Walther P1


March 4, 2008, 04:33 AM
Does anyone own one and how do they shoot? The local Gander Mountain has a group of the for sale.

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March 4, 2008, 04:48 AM
I picked one up from Gander a couple of months ago. Shoots good, and was in decent shape. It has a little finish wear on the frame, but all the steel parts are a nice park. Came with two mags, a cleaning kit, and a holster. Mine was $299.

Get them to bring you a few from out of the back to pick through. Like the P6's, they do vary a bit from gun to gun. I've been fighting the urge of going by there this week for another myself. I'm not real good at fighting urges. :)

March 4, 2008, 07:31 AM
Like the surplus German P-5, P-6, P-7 pistols, the P-1 pistols are a great value for someone who doesn't need a polymer frame, 17 shot, wunderpistolen.

March 4, 2008, 08:00 AM
Make sure ot get the one with the hex pin above the trigger(last longer) and fat slide(slide serrations in front of the decocker.)

www.dansammo.com has MINT unissued all matching P1s for less than $350 bucks that are NOT arsenal refurbs like the ones at Gander MT likely are. While being a refurb isn't always a bad thing, with an unissued non refurb you at least know it hasn't been shot much..mine look like brand new guns. I ende dup sellingone to a buddy though..not sure why I bought two lol.

You can tell if it is a Refurb if you see marks with a lot of Ws in them..like W11/80 means it was refurbed in 1980..etc The only W should be a BW to indicate German Military. You will hoeever see a date on the slide usually, this does not mean a refurb, they date their slides for some reason.

The P1s if they have the Hex in the frame and the fat slides make great shooters, stay away from the +P though. The older steel framed P38s while having a stringer frame tend to crack slides eventually, so I actually prefer a P1 for a shooter.

www.p38forum.com is an excellent resource.

March 4, 2008, 02:07 PM
Omega WS also has P1's = 250$

1200 meters
March 4, 2008, 02:58 PM
What ever you do dont shoot +P ammo in the P-1. I had one an shot some sub-machine gun ammo in it and split the frame. It is the same ammo we fired I our P-5s, so I'm not sure why it broke. Blitz, Just a Thought.

March 4, 2008, 03:34 PM
I got one before Gander Mountain was offering, and I got a like new 1965 vintage P1.


It does not have the frame crosspin, and has the old P38 skinny sights.

The current prices are the best I have seen, before these "BW" were on the market you would pay at least $750 for a P1.

The P1 is a lot lighter to carry than a P38 due to the weight reduction from going to a steel frame to an aluminum frame. I like the fact that the barrel is chromed lined. The barrel at least ought to last forever.

Both the P38 and P1 have identical safeties and magazine releases. The grip is designed for a one hand hold. This pistol was state of the art in 1938, but now those features make it a dated design.

You do not disassemble this pistol to the level that you can disassemble a M1911. I do not want to take the firing pin out, or any of the frame pieces. Basically you take the slide off, the barrel off, and wipe everything off. This pistol has too many bits and pieces to take down further. However, this seems to be true of most modern semi auto pistols. I guess you just soak the frame and the slide in a cleaner at some point.

As far as shooting, well this is a service pistol. Everyone that I have handled had significant creep in the final pull. Double action is stiff. All of them went bang and no one is reporting malfunctions. I had to bash the front sight laterally, and then file it to get the pistol to shoot to point of aim, but once zero'd this pistol will shoot within four inches at 25 yards. At most everything is within six inches. I shoot offhand, I can do better with my revolvers. But four inches is plenty fine for most service pistols.

I can recall that back in the 80's, Colt told me that if a Gold Cup shot within 3 inches at 25 yards, it was within factory specifications.

I have been told that combat situations with handguns occur within spitting distance, so 25 yards with a handgun is really only of concern for target shooters. Or me, because that is as close as I get to my gong targets.

I am experiencing frame peening. There is metal deformation going on at those white spots on the frame. I am not loading hot loads, I have checked the velocity of my reloads and it is at least 100-150 fps less than factory. I have been able to look at three other P-1’s, and they all show some of the same frame peening that I have. It is my estimate that the locking lugs are deforming the top of the rails at unlock.



I asked folks if anyone else had been experiencing this, and whether it had caused long term problems, and what I was told that my loads were too hot. :confused:

I suspect that this peening is something that will get worse, so maybe I will cut my loads down to 950-1000 fps with a 125 Lead, and use Bullseye, a fast quick powder.

I do believe that hot loads are inappropriate in this pistol, and I am curious to see how many ammo cans of 9mm I can shoot through this pistol before the frame cracks.

