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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my name is David and I've recently developed an interest in Lugers. Hopefully, with the help of this forum, it will blossom into a full-blown obsession. First, I'm not a gun collector and at this point in time I'm not looking to purchase anything, I'm merely looking for detailed information as I'm not satisfied with what I can find through videos, web searches, wikipedia, etc. Second, I know next to nothing about Lugers or firearms in general.

I'm mainly interested in WWII era Lugers and would like to know the following:

  • What years and models would have been used during this time period and by which branches of the Wehrmacht?
  • What are the major differences in guns manufactured by Mauser and Krieghoff and why?
  • Which years are "K" and "G" dates, and/or what do these letters distinguish?
  • Is there a comprehensive list of possible markings and their meanings and where might I find it?
  • Besides condition and rarity what are the largest factors when determining the value of a gun from this time period and/or what makes a particular gun more desirable than another? (are those the same question?)
  • What are the major advantages and shortcomings of the luger when compared to something like the m1911 or other contemporary pistols?(or modern handguns for that matter)

If anyone can answers these for me or better yet point me toward the book or website that I have inevitably overlooked it would be greatly appreciated.

I apologize in advance for whatever errors/assumptions I've no doubt made in this post.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A couple other questions:
Which barrel lengths and calibers were in use during WWII?
What makes the Artillery or Lange model different, what was its function, and who used it?
 

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Hello, my name is David and I've recently developed an interest in Lugers. Hopefully, with the help of this forum, it will blossom into a full-blown obsession. First, I'm not a gun collector and at this point in time I'm not looking to purchase anything, I'm merely looking for detailed information as I'm not satisfied with what I can find through videos, web searches, wikipedia, etc. Second, I know next to nothing about Lugers or firearms in general.

I'm mainly interested in WWII era Lugers and would like to know the following:

  • What years and models would have been used during this time period and by which branches of the Wehrmacht?
  • What are the major differences in guns manufactured by Mauser and Krieghoff and why?
  • Which years are "K" and "G" dates, and/or what do these letters distinguish?
  • Is there a comprehensive list of possible markings and their meanings and where might I find it?
  • Besides condition and rarity what are the largest factors when determining the value of a gun from this time period and/or what makes a particular gun more desirable than another? (are those the same question?)
  • What are the major advantages and shortcomings of the luger when compared to something like the m1911 or other contemporary pistols?(or modern handguns for that matter)

If anyone can answers these for me or better yet point me toward the book or website that I have inevitably overlooked it would be greatly appreciated.

I apologize in advance for whatever errors/assumptions I've no doubt made in this post.

Thanks
Well, frankly there is no "answer" to most of those.
Do you want standard issue, last ditch issue, Volksstrum issue, private use?
K= 1934 date code used by Mauser. G= 1935 date code used by Mauser.
I highly doubt there is a comprehensive list simply because there is so much information.
Besides condition and rarity, it is mainly who is buying. A WWII collector isn't going to buy a WWI Luger and vice versa. The main areas of interest are pre-WWI, WWI (4", 6" (Navy), 8" (Artillery), Weimar (police or military), early Nazi (sneak rework, K, G, dates), WWII, Krieghoff, and various contracts; really I could go on and on because each collector has different interests. Not really an "answer" for this.
And advantages and disadvantages of the Luger is really personal preference again there is no "answer" for this.





A couple other questions:
Which barrel lengths and calibers were in use during WWII?
What makes the Artillery or Lange model different, what was its function, and who used it?
Do you want standard issue, last ditch issue, Volksstrum issue, private use?
And the Artillery model is different because it had a longer barrel and was occasionally used with a stock and/or a snail drum. Some were issued to trench sweepers because they were smaller, had a higher capacity, and had a higher rate of fire than their Gew or Kar 98's. Also they were issued to Artillery or other rear line units to free up standard issue rifles for the front lines.
 

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I will take the bullet on this one to save some of our authorities that usually answer some typing time to use on more direct questions....

