1928 Vickers 'Commercial' Luger 

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This Parabellum was assembled in 1928 by Mr. Wm. Daniels, gunsmith and toolmaker, who as an inspector of the consignment of Parabellums from DWM, through Vickers Ltd., to the Netherlands. The serial number places it within the 1919 order for the The Dutch East Indies (4182-10181) which was delivered in 1922. The providence is provided by a hand written letter (to be supplied to buyer) from the brother-in-law of Mr. Daniels. PROVIDENCE   (7165)


In the beginning, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to adopt the Luger officially, their initial order having been placed before 1908. They reordered at least once before the outbreak of the First World War and possibly twice. Despite the fact that they are one of the world's smallest nations, the Netherlands were good customers of DWM. Not only did the Army use the Luger but also the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (K.N.I.L.).


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This is a commercial 9mm on a new 1906 Model frame, 100mm barrel with a grip safety and no stock lug. Usually Vickers Lugers bear the marking "Vickers, Ltd." on the forward toggle link, "RUST" with an arrow curving upwards above the thumb safety lever and "GELADEN" on both sides of the extractor. In this case the Proof Inspector created a unique Crown W Cross.

The Crown W proof represents Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Marie  from 1890 to 1948) and there are three recognized versions of this proof. Early DWM which appeared on the pre-1914, a second DWM which increased the crown elements and then the Vickers proof that again enhanced the crown and widened the "W".


 The Treaty of Versailles forbid the Germans from producing 9mm pistols with barrels 100mm and longer.  The Dutch contract was resolved through the Dutch representative of Vickers (Nederlandsch-Engelsche Technische Handel Mastschappij).  It has been believed that the guns were actually assembled by DWM (in the white) in Berlin, shipped to Vickers who proofed and finished the guns and then shipped to the Netherlands.


British proof marks (London Proof House) in the form of a "V" surmounted by a crown appears on various parts of the pistol. On the military production contract the Crown "W" proof appeared on left side of the receiver.  The Dutch requested that the thumb safety be engraved with an arrow and the word "RUST" (safe) parallel to the safety. For whatever reason it was produced as seen making it forever unique in Luger variations.

The serial number appears on the front of the frame, on the bottom of the proofed barrel, locking lug, breach block, trigger, rear toggle link, and grip safety. There is no serial number on the magazines. Vickers Lugers are numbered in the commercial system of numbering (hidden) for all the known weapons produced.


Most Dutch Vickers are encountered with  a brass plate, measuring approxi­mately 1 1/2 inches in length by 3/8ths of an inch in height, will probably be found to be braised onto the left side of the frame between the wooden grip and the left toggle. These plates were added to the pistol by the Netherlands Government and usually have various combinations of letters and numbers inscribed thereon. They acted as identification plates for the profusion of military units to whom Lugers were issued.


The original grips on the Dutch East Indies contract had a courser diamond pattern. Here we see the application of fine checkered grips that are cut for the '06' grip safety probably indicating that they were pre-1914 DWM grips to give the gun a more commercial appearance.  This supports our hypothesis that this gun was assembled as a post contract commercial prototype for the Vickers Commercial Lugers.

It is also reported that the pistols assembled by Vickers were shipped to the Dutch without grips and these were made by the Javanese at the Geweermakersschool in Batavia.  So, if this gun was retained at the Vickers factory it had to use the finely checkered grips on hand.


It is, of course, possible that, although the order was placed some years earlier, delivery was not made until the middle '20's due to the heavy commitments placed upon Vickers by the British Government. It is also possible that the original order was for a smaller number of pistols, as those pieces dated "1924" have not been found to be numbered lower than the #2,000 series. Those dated from 1924 to 1926 all fall into the #2,000 to #10,000 series, however. This would indicate that at least 7,000 to 8,000 of the pieces took up to three years to deliver. A gun produced in 1928 was clearly outside the original contract delivery terms.


