Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight
A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine informed me that his dealer friend (I know the dealer too) had a WaA German marked contract Star model B. Naturally, I was interested. I remembered reading many of them are fake, but I never owned one and was not well versed on them. He said he verified it was real. I then called that dealer, and he agreed to hold until the PGCA show which was this past Sat and Sun.
I did research and found out that the fake ones are mostly Bulgarian contract guns with the WaA (Wa
mt) added. These Bulgarian guns are mostly in the 230XXX to the 240XXX SN range. After the first model Bs went to the Nazis, Bulgaria placed an order, and these were the same gun except for the WaA markings. Many decades later, some unscrupulous importer got a hold of a bunch of Bulgarian model Bs, and added WaA markings to them to sell them for more money. That is why people will commonly say regarding a supposed German contract model B "beware of fakes". The real ones fall into specific SN ranges luckily so identification is not overly difficult. Also, I read that the last a in "WaA" is to the left of center of the eagle, whereas the fake WaA marks have the uppercase A directly below center of the eagle.
During WWII, in addition to taking over the FN, Radom and FEG (Hungary) factories the Nazis also ordered guns from both Astra and Star of Spain. Since the P38 was the standard sidearm for the Wehrmacht, and since the Nazi's made many other sidearms, these Spanish contract guns are somewhat scarce. Spain was able to fill these contracts because Spain, like a few other European countries remained neutral throughout WWII. Star supplied approx 16,500 model Bs for the Wehrmacht (army) during WWII and another 10,500 to the Kriegsmarine (Navy).
In Still's book, Axis Pistols, he says that Star pistols have "high quality materials and exhibit excellent workmanship and finish", and I must say, I completely agree. This gun, esp considering it was a WWII contract gun, has excellent fit and finish. By 1944, no German production arms were finished to this standard. IMO, these contract model Bs were made to a commercial standard rather than a wartime standard. Per Still, my pistol with SN 253XXX was shipped June 6 1944 (D-Day, wow!) and delivered as part of "Lot 19" to the Germans in France. Based on its SN, it is also known as a variation 3 contract pistol. There were 5 lots delivered, with the lot 19 being the largest lot, having approx 8,000 model B pistols.
Here is a neat thread about their history from the C&R section:
Here is an example of a fake Bulgarian model B with added WaA:
Notice its marked "WaA251" - few if any were marked that way. Real ones are usually "WaAD20" and some are actually unmarked.
I felt this pic was interesting. You would think, based on how the Germans made anything, the stamp would be perfect, but it is actually quite sloppy. I noticed this same sloppiness on a WaA marked Astra 600 as well. Coincidentally, those were also marked "WaAD20". Perhaps all WaAD20 markings were all sloppy for one reason or another. Since these WaA marked Spanish pistols rarely come up, I don't have many to compare with. They can be found however.
Here it is compared to my 1911 Colt commercial from 1920. Its obvious where they got the inspiration for the design! I have to say, the 1911 feels better, I think mostly due to the flat mainspring housing. I don't like the arched type in my hand as much. Star was copying the 1911a1, as evidenced by its features.