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Tips for Buying your First Luger Pistol

Everybody loves the rakish look of a Luger Pistol, their allure is legendary and owning at least one Luger pistol is the goal of most every gun collector.  The other side of that coin is that buying your first Luger can be a very intimidating experience for everyone….

We have walked many a client through their first Luger acquisition, and this is an important learning experience; some folks decide that one is enough and some become completely enamored with them and start to build a collection. As every Muslim must once in their lifetime make the pilgrimage to Mecca every gun collector must cross the threshold into the world of the Luger…….here are some helpful tips.

Lugers are Like Ice Cream, there are 63 flavors and it’s safe to start with Chocolate or Vanilla. There are as many Luger variations as there are flavors of Baskins Robbins Ice cream but the Vanilla and Chocolate are the place to start the tasting, you can add the flavor options as you go. First step is narrowing down your focus. If you start too broad it can get overwhelming and potentially lead to unwanted choices. For Lugers that means the standard P.08 4 inch barrel German Army Military Luger. The choice is between Vanilla: WWI era Imperial Lugers or Chocolate: Lugers from the WW2 Third Reich/Nazi era. Once you pick the era, your search can be much more focused.

WW1 Era Lugers…….3 Things to Know:

  1. Lugers made between 1908 and 1914 are much scarcer than Lugers made during the peak war years of 1915-18 when they were at full wartime production.
  2. Its very problematic to find a Luger from this era that still has the matching magazine serial numbered to the pistol, its huge plus but don’t let a non matching magazine stop you from otherwise purchasing a Mint WW1 era Luger.
  3. Around 10% of all WW1 era Lugers may have a unit marking stamped on the front grip strap identifying the regiment that they were issued to. This is extremely desirable as you can trace the wartime history of that particular pistol and know what battles it may have witnessed and survived.

Nazi Era Lugers…….3 Things to Know:

  1. The most popular Luger of all times is the “Black Widow” variation.  This is a term given to the 1941-42 late production Lugers that used substitute black plastic grips and usually a black plastic bottom mag, which give them a very attractive and menacing look that has appealed to all collectors.  Most folks want the Black Widow in there collections, it is very commonly encountered but the demand is so great they command a substantial premium.
  2. Do not purchase a WW2 era Luger UNLESS it has a matching mag.  Leave these non-matching magazine pistols to the Gun Broker crowd, You are looking for an investment grade piece with enhanced liquidity if and when you sell.  There is no shortage of fine Nazi era Lugers with the correct original magazines.  Please note that a pistol that is still with both original numbered magazines will command a price well over twice what a pistol with one matching mag will bring and we only recommend those for advanced collectors and those who must have the exceptional.
  3. Understanding the terms “K Date” and “G Date“.  These are the secret codes for weapons produced in 1934(K) and 1935(G), starting in 1936 the date was openly applied. These Lugers are extremely rare and both Letter dates are very desirable among collectors as they are the first of the newly built Lugers of the Nazi era.


Buying your first Luger will be much easier if you are aware of these basic facts, you can really focus on exactly what you are looking for and make a more informed buying decision.