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H.P. Police Lugers are among the most enigmatic of Luger variations. The elements which identify them--the unit marking on the right receiver in addition to the front grip strap, the unit markings on the magazine spines, and most characteristically the ground-away stock lugs--are unique.

Conventionally, the unit mark is interpreted as "Hohere Polizeischul" (Senior Service Police Academy), as specified in the 1932 Prussian Police marking instructions. It has been noted, however, that the marking instruction for the Hohere Polizeischul is HP., while the Lugers themselves are marked H.P. (note the diference in the periods).

This discrepancy, along with the non-standard physical characteristics, has caused a number of advanced collectors to assert that these are not Senior Police School guns following the Prussian regulations, that the mark stands for something else entirely. Don Maus, in his research on Weimar Police Lugers, has addressed the H.P. question specifically, and has suggested an intriguing alternative. His report can be found here http://members.aol.com/donmaus1/Weimar_Police_Unit_Marks/

The Lugers presented here extend the characteristics of H.P. marked Lugers, shed new light on the practices of the H.P. Police and provoke new questions about this variation. While doing so, they also exemplify the broad range of rework practice in arming Weimar Germany.

H.P.495.

The reported examples of H.P. Lugers are almost exclusively 1929 DWM in the u suffix block (one is a v suffix). They are consistently marked on the right chamber, and the stock lug is consistently removed. H.P.495., DWM serial# 7428u, is a representitive example of these Lugers. It is a standard Police style, with sear safety but not a magazine safety.
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1929 Lugers were manufactured as Luger production was moved from the DWM plant in Berlin to the Mauser factory in Oberndorf. Whether these guns were newly manufactued or assembled from parts by Mauser is an ongoing question. It is clear that in the manufacture of #7428u the front of the frame was faced off, as if removing an existing serial number and stamping a new one in its place. Note how the front of the frame becomes abruptly vertical, and the front of the receiver sticks out forward just a bit.

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Although this pistol (as with practically Police Lugers) is in 9mm, the practices of the Treaty of Versailles forbade DWM to manufacture Lugers in this military caliber, a requirement which was honored more or less. It appears that in the case of this gun the H.P. organization obtained a standard Commercial Luger in .30 cal., and had it rebarrelled in 9mm. The barrel of this gun does not have a witness mark corresponding to the mark on the receiver, a strong indication that a replacement barrel was installed.

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The commercial Crown/N power-proof can be seen on the barrel as well as on the left receiver; there is no power-proof on the breechblock or toggles. The gun is completely serial numbered, the extractor, front toggle link and sear bar are in the military, exposed style. The rear toggle pin is numbered, as required by a 1932 Instruction.

The front grip strap is stamped with the Police unit mark in the conventional manner as is customary following the 1932 marking instructions.



Unlike other known Police Lugers, H.P. Lugers have their unit marks repeated on their right receivers, in a very small, distinctive letter style.

Download Attachment: HP495-Denim1-RcvrMark.jpg
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H.P. magazines have their unit marks stamped on the spine. Although this is not completely unique--examples of other spine-marked magazines are known--reported matching H.P. mags are consistently so marked.

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Download Attachment: HP495-Denim1-Mag.jpg
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H.P. magazine bases are reported in both wood and aluminum, with various markings. H.P. 495. has one matching magazine, wood base, stamped number 2 as the spare.

The most noteworthy defining characteristic of reported H.P. Lugers is the ground-away stock lug. These guns are not well known, so they may be passed up by collectors who don't want a Luger which has been "butchered" as so many were during the mid-to-late 20th century. Auto-Mag has letters from correspondents wondering and regretting the "ruin" of these otherwise fine Lugers. H.P.495. was obtained at an advantageous price because of this "flaw"; it was not until later, in a chance discussion on the Luger Forum, that an experienced collector pointed this out as an actual variation.

The removal of the stock lug from this pistol is not simply a "slicking-off" of the excess metal. Some care was taken in its removal: the back of the remaining metal was rounded a bit, and the sides of the grip strap were chamfered to match.

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H.P. holster

The holster in this set is made by Albrecht Kind AG. According to Walter the company was founded in 1853, and provided commercial Parabellum holsters during the Third Reich. They may not have been a manufacturer, but had the work done by subcontractors.

This holster was modified from the buckle type military/commercial style, to the strap-and-stud Police type closure. The reported examples of H.P. holsters are by this maker.

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The characteristic mark of Albrechk Kind is crossed rifles/crossed laurels/crossed pistols over Akah . The mark on this holster has been mostly (intentionally, it appears) obliterated; the inset shows a complete mark.