I strongly sugest you study this forum topics you are intrested in, and get yourself a copy of one of Jan's books if you are serious about learning about these fine pistols.There are other books out there, but these are the best, and most up to date (my opinion) There are many good books on the subject by some very knowledgable people out there that are very topic specific also. The questions you ask are fairly vast, and would take quite a bit to explain with any detail and acuracy.
A quick run down of your questions:
1- pretty much any pre 1945 military (and some commercial)luger may possibly have been used in the WWII time frame. 10's of thousands of Imperial/Weimar era guns were "recycled" along the way, and issued in the Nazi era.
2- you answered this yourself (learning already!) Mauser made Mausers, and H-K made Kreghoff. Mechanically the same, quality very high, as expected from a H-K firearm, and made in smaller quanity.
3- 1934 and 1935 respectivly
4- their are many books that address this in detail, just to broad a question to get into here.
5-Desire to have by another collector is probably the biggest factor, this superciedes condition/ rarity. If no one buys a rare gun it has no value....... Originallity is a major plus. Any alteration usually knocks it to shooter grade.
6- The Luger pistol is well over 100 years old, and cannot be compared to modern firearms in a fair mannor. No CNC machinery....etc...
The Luger was a fine pistol that ,if anything was too finely crafted, making it a little finicky, espicially in dirt, and parts interchange between pistols. Its lines and workmanship are timeless, and probably the big draw to collectors at first. (Heck, it got you intrested) There are very many variations to collect.
7- WWII pretty much 4"
8- Now you are drifting into WWI questions...........the 8" barrel is only differance, and the rest is pretty broad to answer correctly, but a short run down is any unit that a rifle would be a secondary weapon (as in artillery) to use as a defensive weapon to protect the primary piece. The stocked long barrel pistol was easy to transport, and less bulk than a full size rifle. Later on they proved excelent for assault troops as they were small, lite, fast fire weapons.
Now, do some reading around here and keep learning, it gets addictive.
 

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Hi, David, welcome to this great forum. On it and the Luger forum you will gather a lot of the knowledge you seek on these fascinating pistols. Mauser made Lugers from about 1933 until the latter part of 1942 when they switched over to P38 production. Most went to the German war effort although a small number were produced for commercial sales. Mauser was assigned several different codes (found on the front toggle) to keep the allies guessing: S42; 42; and byf. Mauser made several improvements over the previous producers (DWM, etc.) Good luck in your search for further knowledge. Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, frankly there is no "answer" to most of those.
Do you want standard issue, last ditch issue, Volksstrum issue, private use?
I'm really only interested in standard issue firearms.

Besides condition and rarity, it is mainly who is buying. A WWII collector isn't going to buy a WWI Luger and vice versa. The main areas of interest are pre-WWI, WWI (4", 6" (Navy), 8" (Artillery), Weimar (police or military), early Nazi (sneak rework, K, G, dates), WWII, Krieghoff, and various contracts; really I could go on and on because each collector has different interests. Not really an "answer" for this.
With regard to value I'm interested in what sets apart the weapons which would've/could've been used by Third Reich soldiers. I'm certain this would extend to the WWII and Krieghoff categories you mentioned, and possibly early Nazi, but what I'm unsure of is what the earliest models still in use during that time were. Were the pre-WWI still in use, possibly reissued during WWII? I am also unsure of what the difference is between all of these. I know the Navy model is actually a p04, but unless I'm mistaken the rest are reffered to as p08s. Is there an actual physical difference or is the distinction purely the time periods in which they were produced? I would also like to know what a "sneak rework" luger is.

And advantages and disadvantages of the Luger is really personal preference again there is no "answer" for this.
When I asked about this I was mostly interested in how the luger commonly fails, e.g missfires, jams, etc.
Specifically, I'm curious as to what it was like to actually use. I'm quite sure it has some objective flaws from an engineering standpoint, on account of it being relatively complex, because it was replaced after the war and was hoping someone could elaborate further on that point.

I do appreciate the help, thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1- pretty much any pre 1945 military (and some commercial)luger may possibly have been used in the WWII time frame. 10's of thousands of Imperial/Weimar era guns were "recycled" along the way, and issued in the Nazi era.
Thank you this clears up a lot.

2- you answered this yourself (learning already!) Mauser made Mausers, and H-K made Kreghoff. Mechanically the same, quality very high, as expected from a H-K firearm, and made in smaller quanity.
This is an area I still don't really understand. I get that Mauser and HK are differen't manufacturers but what I don't get is why production was split between the two. If i'm not mistaken Mauser made the Lugers for most of the Wehrmacht while HK made Lugers specifically for the Luftwaffe. Why? Were Kreighoffs simply more precise due to Hk's superior craftmanship? If that is the case, why did the luftwaffe specifically require more precise firearms?


Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mauser was assigned several different codes (found on the front toggle) to keep the allies guessing: S42; 42; and byf.
Thank you, that's actually very helpful. Were these codes supposed to encode any real information or are they meaningless and intended to confuse (if so it worked well). Do they have any specific meaning?
 

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Regarding the codes, there is no meaning, as far as we know.
In fact, during WWII most of the suppliers of military hardware was assigned a two or three letters code by the German Ordnance.
 

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Mobius wrote: This is an area I still don't really understand. I get that Mauser and HK are differen't manufacturers but what I don't get is why production was split between the two. If i'm not mistaken Mauser made the Lugers for most of the Wehrmacht while HK made Lugers specifically for the Luftwaffe. Why? Were Kreighoffs simply more precise due to Hk's superior craftmanship? If that is the case, why did the luftwaffe specifically require more precise firearms?


David,

Welcome to the Forum.

The above question is fairly easy to answer.

As Germany mobilized after abrogating the treaty of Versailles, competition for weaponry was intense among the armed forces, i.e. Army, Navy, and Airforce. And to complicate things, the SS was establishing a pure military force, the Waffen SS, so they were competing.

