Maybe buying a Manurhin P-1...?


Martin Aston
November 22, 2006, 09:04 PM
I have the chance to buy a Manurhin P-1, the French made (but with German parts) post-war version of the Walther P-38.

My love of guns has always come, largely, from my sense of and appreciation for the unique designs. Especially the classics, like the P-38 and I've fancied having one of my own for at least the past 40 years.

Generally, I don't come across them very often and usually when I do I don't have enough floating capital to expend in such a frivolous direction...

But, right now, I can and the P-1 is mine, if I want it. But it's the first of it's kind that I've seen and I'm wondering if any of you lot can tell me anything in particular, other than general condition, to be looking for?

From what I saw, when I had my first look at it earlier today, it appeared to be in generally decent shape and had all the correct markings although the serial number on the slide was gone, with a four digit number on the frame. The action of everything was smooth and crisp. Firm but easy slide and release, trigger pull either double or single and the magazine slipped in and out like a night at the Paris Hilton...;) It has wood grips and the slide appears to have been painted (painted??) black car enamel over parkerized.

I'm thinking it's worth somewhere in the $300 range, give or take...? But what's with the paint?

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November 22, 2006, 09:20 PM
Unless you're really set on a Manhurin there are plenty of really nice P1s out there. Several months ago I bought one from Dan's Sporting Goods in PA. It was NEW. It was made in 1986 and apparently immediately put in storage with a holster, cleaning kit, 3 mags, and instruction book in German. It was advertised as unissued and it was. Last I looked he was asking $329.

Looks like he still has some.

November 22, 2006, 09:44 PM
Here's some things to think about.

First, the French Manurhin-made P-38/P1 pistols were made with 100% FRENCH parts. In the later 1950's, Walther got it's own plant up and running, and took manufacture back from Manurhin, at which point they were all German-made.

Second, a missing serial number on the slide indicates the slide is NOT original and was a gun in which the original slide was damaged and was replaced with a slide cannibalized from another damaged gun.
There's no other reason for the serial number to be missing or not matching.

Last, these post-war guns have frames with some type of black lacquer coating, but the slides were flat blued or parkerized.
A paint-type coating is not original and sounds like either something done during a rebuild or even more likely, done aftermarket by an owner.

Bottom line: This does not sound like either a good gun to buy OR a good deal.
This is especially true when you can buy newer new Walther-made guns with 100% original parts and finish.

Martin Aston
November 22, 2006, 10:18 PM
Thanks guys.

Well, I don't want to "shop" out of state because of the extra cost and hassle. This gun's right here and there's nothing "dark" about it's history.

From what I saw it appeared to have all the markings, the cogwheel, the Berlin sunburst, to indicate that it was made immediately post-war when the parts were still being manufactured by Mauser but hauled across the border to France for assembly.

Besides, there's something about an old gun in good condition. It'll make a nice companion to my S&W Victory model 10 from 1943.

Aside from the paint and the missing serial number I can't see anything much wrong with this gun and I can more or less name my own price but still want it to be a fair sale. The owner's an old friend and I'm looking to give him a fair price.

Anyone think $200 sounds reasonable?

Steve C
November 23, 2006, 03:38 AM
First, the French Manurhin-made P-38/P1 pistols were made with 100% FRENCH parts. In the later 1950's, Walther got it's own plant up and running, and took manufacture back from Manurhin, at which point they were all German-made.
Manurhin is a long time sub contract supplier of parts to Walther both pre and post WWII. So there is a good chance even a "German" made Walther has French Manurhin parts. After the end of WWII there was restrictions on German arms manufacture. Handguns where needed for the German Police and the German government went to Manhurin to assemble the parts they'd been building for years and put their Manufacturing name on the guns to comply with the armistice treaty. We've been lucky to see a fair number of these fine pistols imported as police surplus in the USA.

November 23, 2006, 09:22 AM

Aston Martin: (I'm dyslexic)

It seems you want to buy the Manhurin P1 and are looking for reassurance..

Forget that crap, lifes too short.

If you like the pistol, and can buy it for what you think it's worth, buy the sucker.

Having said that, here's a couple of things to consider.

