German Luger 1908 Imperial Navy  

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This is a 1908 DWM (Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken) Imperial German Navy,  military gun. This piece is a 6 inch (150mm) barreled all-matching 9mm Parabellum with the Navy adjustable rear sight and matching Navy magazine.  (1016)


The rear of the frame displays the old Crown M proof which suggests this was a very early '08 frame. Plus the Werft Unit Markings.

This is a very difficult gun to find in such a pristine condition. The German Navy was a salt-water service and the survivability of the German Imperial fleet was not enviable.  The Parabellums were initially issued with the safety down but then with the 1908 conversion to safety down the Navy recalled all the previous Lugers and had the thumb safety modified.

This Navy is the classic; complete with matching magazine. The first toggle link is marked with the DWM logo.  There is the two-position (100-200m) sight on the rear toggle link and the last two digits of the serial number appear on the rear toggle.


In August 1904 the German Navy underwent testing of 5, 9mm Selbstladepistolem Model 1904 from DWM. The trial was successful and in September 1904 the Navy asked the Kriegsministerium to order 2,000 Model 1904 navy pistols as soon as possible.  Thus began to first acceptance of the 'Luger' by the German military.  The 1904 Navy incorporated the new coil mainspring, the new extractor with the loaded-chamber markings.  These "improvements" were underway during the testing an acceptance of the navy model.


Serial number placement is in the civilian ("hidden") style.   The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the locking bolt, on the trigger, on the bottom of the barrel, the side plate,  the left side of the receiver, and under the first toggle.

In addition to the matching serial numbers throughout this fine Luger, and the matching Navy magazine this weapon is unit marked. The German military in WWI marked a large percentage of the individual weapons with unit markings.  These were a rather simple code that consisted of initials of the unit and then the weapon number.

The few (comparably) Lugers issued to the German Navy, plus the losses suffered by the sinking of ships and submarines makes the unit marked Navy very hard to find. The unit markings raise the collector value of those guns to show that not only were they of a specific model but that the individual weapon was issued to a military person, and then survived.

The W.W. represents Werft Kiel (the Naval dockyard at Kiel) weapon  #11401

This Luger has all matching numbers. The magazine is the ORIGINAL with the Marinen Crown Proof and the matching serial number. Here you can see the matching serial number of the barrel, the front of the frame, the locking lever and the bottom of the side plate plus the grips are numbered to the gun.

The interior of the Luger is in excellent condition with all the parts matching. Additionally there is a wide flanged rear toggle pin which began to appear in the Navy's.  See Kenyon Lugers at Random Page 150.

Navy Lugers were always marked in an non-exposed manner as opposed to the Army guns which marked on the face of the side plate and locking lug. The magazine is matching with the Marinen Crown Proof & the matching serial number. The concentric ring magazine base is the characteristic of the German Imperial Navy Lugers.


Interior serial numbers under the 1st toggle link can be seen.

Above Right:  One can observe the wide flanged rear axel toggle pin.


Beginning in the Spring of 1906 delivery was begun for the true 'Pistole 1904'. By that time all the changes had been made to the toggle lock (eliminating) and changing the 60 dicing on the toggle-grip. There was the retention of the grip safety but the controversy over the direction of the thumb safety had begun. 



The original 1904 Model (with the toggle lock) were issued with the 'up-safe' thumb safety configurations.  So too were the original 1906 Models. The 1908 model came out with the safety reversed to reflect "down-safe" since it was felt more natural to push up to fire.

The German Navy then wanted the safety moved to the upward position to match the '08 models that had been issued. This resulted in the recalling of all the weapons issued and the thumb safety was reversed; a the Gesichert was milled out (in some instances crudely filled).  So now we have the down-safe model. 

The picture at left is a 1906 1st Issue (Unaltered) and is a very rare specimen of this series. (This is not the gun for sale.)

Some of the originally issued guns were not sent back to the factory for the conversion of the safety and as such became are rarity.


This gun is known as a 1st Issue Altered. (This is not the gun for sale.) This is an early altered example where the Gesichert is simply milled out.

You can tell the Altered by the change in the font used in Gesichert

Collectors refer to these as the 1st Issue Altered.  Then came the 2nd Issue (collector name) where the safety was filled, buffed and stamped in the down-safe configuration like the 1908 model.

The picture at left:  is a 1906 Second Issue meaning that that gun was factory issued with the safety in the Upward Position. (This is not the gun for sale.)

As with the other Imperial DWM the thumb safety was 'straw' blued.


So within the German WWI official designation of the Pistolen 1904 (Navy) collectors have established four categories briefly distinguished as Old Model (with the right rear toggle lock, - extremely rare); the 1906 1st Issue Unaltered (thumb up-safe, no toggle lock), the 1906 1st Issue Altered (thumb down-safe, milled/filled and re-stamped Gesichert) and finally the 2nd Issue with the manufactured down-safe configuration.


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This is a seldom seen Luger variation in this extraordinarily restored fine condition. All matching serial number plus the matching Navy magazine.   Questions to: T


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