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I have compiled some interesting information on P38 grips. Not much has been published on this topic. If anyone has anything to add please do.


P38 Grip Info

A grip with a number in a circle in the lower part of the grip is for a cyq. A grip with 1529 or1528 (left and right) in the circle at the bottom is for a Walther or Mauser.

A grip with 6 broken lines around the grip screw and a short first line is a Walther/Mauser grip. A grip with 5 broken lines around the grips screws and a long first line is a Spreewerk grip.

Walther Production
CeWe inside the grip (Registered trademark of Carl Walther) Also sometimes found with numerals "480" which was a mold mark and not the Walther assigned, short lived, Manufacturer's code. Grips are numbered to the guns and have the e/359 waffenampt stamped inside.

1940 to end of production:
Dark brown to nearly black bakelite thru mid 1943. Reddish brown from mid 1943 thru mid 1944. A mixture of both the above thru end of war with mold # 1529 on left grip and mold # 1528 on right grip.

The last 3 digits of the gun's serial number will be found stamped on the inside until approximately the early to mid 2nd variation ac41. The grips will also have the E/359 waffenampt stamped on the inside until about the same time as the numbering of the magazines stopped, in the 1942 c block.

The low circle P1529/P1528 marking are accompanied by a high circle in which the "MD" marking appears. These separated by a blank mid grip circle. Jim Cates & Martin Krause presented, in their copyrighted 8/99 AutoMag article, some interesting Sauer 38-H plastic grip research. They found the MD, used from 1936 and on, represented the "Staatliches Materialprufungsamt Berlin-Dahhlem" which is the State Material Supervising (& testing) bureau in Berlin's district of Dahlem. Further, through the German monthly magazine "Kunstsoffe - a 1939 issue", they found a listing of all the published German plastic producers, their MD codes, and the material composition numerals. For instance, they report the "38" we see above the MD is for the Allgemeine Electricitats-Gesellschaft(AEG)firm of Henningsdorf(Osthavelland) & the "V7" is for Carl Walther themselves. The Z3, T1, S etc. below the MD is for the composition of the bakelit-like plastic compound.

The "MD" looks worn from the mold during the late byf'43/ac'43 examples. Faded "MD" with, then, with out P1529/P1528 and vice versa as 1944 examples are started. After this, the Walther grips predominantly show the V7/## side markings till the late ac'45 block guns where most anything can show up. War's end was a mixed bag with whatever was available.

Dieter H. Marschall, in his 10/99 AutoMag submittal, expands further by stating the "MD" is actually the three letters "MPD". In the regular MPD publication "Kunststhoff (Vol.30, #3,1940), for P.38 grips made before 1945, the "Z3" stands for "Bakelit" - a "duroplast" consisting of phenol resin mixed with wood chips or textiles and then pressed. Further "T1" stands for "Trolit" [tradename "Trolit(-an)]", a material based on cellulose-acetate-plastic. Post War Walther-Ulm PP/PPK grip material uses the tradename "Cellidor" which is reported as similar to Trolit. The Walther-Ulm P38/P1 grips use "Novodur" - an ABS-plastic material produced by Bayer/Leverkusen. These details were to have been included in Mr. Marschall's booklet "Walther Verteidigungspistolen Mod1-P99, 2nd Ed., Journal-Verlag, Schwaabisch Hall, 1999.

Just for fun, D. Marschall goes on to say the P1528 can be read as follows: "1" for phenol resin plastic, "5" for 45% resin, & "28" was the color code for red to mahogany. And you only thought the P1528/P1529 was a simple mold (tool) number!

In '45 there were some Durofol grips used. These will have a maker code in the upper circle but nothing in the lower circle.

Mauser Production
Same as Walther until mid-1944 Glossy black plastic from mid-1944 thru end of war.

In my opinion Mauser switched to the glossy black plastic in early '44 even before the dual tones. Two low circles and a dimple in the left grip and the mid grip sprue in the right grip as is the norm.

Spreewerke Production
Dark brown to nearly black bakelite thru mid 1943. Reddish brown or dark brown thru end of war.

Approximately, the first 1000 guns had grips from Walther. Therefore they will be brownish black Bakelite with the 1528 & 1529 mold numbers. After that, they were generally a very dark, very hard, shiny Bakelite with a number (1 - 12) in a circle at the bottom of the grip and a manufacturer marking in a circle at the top.

Left grip marked either 1W41 or 1W31 in the circle at the top (The 1W37 grip appears to me as a new mold marking for 31 with a slightly bigger "crown" on the 1)

Left grip have 1,2,3,7,8,9
Right grip have 4,5,6,10,11,12

Some late war bakelite grips will have no numbers on the underside. Late war grips will often have a LOT of filler in the bakelite matrix. The filler was apparently ground cardboard or shredded paper.

Please note this is only a guide, I don’t believe that there are any hard and fast rules.
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