1902 American Eagle Fat Barrel 

Genuine German Luger - Largest Variety of Lugers Offered
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In September 1902 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken) began to manufacture the 9mm which was developed by Georg Luger after the military test trials in the United States.   These had the 4" (100mm) barrel that was a "thick" or "fat barrel" as they are known by collectors.  Production continued into 1903 for the "fat barrel" series to include the American Eagle Fat Barrel, The American Eagle Cartridge Counter and the Commercial  Fat Barrel.       (1384)

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To understand the early Parabellum production you must understand the serial number system and how it was applied. In 1900 at the start of commercial production (although George Luger made Lugers in 1897, 98 and 99 it was in 1900 that the full production of the 1900 Model was underway. There were two assembly plants established to manufacture the gun, one use the Crown U, Crown B proofs the second made guns without  these proofs.  Therefore DWM was exercising strict quality control of the pieces.

The serial number range for the 1900 Luger was from 1 to 9999. The serial number range from 1901 produced Lugers was 1 to 9999.  To differentiate you must go to the design of the thumb safety.   The 1890's - 1900 models used the Type I safety which was long flat and cross checkered. Somewhere around 400 serial number in 1901 they began to use the Type II safety which was high domed and cross checkered.  These Type II also seem to show up on presentation and "B" Model Prototypes.


This early 9mm model with the 100mm barrel that measures 16.6mm at the throat and tapers to 15mm at the sight band. Giving the gun the "fat barrel" look. Compare this to the standard 9mm which measured 15.5 mm at the throat and tapers to 13.7 at the sight band. 

This early Parabellum has all the characteristics of the very early Lugers: flat breech block and old model receiver with the self-retaining extractor up to the classically dished toggles. Also note the early wide trigger guard 14.8mm (.585") and the narrow early trigger .330".

All the small parts have been serial numbered.  This model has the wide grip safety and three digits on the rear toggle the underside of the side plate and the squeeze grip lever. This is a very early "Fat Barrel" and as such shows these early serial number markings.

Bottom view showing the five digit serial number, the three digits on the bottom of the side plate, the wide trigger guard and the Cal 9mm marking on the magazine to alert the owner that this was not the 7.65mm that was prevalent at that time.


The decision was made to begin the serial number range for the 7.65mm, 4 3/3" barrel (120mm) 1902 Luger with 10001-21999 and these ran until September 1902. In August 1902 DWM began making carbines in the 21000 range, these are the very early carbines.  In September 1902 DWM began to manufacture the 9mm Luger within the 22000-22999 and included in this group are the 02 American Eagle, the 02 Commercial, the late 9mm commercial carbine, the 1902 American Eagle Cartridge Counter 22401-22450 and the 1902 Danzig Luger.  With the completion of the Cartridge Counter there were the "fat barrels" still on the shelf so DWM continued to assemble the 9mm American Eagle and Commercial Fat Barrel until they ran out. This pushed this model into 1903 when the serial numbers changed to 23000-23999.


One is first impressed with the thick 9mm barrel, 4" (100mm) in length. There are very few of the 'fat' barrels in existence and this one is recognized with the 22156 serial number placing it's production in 1902. 

The American Eagle was an advertising medium employed by DWM. It began with the Swiss first models when they engraved the Cross and Sunburst on the Swiss guns. The Swiss were overcome by this so when DWM sought the American contract they used the Great Seal of The United States over the chamber. This began the American Eagle series.

In 1902 some models showed the three digit serial numbers on the small parts.  By 1903 this practice was discontinued and there were no 120mm 7.65mm Parabellums produced. Also of note is the wide squeeze grip safety which was eventually phased out.

Serial number placement is in the commercial "hidden" style; displayed on the bottom the side plate, the and locking bolt,  the front of the frame, under the barrel, and on the side of the trigger. This example has all matching numbers.  There are no usual proof marks found on other guns of this period and represents a very clean pristine look to enhance the beauty of the gun.

Above Left: The Wide trigger guard, the commercial hidden serial numbers under the locking lever and three digits on the bottom of the side plate.  Above Right: The 1902 in full recoil.


The Original Model Frame has the wide trigger guard (15mm) and the gun is machined to accept the leaf  recoil spring. Note how the receiver is curved at the top of the rear portion of the receiver ring and not cut away for the extractor as in the new model receiver. These models had the long sear and no visible numbers on the squeeze grip safety stop.

This 1902-03 Model "Fat Barrel" Luger is characterized by the 9mm  4" (100mm) thick barrel,  the rear "V" cut fixed and front dovetailed sight and the old short frame, short receivers without a the stock lug.  This 9mm model of the Luger was produced from September to December 1902 for export sales in the 22999 serial numbers. 1903 Serial numbers were between 23000-23999.  Serial number recordings appears to support that the "fat barrels" were made in two batches as the "Commercial Fat Barrel" appears within the number range.


The serial number range of the 1902 9mm Lugers was from 22000-22999. These were manufactured from September thru December 1902. Within these 1000 guns was the American Eagle, the Commercial Fat Barrel, the 1902 Cartridge Counter (50 guns), the Commercial Luger Carbine and the 1902 Danzig Luger.  All of these variations are extremely rare.


Below Left: On the left is the frame and barrel matching serial numbers. These guns were intended for sale outside Germany and International Law required that the country of origin be stamped on the gun therefore the "Germany" export stamp denotes this gun was exported. 

The origination of the five digit serial numbers for the commercial Parabellum is shown above on the matching barrel and receiver. The magazine is the original deeply stamped Cal 9mm indicating that this was a change of ammunition for those who were already familiar with the Luger and the up to then standard use of the 7.65mm .30 Caliber Luger guns. Many people today are confused switching between the mm and caliber designations.

The inside of this gun is as clean and pristine at the exterior.  Obviously well cared for this Luger is looking for a good home and another custodian who will treasure its craftsmanship. Note the three digit serial number on the inside of the squeeze grip safety and the early leaf spring of the 1900 models.


The serial number range of the 1903 9mm Lugers was from 23000-23999. These were manufactured from January thru December 1903. Within these 1000 guns was the American Eagle, the Commercial Fat Barrel,  the Commercial Luger Carbine and the 1903 Danzig Luger.  All of these variations are extremely rare.  The 1903 prototype series were from 100041B-100075B


The magazine is the Cal 9 m/m marked wooden base.  These are highly prized magazines by the collectors and is correct for this 1902 manufactured Luger.

Military Lugers were numbered 1-10000 and then 1a-10000a, 1b-1000b, and so on. The commercial guns were five digits up to 1923 when DWM was bought out by Berlin-Karlsruher Industrie-Werke-Aktiengesellschaft (BKIW) in 1924.  By knowledge of the serial number of the early commercial Lugers you can tell which year they were actually produced.


1902 was the first year DWM began the 5 digit serial numbers for their commercial guns. 1902 also marked the beginning of the "B" model prototypes which were made only from 1902 until 1905.  1902 also marked the first series of commercial guns without the customary Crown B, U, G proofs as evidenced by the 1902 American Eagle 9mm Fat Barrel.  Later these proof marks were added again.


The true beauty of these early Lugers is the detail, intricacy and craftsmanship. Deep rust blued to an almost black appearance with the bright strawing on the take down, trigger, magazine release, extractor, ejector an thumb safety just high-light the beauty of these guns.   This is a very rare version of the 1902 Commercial "Fat Barrel", held in such beautiful condition by only a few collectors.