This Parabellum represents a complete dichotomy of theories.  On Page 137 of The Dutch Luger, Martens pictures a commercial cased Vickers, one of two known. At the very least this case closely resembles that pictured (identical implies joint possession which we don't state). Least to say the similarities of leather handle, rounded edges, keyed lock and internal layout are uncanny.

Since the Vickers is not a commonly found Luger and this one is a very rare commercial gun produced after the series of contract guns (1-10100, See Kenyon, Lugers at Random, P 144) we have included some additional pictures of the proofs and markings for your enjoyment. Note the London proof house Crown V.

The Vickers Commercial guns, cited by Bas J. Martens in The Dutch Luger, recognizes two of of approximately 30 guns by serial number; #10184 (Safe and Loaded) and #10206 (Rust/Geladen). Speculation is that these were made up for private sale to Dutch Officers, we may never know. This Luger may have been a prototype for the commercial sales taken from the Dutch East Indies series.

The joinery and craftsmanship are like a time stamp of the period. Tiny screws hold small ledgers to the top and rounded edges lend perpetual beauty to the case.

Down Load Provenance

Queen Wilhemina:  Although the Netherlands remained neutral during World War I, sizeable German investments in the Dutch economy combined with a large trading partnership in goods forced the United Kingdom to blockade the Dutch ports in an attempt to weaken the German Empire. The Dutch government traded with Germany in response. German soldiers were given Edamer cheese for their rations before an assault. Wilhemina was a 'soldier's queen', being a woman, she could not be Supreme Commander, but she nevertheless used every opportunity she had to inspect her forces. On many occasions she appeared without notice, wishing to see the reality, not a prepared show. She loved her soldiers, but was very unhappy with most of her governments, which used the military as a constant source for budget-cutting. Wilhelmina wanted a small, but well trained and equipped army. However, this was far from the reality. In the war, she felt she was a "Queen-On-Guard." She was always wary of a German attack, especially in the beginning. However, violation of Dutch territorial sovereignty came by both Britain and the United States, who, with the blockade, captured many Dutch trade cargo ships in an attempt to disrupt the German war effort. This led to increased tensions between the Netherlands and the Allied forces.

Vickers standard of proofing was the Crown V on the breach block, first and rear toggle link.

The underside of the barrel was marked with the NP Proof, the Crown "GP" of the London Proof House) and the Crown "V".


It is entirely subjective to give any weapon a rating of excellent or fine, just as it is to declare it xx% blued or strawed. Few guns 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. If you have any questions about this or any of our Lugers email


Another unique characteristic is the 'Geladen' on both the left and right side of the extractor.  Here you can also see the serial number on the breach block.

Here is the obverse of the extractor with the "Geladen" marking.  Also well seen is the C/69 which was once thought to be a Dutch proof reflecting "Construction" with the year of manufacture.  Obviously the "69" either defaults that theory or represents someone having fun with numbers.

Most Dutch Lugers are found in an advanced state of deterioration due to their destination of the East and West Indies and the fact that they were a service pistol.  The bluing on most of the Vickers has been redone by several arsenal re-works to keep them serviceable.  This makes this piece a particular find with the Luger showing a fine blue finish and apparently never visiting the East Indies.


The Vickers, outside of the Swiss variations manufactured by Waffenfabrik Bern, is the only model of the Luger that has ever been produced outside of Germany. Some say it was just "assembled" in England from German parts, however the proofs are not German.


Included in this offering is the toggle link where the pattern for the Crossed Crown "W" was apparently developed by the gunsmith. There are two magazine, a cleaning rod, a loading tool, the key for the case and original provenance of the Luger.

This is an extra ordinary example of a Vickers produced Luger, and in a commercial version (one of maybe 30).  While most of the Vickers survived in extremely worn condition by virtue of their employment in the Dutch colonies this model is a collector grade gun whose extraordinary history makes it an anomaly of the Netherlands variation and a one of one for a collector.


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