And production of the P.08, i.e. the standard issue sidearm, was limited to the 10-12,000 per month that Mauser could produce. They had the only active P.08 production line in Germany.

Especially hard hit was the Luftwaffe who in addition to the Flying Services also owned air defense and airborne troops. They needed P.08s.

So Goering used the Simson tooling, that had been seized during early purges of Jewish businesses, and was in storage and negotiated with Krieghoff, a contract to supply 10,000 P.08s and a second contract that resulted in another 3000 or so HKs being supplied.

Now, Mauser still needed to supply P.08s to all services and so of the million or so Lugers that Mauser built from 1934 to 1943, some also went to the Navy, and some to the Airforce. But the bulk went to the Army/Waffen SS. BTW, two different entities that competed with each other for resources.

So, Germany ended up from 1935 to the end of WWII production with two Luger (P.08) lines running. Mauser made a Million guns and HK about 13-14,000. which by the way is what Mauser did in a good month. Two different scales of operation.

HK was a premium sporting guns vendor and did machine guns for the Luftwaffe. They produced better finished Lugers because they took the time to do a better job finishing and they machined a little better. Their interchangeability was better and rejection rates were lower than Mauser's. But the specs were exactly the same as Mauser's. They both made high quality war guns. BTW, HK finish quality also dropped from 1940 onwards they reduced their polishing a bit.

BTW, Mauser switched over to P.38 production in 1941/2.

Hope this answers the question.

John
 

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I am not a Kreghoff collector, so someone else may give you a better answer than me, but I believe tooling from Simpson was transfered to H-K after it was disolved (Jewish owned), and Herman Goering awarded the company rights to manufacture Lugers (some, not all?)for the Luftwaffe that he was in charge of. The details as to why tooling went there is not known by me without looking it up. Hopefully someone with more knowledge on H-K lugers can add to this. John
 

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As a fellow newbie who had/has many of these questions myself, I think there has been much good advice already given. I would add that you don't need to start out with expensive books, there are several useful books that will give you a strong start on many of your questions. For me, Luger Tips and Lugers at Random got me started. Browsing and searching this forum in your area of interest should steer you to other resources.

Some of the best advice I have received here is that for every Luger you buy, you should get two books.

Be forwarned, buying books and browsing will likely put you on a path to purchase a pistol. The other good advice I got was for the first Luger to be in your area of interest and of the "shooter" variety to allow you to fire the weapon without fear of damaging an expensive specimen and get familiar with the operation. Again, browsing the forum will provide copious information about what/where/how should the purchase inclination hit.
 

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This is good advice, and I would add that this Forum and the LugerForum contain much valuable information. Both are organized by areas of historical or collecting interest. A lot of information that is contained in newer books actually comes from research partially conducted using data gathered on these Fora. Lots of knowledgeable people here.

I would urge newcomers to become familiar with the powerful Search Engines that are built-into both Forums. A key word search can get a researcher to their destination very quickly.

Second to that, the Stickies on both boards contain a lot of information of broad interest on a topic. Very useful.

John
 

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Thank you this clears up a lot.



This is an area I still don't really understand. I get that Mauser and HK are differen't manufacturers but what I don't get is why production was split between the two. If i'm not mistaken Mauser made the Lugers for most of the Wehrmacht while HK made Lugers specifically for the Luftwaffe. Why? Were Kreighoffs simply more precise due to Hk's superior craftmanship? If that is the case, why did the luftwaffe specifically require more precise firearms?


Thanks again.
The different military organizations within the German military had, somewhat, different management organizations for supplies. The SS was low on the priority list in 1939 and ended up with foreign-produced small arms, for example. The Luftwaffe had its own inspection organization perhaps because of different needs or for government policy reasons--I don't know. However, the Luftwaffe arranged its own contract for lugers with the Krieghoff company. The contract produced far fewer lugers than the army's Mauser supplier. The German military used lugers from pre-WW1 right up to WW2 production dates until the end of WW2. They weren't retired due to age--the German army had a shortage of pistols through most if not all of WW2.
 

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In the 1990s, I developed the IFV or Information Theory of Value for collectibles. The basic idea is that the value of a collectible luger, or other historical collectible, is mostly a function of the historical information retained by the luger. The history, the information about original finish and parts, its ownership and documented events in its history, all influence value. If the luger has its factory-original parts, factory original finish (completely retained), period-correct accessories, and a paper trail of its history and ownership, it will have much higher value than a luger that has experienced loss of original finish (removed or covered original finish or wear), replaced parts, and a lack of information about its history (this is actually the rule).

- - - Updated - - -

Adding to value is the composite of demand (popularity of the item and the area of collection) and supply (rarity and survival) and retention of value over time (lugers have historically retained and increased in value relative to inflation).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A huge thank you to everyone who responded here, it seems I've had all my cursory questions answered and answered well.
 
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