As I understand it, it wasn't a matter of complexity, etc. that made the P-38 superior to the Luger as a SERVICE WEAPON -- it was the fact that the Luger was generations older, in terms of design and production, and that much hand-fitting was required. That was NOT the case with the P-38. Lugers were costly, and slow to make, and with a good bit of hand-fitting required during production. That hand-fitting was the problem, and it extended beyond production.
In the field, you couldn't interchange all parts from the P-08 easily with other Lugers, where that was much less of a concern with the P-38. Lugers must have been an armorer's nightmares. If something broke, you couldn't just slap in a part from the bin; it had to be fit. (Our own 1911s didn't have that problem. I don't think it was as big a problem with the P-38s, either -- but have not read THAT in any sources.)
Notice how nearly all of the parts on a Luger are serialized? That helps keep the parts together when detail stripped. If some of them are hand-fit, keeping parts together is time-saving for those difficult weapons.
I've owned several Lugers and one P-38 (and have shot other P-38s), and I much preferred the Lugers for shooting and accuracy. But, I didn't have to use the P-08s in the field, in combat, etc. -- where they had a reputation for being hard to keep running right in dirty field conditions.
Last edited by Walt Sherrill; May 4, 2013 at 07:35 AM.