Dating A Luger By Serial #

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MI2600, May 3, 2021.

  1. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    I recently bought a Luger in .30 Luger. My other Luger is stamped "1920" and it's a 9mm. This new one isn't stamped with a date.
    Is there any way to date the newer one by the serial number?
     
  2. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Short answer is no.
    Let's digress for a moment and talk about P08s, the military issue. What most people do not realize is that the chamber date is also the first four digits of the serial number. And the letter, or lack there of, below the frame number is an essential part of the serial number. The four digits on the front of the frame roll over and there were dozens, if not hundreds, of P08s with the same four digits.
    The 1920 commercials were made by DWM from existing P08 parts after the war with no chamber dates Thus its possible to have several 1920s with the same number made in different years of the 1920 run.
    There was also a cottage industry assembling Lugers from ex-military parts, accounting for most of the mismatches. The cottage industry occurred after WWII as well and accoints for the occasional nickle plated Luger.
    True commercial commercials used an entirely different numbering system.
    You 9 mm having a 1920 "date" means it's not a commercial. The "1920" is a permission date and does not indicate the year made. The permission date pistols were intended for post war police or military issue.
     
    Patocazador likes this.
  3. MI2600

    MI2600 Member

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    Thanks for the info.
    The 9mm was a GI bring-back after WWII from my father. From my own inept searches, it appeared the .30 Luger models were much earlier, circa the early 1900s. Would that be a correct assumption?
     
  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    No. The pistols that were made initially in the early 1900s were mostly .30 cal. but 9mm and even some (very few) .45s were made.

    The guns assembled after WW1 were dictated by the Wehrmacht government put in place to restrict Germany from a quick build-up in weapons. The "alphabet" guns were not marked over the chamber and the crown N mark was one of the few stampings other than the serial number. All of these guns were re-barreled to .30 cal. The only 9mm guns were issued to the police and the much smaller army.
     
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