Luger: The Story of the World's Most Famous Handgun

Luger: The Story of the World's Most Famous Handgun

by John Walter


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The distinctive look of the Luger and its role in German military history make it the world’s most famous handgun. In Luger, renowned gun expert John Walter traces the history of this semiautomatic pistol from an early design by Hugo Borchardt in the 1890s through its use in the trenches of the First World War to the final days of the Third Reich in WWII.
Other books on the Parabellum-Pistole, as the Luger was also known, focus strictly on narrow subjects like manufacturing details or accessories. While still offering the technical details to satisfy the collector, Walter provides a comprehensive narrative history.
Readers will learn of the initial collaboration between Borchardt and Georg J. Luger, who patented the design in 1898. Following initial adoption by the Swiss Army, design refinements convinced the Imperial German Navy to order the sidearm, while the US Army passed on it following field trials in favor of the Colt. Production ramped up for World War I and the gun became a prized trophy for Allied soldiers in both that conflict and World War II. (German soldiers, aware of their desirability, even used them as bait for booby traps.)
Today, it is still desired by collectors both for its unique design and for its connection to the history of Nazi Germany, and Luger: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Handgun tells how it came to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510727281
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 492,031
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

John Walter is a renowned authority on handguns and has published more than sixty books. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on guns of the cartridge era. Walter has written for Guns Review, Gun Digest, and the Shooter’s Bible. Walter lives in the United Kingdom.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 7

Boob 10

Foreword 11

Glossary 13

1 From the Maxim machine-gun to the Borchardt pistol 19

Panel 1 The action of the Borchardt pistol

2 Adoption of the Luger in Switzerland: the first real success 42

Panel 2 Early Borchardt-Lugers

Panel 3 The action of the Borchardt Luger

Panel 4 Variations of the Swiss 1900-model Luger

3 Trials and tribulations; progress at home and abroad 58

4 The advent of the 9mm cartridge 91

5 The Luger in the commercial market 96

Panel 5 Proof markings on typical Old Model Lugers

6 The New Model Luger pistols 104

7 The .45 Luger and the US Army trials of 1907 114

8 Military trials and commercial exploits of the New Model Luger 119

9 The ultimate success: adoption of the Luger for the Germany Army 131

Panel 6 Proof and inspectors' marks, 1911

10 The Luger in the First World War 142

Panel 7 Issue of the Luger in 1914

Panel 8 Ten typical pre-1918 unit markings

11 From the fall of the Kaiser to secret rearmament 159

12 Commercial Lugers and accessories of the Weimar Republic 174

13 The rise of Hitler, and Lugers of the Third Reich 201

14 The Second World War and the demise of the Luger 217

Panel 9 Non-standard handguns in German service, 1939-45

15 The New Luger: from Mauser-Jagdwaffen to Mitchell Arms 228

Identification and valuation lists 242

Bibliography 251

Index 254

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