1900 American Eagle Pre-Test Luger

Genuine German Luger - Largest Variety of Lugers Offered
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This is a 1900 Model, 7.65mm (.30 Cal Luger), the "old model" transitional frame with a Type II thumb safety and is not marked but is polished with the extractor the old style leaf type. The Luger has a serial numbered  grip squeeze safety.  There is an "American Eagle" from the US Great Seal over the Chamber and the DWM (Deutsche Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken AG) on the first toggle link.  The four digit serial number falls before the range of the US Military Test Guns from the trials conducted in 1901  (1528)

One of the things "known" about Lugers is that international law required guns made for commercial sales must show the country of origin.  Usually this was done on the early Lugers by placing "Germany" on the front of the frame under the serial number.  This gun  exhibits this 'commercial' designation having the "German" import mark required by customs for any weapon entering the US. This is one of the classic Lugers exported by DWM to the United States as a pre-test model.


As the sales of the 1900 began to take a hold and bolstered by the orders of the Swiss the DWM salesman began to capitalize on their success with the National symbols on the head space and produce salesman's samples for the world market. The Serbian, King Carolos I, the 1900 Bulgarian and Russian in addition to the South American nations were presented with samples of the 1900 Luger for testing and trials. This particular Luger with the early Type II thumb safety and very early DWM proof marks was brought to the United States before the test trial guns, more than likely as a demonstration piece to show the US Army.


The frame is the old "long" model with the American Eagle seal over the chamber. The thumb safety is not marked but should be polished and extractor  is marked "Loaded" in English. The thumb safety is the 2nd design in the evolution of the Parabellum, rounded with dicing and represents a very early edition.  This Luger has all matching numbers. The barrel is numbered and proofed and matches the frame.

The frame is the old model with the American Eagle seal over the chamber. The thumb safety is the Type II The safety is the squeeze grip with the thumb safety "safe" in the up position. The Serial Number is 4 digits with no "Germany" marked export stamp. These models did not have a stock lug but do have a hold open.

This Parabellum is all matching;  the magazine  is correct and does not exhibit any serial number. Not too often do you find a 1900 with such minimal wear, let along the distinctive fire-blued toggle connecting pins.

Left: You can see on the bottom of the magazine what some people believe is the flaming bomb insignia of the US Ordinance Corps. It is really an early DWM proof with the two extensions not touching. On the right you can see the close up of the Great Seal of the United States which DWM applied to the 1900 and 1906 models as a sales tool for the American public.  The Swiss were so impressed by the early Swiss Cross that DWM had the American Eagle initially engraved and then roll stamped into the chamber and so began a long series of contract guns stamped with nationality symbols.


On March 9, 1901 the United States Board of Ordinance and Fortifications , through the commanding officer, LTC Frank H. Phipps ordered a meeting of the board with Mr. Hans Tauscher, the DWM factory representative at which the Mr. Tauscher procured to Parabellums for preliminary test and evaluation of the Board.  On March 18th, 1901 with Mr. Tauscher present the tests began and after several days of testing the expended 2000 rounds and recommended the U.S. Army purchase sufficient Lugers (1000) to hold field testing trials and evaluation.  Actual cost was $15,630 or $14.75 per Luger and $.88 per extra magazine (Wow).


This model is a  hold open variation. The first toggle link is marked with the DWM monogram. The safety is the squeeze grip with the thumb safety "safe" in the up position. Note the rebated trigger guard. The Serial Number is 4 digits with no small letter suffix characteristic of the commercial models which were numbered consecutively until 1923. No Stock Lug present.


On the bottom of the barrel and receiver show the last two digits of the serial number on the barrel stop.

 Above Left: Another  indication of the very early models is the installation of the last two digits of the serial number on the rounded side of the locking lever. This practice was soon stopped due to the difficulty of proofing on the rounded material plus the space one had to work with. The first toggle link has the serial number on the bottom of the toggle. The rear toggle has the serial number on the back.


In December 1901 the US Army ordered Rock Island Arsenal to produce a holster and rig for the distribution of the Test Guns to the various military units.  During the US Government testing in 1901/02 of the 1900 Parabellum the American Eagle was employed as a sales tool and when the second test began in 1907 with the order for another 1000 pistols from DWM and 1000 holsters from the Rock Island Arsenal they all had the American Eagle. The acceptance by first the Swiss and then the Americans for their national symbol on the gun highlights the "contract gun series"


A clean commercial all matching Test Eagle, absolutely correct for the 7.65mm 1900American Eagle bears the DWM early proof mark. These commercial Luger's were up to five digit serial numbered and the small parts were marked in a concealed location, commonly at the bottom of the locking lever and side plate.