It will you know. All aluminum frames will crack in time. Alumimum does not have an indefinite fatigue life. The M92 Beretta’s service life has been estimated around 35,000 rounds.

March 4, 2008, 06:59 PM
Yeah that is what I warning him about, that is an unpinned thin slide model. For 299 you can add the latest updated style to your collection. The only alarming peening I see in your pic is exactly where the hex bolt would be to prevent it.

March 4, 2008, 08:15 PM
Got any pics of the hex bolt/thick slide?

March 4, 2008, 08:51 PM
Here is a pic of the one I got for $299, came with a leather holster and a cleaning kit as well. Pic does not really do it justice, it literally looks like a brand new gun, removing the slide shows zero evidence of ever being shot, barrel looked brand new as well. I have in red marked the updates you want to see, slide serrations continuing in front of the decocker and the hex pin.


March 4, 2008, 08:57 PM
Thanks. I have to wait until Sunday so we'll see.

March 4, 2008, 09:46 PM

I figured I would post a pic of mine to help illustrate the differences.

Wolff (http://www.gunsprings.com/SemiAuto/WaltherNF.html#P38/P5) stocks new springs.

March 4, 2008, 09:53 PM
Ah, how come yours came with nice looking walnut stocks and mine came with cheap black plastic?

You know a distributor that I don't know?

The pin is real hard to see in your photo.

March 4, 2008, 10:14 PM
His isn't pinned, it does have the thick slide though, although the number on the slide seems to be a mismatch to the frame, unless it was added later on as a refurb.

March 5, 2008, 02:21 AM
It's a good pistol for 9mm.

March 5, 2008, 03:17 PM
Smooth, smooth, smooth action. Wonderful pistol. $299 is a bit steep but the gun is more than worth it. As others mentioned, its not a polymer frame, 17 round hicap pistol but the action is more than worth it. Possibly the smoothest firing pistol I've ever shot and I've shot a lot! I bought mine from AIM surplus a couple of years ago for $239, came in excellent condition. I'd heartily recommend it for anyone wanting to fire a quality pistol.

March 5, 2008, 03:22 PM
Xavierbreath-the link you show don't include the P1, or is the P38 the same?

March 5, 2008, 05:24 PM
I've got one on hold that I'm looking at tomorrow.

March 5, 2008, 06:55 PM
My P1 was made by Manurhin in the mid to late '50's. An interesting side note about this particular P1 is that it was formerly used by the West Berlin police force, who purchased the pistols from France because they were not allowed to buy any German made weapons at the time. This one's a great shooter, and I frequently take it with me to the range when I just want to have some fun plinking away at pop cans and plastic bottles.

March 5, 2008, 08:00 PM

Gun Parts Corporation HAD them, in checkered walnut, or military style grooves.
They show out of stock right now, but you might contact them and ask to be sure.

1200 meters
March 6, 2008, 04:23 PM
I have a P-1 that the frame is split on,and can't of course fix it. My question to all is "does any one know if a functional used frame can be purchased? Blitz

March 6, 2008, 04:37 PM
I called Gander Mountain last night, verified that it had the hex bolt and serrations in front of the safety and put it on hold.

I went there today to get it and it was a beat up, early style, no hex bolt, beat up crown P38. This thing was severely worn and the slide was loose when locked.

I was so T'd off that I went to my gun range, ran into a nice Yugo SKS and brought it home instead.

March 6, 2008, 04:47 PM
I have a couple vintage P1s in my modest collection, including a vintage Maunhrin P1.


But, whenever I feel the need to carry an Alt Deutche Politzipistole, I carry my P5. ;)


March 6, 2008, 10:23 PM
If you are interested in picking up a P1 -- and you should be; they are superb firearms, exhibiting quality craftsmanship that you don't often see anymore -- the best deals around can be found at Dan's Ammo. Here's a link:


Dan is knowledgable, friendly, helpful ... and the guns that he is selling are advertised as being in "minty" condition, which is a fact. I've picked up two P1s from him and might well get a third. After all, you can never be too rich, nor too thin, nor have too many Walthers.

March 6, 2008, 11:13 PM
Searcher, thanks for also posting his link, I posted a pic above of the one I got from him. For <$300 you can't beat them considering they are unissued, people pay $250 for unmatching refurbs that don't have the hex bolts and thick slides and then say that the extra $50 bucks makes their prices steep..I obviously disagree.

March 6, 2008, 11:29 PM
here is one with the hex pin

March 7, 2008, 09:07 AM
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong but don't some of the alloy framed P1s say "P38" on the slide? Seems like I've heard that before.

March 7, 2008, 11:32 AM
You are correct, everything I read says that P1 is simply the military designation for the P38, sort of like how M9 is ours for the 92FS.

