Luger file photo

Parabellum P08 'Luger' Handgun

Country of OriginGermany
TypeHandgun
Caliber9.000 mm
Capacity8 rounds
Length223 mm
Barrel Length102 mm
Weight0.870 kg

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

The Parabellum Pistole 08 (P08) recoil-operated semi-automatic pistols were originally designed by Georg Luger of Loewe & Company in the United States in 1898, which attributed to their popular nick name "Luger". The firm fought hard to secure a military contract, but the heavy price tags of these pistols made it difficult. Finally, in 1900, a contract from Switzerland was signed for the rights to manufacture them; the resulting models were designated Ordonnanzpistole 00 or OP00 pistols. The United States made a purchase for a batch of these pistols for trials, but ultimately chose to sign a contract with Loewe's competitor, Colt-Browning.

The design originally used 7.63-mm caliber ammunition, but 9-mm ammunition was later used to increase the lethality. The new design generated further interest. Since 1900, some German officers had already been purchasing these pistols privately, noting their quality, accuracy, and reliability. In 1904, they were officially chosen as the standard side arm of the German Navy, followed by the Army in 1908; the latter dictated the German designation P08. Since 1908, the vast majority of "Luger" pistols were used by Germans.

Parabellum P08 pistols were originally manufactured by Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM), a subsidiary of Loewe, starting in 1900; the German state armory in Erfurt also produced them to supplement DWM's numbers.

During WW1, Parabellum P08 pistols were prized souvenirs among Allied soldiers.

After WW1, production for the most part ceased as the Versailles Treaty placed restrictions on the German armament industry. In 1925, production of the Parabellum P08 pistols resumed at Simson and Company. Owned by Jews, Simson was liquidated, and the machinery eventually made their way to the Mauser organization, which began manufacturing the pistols in 1930. Although the Walther P38 pistols had already been named the new standard sidearm of German officers since 1940, Parabellum P08 pistols remain in production until 1943.

In WW2, Parabellum P08 pistols continued to be favored souvenirs. Stories were sometimes told of soldiers risking their lives on the frontline in search of Parabellum P08 pistols on dead German officers.

In the late 1940s, Switzerland replaced Parabellum P08 pistols with a modern design, finally ending the military service of these pistols. Police forces in post-war Germany, however, continued to use them for some years to come.

Today, Parabellum P08 pistols are still highly sought after as collectibles.

Sources: The P08 "Luger" FAQ, Wikipedia.

Photographs

Parabellum P08 Soviet and US officers near Elbe River, Germany, 28 Apr 1945; note left Soviet officer




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    30 Apr 2009 10:25:04 AM

    this is one of the best weapons eva
  2. Anonymous says:
    31 Jul 2009 06:15:23 PM

    what type of metal are the Po8 lugers made from aprox 1940s ? not sure if it is iron or steal but isnt very magnetic ?
  3. Anonymous says:
    18 Nov 2009 10:23:24 AM

    It is made of steel and is very magnetic
  4. carol says:
    29 Dec 2009 02:24:01 PM

    How much would the original luger 9 mm hand gun cost? Is it worth anything? thank you
  5. Anonymous says:
    9 Jan 2010 12:24:04 AM

    how can ı learn the production date of dvm luger serial number is 3908
  6. Kaiser Bill says:
    23 Jan 2010 09:37:05 PM

    Current U.S. retail prices of Luger pistols can run from $500 in poor condition to over $2,500 for excellent condition with all matching serial numbered parts. WWII Nazi era Lugers can be identified by Waffenampt acceptance marks located on the frame and usually under the base of the barrel. The stamp is a small eagle & swastika with tiny 2 or three digit numbers under the mark. Mauser built WWII military Lugers have the code S/42 stamped on the top of the toggle mechanism. They may also have a single letter G or K stamped on the top of the barrel. These Lugers were built in 1935 to 38 approx. Later production Mausers were coded cyq. The main serial number is on the frame under the barrel and above the trigger gard, A cursive letter is usually located below the serial number and is part of the gun's production number. A matching Luger will have the last two digits of the serial number on all major components, the barrel the slide, the toggle, etc and more rarely on the butt of the magazine.
  7. Anonymous says:
    25 Jan 2010 09:14:13 AM

