The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 17, 2000, 01:37 PM   #1
Lavan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 2,133
Luger vs. P-38 historical preference ???

Does anyone know which pistol the Germans ...PREFERRED...if given a choice? Just curious as both were in service in WW2 and I was wondering which they preferred.
Lavan is offline  
Old March 17, 2000, 01:58 PM   #2
Yanus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 1, 1999
Location: Nowherespecial, TX
Posts: 437
The P-38 was created due to the expense
and durability of the Luger. The Luger is
built like a Swiss watch, thus requiring
more machining, which is costly. Second,
the P-38 is far more robust than the Luger.
The Germans needed a pistol that could be
mass produced in large numbers.

------------------
Never do an enemy a minor injury. Machiavelli
"Stay alive with a 45"
Yanus is offline  
Old March 17, 2000, 02:19 PM   #3
Lavan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 2,133
Yanus....Thanks, but I know that info. I am curious as to whether the troops/officers using each had a preference.

You know...like our GI's swapping 1911A1's for carbines.

Would Heinrich rather carry a Luger or a Walther? Both were issued and carried in same places. Were they traded and which was preferred by the guys depending on them?
Lavan is offline  
Old March 17, 2000, 05:59 PM   #4
Forseti
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 19, 2000
Posts: 201
After watching "Tales of the Gun" on the history channel, if I was to choose a gun to USE, rather than collect, I'd take the P38. Its single action/double action (the Luger is single action on the first round), the P38 has fewer parts, and looked like a better pistol to pack if you needed to use it.

But if someone was giving them away today, I'd take a Luger.
Forseti is offline  
Old March 17, 2000, 07:55 PM   #5
radom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 21, 2000
Posts: 1,298
P-38 of course.
radom is offline  
Old March 17, 2000, 08:48 PM   #6
foxfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 24, 1999
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 689
Lavan,

I prefer the looks, handling, and accuracy of the P-38.
My dad, who was there, says he remembers seeing more German soldiers carrying Lugers.
He's always liked the P-08 better.
Ah, the 'war stories' that ol' man can still tell...

------------------
...defend the 2nd., it protects us all.
No fate but what we make...
foxfire is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 05:53 PM   #7
Alx
Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2006
Posts: 55
Luger has fewer parts than a P38

NOTE a correction, to a mistaken statement above ...

The Luger actually has fewer parts ( about 16 fewer ) than the P38.

parts count : Luger = about 40

P38 = about 56

The Luger is also SIMPLER, to understand and field strip, all the way down to the firing pin, with NO TOOLS. You can see the entire action ( it's more linear ) of a Luger easily, ..... but the rotating parts and processes going on inside the frame of the P38 are actually more complicated.

But yes, the Luger is more complicated and costly to make, the price for that increased functional simplicity.
Alx is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 06:13 PM   #8
SaxonPig
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 24, 2006
Posts: 898
I am just guessing here, but given the German love of fine engineering I suspect the typical German soldier would have preferred the stylish and more precisely built P08 over the more utilitarian P38. Note that every GI wanted to bag a souvenir Luger while nobody complained that he hadn't found a Walther, yet. I suspect it was the same with the German grunts.

I, of course, have an example of each...





SaxonPig is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 06:21 PM   #9
BoogieMan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2012
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 1,287
They lived in a communist dictatorship. They were not aloud to like anything they were not issued.
My guess would be officers would prefer the luger.
__________________
Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.
Milton Freidman
BoogieMan is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 06:26 PM   #10
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,850
Quote:
Would Heinrich rather carry a Luger or a Walther?
You might have to ask Heinrich, and Florian, and Erich, et al. I'll bet no small number of G.I.s would have perferred a .38 revolver to the M1911A1, but nobody asked!
I've never even held a P-38, so can comment only on my dislike for DA/SA triggers, but the Luger is, contrary to what you hear, something of an ergonomic nightmare. I suspect the P-38 feels much more "modern" in the hand, due to the shape of the grip, but it has the same awful sights as the Luger. I'd chose MY Luger over any P-38, but would probably choose a P-38 if it were a choice of random examples of the two types.
I'd think most soldiers, cops, etc., would choose the gun that they have, if it works, over anything else with which they are not familiar.
RickB is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 06:37 PM   #11
Microgunner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 6, 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 3,092
SaxonPig, is that a P-38 or a P-1? It looks like an aluminum frame.
__________________
Proud NRA Patron Member
Microgunner is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 06:39 PM   #12
Microgunner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 6, 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 3,092
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoogieMan
They lived in a communist dictatorship.
Boogieman, the Nazis were definitely not communists.
__________________
Proud NRA Patron Member
Microgunner is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 07:08 PM   #13
shouldazagged
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2013
Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Posts: 273
Not all the Germans preferred either. The first handgun I ever owned, given to me when I was twelve by a family friend who had fought his way through North Africa and Italy, was a Walther PP he took off a Wehrmacht officer "who no longer needed it."