So yes, there are P38 marked guns with alloy recievers. He has a few of those for sale too, although I think without the hex pins.

I still can't stress enough how good a deal you can get at DansAmmo, $300 bucks for essentially brand new non refurb guns with all of the updates to make them good shooters. They even come with a new leather holster and cleaning kit and two mags.

March 7, 2008, 01:05 PM
Wicked, I wrote an e-mail to Dans and never got a reply. About a week has passed. I take that as a bad sign. Yes, I can call, but if a company offer e-mail as a mean for communication, they should respond.

Have you had good luck with Dans and been pleased with their service and honesty?


March 7, 2008, 02:02 PM
I just picked up a P38 marked P1 from Gander mountain this morning for $279. Other than some storage marks, it looks to be new. It is one of the early guns without the hex pin.

I looked at three of them and they were in varying shape and type. All were pretty good, but this is the nicest I've seen, with no wear at all on the frame.

March 7, 2008, 02:25 PM
I bought two of them from Dans, try calling him directly, he has an excellent reputation on www.p38forum.com Even though it's email, there is still a reason they call it "mail".

March 23, 2008, 01:26 AM
I just got me a very nice holster for my P-38 and an extra mag for it. In looking over my gun, made in 1943, I just marvel at how advanced it is, considering the era in which it was manufactured. "Polymer" grips, DA/SA, decocker safety, loaded chamber indicator and last shot hold open feature. About the only thing separating it from modern semiautomatic pistols in features is a high capacity magazine and a magazine disconnect safety. Not bad for a 70 year old design!!

March 23, 2008, 10:01 AM
I think that Dan's email might be off; I've sent him a couple of notes during the past week as well without reply. However, I would not take that as a bad sign in any way. There's no question in my mind that Dan is offering the best P1 value on the planet at present. Call him and tell him what you want. He'll hand-select one that will arrive exactly as advertised. If you want it as a shooter, tell him that you want the reinforced hex pin. He'll deliver.

724-727-2648 is the phone.
724-272-2649 is the fax.

March 23, 2008, 10:50 AM
I have 2, re-arsenaled, early 80s. Neither have the hex bolt but the extended style slide serrations shoot. They shoot very well with WWB target loads and 125 gr hollow points. With my particular grip and sight picture, mine printed a tad low but they were easy to fix. My only gripe is the guns seem bulky to me. They're desk drawer/nightstand guns IMHO, although I'd carry one in a pinch.

March 24, 2008, 03:11 PM
In follow-up to my ealier post, I kept calling and finally got ahold of someone. They were very nice and I have since recieved a new (30 year old) P1 that has never been shot. I am very happy and I will purchase from Dan's again if given the opportunity. They did what they said and the product was just as they said it would be and it shipped promptly.

Regarding my P1, I like it and it is very tight and appears well made. It is not a $800 finish job but nice none the less.

The only think I don't care for is the quality of the original grips. They are new, but they are plastic. I may leave them on, but I would prefer a nice heavy wood. I could not find any wood grips in stock, but perhaps with all these P1's hitting the market, some more will get made. Of course, since this is suppose to be a historical gun and not the latest greatest, maybe I should leave on the original grips. Hmmm.

March 24, 2008, 03:27 PM
Not surprised that you had a good experience with Dan's. His stock is impressive, and he's a good man to deal with.

Some aftermarket wood grips are available, but you have to act quick when they show up (lots of folks are constantly on the hunt for them) and be willing to pay for them. Nill grips are available, of course, and are beautiful -- works of art, in fact. But they are pricey. Replacement grips are $142.80 plus shipping; target grips with a thumbrest are $164.40. Here's a link:


You might want to check eBay, or place a WTB notice on the P38 Forum. Tom Heller, who goes by the name Lugerdoc, has some from time time, and you can find him there.

For those looking for a P1 and aren't sure of how to ensure a good deal, or even whether you are getting a good gun, you might want to visit the P38 Forum. Here's a link to the sticky notice under the Post-Way P38 threads that provides excellent advice on what to look for, what to avoid, etc.:


May 16, 2008, 03:44 PM

Thanks for posting the link. They have prices on the web of $299.00...I assume for a regular "shooter" grade. Did you purchase the "Minty" Collector condition Walthers? If so, what do they run? I tried to call them as requested for a quote, but mailbox is full.


Patrick Henry
June 2, 2008, 05:33 PM
It surprises me to hear you can't use +P with the P-38. I thought the standard load for the 9mm used in WW2 and then by NATO, was the same as "civilian" +P anyway.