The early 1900 Parabellums had a smooth surface between the side plate and frame. The extractor is of the original configuration of a leaf spring to extract the round when fired. The Swiss recognized the weakness of this part of the Luger and installed a metal extractor with a spring which DWM then redesigned the extractor with the GELADEN printed on the left side.   The early Long Sear; the Type II thumb safety with cross hatching and  Wide Grip Safety mark the early design.  Note the side bevels in the 1st toggle link which is characteristic of the DWM produced guns.  While every Luger was interchangeable each manufacturer has some small distinctions in their process that set them apart.


One thousand test Lugers (7.65 cal) were delivered to the U. S. Springfield Armory in late 1901. Most were distributed to U.S. Cavalry troops involved in police actions in the Philippines and Cuba. As the American Cavalry troops had used revolvers (Colt .45 and .38) for over 30 years, the small caliber, complex Luger, was viewed with some suspicion and not readily accepted.

There were complaints as to small caliber, safety while riding from horseback, and unreliable action. As a result of these reports 50 Lugers in caliber 9mm were briefly tested by the Army in 1904-1906 and three Lugers in .45 caliber were tested in 1907. The Luger was rejected by the U.S. Army in favor of the Colt M1911 in 45 caliber.

The characteristics that separate these U.S.-American Eagle-Test Lugers from other Model 1900 Lugers are: the lack of proofs, the lack of a "GERMANY" import stamp, and the last two digits of the Lugers serial numbers on the right end of the takedown lever (instead of the left lower side) on the early models.


Very clean and minty both inside and out.  Most of these early guns were purchase and saved by the early owners and not used as "working" guns. The last two digits of the serial number appear on the grip safety, there is no stock lug and you can see the long sear and the Type II thumb safety.

For the 1900's aficionados the clean lines and perfectly machined parts harkens back to the era of the gun craftsman whose pride in their work was evidenced in every Parabellum produced


In 1905-1907 the Springfield Armory called in most of the 1900 Test Lugers; 770 were sold to Francis Bannerman and Co. at public auction around 1910. Reportedly, some of the Lugers did not survive the tests and were destroyed by the Army. The reported serial range for these 770 Lugers purchased by Bannerman are 6167-96, 6282, 6361-7108, and 7147. Kenyon, Costanzo, and Reese report a serial range of 6100 to 7100. In 1910 the Springfield Armory reported 321 Lugers in 7.65 mm repaired. In 1911 the Rock Island Arsenal reported 306 Lugers in 7.65 mm repaired (Scott Meadows, U.S. Military Automatic Pistols, 1993, page 386).


Above at (A) reveals the two ply leaf spring; (B) you can see the portion of the toggle lock that is silver soldered to the frame; and (C) the rear toggle is level with the frame. 

The grips are inspector marked and serial numbered to the gun. Old catalogs list these guns originally from $18-$35 depending on the year they were offered.   All that craftsmanship could be yours for $30.00; unbelievable.

This is the classic American Eagle Luger, the basic collectors must have in any serious collection.  While these models are not 'rare' they are difficult to obtain in excellent condition as this one represents.  See Kenyon "Lugers at Random" Page 104 BELOWLeft one of the characteristics of the original finish on the 1900, in addition to the fire blued pins is the latching device for the right toggle. This protrusion was not milled into the frame but was silver soldered and can always be seen since it "took" the blue in a different color. Right, the toggle in full recoil you can see the exposure of the rear main axel pin and the type II chequered thumb safety, which were used in a very limited number of productions until the end of 1902.

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.


As the Luger became more recognized, DWM began an active export campaign both in North and South America.  While there was greater acceptance of the Luger in South America the popularity of the Luger in the US was increased by the placement of the US Seal with the American Eagle over the chamber. It wasn't a contract, just marketing that brought about the American Eagle, one of the most sought after variations of the Luger.


Holding an early Luger, a timeless representation of a personal level of quality and pride of craftsmanship, brings you back a hundred years to another century of weapons development. This Luger represents a piece of history and a turning point in our nations weapons procurement. 


This is a beautify example of the 1900 American Eagle DWM US Army Test Parabellum. A 7.65mm pencil thin barrel this is the classic Luger with the squeeze grip safety.  Any questions to  We reserve the right to withdraw any firearm from an auction site that is sold over the counter.  Call for availability.  We reserve the right to withdrawn any weapon sold over the counter. This high demand rare Luger is offered for $4,895.00 over the counter.

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