell-tale is the trigger guard cut. Compared to any manufacturer, this is a deeper “V” then encountered elsewhere:

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Take down. The takedown is especially noteworthy. If you are looking at a Krieghoff – LOOK AT THIS PART closely! The take down, as in the following photo, will have a “straight” buff line canted off-center. This is unique to the HK manufacturing process, and as referenced above, is a manufacturing change from other manufacturers:

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The Take down lever detail. Notice the correct, for that production period HK, military serialization. As well – the second photo is where one would find the LWaA stamp – on the rear cam:

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Once out – look for the HOLD-OPEN to have the LWaA on the underside. This is correct placement and sizing:

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Internally – within the frame, you will note the LWaA stamps on both the Thumb Lever (left) and the internal flat of Safety Lever. These are correct for this period of HK manufacture – but changed as production progressed:

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The “Six Point Star” Inspection has a unique place in Krieghoff manufacturing. The “six point Star” was only used between certain serial numbers – and may be attributed to a single Inspector that worked at the factory for six years, beginning 1936. After 1942, this Inspector was transferred, and Krieghoff used another Inspection nomenclature. This is updated information above what Mr. Gibson notes:

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Magazine Release location – inside, rear towards the magazine:

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Looking at the frame itself, an HK trademark was the fine polish put down after the bluing process. Notice the high polish on the flats and the rail guides:

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And from the front:

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The Frame lugs – as used as part of the frame machining process:

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This specimen has the correct Course Checkered grips. Often imitated by forgers, these grips are easily identified by both the checkering pattern and the internal signatures. Note the checkering by the grip screws:

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Internally – note where the riders are cast. Fakes will have a different pattern, especially on the left grip panel:

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Grip Detail. One of the other tell tales to discern “real” from “fake” - look for the countersunk holes. Slightly depressed, the actual screw hole will be tapped in a certain size and pitch:

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Top End
The top end of this specimen:

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Chamber Date: Be aware of counterfeits. HK’s have their own script and “cant” to the numerals that are stamped. This is proper for a “1938”. Notice the baseline drawn between the “9” and the “8”, the "3" descending as well as the top-cleft of the “1”:

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Toggle marking: HK went through several variations of their toggle stamp. For 1938 HKs, although limited in verified examples, it would be “C-2” as noted by Gibson. No variations of the toggle exist for 1938 production that have been verified, to date.

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Rear Toggle Link. Please note the fly-cut of the rear sight. It is visibly different then other manufacturers, being “wider”. However, as with other manufacturers, the “V” cut is most often encountered:

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Toggle Train Underside. There are several things to note, with details to follow:

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On the center link, please note the serialization in addition to the LWaA stamp:

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Rear Link – Top – Toggle Ears. Note the chamfer of the inside edge, which is an HK “trademark” on the ears:

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Axel Pin. This pin is serialized and shows the proper machining marks for HK. Typically lighter in color then the rear top, this is also an HK tell tale. Most Axel pins that were struck were between the serial Nos 7,000 and 10,000 range – but few are noted. Of the 1938’s verified (21 total), only 6 have this mark. 1938 HK serial # 9221 is marked as such, with the last 2 digits:

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Rear link – side. Notice again, the placement of the LWaA and the color of the coupling pin.

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Barrel Lug and witness marks. This area on HKs varies greatly, depending on year and variation. On this specimen, there are no barrel witness marks and the LUG area is alaphbet free:

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Barrel markings. On HKs, these marks in both orientation and order MAY change. These are correct for this period of manufacture. The following photo depicts the “gauge” (as 8,84), the LWaA 2 acceptance and the 4 digit serial number. As production proceeded through HK in later years, the orientation and the proofs/serial numbers would change or be omitted. This 1938 has no witness marks, but 2 are noted as having witness marks.

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Forward Breech Block. This area has several correct proofs/inspection marks – alongside the Military serialization. These are from this period only – and may be different on your Krieghoff, depending on the variation and date of production:

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Firing Train. Notice the relieved firing pin. This is correct. In the next two photos, you will notice the firing pin has the military serialization, and on the opposite side of the pin lug, will also have the correct LWaA stamp. The retainer also has the correct Inspection Stage LWaA stamp. Please note both following photographs:

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Underside of top rails. As noted previously, the HK’s were polished after being blued. Nest is the underside of the top end as it mated to the frame:

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Coupling Link. Please note the LWaA stamp location. This is somewhat consistent throughout the HK manufacturing years:

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Front Sight Details. Notice both the base and the blade. Both are correct for 9mm Production. If a .30 Luger (.30) blade were to be inserted into this base, the blade base would be incorrect, as HK 9mm and .30 blade lengths varied.

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Flame Hardening. This area is one of the most mis-understood in HK collecting. Therefore, the following images have been electronically enhanced to you can see what areas are correct to be flame hardened by the HK manufacturing process. However, please note – flame hardening is NOT an exact art – so what you see here, may not be the EXACT details you see on your Krieghoff. And yet – for that – many forgers have mastered the “art” of duplicating Krieghoff flame hardening – so DO NOT use this feature to determine whether your HK is original or not.

OK – here goes…….

Rear of frame. Notice the darkened area. This is called a “thumb-print” and is found at the rear of the frame.

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Another area was the “ramps” on the frame. Again, it was hardened to minimize the wear on the ramps:

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And lastly, the toggles themselves, where they contacted the ramps – were hardened. In the image below – it would be at the right/bottom, where the “blue” is slightly off (bluer):

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And this is what it looks like:

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