Walther ac42 P-38     

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The Walther P38 was a 9 mm pistol that was developed by Walther as the service pistol of the Wehrmacht at the beginning of World War II. It was intended to replace the costly Luger P08, the production of which was scheduled to end in 1942.  This is a 9mm Parabellum (same as Luger) with a magazine capacity of 8 rounds.   (1175)


The overall length is 216mm and the barrel length is 125mm.  The gun weighs 800 grams empty. This gun was produced at the Walther Factory in Zella-Mehlis until occupied by the Russians who  stole all the equipment, moved it back to Russia and destroyed the buildings.

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This is an original WWII German Walther built P-38. Dated 1942 by the code "ac42" it has all matching numbers on frame, slide and barrel. All 359 code Waffenampts are good. Bluing is very good to excellent.  An Eagle 359 code WWII issue and is in excellent condition. No import marks. Grips are black bakelite. Serial number range is in the "b" block. Bore and rifling is excellent.  A very nice example of an original WWII P-38 made by Walther in the early war production. 

All production was performed at the Walther plant until mid- to late 1942 when additional production began at the Mauser plant in Oberndorf (code "byf" until early 1945, then "svw") and at the Spreewerk plant in Hradek and Nisou, Czechoslovakia ("cyq"). Production continued until the end of the war and into the post war period. This gun is estimated to have been produced


The P38 concept was accepted by the military in 1938 but production of the actual prototype ("Test") pistols did not start until late 1939. Walther began manufacturing at their plant in Zella-Mehlis and produced three series of "Test" pistols, designated by a "0" prefix to the serial number. The third series satisfied the previous problems and production for the Heer (German Army) began in mid-1940, using Walther's military production identification code "480". After a few thousand pistols the Heer changed all codes from numbers to letters and Walther was given the "ac" code.


The P38 is a recoil-operated, locked breech design with a vertically tilting blocking bar that connects the 4.9 inch moving barrel and the slide. The P38 has a short, open top slide.  A locking wedge under the barrel holds the slide and barrel together during recoil. When the wedge reaches the limiting point against the frame, it drops down, releasing the slide to return to its forward, locked position for the next round.

The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer and trigger bar (the link between the trigger and sear) unusually located outside of the frame at the right side. This was the  first DA military handgun, a design pioneered by Walther with the PP and PPK. The slide catch is on the left side of the frame. The catch for the 8-round magazine is located at the bottom of the grip. There is a post front sight and notch rear sight. The standard safety also acted as a de-cocker, and was located at the left side of the slide. The frame and slide are all-steel while the grip plates are plastic.

The Walther P38 could be dissembled easily and had multiple safety features. A manual safety is  mounted on the left side of the slide, which also de-cocks the hammer. There is a loaded chamber indicator at the rear side of the slide, just behind the rear sight.  Click here for a download of a P-38 Manual  .  This P38 shows the Eagle/359 proof that was standard for this manufacturer.


Walter Proof Eagle 359 and Nazi Acceptance Stamp


 The finish on the Walthers up to 1942 had the deep blue, almost commercial appearance and are prized by collectors; after 1942 they went into wartime production 

After the war, most of the ex-Mauser machinery ended up in France as war reparations, and many of the post-war P38 pistols were actually built in France, by the Manurhin factory.

The French manufactured P38 pistols from captured parts at the Mauser factory from May or June of 1945 until 1946. These are identifiable by the presence of a five-pointed star stamped on the slide. Total German production is estimated at more than 1,200,000 pistols. Production of the P38 resumed at a new Walther factory in Ulm, West Germany under the name Pistole 1 (P1) in 1958 for West German Police and the Bundeswehr. It remained in Walther production, in several revised iterations, until the early 1990s.

The early Walthers, until late 1941, were made to almost commercial standards of fit and polish. As the pressures of war required increased production the exterior finish declined but the operating components of the P38 remained remarkably well made throughout the war, especially at Mauser.



On April 26, 1940 official test were completed, and the army ordered 410,600 P38s.  Production was very slow at first and although Walther was projected to complete 175,000 pistols by June 1940, only 9,750 were completed and delivered. Finally on April 1, 1941, Walther was able to achieve its' monthly goal of 10,000 pistols.   However, Walther still needed help to meet with the armies' needs.  By the end of the war 1.2 million P38s were produced, of which Walther made only about 580,000.



 We strive to provide pictures so you can judge for yourself if the gun meets your criteria. If you are an earnest buyer and want some additional pictures from a different angle please email us and we will attempt to achieve what you want to see.

This is a excellent example of a Walther P38 (ac42) with everything matching. Great collector's gun and battlefield bring-back.  The asking price is $2,495.00 over the counter; any questions to josef@phoenixinvestmentarms.com


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WARNING: We do not represent these guns as safe to fire. They are not test fired before sale; they are sold as collectibles only. Prior to firing you should have it inspected by a qualified individual and abide by all safety requirements.

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