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October 18, 2003

What do you see?

According to a guy in Kim du Toit's email about Lugers what came to mind when he saw a Luger was "...was the image of its barrel pressing against some innocent's head." Hmmm. While I can understand his point, I see something different.

I see one pistol that encapsulates German military experience from the Great War to the reintegration of East Germany. Yes, from this picture I can tell this weapon spans the whole era. How, at a glance?

He has imperial proofs, aluminum base magazine, and the trigger is hot blued, not strawed (strawed is when the steel is in-the-white with some color from heat treating). More pics behind the curtain, even if I don't feel like blogging in a lascivious manner today. I'll do that tomorrow, with the DP-28 post.

Okay, back to Herman, here. He started life in 1918 being made at the facilities of Deutsche Waffen-und-Maschinefabrik, DWM for short. The german translates to "German Weapons and Machines Factory". He has a middlin' serial number, in the 6XXX range, meaning he was made early enough to have gotten issued. All his numbers match, btw.

At this point in his life, he would have had two matching magazines, with wooden bottoms, marked with his s/n and a number 1 and number 2.
Can't tell if he got much use during the Reichswehr and early Nazi era. Since the germans were still producing the Luger for military issue, he probably did. He also would have been dressed with nice checkered wooden grips.

At some point during the Nazi era, probably during the war, he was brought in for a little work.

How do I know? This is where the aluminum magazine bottom showed up. He in fact got new magazines, with Nazi waffenamt stamps (acceptance marks), and the magazines were numbered to his s/n. He might have picked up the new plastic grips then, too. But probably not. If he'd been shot much, he probably got a new barrel, but that's hard to tell. Herman's barrel has imperial proofs, but there were lots of those around, they aren't numbered, and the Nazi and East German government used 'em when rebuilding. As they were already proofed, why mark 'em again?

So, the Reich crumbled, and fell into two pieces. Herman, either as a transfer from Russia or Poland, or as a result of stocks extant in East Germany, got one last rebuild for issue to the Volks Polizei.

That's certainly the latest point he would have got his black plastic grips, and it is guaranteed when he got hot dip blued all over... except for the safety bar, which is still in the white, and the ejector spring, which got varnished. I believe that's because the tempering process for those two parts can be affected by the temperatures involved in hot dip blueing, or some such. Anyone who knows, leave a comment!

Anyway, that what I see when I look at Herman. A microcosm of german military fortunes in the last century. Like many veterans of Germany's adventuring, he eventually emigrated to the United States, where he lives in a Alte Waffen Home, with lots of past acquaintences and former enemies.