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German Walther P38 Pistol
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

German Walther P38 Pistol

Catalog #: 58195M    Accession #: 289540
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History


Carl Walther Company (Manufacturer)

In 1886 Carl Walther laid the foundation stone for the Walther company which is still manufacturing today. Walther's interest was in the design of self-loading pistols. He broke new ground in firearms technology. In 1908 the Walther Model 1, caliber 6.35 mm was the first usable German self-loading pistol. After Walther's death in 1915 his sons continued his work and his company. Fritz inherited his father's passion for self-loading technology. In 1929 he produced the first pistol with a single and double action trigger. When the German military called for the more powerful 9mm cartridge in 1938 the Model P38 was developed. Variations of this pistol design are still in use today and it has been imitated by numerous other firearms companies.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 5.75" H x 8.25" W x 1.5" D

Physical Description

German Walther P38 pistol, 9mm.

General History

The Carl Walther Company began development of a new military pistol in mid-1930s to replace the WW1 Luger design. In 1938, the Werhmacht adopted Walther's design and called it the "Pistole 38." The pistol went into full production by mid-1940 and became standard issue in the Second World War. Although never as famous as the Luger pistol, the P38 was issued to far more troops.


War: World War II
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