    To whom...Please help me ID/Date this Luger.
    My father has recently passed. Among his effects was found a DWM Luger(Toggle Marked),holster,and extra clip. Serial #7739 with 884 stamp below. Series "R", not "t" as most would assume. It is now a precious family heirloom. NOT FOR SALE. Besides DWM mark very little else to go by.
    Any collectors help in manufacture history would be appreciated. Dad brought this back from WWII long ago..and none of us knew...until yesterday. Am trying to do research for his young grandchildren.
    Any help dating this weapon appreciated.
    We have the rest of the story, in his hand written letter...where it came from...how it came to pass. Where did it come from?
    Direct response OK. profwoopie@live.com


  8. Anonymous says:
    9 Feb 2010 09:54:40 AM

    i have a 30 caliber luger with a 3 inch barrel measuring from tip of barrel to front of reciever. is this supposed to be a 4 inch, or 3.62 inch barrel? also the serial number is 3838 with a teardrop with a line in the middle of it. it has "dwm" on the top of the toggle.can anyone tell me when it was made and where.
  9. Ron says:
    8 Apr 2010 01:02:33 AM

    I was given a luger in perfect condition but its been cromed.
    does that affect its value?
    ...also whats the best way to fire it for the first time? Thanks
  10. Andy says:
    29 Apr 2010 06:01:30 PM

    Please help me identify my Luger pistol. It's labeled DWM on the top. It's stamped 6149 with the lower case, cursive b on the bottom of the barrel. Under the trigger and between the pistol grips it's stamped 2/J.R.20.43. It also has matching parts stamped with 6149 or just 49. The pistol is cromed and also stamped with the years 1920 & 1917 just behind the barrel, on the top.
  11. Anonymous says:
    30 Aug 2010 07:58:59 AM

    I have come across a P.08 and a P.38 owned by a family member of mine and wish to research the sources of who may have owned these weapons during the WWII time period I am looking for any online sources that may aid in my search I am a historian and just need to get a place to start if anyone has info please assist me thanks
  12. Anonymous says:
    27 Oct 2010 09:00:10 AM

    does anyone know how to find out the serial number date codes on my interarms mauser luger? all I know is that it's from the 1970's.
  13. Anonymous says:
    31 Jan 2011 01:29:41 PM

    My dad was in the resistance in Scandinavia during ww2. He got hold of a 9 mm parabellum from Nazi officer - and survived. When he passed away 50 years later'ish I got it. It is in legal storage now, but I would like to know what it would be worth. Very fine condition. I fired it once as an early teen - with my dad supporting me. That now seems like a crazy idea.
  14. Anonymous says:
    16 Feb 2011 02:24:22 AM

    Hello ı need help about my DWM navy luger ı need navy prof markings of this gun can you help me about it thanks
  15. Daniel Varela says:
    29 Apr 2011 11:22:53 AM

    The picture illustrating this article, it is not a P-08 in 9 mm Para caliber. This one is a very rare specimen in .45 ACP.
  16. Anonymous says:
    20 May 2011 08:40:20 AM

    I have a P.O8 luger it's in execllent condition. Can anyone tell me what (byf)means it's stamped 1941, all matching numbers, also I picked up a holster for it. It's a WALTHER p38/p1 IT'S black great shape the gun fits great. Can any give me more info. Thanks Don
  17. Anonymous says:
    3 Jul 2011 07:46:33 PM

    byf was the code for Mauser. Ealier codes for Mauser were S/42 and 42. Mauser took over production from DWM around 1934. Mauser and Krieghoff were the producers of Third Reich (Nazi) era lugers.
  18. Bill D. says:
    4 Sep 2011 12:27:47 PM

    Have a 1942 black P-08 holster in very good condition and want to sell it. Any idea what the price range maybe for it? It has a few scratches, but leather is no dried, and all stitching intack original. Also, it's mfg. initials are gjh... what does that stand for?
  19. John says:
    16 Jan 2012 05:43:38 AM

    I have a 1940 9mm Luger (all serial numbers match) Is there a way to find out who the gun was originally issued to?
  20. Anonymous says:
    31 Jan 2012 01:49:27 PM

