Jan C. Still Lugerforums banner
21 - 40 of 57 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,814 Posts
. A lot of evidence points to high percentage of byf Lugers (both grip types) being allocated to w-SS. Actually the only new Lugers made during the timeframe when the SS was authorized new weapons were the 41 and 42 byf production.

Could you elaborate on this. Because I have a hard time believing it.

In fact, the only documented SS-sale of P08's I have seen to date is from 1939.

Another interesting fact is that the SS favored wood for use at the Eastern Front, to prevent frostbite mishaps. Not sure how well plastic would hold up in sub-zero temperatures?

And let's not forget the last batch of plastic gripped P08's that was dumped on Portugal because the HWaA did no longer want them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,969 Posts
Could you elaborate on this. Because I have a hard time believing it.

In fact, the only documented SS-sale of P08's I have seen to date is from 1939.

Another interesting fact is that the SS favored wood for use at the Eastern Front, to prevent frostbite mishaps. Not sure how well plastic would hold up in sub-zero temperatures?

And let's not forget the last batch of plastic gripped P08's that was dumped on Portugal because the HWaA did no longer want them.
Vlim,........I think you put everything in perspective........Some people are are caught up in this Black Widow frenzy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
885 Posts
Could you elaborate on this. Because I have a hard time believing it.

In fact, the only documented SS-sale of P08's I have seen to date is from 1939.

Another interesting fact is that the SS favored wood for use at the Eastern Front, to prevent frostbite mishaps. Not sure how well plastic would hold up in sub-zero temperatures?

And let's not forget the last batch of plastic gripped P08's that was dumped on Portugal because the HWaA did no longer want them.
And Bulgaria, for the most part, turned theirs over to the Russki's, being the 2nd. to last contract, prior to Portugal, I believe...Bulgaria changed sides, didn't they...? (Going on memory here)...

Edward
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
This is my first post on here so hello to all! I was actually thinking about this the other day and there does seem to be a big demand for these kinds of Lugers. I was going to purchase a "black widow" but turned it down for a 41/42 code with the wooden grips (stamped Eagle 655). I side with the opinion that the wooden grips look better but everyone has their own preference so I can't judge. As long as you're happy!

Like another member on here said about P-38s and their grips, I was curious if I could call my 1944 Hi Power with bakelite grips a "black widow Hi-Power" haha Or maybe we should just leave "black widow" to Lugers? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Could you elaborate on this. Because I have a hard time believing it.

In fact, the only documented SS-sale of P08's I have seen to date is from 1939.

Another interesting fact is that the SS favored wood for use at the Eastern Front, to prevent frostbite mishaps. Not sure how well plastic would hold up in sub-zero temperatures?

And let's not forget the last batch of plastic gripped P08's that was dumped on Portugal because the HWaA did no longer want them.
I’ll be glad to.
The newly named W-SS was only formally put under OKW (OKH was delegated weapons allocation responsibility by OKW) near the end of 1940. Prior to that the SS (VT, LAH and TKV) resorted to older weapons “hand me downs” often reworked in SS armories, private contracts (no doubt some Banners as the 39 era you mentioned) and an allocation “gift or seizure” of captured CZ weapons and vehicles.
What’s significant is that in December of 1940 the new W-SS began a period of raising and or expanding existing brigades to an increase of 10 new divisions by the spring of 1943, probably and expansion of around 250,000 field troops. In addition most of the total of 13 full divisions during this time frame were fully rebuilt at least once and several rebuilt twice due to combat losses. This required a LOT of weapons and photos from this period (1941- mid 43) clearly shown that the P.08 was by far the dominant 9mm carried by the W-SS. Again the byf was the only game in town in terms of new manufacture P.08 between 1941 and late 42 except for 10k or so 41/42.
I don’t think that the SS were anymore prone to frostbite than any other German front line formation nor do I think Bakelite grips made the risk worse. If so those receiving P.38s and Radoms were in a world of hurt. I also have no reason to believe that W-SS did not receive a healthy allocation of wooden griped byf Lugers.

