1929 DWM Death Head Rig  SOLD


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This is a exquisite example of the 1914 Model DWM (Deutsches Waffen Und Munitionsfabriken Co) Manufactured Police Pistole-08 sometime in 1929. Approximately 150 were reported to be made for the re-arming of the police.  DWM or BKIW (Berlin-Karlsruher Industriewerke) as the company evolved in 1922. The origin of the Parabellum is revealed by the commercial Crown N proof and concealed markings of the serial number. The Death Head on the Chamber is symbolic of the early Weimar Werewolves from whom the SA (Strum Arbeitlung) was recruited which morphed into the SS enforcement units. The shoulder holster is only the second one we have seen in 40 years. These were usually found worn by motorcycle drivers, some tank crews and of course the Gestapo.   (1839)

NOTE: Photographs taken today with the high mega-pixel camera show more than we sometimes can see with the human eye. Magnified close-ups show us tool marks and natural surface conditions that one normally doesn't see in the ordinary handling of the weapon. Photographs are copyrighted, all rights reserved, any extraction, reproduction or display of gun pictures without the express consent of the Phoenix Investment Arms is strictly prohibited. Thank you for your cooperation. Please visit Legal (tabbed) for Conditions of Sale.

August von Mackensen; German field marshal. A type of irregular light horsemen were already well established by the 15th century in medieval Hungary. On the eve of World War I there were still Hussar regiments in the British (including Canadian), French, Spanish, German, Russian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Romanian and Austro-Hungarian armies. In most respects, they had now become regular light cavalry, recruited solely from their own countries and trained and equipped along the same lines as other classes of cavalry. Hussars were however still notable for their colorful and elaborate parade uniforms. The German Imperial units had adopted the Death's-head (Skull-Totenkopf) as their symbol and this is probably the origin in German units. Below: German Hussars on the move.

This is chambered for 9mm and has a standard 4" barrel (100mm) fixed sights and walnut grips.   This WWI style Luger appears manufactured for the commercial sales market from end of war military stock, fitted with a 9mm barrel and became a standard issue firearm to the German Police. The extractor is marked "Geladen" on the left side and the safety is marked "Gesichert" with the safe position being downward.

The Death head (Totenkopf) was carved into the heads pace of this Parabellum and the police sear points us to a police unit and the probability of the assignment to the infamous Einestaadtsgrupen. Above Right once can see the "71" last two digits of the serial number on the bottom of the locking lever and side plate as if this were a commercial contract gun; although configured for the police. 

The bottom of the barrel reflects the full serial number of the gun including the "t" suffix which is believed to have been reached in 1929 police issue indicating that both parts are original and matching. The serial number and the suffix are matched throughout the gun and on the magazine which is numbered as police and matches the frame and the bottom of the barrel. Police guns were marked with a 1 and 2 for the primary and additional magazine.  Most policemen also had a two magazine pouch that was worn but these are very difficult to find. The "t" suffix indicates this Parabellum started out as one of the 'alphabet' guns that were military pistols left over from WWI and fitted with a 7.65mm barrel and destined for commercial sales.

The front of the gun show the muzzle, serial number on the front of the frame and the Unit Markings on the front grip strap. While the issued instructions for unit markings are a bit ambiguous over the years some information has been standardized.  In 1932 the Prussian Policy Ministry issued revisions to their markings which utilized "L" for Landjägererei or District Police. The "Sch" is known to represent Schleswig District.  This area was once a part of Denmark and won by the Prussians in 1864.

The right side of the receiver displays all the Imperial Army acceptance stamps. Original grips are finely cut diamond shaped checkering made from walnut or in some cases beech wood. These grips are serial numbered to the gun. The original firing pins were marked with the serial number and  when manufactured the original grips were marked to the gun.  Since firing pins and grips wear and break it is not unusual to find unmarked firing pins or replacement grips.

The Stormtroopers (in German Stoßtruppen, "shock troops") were specialist military troops which were formed in the last years of World War I as the German army developed new methods of attacking enemy trenches, called "infiltration tactics". Men trained in these methods were known in Germany as Sturmmann (correctly "assault man" but usually translated as Stormtroopers), formed into companies of Sturmtruppen ("assault troops", more often and less exactly Storm Troops). The infiltration tactics developed by the Stormtroopers are still in use today, in one form or another. Other armies have also used the term "assault troops", "shock troops" or fire teams for specialist soldiers who perform the infiltration tasks of Stormtroopers.  Right: Death Head patch worn by German Stoßtruppen

Sturmtruppen overrunning a French pos The "Death's Head" continued to be used throughout the Prussian and Brunswick Armed forces until 1918, and some of the storm troopers that led the last German offensives on the Western Front in 1918 used Death Head badges.


