The Walther-P38 was first produced by the Carl Walther Waffenfabrik
in 1937 (and originally named the Heeres Pistole
), marking the company's introduction to the manufacture of parabellum
weapons. It was adopted in the next year by the German army as the standard officer's sidearm
. Production stopped in 1945, and resumed in 1957 for use by the Bundeswehr
The P38 takes 9mm parabellum rounds, with a standard magazine capacity of 8. It has an overall length of 216mm, with a barrel length of 129mm, and an unloaded weight of about 27 ounces, loaded of a little over 2 lbs. It fires at a single-shot rate of 24 rounds per minute.
One of the niftiest features is the cartridge indicator pin, which protrudes from the back of the slide when a round is in the chamber; if I remember correctly, this was the first handgun to have this.
It has proven itself to be one of the most reliable handguns of the 20th century, and is highly recommended, if you can still get your hands on one. A used World War II model should run you anywhere from $300-500 dollars, though this will be considerably more if you can find one of the rare Model P38s.