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Walther P38
A Walther P38



Entry into Service



9x19mm Parabellum

Magazine Capacity

8 rounds

Effective Range

50 m

The Walther P38 is 9mm semi-automatic pistol that was used by the Wehrmacht in World War II.


It weighs 960 grams and is about 213 mm in length, with a barrel of 127mm. For sights it has a rear notch and a front blade post. The P38 also has a magazine capacity of 8 rounds - 9mm Parabellum - and it was created to replace the more expensive Luger P08The first locked breech pistol to use a double-action mechanism, the Walther P38 has a protruding barrel reminiscent of the Luger, and a cut away slide which leaves a section of the top of the barrel exposed.[1]

The barrel and slide are locked together by a wedge. As the slide and barrel recoil, this wedge is cammed downwards to release the slide, which then continues rearwards to eject the spent case, cock the hammer and load the next round on the return stroke - pushing the barrel forward so that the wedge raises it, and locks it in position again, ready to fire the next shot.[1] The safety catch is on left rear of slide, which doubles as decocking lever.

The magazine catch was at heel of butt.[1] The muzzle velocity of the P38 was about 366 meters per second while the P38's effective range was only about 25 meters. The P38 had good reliability and was prized by Allied soldiers who had found them.[2] There were no variants of the P38 ever produced during the war although later in the 1950s, it was readopted into service by the German military once more.


The P38 was first developed in 1938 and after it had seen small amounts of combat, it was quickly adopted into full service and oftentimes, there were not enough to be distributed.[3] However, the P38's production was later ramped up and the P38 then became a standard weapon in the standard Wehrmacht infantryman's arsenal. After the war, the P38 was not only issued to the new German military, but also numerous other countries who had bought the weapon from spare stockpiles.


  1. 1,0 1,1 1,2 Marchington, James. The Encyclopaedia of Handheld Weapons. Brassey's. 2002
Vorlage:German Infantry Weapons