Lastly I would suggest that the late 1942 diversion of byf Lugers to Portugal and Bulgaria had nothing to do with the Wehrmacht not wanting these guns but rather everything to do with shoring up strategic alliances. Keep in mind that during this same period Germany sold tens of thousands of new K98ks and many MG34s to Portugal, fighter aircraft to Bulgaria and high quality military optics, weapons and other materials to Sweden.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
14,925 Posts
I love Black Widows. They just have such a cool mystique to them and for me, it's based purely on looks ....
Understand what you mean, but you can have two exact byf's side by side, one with black grips, the other with wood and swap the grips, and now the other is a BW and the other isn't????
They are just grips and also a FXO mag, but there is no difference in color or markings.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
14,925 Posts
I’ll be glad to.
The newly named W-SS was only formally put under OKW (OKH was delegated weapons allocation responsibility by OKW) near the end of 1940. Prior to that the SS (VT, LAH and TKV) resorted to older weapons “hand me downs” often reworked in SS armories, private contracts (no doubt some Banners as the 39 era you mentioned) and an allocation “gift or seizure” of captured CZ weapons and vehicles.
What’s significant is that in December of 1940 the new W-SS began a period of raising and or expanding existing brigades to an increase of 10 new divisions by the spring of 1943, probably and expansion of around 250,000 field troops. In addition most of the total of 13 full divisions during this time frame were fully rebuilt at least once and several rebuilt twice due to combat losses. This required a LOT of weapons and photos from this period (1941- mid 43) clearly shown that the P.08 was by far the dominant 9mm carried by the W-SS. Again the byf was the only game in town in terms of new manufacture P.08 between 1941 and late 42 except for 10k or so 41/42.
I don’t think that the SS were anymore prone to frostbite than any other German front line formation nor do I think Bakelite grips made the risk worse. If so those receiving P.38s and Radoms were in a world of hurt. I also have no reason to believe that W-SS did not receive a healthy allocation of wooden griped byf Lugers.

Lastly I would suggest that the late 1942 diversion of byf Lugers to Portugal and Bulgaria had nothing to do with the Wehrmacht not wanting these guns but rather everything to do with shoring up strategic alliances. Keep in mind that during this same period Germany sold tens of thousands of new K98ks and many MG34s to Portugal, fighter aircraft to Bulgaria and high quality military optics, weapons and other materials to Sweden.
I would think your theory would also apply to the rapid expansion of airforce ack-ack - and would apply to police, who were mobilized and went to the eastern front. And would apply to Africa and many other places.
But then I have no desire to own any SS named weapons.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,814 Posts
The Waffen-SS would be armed through normal channels and thus would get the same guns in the same configuration as anybody else. So attributing black gripped pistols to Waffen-SS is just wishful thinking, as far as I'm concearned. Like Edward I have no real interest in SS provenance. But indeed, a-holes as they were, the SS tried to get their greedy hands on just about anything they could lay their hands on outside of official procurement. There are some surviving bits of correspondence on SS-procurement and use of small arms, but I haven't seen anything related to pistols yet, other than the January, 1939 order of 500 pistols

The sales to Portugal were a way to offload pistols that the HWaA were no longer interested in, the P38 production was gaining momentum and the P38 is what they ordered and expected. Some P08's were rerouted to the airforce as they had some backorders to fill, but that was about it.

But if anyone can come up with some decent WW2-dated hard evidence, I'd be happy to change my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I want to be clear on the points that I tried to make. The beginning of W-SS OKH armament being late 1940/41 is no theory its documented fact. It is correct to say that many other divisions and other size units of the Army and LW were also being raised and rebuilt in this same time frame, much more than W-SS even but the fact remains that the W-SS was a totally new requirement that had to be accommodated and photograph evidence shows that P08 were very dominant with them during those first years and even beyond. It makes sense to me that the Army (OKH) was willing to allocate P08 to WSS in 41-43 in order to keep most all P.38 production for themselves. Clearly P35b and P35p production augmented issues in big way to army, LW and SS. For sure WSS received very high percentage of P35b by late 42 and later. The WSS had over 900,000 men pass thru it’s ranks son it was no tiny force.

