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ScottG 07-03-2008 04:44 PM

The Other Surplus German Gun Thread (P38)
So I'm thinking of adding a standard 9mm to go with my Mak. I found this guy who's selling surplus P38s and P1s for what appears to be a very good price. What are the pros and cons of each? Are there any major known problems with the P38? I think I'd prefer the P38 to the P1 but I'm waiting to find out if the P38 is alloy construction too.

Dillinger 07-03-2008 05:27 PM

Scott - My grandfather left me one when he passed on. One he brought home from the war ( WWII ). It still has the Nazi insignia on the frame. I think it's a P-38, but I can't say for sure. I will pull it out and inspect it this weekend, post some intel on it for you. :)

One thing I know for sure is that the mag release is on the bottom of the pistol grip, like the Ruger's. I always considered that a drawback personally, but I don't know how anyone else felt about it.

I remember that the mags were steel, and the spring, even after all those years, was strong as, well - it was really strong. :p

I remember the slide to frame fit was pretty good actually, not much rattle at all.

Now I got myself wondering. Let me see if I can't dig that out this weekend take a couple pictures for you...


ARnoob 07-03-2008 08:18 PM

I have a P1 that was made in the 80's. I bought it for $299 a year or so ago. It came with a holster and 2 mags. It's great and really fun to shoot. 9mm ammo isn't too expensive either.

ScottG 07-05-2008 07:45 PM

There's a gun show this weekend that I'll go to tomorrow. I haven't really noticed any P38s or P1s lately, but I haven't been looking either. The shop selling them hasn't responded to my request about info yet.

I guess I'm to assume that all the postwar P38s are alloy framed. That's what my cursory research shows anyway.

Yes AR, the price of 9mm luger is definitely cheaper than 9mm Mak. That's why I'm looking into getting a regular 9mm.

Can't wait to see the pictures JD....

Dillinger 07-06-2008 07:27 PM

As Promised
Here you go Scott - Here's a couple of pictures of the P-38 my grandfather brought home from WWII. This was taken off a german officer, though I don't know much about the story behind it. It has the German markings on the frame and has a small swastika symbol with the numbers 359 on it in a couple of places. The image is very small and I couldn't get a good picture of it, but it's exactly like this with the numbers right below it.

Nazi Emblem

The weapon is very heavy for it's size. The frame and the slide are very thick, much thicker than production style weapons today. The weapon is S/A & D/A, plus the thumb safety acts as a decocker like on the modern M9/Beretta 92 & 96 models.

The shell ejector is seriously hardcore. Even though it doesn't need to pull heavy brass, or underpowered rounds, this ejector is definitely beefy. All in all, this is a well built piece of gear that will run for you when you need it.

Hope you like the pictures -


Zappa 07-10-2008 02:51 AM

I had a P-38 back in the mid 80's when a load of alloy frame German Police trade-in guns hit the market. I forgot how much I paid, but it was within my limited budget at the time so I bought it. It came with two mags and a nifty leather flap holster that held the extra mag. I liked the way it looked and how it felt in the hand, but the trigger pull left much to be desired. Functionally it was pretty reliable, but it had a few quirks. The stamped tin slide cover would fly off from time to time, and the loaded chamber indicator got stuck a few times and prevented the slide from going fully into battery. Accuracy was so-so, but good enough for plinking. I did like the way it comes apart and it's easy to see the similarities to a modern Beretta. However, after several thousand rounds, I somehow I managed to crack the slide..........?
I got rid of it soon after that.

M14sRock 11-18-2008 05:12 AM

I have a byf 1943 P38 in excellent condition. I have only fired it once. It shocked me with it's accuracy. I have owned a few over the years that left much to be desired in the accuracy dept., but this one delivers.

The bottom mag release harkens back to a day when a pistol was mostly a sign of rank. Not a true combat arms. And they are ambidextrous, and are impossible to accidently "press", thereby allowing a mag to fall out. Oops.

It is an excellent design that morphed into the P1, P4, beautiful P5, and the P88. Buy the one that has the steel frame, if it is an option. The P1 is alloy.

harleysilo 11-18-2008 11:08 PM

I have one same story grandpa got it off a dead officer. 1943 Mauser. Make sure you get one with matching serial numbers, on the frame, slide and barrel. Mags were numbered too and there is a mag serial number/gun number registery. If you are serious go to

There are those that will crack on you ( slide), so most
Don't shot the matched serial numbers often. Mine is not matched so I don't care. I'd say expect to pay $350 min. And top end as much as you want

ScottG 11-18-2008 11:53 PM

Thanks for the new info, but it seems I'm out of the pistol market for a while. And the seller never did respond to my request for info....:confused:

I'll just keep buying ammo for the Mak.

741512th 11-19-2008 04:21 PM

My father had a wartime P38 that was in beautiful condition, but I was too stupid to take possession of it before he died.

I also own a P1 (looks like it was made in the '60s). Nice condition, shoots nicely, easy to maintain. Very light when compared to other 9mm because of the aluminum frame.

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