    I HAVE A OLD 30 CAL GERMAN LUGER I GOT FROM OLD FAMILY MEMBER YEARS AGO. UNDER THE BARREL IS STAMPED 2351 AN ON THE LEFT SIDEJUST 51. ALSO ON THE TOP IT HAS SOME ENGRAVING I CANT MAKE OUT. NOT MUCH TO GO ON, BUT COULD YOU TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT IT AN WHAT IT MIGHT BE WORTH. IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE. THANKS JIM
  21. Gene says:
    21 Jun 2012 04:04:07 PM

    I have noticed that shooting 115 gr. 9mm will cause a misfeed every couple of rounds. What was the grain weght of the 9mm's used in WWII and is the overall length of the 147gr 9mm round longer. It seems the 115gr 9mm's are short and may be part of the problem. thanks for any info you have.
  22. Anonymous says:
    26 Jul 2012 06:30:03 PM

    please help, if you can... I was recently given an old german luger (9mm) it has the german stamp ontop the barrel its stamped 1941, it has a gold or gold colored trigger, safty, and side strip of the action, with a 2.25 inch barrel, it has a ser num, of 1178 along with some other nums stamped on it. I dont believe all ser match as was told happend towards the end of the war, I was also told such a short barrel was rare. also stamped the behind the switch is the word GESICHERT, not sure what I have any help would be great, thanx chuck...
  23. Anonymous says:
    26 Jul 2012 06:36:00 PM

    I have a luger,need to find when it was made,all matching # except mag. ss# 27**n
  24. Anonymous says:
    31 Jul 2012 04:48:04 PM

    any information where can i fin the manual luger 1917
  25. Mick says:
    1 Sep 2012 03:39:07 PM

    Hi,
    I have a 1940 german luger with the serial number 376 with a curved c like letter under it. all major parts have 76 stamped on them. top of gun says 1940 there is also a 42 on th e top any idea what this gun is worth and was it used by the germans italians or someother country?
    Thanks,
    JimBeamNYC@aol.com
    I really would appriciate any help i can get
  26. Heidi says:
    12 Nov 2012 02:16:49 PM

    I have inherited a Lugar Parabellum 9mm with a Reich Eagle on the barrel. The only marking I can find are 1123 EG44. Can anyone help me out on finding more information on this weapon?

    Thanks
    Heidi
  27. Anonymous says:
    6 Jan 2013 12:53:18 PM

    Hello! I need to know any info of my p08. This pistol 9998 serial number in perfectly function and body.
    how to much can my p08aprox?
    Many thanks!
  28. Anonymous says:
    19 Jun 2013 01:04:25 PM

    I have run across a germany style luger that has "Japan" stamped on it. The person who owned the gun said her late husband has had the luger for 50 years. It does have a serial number stamped on the frame. Does anyone know what kind of luger this is?
  29. Anonymous says:
    27 Jun 2013 06:34:43 PM

    I have a 30 Luger that has no markings and no serial number.All parts are stamped with 30.
    I have searched the internet and found there are
    a few of these out there.the gun shoots good and
    I've had it for 35 years and it still has 90%
    blue on it.Does anyone know what it's worth?
  30. HUGO REVELES says:
    21 Jul 2013 11:17:02 PM

    I have 30 luger 1900 AMERICAN EAGLE VARIATION, 5695 SERIAL NUMBER
  31. Anonymous says:
    24 Feb 2014 05:18:07 PM

    My dad brought home from WWII a German Luger p08, s/n 2668. It was stolen from my brother a few years ago. How could I find out if it is anywhere in circulation? We would like to get it back.
  32. Tom says:
    26 Jul 2014 10:07:17 AM

    My fiance has a model 1918 Luger DWM #8453 (the barrel is #4830) and magazine w/ 2678 k + on it. It was chrome plated at some point. Any idea of the manufacture date and worth?

    Thanks
    Tom
    Houston
  33. Anonymous says:
    8 Oct 2014 07:33:15 AM

    I have a 1915 ww1 era luger in excellent condition. all serial number for parts match. I would like to find out to whom the weapon was issued and what happened to him and where. With the idea that I may return the gun to the family if they are interested. Where would I start the search?

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