The first major offensive led by the new Assault Detachment was during the first days of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916. Storm troops from the Assault Detachment were used in the first wave leading some units into the French trenches, attacking seconds after the barrage had lifted. This generally worked very well, even though it worked much better against the first trench line than against the less well-known enemy rear-area.

On April 1, 1916, the Assault Detachment was re-designated "Assault Battalion Rohr". Around this time it also increased its size from two to four pioneer companies. At the same time, work began on transforming several Jäger battalions into new Assault Battalions.

The barrel is stamped with the German Military Acceptance Stamp Adler and it is clear that the Death Head (Skull) was rolled onto the headspace where the date would be. The barrel is a 100mm length and has the Crown N proof indicating it was intended for Police or military work. Having the Weimar acceptance, the sear safety, having been modified for a magazine safety and unit marked; this Parabellum has a story to tell.
Above Left: Above the breechblock there is a raised signal marked Geladen to tell the shooter that the gun is loaded. This can be felt in the dark tactilely so all one had to do was release the safety and the noise of cocking the gun did not give the shooter away. One can also see the Crown N which tells us this started out as a commercial gun and then rebuilt at the factory into a Polizei Parabellum. Above Right: Over the front strap, in a very small pattern is the deadhead (Totenkopf) and the SS Runes.

  A. Serial Number and Crown N under the barrel; B&C. Magazine Safety Adoption, D. Crown N behind the serial number. E: Totenkopf over chamber, F. "GELADEN" (Loaded); G. Sear Safety

Above Left: This Parabellum was made for the Weimar Republic [1919-1933 (Deutsches Reich)], which used the droop wing eagle and an early Waffenamt proof.   Under the serial number on the frame is the Crown N which gives us the historical knowledge that with the frame marked with the suffix "t" it was intended as a military gun and then civilian proofed after the war and before the inception of the Weimar military who then took the gun, rebuilt it with the 9mm barrel and police sear safety, proofed it (above left) and issued it to the police.

Jan Still in his book Weimar & Early Nazi Lugers Vol V  197-199 extracted from the works of German authors developing the evolution of the Deathhead from the Hussar's and G.R.P.R. (flamethrower battalions) up through the adoption by H. Himmler and the SS. 

An SS Police Recruiting Poster

Totenkopfverbände SS assigned to  Nazi concentration camps, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps (in German Konzentrationslager, or KZ) throughout the territories it controlled. The term was borrowed from the British concentration camps of the Second Anglo-Boer War.
Heinrich  Himmler, Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Nazi Germany during a visit to the Dachau work camp in 1936.

The Brown leather holsters were predominant in WWI but during the 1930's various units and then the entire Wehrmacht was ordered to die the old holsters and new holsters were bought in black to match all the leather. The police who wore a green uniform continued to use the brown leather and sidearm's that accompanied the occupation police were assimilated into the field uniforms.

The front and back of the holster show the excellent condition with the original stitching still intact and well cared for over the years. As seen from the slant of the belt loops this holster was designed for the angled draw giving the shooter less holster to clear if the incident required it.

The back of the holster bears the stamp of the SS Runes and the clasp is the same type used on the chest strap with the RZM markings on the back and the pebbled front.  Some books state there never was issued any shoulder holsters but we have found them over the years with unit marks, Gestapo stamps and this one with SS markings. 

Reichsführer Heinrich  Himmler visiting a concentration camp.  Note the officer to his right who is wearing the Totenkopf hat device on his shoulder.  Our research does not recognize this uniform display was regulation, however he is also wearing a wound badge and the Iron Cross ribbon.
Sicherheitspolizei:   The Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police), often abbreviated as SiPo, was a term used in Germany for their security police. In the Nazi era it was used to describe the state political and criminal investigation security agencies. It was made up by the combined forces of the Gestapo (secret state police) and the Kripo (criminal police) between 1936 and 1939. As a formal agency, the SiPo was folded into the RSHA (SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt) in 1939. The term SiPo was also used to describe security police force officials (but not the SD members of the RSHA), informally until the end of the Third Reich.

