Have a smith check it out. Some of the p38's were sabatoged in the factory near the end of the war.
While it could fit in the self defense role (after having a smith check it out), there are other handguns that can fit the self defense role better in that price range.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
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Former President of the ECPT