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Commercial P08

1577 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Douglas_Jr
A friend of mine told me there is a good Commercial 9 mm. N/Crown proofed P08 for selling. It's a # 556xx gun, and it HAS the hold open. I knew (Kenyon-Lugers at random) that only some specimens over 60000 could have the hold open device. Could someone help me to know better the matter before I go and look at the gun?
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There are examples of P-08 Commercials which have had a holdopen added. My own example, #46161, has been so modified. Look for a pin which has been added through a hole which has been drilled into the right side of the frame, just above and behind the trigger.

This image illustrates these additions. The first two are standard military guns, the third is my 08 Commercial which has had the addition made in a non-standard manner.

Officers were required to purchase their own pistols, if one bought a commercial P-08 which was later armory-modified with a holdopen it will be stamped with a proof mark, as seen in the illustration.

When you examine the gun I'd appreciate it if you would note whether or not the gun is stamped GERMANY and if it has a grooved thumb safety, for my survey. Please also supply the full serial number.

If you buy it, it will be interesting to know whether the gun has an original holdopen or if it has been added; and if added, a picture will be most appreciated.

Thanks for the consideration and the info, hope the gun turns out to be a good one.

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That is a very nice P-08 Commercial, and I believe that it is in some small way a significant piece.

Kenyon's coment about "...a few produced in the 60000 serial range...WITH the holdopen device." (Kenyon, "Lugers At Random", p.116), appears to be a generalization, based perhaps on some observations and reports. What is important to remember is that Kenyon's book dates from 1969. Perhaps thousands of Lugers have come 'out of the woodwork' since then, and more samples can only help fine-tune the preexisting data. Your Luger extends the serial range downward in which Commercial P-08s were produced with holdopen.

And this permits another conclusion. I am very frustrated with the manner in which most authors present their data--the Kenyon comment above is a case in point--and this is the reason I have undertaken my early Commercial serial range survey: more information allows one to make better comparisons and make associations which the bare model-serial# range information does not. In this case, we know from Still ("Imperial Lugers", p.23) that, although the directive requiring holdopen and stock lug was issued in May of 1913, some end-of-production 1912 DWM were produced with holdopen. If we assume that Commercial P-08 were produced concurrently with Military guns (an assumption I would like to test), this places the 55000 serial number range production as early as the end of 1912, and no earlier.

Regarding the sear bar, I suspect that you are correct in your assessment that it is a unit armorer modification. Regarding the rest of your supposition, a WAG speculation suggests that it is much more likely that a directive was issued that all P-08 in service be returned to the unit armory for modification, and the officer, who had purchased this Luger himself as required of him, dutifully did so.

This is a terrific piece, and it is apparent by its condition that whomever owned it did not find much use for it in battle. I thank you very much for the data point for my survey.

Also, you showed me a new thing. I have always presumed, without ever checking, that the added holdopen pin through the frame was necessary because the required interior machining for the holdopen to rotate on was not present in early guns. I never suspected that the pin was always an external application until I saw your revealing photograph. I have since examined other Lugers in my possession and, sure enough, they are pinned through the frame. Once you see it, it begins to become quite apparent. You have a good eye, and my thanks for the new perspective.

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