I've also read that some of the higher-ranking officers liked Smith & Wesson revolvers.
__________________
"Don't let macho be your epitaph."
---Ed Lovette
shouldazagged is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 07:15 PM   #14
Bob Wright
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2012
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Posts: 1,939
From what I've observed in photographs, German officers preferred neither. Most carried small caliber (.25 ACP, .32 ACP or .380 ACP, or the metric equivalents) Walther PP or Mauser M1910/M1934, plus it seems some preferred the Beretta M1934.

Bob Wright
Bob Wright is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 07:26 PM   #15
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,955
German senior officers usually bought their own pistols, and could carry about anything that was on the market. Lower ranks, NCO's and others who carried pistols took what they were issued.

Obviously I never ran a survey of preferences, but a few German vets I did know had a sentimental attachment to the P.08, almost a symbol of Germany, but preferred the P.38 for practical reasons, much the same as American troops today sometimes express nostalgia for the "45" but have no problems with carrying and using the M9A1.

Some of the HP models made during the war were sold to servicemen who wanted a gun that would be supported by unit armorers yet would be private property and could be retained after final victory - a victory that never came, of course.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 07:46 PM   #16
jglsprings
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2009
Posts: 1,510
Quote:
aloud
I believe the word is "allowed".

Best wishes, Captain Pedantic.
__________________
Let's eat Grandma.
Let's eat, Grandma.

Commas save lives...
jglsprings is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 08:19 PM   #17
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,955
The cost comparison is interesting. In 1935, each P.08 cost the German military RM70. With mass production and some production shortcuts, the price in 1942 had fallen to RM45. But at the latter date, the P.38 was costing only RM32, enough of a saving to justify the decision to discontinue P.08 production and have Mauser tool up for P.38 production; little time was lost in the changeover, since Mauser was able to re-tool for P.38 production while still running its P.08 lines.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 09:38 PM   #18
Super Sneaky Steve
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 9, 2011
Posts: 771
Here's mine. It's pretty but isn't very accurate.
__________________
anti-state, anti-war, pro-market
Super Sneaky Steve is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 10:43 PM   #19
towboat-er
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 2, 2011
Posts: 146
Mine is quite accurate. Love shooting this gun
towboat-er is offline  
Old May 3, 2013, 11:39 PM   #20
Mike Irwin
Staff
 
Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 36,298
"They lived in a communist dictatorship."

What school did you go to that taught you that the Nazi were Communists?
__________________
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza

Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Mike Irwin is offline  
Old May 4, 2013, 07:29 AM   #21
Walt Sherrill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 1999
Location: Winston-Salem, NC USA
Posts: 4,593
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.
Walt Sherrill is offline  
Old May 4, 2013, 09:08 AM   #22
Pilot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 21, 2000
Posts: 3,706
I have both, and vastly prefer the P-08 Luger. Mine is a 1941 Mauser, and it has been 100% reliable with all ammo that I have used. This includes bulk FMJ, JHP (yes it feeds all hollow point SD ammo perfectly), and my reloads including truncated cone.

My Luger is more accurate than my P-38, and has a much better trigger. As German officers carried a pistol as a sign of rank, and ego, I am certain they preferred the Luger over the more commonly machined P-38.
__________________
Pilot
Pilot is offline  
Old May 4, 2013, 07:52 PM   #23
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,955
"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."

Well, that is what is often said. But I have many times "slapped in" parts in Lugers and never had to fit any. By the Luger era, tooling, especially in Germany, was plenty good enough that fitting parts was not really required.

As far as I can determine, the method of preliminary assembly and numbering parts for re-assembly after finishing was nothing more than a holdover from earlier times. It was done, not only for the P.08, but for the K.98k as well, and there is rarely a problem with "drop in" parts for the rifles.

The practice of inspecting, stamping and serial numbering each part must have been a huge drag on production, and there does not seem to have been any reason for it, except that military contracts called for it. And why did the military require it? The best answer I could ever get was simple "because we had always done it that way". To the military mind, that is a good enough reason.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old May 5, 2013, 07:45 AM   #24
Pico
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 5, 2002
Location: Ga
Posts: 490
BHP

I always heard the German soldiers prized the Browning HP over both. When they took over Belgium, they had FNH /Browning make them with Wehrmacht markings. Correct me here but isn't the BHP the only handgun ever used in a war by both sides?

Pico
Pico is offline  
Old May 5, 2013, 10:00 AM   #25
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Western WA
Posts: 5,850
The Nazis were also using the Norwegian version of the M1911.
A lot of guns supplied to U.S. "allies" in the '50s and '60s ended-up in the hands of various people that we had to shoot at, later.
I'm sure G.I.s have faced ARs just about everywhere they've been since the mid-60s.
RickB is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14335 seconds with 9 queries