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9-mm Walther Pistol M1938

Brief article on the Walther P38 semi-automatic pistol from Foreign Military Weapons and Equipment, Vol. III, Infantry Weapons, Pamphlet No. 30-7-4, Department of the Army, 1954.

9-mm Walther Pistol M1938
(PISTOLE 38 or P-38)

P38 Walther Pistole M1938

This weapon was steadily replacing the Luger (Pistole ’08) as the standard issue, official, German military side-arm on VE-day. It is a recoil-operated, magazine-fed, double-action weapon of excellent design and balance. The double-action feature enables the weapon to be fired by simply squeezing the trigger without manually cocking the hammer. It is one of the few military automatic pistols with this feature. Large numbers of this pistol were produced in Germany during World War II and are still found throughout Europe in considerable numbers.

Salient recognition features are: (1) Double action; (2) no grip safety; (3) the forward portion of the barrel is not covered by the slide mechanism; (4) the magazine catch is on the rear bottom of the hand grip butt; and (5) the thumb safety is on the left side of the receiver.


German Walther P-38 Pistol 9mm Automatic


System of operation   Short recoil, double-action
Caliber   9-mm (cal. .354)
     Unloaded   940 g (2.11 lb)
     Loaded   1.004 kg (2.2 lb)
Length over-all   .215 m (8.3 in)
Length of barrel   .125 m (4.7 in)
Feeding device   8-rd magazine
     Front   Blade, adjustable laterally
     Rear   Open V-notch, fixed
Muzzle velocity   340 m/sec (1,100 fps)
Effective rate of fire   8-16 rounds per minute
Effective range   50 m (55 yd aprx)
Ammunition   9-mm parabellum ball; (British, U.S. 9-mm Parabellum or Luger and Italian M1938 9-mm rounds will also function)