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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have acquried a P-38 that is from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI).

It has what appears to be a matte chrome finish throughout the entire pistol. It is in excellent condition.

Does anyone have additional information about this finish or why the BMI would have this firearm finished in this manner?

Thank you.
 

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I'm a P38 collector and I've seen a lot of strange finishes. I would be surprised if that organization finished the pistol this way. Not saying they didn't, but...

Whoever finished it did a nice job.
 

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The Federal Interior Ministry (Bundesministerium des Innern, BMI) did not issue these guns. They acquired them for the agencies under their administrative juristiction. In case of the P38, these pistols were primarily carried by the Border police (Bundesgrenzschutz, BGS); some were also acquired through the BMI for the Readiness Police (Bereitschaftspolizei, Bepo) of some of the West German states.

None of these ever had any but the original or a standard maintenance refinish while in service. The finish on your gun is without a doubt aftermarket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Federal Interior Ministry (Bundesministerium des Innern, BMI) did not issue these guns. They acquired them for the agencies under their administrative juristiction. In case of the P38, these pistols were primarily carried by the Border police (Bundesgrenzschutz, BGS); some were also acquired through the BMI for the Readiness Police (Bereitschaftspolizei, Bepo) of some of the West German states.

None of these ever had any but the original or a standard maintenance refinish while in service. The finish on your gun is without a doubt aftermarket.
I appreciate your insight..

If aftermarket, how would it be so evenly coated throughout the entire pistol, without any tell tale of any underlying original finish? Looking at the insides of the pistol, it looks as if the metal and the Dural frame are actually made of this "hard" chrome finish. If this was applied aftermarket, I would expect the proof marks to not be sharp.

Is there a way to tell if this was applied aftermarket?
 

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No way to tell except by the negative certainty that the German agencies did not do such things.

By the serial this was a relatively early late 1950s/early 1960s vintage. The original utility finish on those is not very “thick”, in contrast to some of the phosphate and other refinishes that the army refurbishers at St. Wendel later used on the Bundeswehr P38/P1’s. I’ve seen refurbished guns where I’m still not sure what exactly they used.

But on an early original, a skilled refinisher who knows not to be fast and harsh with the buffing and prep can produce a new finish that preserves the sharpness of original stampings and looks “original”.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No way to tell except by the negative certainty that the German agencies did not do such things.

By the serial this was a relatively early late 1950s/early 1960s vintage. The original utility finish on those is not very “thick”, in contrast to some of the phosphate and other refinishes that the army refurbishers at St. Wendel later used on the Bundeswehr P38/P1’s. I’ve seen refurbished guns where I’m still not sure what exactly they used.

But on an early original, a skilled refinisher who knows not to be fast and harsh with the buffing and prep can produce a new finish that preserves the sharpness of original stampings and looks “original”.
No way to tell except by the negative certainty that the German agencies did not do such things.

By the serial this was a relatively early late 1950s/early 1960s vintage. The original utility finish on those is not very “thick”, in contrast to some of the phosphate and other refinishes that the army refurbishers at St. Wendel later used on the Bundeswehr P38/P1’s. I’ve seen refurbished guns where I’m still not sure what exactly they used.

But on an early original, a skilled refinisher who knows not to be fast and harsh with the buffing and prep can produce a new finish that preserves the sharpness of original stampings and looks “original”.
Dear Absalom,

I greatly appreciate your sharing your knowledge about the P-1 pistol finish. Yours is the final word on this subject.
 

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Looks to me as if it has been glass beaded...Bill
 
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