The inside of the gun is as clean and well maintained as the exterior. you can see all the matching serial numbers on all the small parts and the short sear of the post 1915 models, the thumb safety down (Safe) with the German word Gesichert (safe). Above we can see where the magazine safety was drilled into the frame. Ordered by the Police in 1932. The magazine safety consists of a "U" shaped leaf spring with two extensions, fitted into the left side of the frame under the grip. One of the extensions fits into the front and lodges behind the trigger while the other end fits through the frame into the magazine well.  With the magazine in place the extension is pushed left and out of the path of the trigger. Removing the magazine allows the safety to move to the right so the bar moved behind the trigger and prevents it from being pulled. Rarely is this found on the Luger as they customarily broken off and thrown away because the invention by Carl Walther proved unreliable.

Above Left: The trigger reveals the matching number of the gun and still has the 'straw' blue under the side plate. This picture also depicts the magazine safety hole that was once installed on the gun (since disabled).  Above Right: The last two digits of the serial number appear on the sear and the rear main axel pin. In 1932 the Reichswehrministerium issued an order that the rear connecting pin be serial numbered to the gun which was required by order in 1933.

The Parabellum in full recoil shows the reward movement of the breech block and the partial "Geladen" of the extractor as the round was pulled from the chamber.  At the rear of the frame we cannot see the "ears" when Mauser added 2mm to these projections to further prevent the chipping of the rear main axel pin. 
The business end of the Parabellum looking down the barrel. It is entirely subjective to give any Luger a rating of excellent or fine, just as it is to declare it xx% blued or strawed. Few Lugers are out of the box new and these are premium priced. Bluing percentages is like Beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  We strive to provide pictures so you can judge for yourself if the gun meets your criteria.

In the early days of the NSDAP, Julius Schreck, (Left) the leader of the Stabswache (Adolf Hitler's bodyguard unit), adopted the Totenkopf to his unit. This later grew into the Schutzstaffel (SS), which continued to use the> Totenkopf as insignia throughout its history. As they had done with the Swastika, and the "Stechschritt" (Goose-Step March): the Nazis adopted the Totenkopf from the historical tradition and used it for their own purposes, leaving it marked with a stigma that has continued to the present day.

It is important to note that the SS "Death's Head" symbol has some differences to the original German (Prussian) Totenkopf, the original being much more archaic in appearance (see images above), with the SS version appearing more realistic. Moreover, the Prussian Totenkopf could face left or right in half-profile, but usually it was shown en face. The SS Totenkopf, on the other hand, was always facing left in half-profile.






 The 3rd SS Panzer Division

The SS Division Totenkopf was formed in October 1939. The Totenkopf was initially formed from concentration camp guards of the 1st (Oberbayern), 2nd (Brandenburg) and 3rd (Thüringen) Standarten (regiments) of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, and men from the SS-Heimwehr Danzig. The division had officers from the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT), of whom many had seen action in Poland. The division was commanded by SS-Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke. Through the Battle of France the division was generally equipped with ex-Czech weapons.

Adolf Hitler inspects the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler on arrival at Klagenfurt in April 1938.

This 1929 All-Matching DWM Nazi Death Head is a very difficult gun for the collector to find and the historical paradigm may not be an absolute answer of one theory or another but rather an evolution from the early Hussar cavalry to the Nazi Death Head of the Schutzstaffe (SS). Any questions to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in-store sale. We reserve the right to sell any internet offering to a direct sale and do not warrant the availability of any firearm that do not have a cash deposit.

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Sometimes our "significant other" doesn't understand the beauty, craftsmanship and investment potential of one of these investor grade weapons.  In these circumstances where discretion becomes the better part of valor we will accept layaways of up to one year with at least 20% down and some activity occurring monthly to insure that after one year the sale is completed.  Cancellations of layaways forfeit 33% if done within two months, otherwise 100%. You can transfer a layaway to a consignment sale at any time. See "Legal" for exact terms.

See Credits, Bibliography, Notices and Disclaimers.

3 Day Return Policy

We honor a three day return policy. We will answer any questions, send you any pictures, as detailed as you want, to insure that what we are showing you is what you want to see, before you buy it.  See Legal.


WARNING: We do not represent these guns as safe to fire. They are not test fired before sale; they are sold as collectibles only. Prior to firing you should have it inspected by a qualified individual and abide by all safety requirements.

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