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Old 10-09-2019, 11:33 AM   #1
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Why did Walther come up with the locking block system?

Back when the P38 was coming out, tilt barrels were a rather new thing. The 1911 had the swinging link and toggle system, and it wasn't until the P35 Hi power that the linkless barrel lockup was introduced. Many other guns chambered in calibers like .380 ACP and below were usually simple blowback. So how did Walther come up with the locking block and why did they choose to go that route?
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:57 PM   #2
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Locking blocks, sliding or pivoted, to hold the breech closed during the period of highest pressure when powerful cartridges are used, go back to the earliest days of automatic pistol design. Study an early Mauser or Bergmann.

It was used in many forms in many firearms. Look, for example, at Browning's M1918 BAR, or early Hotchkiss machine guns.

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Old 10-09-2019, 08:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGMike View Post
Locking blocks, sliding or pivoted, to hold the breech closed during the period of highest pressure when powerful cartridges are used, go back to the earliest days of automatic pistol design. Study an early Mauser or Bergmann.

It was used in many forms in many firearms. Look, for example, at Browning's M1918 BAR, or early Hotchkiss machine guns.

M
Could one possible explanation why Walther came up with the locking block system is because the FN/Colt barrel lock up might have been patented at the time? At least that's what this forum post (#4) from this Firing Line thread suggests.

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=107116
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:12 PM   #4
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Most of the people who speak authoritatively about patents have never even read one.

Patents are limited geographically and in years. The latter vary, but it's doubtful that any Browning locking patent was still active in 1938

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Old 10-10-2019, 06:29 AM   #5
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Not to be pedantic, but, Walther did not "come up" with the locking block.
It dates to the earliest successful semi automatic pistols from the late 1800s, as MGMike said earlier.

Walther chose to use a locking block design for the P.38, however, they did not invent the thing.
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Old 10-11-2019, 05:56 PM   #6
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Perhaps someone should have asked Fritz Barthelmes, the Walther company engineer who designed the P38, that question in the years after the war when he lived in Germany. He was evacuated by US Forces to the west and continued working, later with his son. His design papers were presented by his son to the city museum in Zella-Mehlis where they were displayed in 2008 in an exhibition on his life and accomplishments. Perhaps the answer to the question is in those papers. Here is an image of him.
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