I have repeatedly stated that I believe the SS receive both black and wooden griped byf Lugers. I’m far from sure that super condition wooden griped byf Lugers particularly the earlier 1941 examples with double matching mags sell for a dime less than a black griped example in similar condition.
As for collector boosting, yes it happens with these and everything else of value. My advice is to first off make sure the black grips are original to the period and second make sure that the gun is at least an s block are later. We can argue about when these grips were first introduced and then used in regular production all day and night but my advice is that if the gun is earlier than the s block (t and u are much better still) then it is probably boosted. I make an exception for the correct letter block back in 1940 where some seem proven to have been used for probable field testing. My last piece of advice is to make sure that the condition of the grips is consistent with the finish on the gun! Sounds obvious but I’ve seen worn beat up finish guns with minty Bakelite grips and minty finish guns with dinged beat up grips.
I can not say much more about the last letter block going to Portugal and Bulgaria but what I said before other than there is a LOT of inconsistencies to what many people think when it comes to German war production and allocation and actual use. The Germans produced and obtained at least 4 million pistols during the third Reich so I can say with some confidence that 10,000 did not break the bank. Portugal was a major spy and espionage base for the Germans and were at least on the down low very sympathetic and helpful to the Germans, Bulgaria was a nominal fighting ally in an important geographical position for operations in the east and balkans. Keep in mind that 20,000 banner police, commercial and contract Lugers were also produced wartime.
I’m not at all convinced that Ralph Shattuck coined the BW name (even if he claimed he did) he certainly popularized early on and I’m not sure it makes any difference to the applicability of the name. Who coined “brown Bess”, peacemaker, or grease gun??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
I think that one aspect of the introduction and subsequent use of composition grips on Lugers has been much overlooked and possibly too simplified and that is the question: why? The party line for 65 years (Datig) has been that Mauser adopted them to make up for shortages of suitable wood blanks beginning in 1941. First off Mauser did not adopt or decide anything outside of their contract with OKH without express permission from army ordnance officials. I’m not sure if composition grips cost more or less to produce than wood grips (I expect the latter) but I assume it was not the same and that there was some kind of price adjustments for guns fitted with them. We also know that the German police would not accept P08s with composition grips or magazine bottoms, one has to wonder if any of the 4 services had similar reservations or did they have a choice?
It has long been of interest to me that the estimated percentage of composition grips used on byf Lugers equaled almost identically the known published percentage of Lugers allocated the LW up to the start of the war when the data stops being available, but presumably continued at about n the same rate through 1942 and the fact that the LW HK contract introduced composition grips in 1935/36 with even some of those pattern grips being diverted to Mauser later on (LW use??) I naturally thought maybe the composition grips were a “LW thing” 40 plus years ago. Back in the 1970s and 80s I turned up a number (albeit small) of byf Lugers directly from vets who were very convincing that these Lugers were taken from SS personnel. Their accounts were specific, their units were certainly in contact with SS forces at the time and these vets did not strike me as men prone to BS. These Lugers were both with wooden and composition grips by the way. One rig was still on an SS officer belt and others has various SS insignia and items with them,some had none but the account. Some of these I was able to obtain but most I was not. These guys were in their late 50s to early 70s generally during that timeframe.
I’m still not sure as to the why of the use of composition grips, cost cutting or augmenting wood blank shortfalls or actual preference by an arm of service. The composition magazine bottoms are much easier as aluminum became a very regulated strategic metal by later 1940 and early 1941. The bottoms would have had to be made from either composition or zinc. Wood blanks took years to cure. Whatever was on hand in 1941/42 would have been “put back” in the later 1930s. Perhaps they were under stocked with cured blanks by about 20% by mid 1941 on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,861 Posts
I think that one aspect of the introduction and subsequent use of composition grips on Lugers has been much overlooked and possibly too simplified and that is the question: why?
They were molding phenolic P38 grips, PP & PPk grips, MP40 grips & fore-ends etc. A better question would be why not? JB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
They were molding phenolic P38 grips, PP & PPk grips, MP40 grips & fore-ends etc. A better question would be why not? JB
Right, so I wonder if they were going to phenolic grips on P. 08s say starting in mid 1941 then why didn’t they go to phenolic grips on P.O8s?? I mean when they adopted in the design (on what is listed in the post above) or switched materials in other cases like late war browning HPs they made all subsequent pieces with those new materials. We see with the byf mid 41 production through the end of 42 production a more or less flat percentage (20-30% estimated) of composition grip use as opposed to a ramp up over 18 months or even a switch over. This is very unusual for any other similar change that I know of in German small arms production maybe even unique. My only explanation is that they wanted to use up wooden blanks pre cut for grips or they were fitting phenolic grips to Lugers going to a particular services depots, which I think is unlikely. On the other hand if I was chief of OKH ordnance and paying .5 Reichmark less for every Luger with phenolic grips then I would have had 175,000 fitted with them instead of 35,000
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,861 Posts
Right, so I wonder if they were going to phenolic grips on P. 08s say starting in mid 1941 then why didn’t they go to phenolic grips on P.O8s?? I mean when they adopted in the design (on what is listed in the post above) or switched materials in other cases like late war browning HPs they made all subsequent pieces with those new materials. We see with the byf mid 41 production through the end of 42 production a more or less flat percentage (20-30% estimated) of composition grip use as opposed to a ramp up over 18 months or even a switch over. This is very unusual for any other similar change that I know of in German small arms production maybe even unique. My only explanation is that they wanted to use up wooden blanks pre cut for grips or they were fitting phenolic grips to Lugers going to a particular services depots, which I think is unlikely. On the other hand if I was chief of OKH ordnance and paying .5 Reichmark less for every Luger with phenolic grips then I would have had 175,000 fitted with them instead of 35,000
You have to remember that luger production was ending. You stop wood grip production and use up stock on hand and make up shortfalls with phenolic. They already had the molds. Aluminum mag bases the same, they could stop using valuable aluminum and machine time and make up/finish out what was needed.

Folks want their BW to have been used by (or issued to) the mean SS officer or specially made for the SS. By 41the luger was just a dying breed headed for planned obsolescence. JB
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Folks want their BW to have been used by (or issued to) the mean SS officer or specially made for the SS. By 41the luger was just a dying breed headed for planned obsolescence. JB
As I’ve said there is no question a significant percentage of the 41 and 42 production were sent to sent to the SS. Love it or hate it or not give a darn it was what it was. I can only speculate that the use of existing seasoned blanks was the reason for the relatively low and flat line use of phenolic grips for 18 months but it’s difficult to get past the possible cost difference and manhours aspect of hand working and checkering close to 150,000 pairs of wooden grips when something much more economical were available
 
21 - 40 of 57 Posts
Top