Spoils of War


March 26, 2011, 07:54 PM
Hello Sages of the Forum. I'm turning to you again in hopes of some information.

My Grandfather has been dead for quite a few years and I was asking my dad if he had anything his father left him. His response was "nope, nothing except half of his genes and his old gun." I'm the only gun enthusiast in my family and I was a little upset that he didn't tell me about the gun sooner. Anyway I probed him for more information and he told me he (my grandfather) pulled it off a dead Nazi. My grandfather to the best of my knowledge was an Army Engineer - I'll have to confirm with my Grandmother as I have absolutely zero information.

The gun came to me in a leather holster, with a full magazine of what I'm assuming is the original ammo. Also stuffed in the holster was a tattered certificate. I can't seem to find a serial number. There are a few markings on the gun. I've attached pictures for your examination.

As always I'm astonished at the brain power available in this forum. Any information is much appreciated

Thank you

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0002.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0002.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0004.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0004.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0001.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0001.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0006.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0006.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0005.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0005.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0003.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0003.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0008.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0008.jpg)

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/th_DSC_0007.jpg (http://s1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa461/Tuckernielson/?action=view&current=DSC_0007.jpg)

If you enjoyed reading about "Spoils of War" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
March 26, 2011, 08:12 PM
Okay, you've got a loaded-with-original-ammo pre-WW2-made GI-trophied German P08 Luger pistol with holster AND PAPERS. This is about the best combination of features you could possibly ask for in terms of collector demand.

I suggest going to the Jan C Still Luger Forums at Gunboards.com and asking the real experts, but roughly, if the parts of the pistol and the magazine match by serial number, you probably have a several-thousand-dollar set, as well as having a piece with great sentimental/family value.

The droop eagles on the side are inspection marks, the DWM in script stands for Deutsch Waffen und Munitionsfabriken Berlin (German Weapon & Ammo Factories), and overall while the condition of the metal finish could be much better, it's a super nice piece. The paper is invaluable, and I would photocopy it immediately, then see about document preservation techniques- don't laminate it, but there's stuff you can buy to de-acidify the paper and ways to store it so that it won't degrade further. Provenance is a huge value booster- who, what, where, when makes the history more tangible, even if it's to some stranger rather than you and your very own grandfather.

Don't shoot the ammo, and don't put anything on the leather of the holster. Don't use WD-40 on the pistol, but regular gun oil with a cotton cloth should be fine. Surplusrifle.com has disassembly instructions, take it apart carefully and check for serial numbers- if they all match, you've got a great piece, if they don't, you've still got a very good piece.

March 26, 2011, 09:10 PM
Oh. Wow. Amigo, that's awesome.

March 26, 2011, 09:12 PM
One VERY BIG don't,is DON'T leave a live round in the chamber! These weapons were noted for accidental discharge,as several GIs found out,after sticking them in their waistbands,pockets,etc.The small bar at the side will let the firing pin snap forward,if any pressure is applied to it.Any German soldier that carried a Luger,left the chamber empty,until they were ready to use it.Aside from that,these guns are highly prized additions to any collectors!As for the documents,a good book restorer,or such,can tell you how to do it,or for a small fee,will do it for you,if you'd like.It would br well worth it!Good luck!

March 27, 2011, 01:14 AM

Thats really about as complete as they get/come. If the numbers match, you've easily got a gun worth thousand(s) of $. The paper, holster and ammunition really add to the value. Condition is spotty in some places, but the collector value is still extremely high.

Jim K
March 27, 2011, 01:45 AM
I can't seem to download larger pictures. I get nice pics of a Snickers Bar, but it isn't marked DWM.


Jim K
March 27, 2011, 02:15 AM
That is an interesting gun. It is not WWI era, rather it is one of the relatively few made post WWI by DWM for the post-war German military and police. The "1920" is NOT a police or military property mark as in the case of "double date" pistols, it is the true date of manufacture.

The msrkings on the right side are the acceptance and proof marks of that era. The letters below the eagles are "ArA4" standing for Ausrüstungsamt Abteilung 4 (Procurement Office, Section 4), a predecessor of the later Heereswaffenamt (WaA).

The full serial number, with a letter suffix if any, should appear on the front of the grip frame, below the barrel. Any other markings such as police markings on the front strap would be of interest.


March 27, 2011, 05:41 PM
Heck of a find. Don't store it in the holster, the leather keep moisture in and will rust it over time. Even the ammo has collector value, don't shoot that ammo.


The experts here can tell you far more, as Lugers were made in large numbers and have multiple variations.

March 27, 2011, 06:09 PM
The small bar at the side will let the firing pin snap forward,if any pressure is applied to itYou might be thinking of the Japinese Nambu pistol.
They can fire from pressure applied to the trigger transfer bar even with the safety on.

The P-08 Luger has the trigger linkage completely blocked from moving by a steel bar when the safety is on.

They can be fired by pressure on the bar with the safety off.
Or with the loaded receiver completely removed from the frame.
Otherwise, not.


Jim K
March 27, 2011, 08:36 PM
The Luger cannot be fired by pushing the sear bar if the sideplate is in place. It is only iwhen the sideplate is removed that it becomes possible to push the sear bar and release the firing pin, firing the gun (or the barrel-receiver assembly) if the chamber is loaded. The safety would block movement of the sear bar when it is on and the barrel-receiver assembly is on the grip frame. Most accidents appear to have happened when the gun was taken down for cleaning with the chamber loaded and the barrel-receiver assembly was being handled separate from the grip frame.

Apparently, against all the rules of safety, accidents did happen. That was the reason for the 1930-vintage Schiwy safety, a device that locked the sear bar when the sideplate was removed. It is usually seen on police pistols, along with the magazine safety, though most of the latter have been removed or deactivated by grinding off the internal projection. Neither safety was ever approved for German army issue or made part of the specifications for the P.08.


March 28, 2011, 06:37 PM
I've only found two 9mm 1920 DWM's for sale. One is a police re-work had the holster and capture papers and is in nicer shape asking price $3750, the other is the pistol only but is clearly police marked and numbered on the front strap, asking price $1695.

Are there any markings on the front of the grip strap?

March 29, 2011, 06:03 AM
Jees. Nice piece.


I have an old man close by, who showed me a similar piece,
that his Father carried on the eastern front.
Wooden magplate, Orig holster, still loaded with bullets from 1942.

It has not been legalized after the war and will stay an illegal gun forever.

Jim K
March 30, 2011, 03:59 PM
FWIW, the Japanese pistol that can be fired by pressing on the sear bar on the side IF THE SAFETY IS OFF, is a Type 94, not a Nambu. Nambu had nothing to do with it.


March 30, 2011, 05:03 PM
You may use Balistol safely on it, but I wouldn't want to apply much else.

March 31, 2011, 03:11 PM
That's a beautiful piece. I always love old guns, and if Lugers weren't so insanely expensive, I'd have one for myself.

If you enjoyed reading about "Spoils of War" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!