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This holster is stamped H.P., but with no weapon number. Examples are known both with and without number.

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Perhaps the most noteworthy characteristic of this holster I only noticed while looking at the picture and preparing this presentation. The wear mark on the lid, above the pistol butt, shows the pattern of having been made by a stock lug--clearly in contradiction to what is known about H.P. marked Lugers. This is as good an introduction as any to

H.P.54.

H.P. 54 is a 1917 Erfurt, serial# 1357h . It was reworked in the Weimar era, its most immediately obvious change is a DWM replacement center toggle. There are smaller details which will be seen. The barrel is original, demonstrated by the remains of its Erfurt inspection stamp and proof eagle; it does not have a 1920 property stamp on the receiver.

Some of the markings presented here are difficult to see in photographs. I have chosen not to whiten them (except for the H.P. marks) so that detail is not obscured, and because the surface condition of parts of this gun make its application problematic.

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The toggle train actually appears to be a complete replacement. The rear link is stamped with a Simson Eagle/6 where one would expect to find an Erfurt Inspector stamp. The front link is, very crudely, numbered to this gun.

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The breechblock is numbered to the gun, again crudely, and has neither inspection stamp nor power proof--indication of replacement. Not pictured, the firing pin has its original number 'X'ed out and 57 numbered above it--the crudest renumber of the lot.

The breechblock connecting pin is numbered 005, indicating to me an oversized replacement part. Rear toggle pins are known to have oversize stamps on them, but I have not been aware of front pins so numbered until now. It doesn't solve whatever fitting problem this gun has, the pin is so wobbly in the front toggle that I'm not sure that I'd want to shoot this Luger.

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The rear toggle pin is numbered, appearing to overstamp another number.

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The sear bar is stamped with an eagle over HZAJt18. This is the marking of a Heeres Zeugamt, an Army repair depot. A search of these Forums yields a number of discussions on the topic, and several Lugers whose sear bars bear this stamp. Although there is some speculation about where these depots were and how they worked, much research is yet to be done before it is possible to assign a date to the Jt depot--if it is, indeed, Jt. At this stage one can only wonder what vagaries sent this Luger from its Imperial origins through Simson's rework system, into a Heeres Zeugamt depot, finally to end up in the H.P. Police organization. Very often these Lugers speak, but such eloquence is beyond this one at the moment.

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The grips are numbered to the pistol but have no Imperial inspection stamps, indicating that they are rework replacements.

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This Luger shares some of the recognized charcteristics of H.P. Police Lugers but remarkabley, not all. The right receiver is unit marked, in the same tiny, distinctive font, and the front grip strap is marked as well, in the H.P. designation which is so unlike the Prussian HP. designation. However, if you look at the overall pictures of this gun, you will see that it still has its stock lug.

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H.P. Comparisons

The most perplexing characteristic of these Lugers continues to be the ground-away stock lug. Early on in my consideration of this topic I wondered if all the H.P. stock lugs were ground the same way. If they were, it would be an indication that they were all done near the same time, or by the same technician, or both. This would be an indicator that the ground stock lug was truly characteristic of the variation, rather than random, coincidental U.S. postwar modification.

Pictured below are, from left to right, the rear grip straps of H.P.54., H.P.495., and H.P.213., also a converted Alphabet Commercial with a u suffix. The two u suffix Commercials are modified so similarly as to be done by the same hand or held to the same specification.

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The Prussian Instructions for the unit marking of Police weapons are so precise that they specify the sizes of the letters to be stamped on the grip strap. Don Maus, in his H.P. research, noticed that the grip strap marks on the Lugers he observed seemed to be larger and differently proportioned than regular Police grip strap marks. He performed measurements based on the mathematical scaling and measurement of photos of H.P. grip strap marks avaialable to him, and discovered that, indeed, they are different sizes from the Prussian instructions. See Don's report, linked upscreen, for the measurement details.

This difference would seem to reinforce the opinions of those who assert that these are not Prussian Police Lugers. H.P.54. requires a reexamination of this idea.

The photo below shows the front grip strap markings of H.P.54., H.P.495., H.P.213., and L.M.184. (Landespolezei Münster) for comparison. They are all presented at the same scale, measured by grip strap width; slight differences in appearance are due to perspective changes resulting from photographing non-flat surfaces.

It is easy to see that the two u suffix guns are stamped with same-size dies, and that both the letters and the numbers are larger than the the L.M. example. It is also easy to see that H.P.54 differs from the other two guns. I performed some overlay comparisons with these images, with the result that: the letters and numbers of the two u suffix guns are the same size; the letters of H.P.54. are the same size as those of the L.M. comparison gun; the numbers of H.P.54. are the same size as the numbers on H.P.495. (and larger than the L.M. example), and were likely made with the same dies.

