Tag Archives: Luger

Omar’s Pistols Headed Home

Cue the “That Belongs in a Museum” memes, authorities have managed to recover and return dozens of rare collectible guns– some priceless– to the institutions from where they were stolen.

The pieces all went mission in the 1970s, back when security was lax in most public museums, and all that was needed was a big screwdriver and a flashlight to pull off a low-risk burglary.

In all, some 50 items, some dating to the French and Indian War, were returned to 17 institutions located in five states. 

Among the more interesting items recovered were: 

  • An 1847 Mississippi rifle stolen from Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi.
  • World War II battlefield pickup pistols– a Luger and a Walther PPK– once owned by General Omar Bradley, stolen from the U.S. Army War College in 1979.
  • Assorted 19th-century flintlock rifles stolen from Pennsylvania museums.
  • An early Colt Whitneyville Walker revolver, valued at $1 million, stolen from the Connecticut State Library.
  • 18th-century English and Scottish pistols stolen from the Valley Forge Historical Society Museum.
  • A Volcanic pistol stolen from Pennsylvania’s Hershey Story Museum.
  • A rifle from the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.

A huge Colt Whitneyville Walker revolver (bottom row with CT tag) was taken back to its home state. A powder horn (center right) dating to the French and Indian War was stolen from a Belchertown, Massachusetts, museum in the 1970s. The Walker PPK and Luger in the top right corner had been donated by Gen. Omar Bradley to the Army War College in Carlise, Pennsylvania. An exceedingly rare Volcanic pistol stolen from the Hershey Museum is to the bottom right. (Photo: FBI)

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Priceless Warehouses of Addis Ababa

By nature of the past 130 years frequented by conflict in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has tons of vintage military arms up for sale.

One European importer, based in the Czech Republic, has been detailing their shopping trips to the African country where surplus firearms are stacked deep and priced cheap. Zelený Sport Defence’s mononymous globetrotting buyer, Schuster, has been sending snaps back from his trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s ancient capital, filled with historic firearms.

The old Ethiopian Empire fought several wars against Italy (in 1887–1889, 1895-1896, 1935-37), a cycle that was only broken after liberation in World War II. This left the country with not only stacks of guns both bought to fight off the Italians– M1874 Gras rifles, Gewehr 71s and 88s, Remington Rolling Blocks, FN-made Mausers, British Lee-Enfields, Russian Berdan and Model 91/30 Mosin-Nagants– but also those captured from the Italians including Vetterlis, and Carcanos of every stripe.

And that’s not even scraping the surface…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Can you spot the difference between these two Lugers?

One of these things is not like the other:

On the left, you have a DWM-made M1900 Luger in 7.65 with a skinny barrel, dished toggle knob, and push-grip safety, among other features. On the right is a gun that was made just 15 years later, am Erfurt-produced P08 in 9x19mm Parabellum with a thicker barrel, serrated toggle, and no grip safety.

Fundamentally, the one of the left is a commercial model, based on the original Luger adopted by the Swiss Army in 1899, and made for export, while the pistole on the right was the German Army standard for the Great War.

Further, the M1900 is an American Eagle, a breed of guns that proved unusually popular on the U.S. consumer market with Western lawmen and cowboys in the 1900s and 1920s.

More on the American Eagle Luger in my column at Guns.com.

Souvenir of the Big Advance at Cambrai

Turned over in a police firearms surrender, a trophy Luger from a historic Great War battle on the Western Front is now in a museum.

The pistol, a 1911-marked DWM, was collected by the Wiltshire Police during the UK’s National Firearms Surrender this summer. While the majority of firearms collected will be torched, the Luger was passed to the famed Tank Museum in Bovington for them to display.

“Firearms handed into the police during surrenders are sent for ballistic tests to ensure they haven’t been used in crime and are usually then destroyed,” said Wiltshire Police Armourer, Jamie Ross. However, an exception was made for the Luger, which was transferred in unmolested condition. “This live firearm is a part of history and I know that it is a welcome addition to the collection at the Tank Museum,” said Ross.

The intact DWM Parabellum was made in 1911 and, brought back as a war trophy the UK, is in a holster marked “Souvenir of the Big Advance at Cambrai November 1917.” (Photo: The Tank Museum)

More in my column at Guns.com

Mysteriously beautiful

This very nice DWM commercial Luger with matching grips and magazine is in the collection of the Canadian War Museum as Artifact 1306478.

Sadly, not much is listed about how it got there other than it is associated with the F-class destroyer HMCS Saskatchewan, formerly HMS Fortune (H70) of the Royal Navy.

Saskatchewan was very active during WWII including sinking at least one and maybe two U-boats while in British service and a German patrol boat off Normandy while under the Canadian flag. Of course, as it is a commercial gun, it could have simply belonged to a crewmember rather than picked up as a capture.

As a related point, Saskatchewan‘s bell is on proud display at the Vancouver Island Military Museum in Nanaimo and her name was recycled for a Mackenzie-class destroyer, DDE 262, which was active throughout the Cold War.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Some of the Best Pulp Fiction Covers..from Mort

Mort Künstler is one of the most respected military art masters in modern US history. Odds are if you have ever stopped and admired a Civil War painting, it may have come from Mort.

You may recognize his art from this painting of the CSS Hunley just before its last mission

You can almost feel the tension in the air for those brave submariners on this human powered submersible

You can almost feel the tension in the air for those brave submariners on this human powered submersible

Or in his more modern works such as this one of the Alaska Air National Guard

Guarding for polar bears while your C130 on skies unloads supplies. I'm cold just looking at this...

Guarding for polar bears while your C130 on skies unloads supplies. I’m cold just looking at this…

But what you may not know is that he cut his teeth on a whole ‘nother category of military art.
Born in 1931, he started off doing covers for men’s adventure magazines (aka pulp fiction type books) in the 1950s and 60s. Although he often used pen names, some of his better works he signed his own to and they are just really great stuff.

Nothing like a M1 Garand, a M1918 BAR, pineapple grenades, and belts of 30.06 LMG food to put some swagger on your cigar

Nothing like a M1 Garand, a M1918 BAR, pineapple grenades, and belts of 30.06 LMG food to put some swagger on your cigar

With that in mind, what follows is a few of his works from back in the pulp days. You see a lot of Tommy Guns, and a good bit of guest appearances from BARs, M1s, M3 Grease guns, Short Magazine Lee Enfields, and of course, Luger P08s.


the luger has been a staple of pulp fiction for decades as seen in this 1950s illustration by Mort Kuntsler mort 11 mort 10 mort pulp 9 mort 8 mort 6 mort pulp 5 mort cover mort pulp 4 mort pulp cover mort pulp cover 2 mort pulp cover 3