My Walther P1, pictured above, came to me via "Impactgun" a year or two ago for $199.00 It came in "AS NEW" condition, obviously all matching serial numbers,with two factory magazines, one of which was new, still in factory wrap, a small cleaning kit, and a used flap holster. More importantly, altho I didn't know it when I ordered it, my P1 had the improved "fat slide conversion, with frame hex bolt". It seems under stress the aluminum framed P1's could develop cracks in the frame, so the conversion was to solve that potential problem. My pistol has nice 3dot white sights, wheras the earlier "real" P38's I don't "think" did.

So basically I got what I consider a "new" Walther P1, with updated slide and frame for $199.00

I say that because paying $200 or more for a cobbled together P1 just doesn't seem to make sense. Unless you just want that particular pistol.

If you want a P1 for a "shooter/plinker" then, if you have the option, I suggest you would be better off with a pistol that had been upgraded. Also, even in a shooter, matching serial numbers is nice, and should you ever desire to sell it could up the value to the potential buyer. (If would if I were the buyer).

I'm a big Walther pistol fan, and I consider the P1 as a high quality pistol, and a great firearms bargain..

Personally I wouldn't have any interest in buying the pistol you described, but if it "calls out to you" then it's your money.. Be happy.. :D

Best Wishes,

J. Pomeroy

November 23, 2006, 11:47 AM
Ditto, PX15 nailed the salient points. If you want it, just buy it and shoot it--they're great guns. Now, if you come across a deal like PX15 described, jump on it immediately. The latest P1s, as well as the P5s, included the frame hex bolt, but there are many that don't have it and they still shoot great.

Martin Aston
November 23, 2006, 12:04 PM
Thanks, PX15; what you say makes a lot of sense. But I'm not sure if I'm looking for reassurance. It's mainly that I have little sense of the value of these and somehow I thought the "historical" value of this one might add to it's value and desireability. Obviously not, from what you say...and clearly I'd be better off shopping elsewhere...?

I tend to collect guns for their design and engineering excellance but I also appreciate those that have a certain historical and contextual significance. So I'd rather have an old and used, but not abused, model than a recent manufacture of the same gun, even brand new.

I've always considered, and assumed, that from their reputation any classic Walther (P-38, PP, PPK...), that's been taken care of is going to be a very well made gun that will serve it's purpose as and when. Even an M1 Garand that went ashore on D-Day had better be more than wall furniture if the need should arise... My first line of defense, my only "new" gun, is a S&W Model 19 2in combat magnum; everything else is backup...;)

BTW, just call me DB9...;) And thanks for posting the pix. Now just look at that thing. Isn't that a beautifully designed gun? Unique and timeless. Always preferred the P-38 to the Luger or the Mauser, but that's just me...

November 23, 2006, 12:17 PM
Martin Aston: (dyslexia in remission)

Perhaps "reassurance" was the wrong word.. What I meant to say was that from the "tone" of your initial post is appeared you wanted to buy the P1, but needed someone with more expertise in the P38/P1 to tell you if you should or not.

In my experience I don't think the surplus P1's are going to rise much in value, even if they are like new.. There are simply too many of them available on the market.. Now the "real" WW2 P38's DO have considerable collector value, but then you wouldn't want to shoot one and reduce it's value... Plus my understanding is that the newer P1's have better sights and triggers.. (I'm just repeating what I've read here.)

I love all things Walther.. I had a surplus PP in the past, and in a moment of stupidity I sold it. Now I'm older and a wee bit smarter, and if I have an firearm that pleases me and gives me good service I DON'T trade, sell, or give it away.. If I want something new, I save up for it. I don't let go of a good gun to buy another hopefully good gun... You'd just hate to hear yourself saying "wish I had that _ __ _ _ (add your own subject here) back..

I've heard myself say that more than once in years past (which doesn't say too much about my learning curve), but hopefully won't again in the future.

Keep in mind that a firearm (and probably most other things) will always have more value the better condition it is in.. Matching numbers whether it be in your "hemi-cuda" or you pistol increases the value..

After you find you a nice P1 (or buy the one you mentioned) save your money and find a nice Star BM.. These were like mini-1911's in 9mm, and are sweet shooters. They only cost about $150-200.. They are heavy (all metal), but can be used for cc, whereas the P1's are of a larger frame..

Heck, just enjoy.. Buy whatever firearm you want, and then buy the next firearm you want, etc. etc.....:D

November 24, 2006, 09:32 AM
PX15: +1 on the Star BM. Yours is a beauty. I have one like NIB, with box and papers, and one surplus that was rode hard and put away wet, but still runs good. It's my knock around 9. Great guns for the $$$.

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