The Walther P38: Godfather of the modern combat handgun
When you think German Army pistol, the Luger comes to mind. The thing is, the Germans themselves wanted something better and came up with one of the great-unsung handguns of all time. You may call it the Walther P38 and its influence has been felt far and wide.
In the 1930s, the German military was quietly rebuilding. Even before Hitler came to power, the tiny Reichswehr had done extensive research into rearming their nation with the most modern of equipment. After Hitler came to power, this process got louder. One of the things the army wanted was a new handgun to replace the 1900-vintage Luger. While the Luger was a beautiful weapon, its toggle-action was prone to clogging, especially when dirty. It was also expensive, and every army in history had a budget.
Carl Walther, an up and coming firearms manufacturer who had just won a contract to supply his innovative PP and PPK pistols to the German police, threw a design from his workshop into the ring.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com