1902 Swiss Fat Barrel  SOLD

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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 indicated the 7.6mm was too 'light'.   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, the Danzig gun, and now a military Swiss version.   (2175)

This Swiss Fat Barrel came from an American collector who bought it in Lucerne Switzerland  in the '70's. Little known except among a few in the rare collector community the serial number places it  at the beginning of the September 1902 production. The Swiss military proofs leads us to a "test" gun for the Swiss in the new 9 x19mm cartridge before it was sent to the US military for testing.

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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 used 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.

Swiss Fat Barrel

"22084"  In September 1902 with the decision to manufacture the 9 mm, the serial number range was established at 22000 and from this serial number we can see it was the 84th fat barrel that was manufactured. Switzerland was the first to adopt the Parabellum so it is logical that a copy of this new version was sent to the Swiss to examine. The Swiss magazine featured a blank disc on each side more for aesthetics than purpose.

Bottom view showing the five digit serial number, the two digits on the bottom of the side plate, and locking lever. 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. Below with the Swiss sunburst over the chamber this was regarded as another "sales tool" by the Germans.


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 Swiss, '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 22048 serial number placing it's production in September 1902.
1902 Swiss 9mm
Usually, right under the serial number, all the "Fat Barrels" will be displaying the country of origin (Germany) when the gun is delivered outside Germany. Above this wide trigger guard there are no export markings which would sustain the conclusion that this gun was part of some type of a military delivery. The fact that the Swiss Cross appears in all locations associated with this marking also indicates it matriculated through the Swiss armaments factory at Bern. Above right: The 1st thing one notices is that the rear sight continues to be cut into a "V" as the early German models were. The rear grip is the wide variation, the same one used on all the commercial Fat Barrels that came from Berlin.
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 in 1903. Also of note is the wide squeeze grip safety which was eventually phased out.
There has always been controversy regarding if the guns were shipped from Berlin to Bern "in-the-white" and the Swiss did the exterior bluing. Many authors and studies seem to reflect both DWM & Bern interchanged the system several times. There is also the theory of the "halo" around any proof for punch after blowing caused by the swage. Study of this '02 Swiss indicates that the serial number proof marks appear 'under' the blue while the Swiss marks/proofs appear with the halo. This leads one to deduce that the gun was produced in Berlin and blued there and then matriculated through the Swiss Bern factory for the Swiss Cross in Major Vogelsang.
1902 Swiss Fat Barrel

In 2006 Jesse L. Murray wrote Swiss Parabellum Lugers 1900 to 1947. In this book he describes and presents (in his pictures) the 1902 DWM Swiss Military Luger caliber 9 mm, short frame and receiver, straw parts and rust blued finish, Swiss Cross in Sunburst over the chamber, wide grip safety, and beginning in the 22,000 serial number range. The 1902 Swiss 9 mm Lugers are extremely rare.  


In the book, Swiss Parabellum Lugers 1900 - 1947; Jesse Murray wrote that 1902 was the 1st year that DWM started using the short frame and short receivers on DWM Lugers. These were the variations of Lugers  manufactured from September 1902 to December 1902; 1902 DWM American Eagle 9 mm, 1902 commercial 9 mm, the 1902 DWM American Eagle Cartridge Counter, the early 1902 DWM commercial Luger carbine, the 1902 DWM Danzig Luger and the 1902 prototype Lugers.

1902 Swiss Luger
Inside the well of the slide stop is what collectors called study 'flaming bomb' mistaking the old DWM proof mark for the modern U.S. Army ordinance stamp. Note the last digit of the serial number also appears in the well. Above right: The early toggles were pinned from the front and used a different latch to hold the early toggle in place.
Above left: This represents the entire toggle train with the breach block in the 1st and 2nd toggle links including the dish toggles. Above right: The firing pin is the very early model with flat portion on top to dispel some of the gases. Later firing pins had a milled slot to reduce the amount of gases when the gun was fired. Georg Luger continued to refine this gun while filing many patents with each improvement.
Here's a close-up the firing pin inserted in the breach block but not yet locked in place to reflect on how this whole mechanism invented by Hiram Maxim, converted to pistol use by Hugo Borchardt and perfected into the Parabellum by Georg Luger. This is a super piece of history.
1902 Swiss


after the initial trials for the Swiss, the DWM engraved the Swiss cross and Sunburst over the chamber. this significantly impress the Swiss and so it was made standard on their contract pistols. The Swiss were overcome by this that when DWM sought the American contract they used the Great Seal of The United States over the chamber. This began the American Eagle series and subsequently, the Bulgarian, the Russian, and each country DWM introduced the Parabellum to.


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 two digit serial number on the inside of the squeeze grip safety and the early leaf spring of the 1900 models.
1902 Swiss 9mm Swiss Grips

The early habit of numbering all the parts of the test guns to maintain test controls was also observed in some of the Prototype "B" guns and later military Lugers. Commercial versions would not bear up to a consistency in numbering the grips. The back side of the grip shows where it was cut out for the grip safety with a dimple appearing where the pin was.

Swiss Fat Barrel
On the left side of the gun, traditionally marked, is the Swiss Cross and the proof mark of Major Vogelsang. He was the director of the Eidgenössische Waffenkontrolle. Major Vogelsang held this office from 1879 to 1912. Up to that moment the control punch which the head inspector had put on the left side of the cartridge chamber had been the capital V beneath the small Federal Cross. This was the sign of the military inspection acceptance of that firearm for the Swiss.
Pictured above is the top portion of the gun revealing the serial number at the bottom of the barrel, strike mark showing the barrel alignment, the 3 digit serial number on the slide stop, and the last 2 digits of the serial number on the bottom of the 1st toggle link.
It is entirely subjective to give any firearm a rating of excellent or fine, just as it is to declare it xx% blued or strawed. Few collectible weapons 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. Any questions or request for additional purchases email to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com This firearm is eligible for transfer to C&R permit holder, even in California.  We are registered with CA DOJ for firearms shipment.


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. This "Swiss" Fat Barrel has only the military proofs of the Swiss Military Acceptance. The fact that only what you you keep going on there and I'll keep fixing here versions of the Swiss Fat Barrel are pictures and the serial numbers range from the very first ones produced to the end of the lot in 1903 makes this military version quite rare.


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 "Fashould be right thereI should be right theret Barrel", held in such beautiful condition by only a few collectors. This Luger is looking for a good h to capitalize on okayome. This beautiful example of the '02 Fat Barrel is sold, thanks for looking.

1902 Swiss 9mm

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