Walther P1 Dilemma


February 25, 2009, 07:22 AM
A few weeks ago I ordered a hex-bolt Walther P1 from Simpson LTD for $195. But they had apparently ran out beforehand, so they shipped me a non-hex-bolt model without contacting me first. The one they sent me has the upgraded slide, but not the upgraded frame.

I can't decide whether to go through the hassle of sending it back and looking for another one, or just keep it since $195 seems like a good deal, even for a non upgraded model.

If I do keep the gun, any rules other than no +P ammo?

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February 25, 2009, 09:44 AM
Even with the hex bolt, you shouldn't use +P in the P1.
If it is otherwise a nice pistol, I would keep it.

February 25, 2009, 09:54 AM
you stole that pistol,theyve doubled in price around here,its plenty tough german enganeering,keep it,shoot it.the local had p6 and p1"s last summer 259.00 ,and i was broke,"dangit"when you can find either now its,350.00 to 450.00 and higher now, they sold out quick.they had both crossbolt and no crossbolt all still sold,good luck.

February 25, 2009, 03:36 PM
I've got two '67 vintage P1s without the hex bolt, and I've put a fair amount of standard pressure 9mm through them without any problems. I'd say keep it and enjoy.


February 25, 2009, 05:05 PM
I saw one in a gun case at a show in Columbus two weeks ago for $550. Nothing special either, just a plain jane mid 60s P1. So consider yourself lucky to find one at the old bargain price and keep her. They are drying up according to the guys on P38 forums, and they watch this closely.


February 25, 2009, 08:10 PM
The actual purpose of the hex bolt in the frame was not to prevent cracking, it was to provide a harder "wear seat" for the locking block to operate on.
On the aluminum frame, they found that shooting A LOT of ammo would cause the locking ramp in the frame to wear to the point the gun would start to have locking problems.
This required a significant amount of rounds, more than you're ever likely to shoot. Don't worry about it.

Some pointers on the post-war P-38 and P1 guns:

NO +P or even hotter than normal ammo. They weren't designed or built for more than standard ammo. They were made for standard load 124 grain bullets and work well with 115 grain.

Your specific gun may work well with hollow points, but be prepared to experiment to find a brand/type your gun "likes". Again, no hotter stuff.

NO "extra power" springs. Heavy springs will cause the slide to slam shut too hard and will crack the frame through the dismount hole.

Don't remove the top slide cover unless you have absolutely no choice.
If the cover is mis-installed or the spring "fingers" are bent, the cover will fly off under recoil, scattering internal parts everywhere.

Do not attempt to move the rear sight for windage.
It does NOT move, and trying to will seriously damage the top cover.
The sight and top cover interlock and hold each other in place. The sight is not intended to move at all. All adjustments are done on the front sight.

Clean and lube the gun AND the magazines. Many haven't been lubed in many years, and many malfunctions are caused by dirt and dried lube.

February 25, 2009, 08:36 PM

It sounds like you got a nice buy on a great gun. If it were mine, I would keep it and stick with the 115 gr. ammo.

February 25, 2009, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone; this place is awesome. Look like she's a keeper.

Yay for my first handgun!

February 26, 2009, 06:32 AM
I do find that mine is more accurate with 124gn ammo. I have tried a couple standard pressure JHP's in mine with no issues.
As far as using +P, I don't in my P1, even though they were made to use NATO standard 9mm, which is at least +P, and closer to +P+. I would use it in extremis, but for range use, no.

February 26, 2009, 09:18 AM
Enjoy your P1. It's one of the great sleepers out there.

February 26, 2009, 09:39 AM
How is your P1 otherwise? Does it appear to have little wear? Also, I'm guessing that it has a rework date on the frame after the serial number?

Thanks for any information.


February 26, 2009, 09:46 AM
Also, I'm guessing that it has a rework date on the frame after the serial number?

The proof marks on the P1 can be fascinating. With my gun I was able to follow the gun's history from date of manufacturer through re-arsenal to updates establishing a handful of dates that tells the story of the gun. There are sites that explain what each mark means, and with that info the proof marks read like a book. The P38 Forum is a good place to start.

Mad Magyar
February 26, 2009, 09:50 AM
I say keep it as well. I paid a little over $300 for my 1963 version. The feel, balance, pointability, reliability, and accuracy is just overwhelming....I like it so much that my Browning BDM will be going out the door with all the high prices being paid for pistols.:)

February 27, 2009, 07:26 PM
The doggone things are actually getting harder to find, which prompts me as well to recommend that you keep it and enjoy. If it has the fat slide, and if you don't use +P (or higher) rounds, you should be fine (depending, of course, on the kind of treatment the gun received from its previous owner). If it was a German police gun, the rule of thumb was that they were often-carried, seldom-fired.

Mine gobbles up Winchester White Box 115-gr ammo and then kicks it out (to the left, of course). It's great fun to take the range.

February 27, 2009, 09:54 PM
I find it somewhat humorous that so many recommend not shooting American +P ammunition in P1 pistols when the guns were designed to shoot a minimum of 5000 rounds of German produced Hirtenberger and Geco NATO standard 9mm Luger rounds which are equivilent in pressure and velocity to what Americans call "+P ammunition".

dfariswheel got it right about the hex bolt.
The 1 millimeter thicker slide your pistol features is actually more desireable as these guns tended to crack the slides after heavy use, they very rarely crack the aluminum receivers.

Since you will probably shoot your gun with stuff like Winchester white box Q loads or Blazer Brass ammo, I wouldn't worry about not having a cross bolt in the receiver.
Taken care of and not used as your primary gun at a three gun match or a training session at Gunsite, that pistol is going to outlast you.
Enjoy it.

February 28, 2009, 08:56 PM
Mine gobbles up Winchester White Box 115-gr ammo and then kicks it out (to the left, of course). It's great fun to take the range.
Got mine used from a local-owned shop for $310 with 2 mags, rarely-shot police turn-in refurbed by Walther.

I have one (with hex bolt) and it also eats WWB 115grain like candy. Other ammo, I get the occasional failure to eject, WWB almost never an ammo-related problem. The only issues I've had
-the locking block spring got twisted and stuck (my fault for fiddling with it, I think)
-a used gunshow magazine had slightly bent feed lips, I compared to good mags and got them right enough for range use

I saw a few going at the local Gander Mountain for $300, they seemed to be in good shape, and had the fat slide and hex bolt.
Under $200 sounds fairly good, maybe call and complain and see if they throw you some extra magazines as a consolation prize?

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