June 2, 2008, 11:53 PM
Blackbeard: I bought two P1s from Dan about six months ago -- a "minty" version which is just about perfect and far too nice to shoot, and a shooter (no holster but with a second magazine and the reinforced hex pin). That one cost around $260 and is a great gun ... a lot of fun on the range, highly accurate, wonderfully reliable. The "minty" example was $299, worth every cent, and is in the safe. I also just ordered up a post-war P38 that Dan secured after scouting around for one for the past four months or so. Can't wait to see it: it's described as LNIB and even comes with the original box. If you like your post-war Walthers, Dan is the man.

September 3, 2008, 03:38 PM
I just spent some time talking to the American Distributor for all Walther pistols, rifles, etc. http://www.carlwalther.com/

He told me that the recent "BW" stamped import P1's are "Army Training" pistols.

So I asked what that meant.

He said these pistols were to be used in weapon familiarization, very limited firing to zero firing. As I understood, the frames are made from different materials from regular P1’s. He said something about “not heat treated”, but I don’t understand how you heat treat aluminum.

The shop frequently receives “BW” P1’s with busted frames. Apparently these frames were not meant to withstand extensive firing.

This would be consistent with the frame peening I experienced, and every "BW" P1 I have examined.

I will shoot mine until the frame breaks, and sell the parts. Barrels are apparently hard to find, so I know that has value.

I am surprised the Germans would spend all this money building expensive training pistols that they did not expect to last long.

But, have you heard of the $600.00 US defense department wingnut?

September 3, 2008, 06:11 PM
Be wary of what you hear from that source, SlamFire. Just check out the price of his guns and match them against anything you'll find on the rest of the market, and you'll quickly see what I mean.

Again, take a browse through the P.38 Forum and read the sticky notice on how to buy a P1 or a post-war P.38 (you can find it under the P.38/Post-War section). You'll get a good primer on everything you need to know; if you spend a little time there, you'll also find out that the BW-stamped P1s were regular German Army issue guns -- that is an Army acceptance stamp and in no way is an indication of a training gun.

If you shoot Winchester white box 115-grain 9mm ammo through the P1 and steer clear of the hotter loads, you'll have years and years of trouble-free enjoyment.

September 3, 2008, 06:26 PM
Be wary of what you hear from that source, SlamFire. Just check out the price of his guns and match them against anything you'll find on the rest of the market, and you'll quickly see what I mean

You may have a point there.

I saw this URL on THR and went to it. The pistol package looks exactly how my P1 was packaged. I ran the German words through Babble fish. It is about 85% comprehensible. If this pistol is like the ones that came in, (and I think it is), there is nothing in this German ad about “training pistol”, or “not a training pistol”.


Original German Federal Armed Forces pistol: Rule ago P1 Kal. 9 mm Condition: unused pistol welded for the case of defense Bombardment: valid military bombardment of the German Federal Armed Forces (is enough for green WBK) Scope of supply: 1 new and welded P1 execution German Federal Armed Forces 1 new and welded magazine for the P1 To the weapon number-same first shot disk With these weapons it concerns rule ago the last production batches that P1, which was manufactured for the German Federal Armed Forces. These pistols were welded against Ender of the 70iger/in the middle of the 80iger years for one case of defense by the German Federal Armed Forces and - except for the bombardment of the weapon - yet were not shot. Subsequently, the weapons were cleaned properly and greased again. The runs are absolute mirror bright. The surface is phosphatized, as it was usual with the German Federal Armed Forces. The weapons do not exhibit a scratch. It might concern definitely one of the last possibilities here of acquiring a piece of German history. These weapons are likewise for the collecting tank, as also for the hunter us sport contactors interesting, particularly since a weapon is offered here for an unusual price. Original German Federal Armed Forces accessories (bag, additional magazine, finery things) are possible on request. With the weapon illustrated here it concerns a specimen. All weapons, which come to the Auslierferung, are definitely original welded and contain the same accessories.

September 3, 2008, 08:50 PM
SlamFire: If you want to have some fun, check out the Walther Forums and search for any and all discussions regarding the business/gentleman in question. You will either be shocked or will laugh out loud -- or both -- at some of the statements that have been attributed to him. I think he's well-meaning, and he definitely serves a needed niche for Walther owners in the U.S., but IMO you often have to take his comments with a bucketload of salt.

January 5, 2009, 08:48 PM
I can't see why they would bother to install the hex pin if the frame was for a training pistol only..seems like that is just a weird rumour.

January 5, 2009, 10:25 PM
I have a couple of them.
I don't carry them because I DO need the13 round Ostereich wonderpistole!!! ;)


January 5, 2009, 11:33 PM
I keep getting tempted by those Walthers.

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