WALTHER BANNER "0" SERIES P-38

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The Walther P38 was a 9 mm pistol that was developed by Walther as the service pistol of the Wehrmacht at the beginning of World War II. It was intended to replace the costly Luger P08, the production of which was scheduled to end in 1942.  This is a 9mm Parabellum (9mmx19mm;same as Luger) with a magazine capacity of 8 rounds.  The overall length is 216mm and the barrel length is 125mm.  The gun weighs 800 grams empty.  (1971)

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The 0-Series was the first official P.38 variation issued to the German army. This variation is produced between June 1939 and May 1940. Serial numbers of this variation always start with a 0, hence the name 0-Series. Determination of a 0-Series pistol is easy. The Walther banner and P.38 model indication are stamped on the left side of the slide with the serial number next to it. All parts of the 0-Series pistols are stamped with the Walther acceptance stamp E/359  The Bakelite grips are black checkered and have a round loophole for the lanyard. Most of the P.38 pistols produced after this variation have rectangular loopholes. Magazines are stamped on the housing with the respective serial number and spare mags have an additional + in front of the serial number.

 

This is an original WWII German Walther built P-38 "0" series [2nd Series] test gun built in 1940. It has all matching numbers on frame, slide and barrel. All E355 code Waffenampt proofs are good. Bluing is very good to excellent.  A "0" Serial Pre-WWII issue and it is in excellent condition. No import marks. Grips are black bakelite. Bore and rifling is excellent.  A very nice example of an original Walther Banner WWII P-38 Test Series. 

All production was performed at the Walther plant until mid- to late 1942 when additional production began at the Mauser plant in Oberndorf (code "byf" until early 1945, then "svw") and at the Spreewerk plant in Hradek and Nisou, Czechoslovakia ("cyq"). Production continued until the end of the war and into the post war period. This P38 production is estimated to have been produced in numbers nearly a million.

 

The P38 concept was accepted by the military in 1938 but production of the actual prototype ("Test") pistols did not start until late 1939. Walther began manufacturing at their plant in Zella-Mehlis and produced three series of "Test" pistols, designated by a "0" prefix to the serial number.

The second series [this example] has the external extractor, square firing pin and is found in the 02,001-03,445 serial range. The third series satisfied the previous problems and production for the Heer (German Army) began in mid-1940, using Walther's military production identification code "480". After a few thousand pistols the Heer changed all codes from numbers to letters and Walther was given the "ac" code.

 

The P38 is a recoil-operated, locked breech design with a vertically tilting blocking bar that connects the 4.9 inch moving barrel and the slide. The P38 has a short, open top slide.  A locking wedge under the barrel holds the slide and barrel together during recoil. When the wedge reaches the limiting point against the frame, it drops down, releasing the slide to return to its forward, locked position for the next round.

The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer and trigger bar (the link between the trigger and sear) unusually located outside of the frame at the right side. This was the  first DA military handgun, a design pioneered by Walther with the PP and PPK. The slide catch is on the left side of the frame. The catch for the 8-round magazine is located at the bottom of the grip. There is a post front sight and notch rear sight. The standard safety also acted as a de-cocker, and was located at the left side of the slide. The frame and slide are all-steel while the grip plates are plastic.

The 3rd Series of the "0" Series is distinguished by the exposed extractor and a round firing pin and appears in the serial number range of 03,446 to 013,725.  Aftere serial number 10,000 thr indtroduction of the brown military style grips began.
The magazine has what appears to be two Series 2 serial numbers and has two inspection marks. Perhaps the magazine traveled from one 02 series gun to another during testing and was proofed each time with an Eagle 359.  In any case it just adds to it uniqueness.
The grips removed and the slide back in full recoil position shows a very clean interior gun that was not exposed to the rigors of war but was more probably part of the Walther museaum that was over run by the 7th US Army. The plethora of proofs, only found in places on these test prototypes shows they were being examined and tested thoroughly.
The original Bakelite grips were distinctly marked to the manufacturer and represented the fine diamond cut. In late 1904 the brown/maroon grips were introduced with a more military grip.
The thumb safey shows us "S" Safe (German language had adopted this term instead of Gesichert which mean 'secured') and "F" Fuer (Fire) for the thumb safety.  Above Right: The indicated pin is exposed to tell the shooter the gun is loaded and with the "F" showing is ready to fire.

RIGHT: The early (up to mid-1942) were marked with the serial number of the gun and these add to the rarity of these Walther Banner P-38's.

 

After the war, most of the ex-Walther machinery ended up in France as war reparations, and many of the post-war P38 pistols were actually built in France, by the Manurhin factory.


The French manufactured P38 pistols from captured parts at the Mauser factory from May or June of 1945 until 1946. These are identifiable by the presence of a five-pointed star stamped on the slide. Total German production is estimated at more than 1,200,000 pistols.

 

Production of the P38 resumed at a new Walther factory in Ulm, West Germany under the name Pistole 1 (P1) in 1958 for West German Police and the Bundeswehr. It remained in Walther production, in several revised iterations, until the early 1990s.The early Walthers, until late 1941, were made to almost commercial standards of fit and polish. As the pressures of war required increased production the exterior finish declined but the operating components of the P38 remained remarkably well made throughout the war, especially at Mauser.

 

On April 26, 1940 official test were completed, and the army ordered 410,600 P38s.  Production was very slow at first and although Walther was projected to complete 175,000 pistols by June 1940, only 9,750 were completed and delivered. Finally on April 1, 1941, Walther was able to achieve its' monthly goal of 10,000 pistols.   However, Walther still needed help to meet with the armies' needs.  By the end of the war 1.2 million P38s were produced, of which Walther made only about 580,000.

 

 We strive to provide pictures so you can judge for yourself if the gun meets your criteria. If you are an earnest buyer and want some additional pictures from a different angle please email us and we will attempt to achieve what you want to see.

This is a excellent example early example of the 1940 2nd Issue "0" series of the Walther Banner P38 test series produced in the Walther plant in Zella-Mehlis in 1940.  A very minty collector's gun and early model for the advanced P38 collector and offered for $8,750.00 over-the-counter, subject to sale without notice. Call for availability.

Any questions to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com We reserve the right to sell any internet offering to a direct sale and do not warrant the availability of any firearm that does not have a physical deposit. This gun may be withdrawn without notice for in-store sale.

 

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LAYAWAYS:  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.

 

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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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