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The Jan Still Germany and Its Allies in Two World Wars Series

This series currently contains 5 volumes.
Volume 1: Pistols of Germany and Its Allies in Two World Wars (1982)
Volume 2: Axis Pistols (1986)(3rd printing 1989)
Volume 3: Third Reich Lugers (1988)
Volume 4: Imperial Lugers (1991)(2nd printing 1994)
Volume 5: Weimar and Early Nazi Lugers and their accessories (1993)

The number in parenthesis is the copyright date followed in some cases by the more recent printing dateThis series represents the synthesis of many years of study and collecting experience by a careful researcher and well-known collector. Each volume reflects the increasing knowledge of the Luger history and the information available to the most advanced collectors at the time of publication. The earlier volumes contain some information that later research may have modified so the most recent information is likely to be the most accurate. That being said, there are few significant errors in volume 1 and none I know of in current printings of volume 2. Each volume is well described by its title. Volume 1 covers the pistols of Germany and its allies in WWI and German pistols of the Weimar era and is a comprehensive treatise of those pistols. Axis Pistols picks up where volume 1 leaves off and is also a comprehensive treatise of the many varieties of pistols in use by the Axis powers during the second world war. The two volumes together deliver the the most comprehensive treatment of WWI and WWII German and German allies pistols available. Volumes 3, 4 and 5 are tightly focused on Luger pistols of the periods described in the titles.

This review will cover volumes 1 and 2. Volume 5 is already posted. Volumes 3 and 4 will be posted separately.

Volume 1: Volume 1: Pistols of Germany and Its Allies in Two World Wars; military pistols of Imperial GERMANY AND Her World I allies and postwar military, paramilitary and police reworks.

Volume 1 is a small (4 ½ X 8) with a 3 page frontispiece, a 10 page table of contents, including lists of illustrations and tables, and 145 pages of text and illustrations and an overleaf map. There are approximately 60 black and white illustrations plus the three in the frontispiece.

Volume 1 starts with a wonderfully concise Military History with the riveting information that Germany mobilized 11 million troops in WWI; 7.1 million were casualties. The first owner of an Imperial Luger is unlikely to have made it home.
The volume is then sectioned into German military pistols manufactured in Germany, which includes the Luger in its varaitions, the Mausers, Walthers, Sauer, Beholla, Jager and others. This is followed by a section on German pistols manufactured in occupied Belgium. There are also sections on the pistols of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. Photographs of all pistol types are included although the format is necessarily small. The pistol descriptions are physically comprehensive as to size, caliber, weight, etc. but comments on their performance is limited and not really part of the scope of this work. Information on proofs is included but the reader should bear in mind there are over 20 years of research on proofs since the publication of volume 1.
There is an extensive section, over 40 pages, on post war reworks and the rearming of the Weimar Republic There is also an appendix on wartime commercial pistols. The volume is well referenced with source materials clearly provided in the bibliography.

Overall volume 1 remains a valuable reference and an important resource for the WWI collector. If your interest never strays from Lugers you might do without it but I would highly recommend it for the simple value of putting the Luger into context with its competitors. This volume is now going for around $60 on E-bay and Amazon but check with Jan Still first to see if he has any available. I would not sell mine for $60.

Volume 2: Axis Pistols

My copy of Axis Pistols is the 1989 WWII commemorative edition. And contains some 1989 updates from the 1986 copyrighted edition. This volume is the first in the hardcover 8 ½ by 11 format that is followed by volumes 2 through 5. The illustrations are larger and benefit from the use of high quality glossy paper. There is a two page frontispiece and an overleaf map foldout of WWII plus an insert of a reference table with all ( or almost) of the Axis pistols with manufacturers, German Military or police markings and estimated production. There are 360 pages of text and illustrations . The table of contents is very complete listing the contents of all 8 sections. The text is profusely illustrated with photographs of each pistol mentioned and photographs of the pistols in use when available. All of the photographs are in black and white. The pistol photographs are excellent.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the comprehensiveness of this work is to list the sctions
Section I German Army Pistols-German Manufacture
Section II German Army Pistols – Foreign Manufacture
Section III Luftwaffe Pistols 1935-1945
Section IV Kriegsmarine Pistols
Section V German Police Pistols
Section VI Paramilitary Nazi Party (NSDAP) Pistols
Section VII Military of German WWII Axis Allies
Italy
Japan
Hungary
Romania
Bulgaria
Finland
Slovakia and Croatia
Section VII Other Pistols
Appendix A: Detailed Characteristics of Axis Pistols
Appendix B: Axis Pistol Ammunition Ballistics


The text is well referenced and in instances where opinions are offered they are identified as such. There are extensive tables of data on serial numbers and production. Also there is extensive information on proof marks and the time frames associated with various marks.

With the extent of boosting and outright fakery taking place in WWII items as prices escalate this book is a must if you are interested in that area of firearms collecting. And, where else can you find the production years and serial numbers for a Mauser Schnellfeuer and the proof marks for a Kriegsmarine CZ 24?

This book is a grand and comprehensive work from a master researcher with input from specialists in each of the fields. Buy it. Keep it for your grandchildren.
 

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Heinz,

Concise and informative. I seldom crack these volumes, as my main interests don't seem to take me there. The reminder of their content and value is salutary, and I thank you very much.

In fact, I think I'm going to go read Volume 1 right now...

--Dwight
 

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Have volumes 1 & 2.
I bought a new volume 2, Axis Pistols, a few years ago, and it is currently dog eared, notated, and beat up, sort of like a traditional family bible. I have worn out this book, and consider it invaluable.
Here is a link to my reference library where you can see cover photos of each book, and get info on how to buy Still's books:
http://www.panchogun.com/FV-Books-Page.html
 
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