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Conclusions and Questions

I obtained H.P.54. in the hopes that it would help provide greater understanding of the H.P. Police Lugers. It is ironic that it does so by prompting more questions than answers; at least it expands the topic. The recent appearance of H.P.88. http://www.gunboards.com/luger/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4704&whichpage=1 and more detailed information about H.P.109. actually throw the whole topic into a state of statistical confusion.

After trying to draft this section four times now, I conclude that I have no conclusion regarding these guns.The evidence in steel is too contradictory, and documentation is not forthcoming to support even the wildest of WAG speculation. I will go so far as to say that I suspect that the more fruitful course of inquiry lies along the line of H.P. being something other than a Prussian Police unit mark.

I am by no means giving up on this topic. I invite anyone with any H.P. marked Luger or accessories to submit detailed descriptions of them, preferably with detailed photographs, to help make up a comprehensive catalog of this variation. Post them on the the Forum, or send them to me [email protected] . I don't mean to duplicate Don Maus's work, but rather to augment it. Reports of an HP. marked Luger--note the single period--would be fundamental to the understanding of this mark.

Before leaving this post I must express my appreciation to several individuals. To Don Maus, for taking the bit and doing serious research on this topic, without which this would just be pictures and descriptions of some guns. To Ron Smith and Bill Munis, for allowing me to use pictures of their Lugers in the comparison photographs. And a special thanks to Bill Munis, whose comments on the Luger Forum regarding the H.P. variation sparked the interest which has resulted in what you just read.

--Dwight
 

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Dwight, you have again done a masterful job of analyzing and presenting information on a difficult subject. Thank you very much!

Dwight’s interest has prompted me to update the data table from my article on these marks to add H.P.54 and -88 and to update the information on H.P.109. Unfortunately, this adds further uncertainty and really doesn’t clarify anything.

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H.P.54, -88 and -109 present a real puzzle. 54 and 109 are on similar pistols, both have the smaller-size lettering on the front grip strap, and both have intact stock lugs. 54 has a unit mark on the right receiver and 109 does not. This would not be a particular problem to a theory that they represented an earlier acquisition of pistols that were marked with smaller dies and did not have the stock lugs ground. However, the presence of a u-block Alphabet DWM (H.P.88) with a ground-off grip strap between these weapon numbers shoots that one in the head. I don’t know what the letter size is on this one; the owner appears to have gone silent.

This may take a while!
 

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Dwight,
A superb review.
Here is picture of some more oversize breechblock pins(luger part #18).I have a batch of these oversize toggle/axle pins that were in the estate of a long time luger collector. I assume these were armorers replacement parts, as many of the other parts were 42 or S42 marked . The pins were made and marked in increments of 0.05 mm diameter. Have some of these on ebay to test the market.
John


Download Attachment: MVC-001F.JPG
45.58KBJohn
 

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The small font letter & numbers seem similar, if not identical to the marking on the H.P. marked 1914s. I have 188947, which is marked H.P.774 on the upper part of the slide. To look at your photos they seem very similar.
 

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About six months ago you were all very helpful in giving me information about a DWM Luger marked H.P. 135 on the front grip strap. I have finally aquired this pistol. The serial number is 7445- this is marked on the front of the frame under the barrel & on the left side of the receiver. There is no letter suffix. All the numbers match, including the nickle plated, aluminum bottom magazine. On the magazine bottom there is "S/42 above the serial number and a "2" below ( indicating the extra magazine?)The magazine is marked on the spine H.P. 134 ( I guess even the Prussians made a mistake now & then) The stock lug is ground. The "H.P. " lettering is in the same style as the other H.P. guns in this topic. I've included a few pictures, I'm still working on getting better with the camera. I understand there is interest in this variation. If anyone has spacific questions, I'll try to answer them as best I can. If anyone has a correct holster for this gun, or spare magazine, I'm interested. regards & thanks- Michael
 

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I understand that the "H.P." marking on the magazine is 134 & the gun, 135. But the serial number is the same on the gun & magazine bottom. I think the serial #'s come from the factory & the "H.P." markings were added by the individaul units, no? Thisleads me to believe its a matching magazine

Everybody makes mistakes. I admire the history & weapons very much, but, after all, invading Russia in 1941 was a bit of a miscalculation, no? regards MC
 

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Michael,

The lack of a letter suffix is very odd. Is there evidence that one was removed from the front of the frame?

Does or did the gun have a sear and/or mag safety? Is the gun also marked H.P.135. on the right side of the receiver?
 
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