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I'm really starting to want a P5 from reading about them so much. It would be a target gun. I there anything I should watch for when I shop around? Any problems I should be aware of or any weak-points to check?
 

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The P5 is awesome, and there are lots of them around. SOG is offering them for $395, plus shipping and the usual FFL transfer fees (and they also will hand-pick one for you for another few dollars):

http://www.southernohiogun.com/

Lots of other dealers have them in the same price range; it's wise to check around a bit. If you don't mind a little holster wear, the German police-issued model is a great way to go. The P5 makes a wonderful shooter -- as good as anything on the market at any price, IMO. You might want to check through some of the threads here about other folks' opinions of what your money will buy; not everyone is enamored of them as I am. But for a fun day at the range, the P5 is the equal of any current model. It's accurate, it's reliable, it's stable, and it hits what you aim at, time and again. What more can ask of any handgun?
 

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I there anything I should watch for when I shop around? Any problems I should be aware of or any weak-points to check?
By "shopping around"I, do you mean buying from a local source to see what you are getting before you plunk down your money? i strongly recommend it; it's worth paying more for the advantage of inspecting the gun first and having the freedom to walk away without cost and look elsewhere if it does not meet your expectations.

If that's what you intend, you'll be primarily interested in mechanical condition and wear, both external and internal. Field strip the gun and check it carefully for damage, wear, and smooth function. The condition of the slide face (where the firing pin protrudes) and the vertical face of the frame that's the stop surface for the recoiling barrel may reveal a lot about how much shooting has been done with this gun, and with what kind of ammunition. Minutely inspect the chamber, bore, and muzzle, as well as the lips of the magazine(s); replacements are not cheap. If you can shoot the gun first, do so. If you don't do any of these things, you are taking a potentially expensive gamble.

The external cosmetics may reflect how much care its previous user took of it. Signs of old surface rust, for example, are not encouraging. If you buy a used gun blind (as from a distributor) and your first impulse on seeing it is to think about refinishing it, you're better off looking for another gun that has seen less service.

M
 

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Nothing wrong with a pistol that has seen some use, especially if that is what you are expecting. On the other hand, SOG tends inflate their ratings - I know it because I bought one "like new P5" from them. The slide had very little finish left on it and would have rusted quickly in our Texas humidity. Its getting refinished now.

I agree with MG about seeing and examining a used gun before you buy. My impression of the auction boards is that a lot of the German police guns are represented and asking prices are very close to what commercial guns are going for at the gun show. Cash is KING at the gun show and this venue may give you the opportunity to purchase the nicest gun.

At the same time, my cosmetically challaneged P5 should be a fine shooter. The internals looked very good with little wear present. It boils down to what you want, what you can tolerate, how much time you are willing to wait for the right piece, and how much $$ you are willing to invest.

Out West
 

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MGMike is correct: It's always best to shop locally, to hold the gun, to examine the gun inside and out, to shoot the gun when that's possible -- all before you buy. No question.

But do keep in mind that the German police-issued P5s that are readily available on the market at good prices were often carried and seldom fired. Uncut has pointed out more than once on this forum that German police officers were seldom required to fire their weapons. The P5 that I picked up from a local dealer had some holster wear on the slide but was immaculate internally -- the proverbial well-oiled machine. It's the best-functioning and most reliable weapon that I regularly take to the range, which might well be the reason why I take it to the range so frequently. Sure, I wish that the slide looked better cosmetically, but it doesn't matter a whit when you pick the thing up and start aiming at a target. I'll say it again: The P5 is awesome.
 

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But do keep in mind that the German police-issued P5s that are readily available on the market at good prices were often carried and seldom fired. Uncut has pointed out more than once on this forum that German police officers were seldom required to fire their weapons.

German officers are requiered to shoot 200 rounds a year......:eek:
At this point I don't know if they shoot it with their issued gun or if they use a range specific gun, which would not be a problem, since most carry the same gun within the "state. This would be much easier on the armorer "
 

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The P5's weak point is its frame : remove the grip panels after field stripping the gun and check for (hairline)cracks, especially in way of the drilled holes. Also check the front part of the cartridge feeding rim at the underside of the slide for presence of cracks. If no cracks ascertained, go ahead and don't look back (i.e. have fun !)
 

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Sorry but I forgot to mention to have the bore of the barrel checked for pitting (electrolitical corrosion in way of the forcing cone). All of the possible problems I described have no relationship whatsoever with the number of rounds fired; they were initiated (and propagated) by long time (open) holster carry and exposure to rain - all of which were described in the Dutch review I translated some time ago (cfr. thread "Walther P5 in the Netherlands").
 

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But do keep in mind that the German police-issued P5s that are readily available on the market at good prices were often carried and seldom fired. Uncut has pointed out more than once on this forum that German police officers were seldom required to fire their weapons. QUOTE]

With all respect to you and Uncut, I don't think one can rely on that. Over the past 25 years I have field-stripped and inspected many hundreds of ex-German police P.38 and PP pistols. Their internal (and external) condition varied widely. One thing was clear, as least with 9mm Para: the Germans were not using "target-load" ammunition for practice. While many of the P.38s were cream puffs, many others had been shot extensively and their innards exhibited hard peening on the locking and impact surfaces. A few had been fired so much with heavy loads that the barrel liners had broken loose and were drifting out the muzzle. A lot of the earlier "thin-slide" P.38s had had their slides replaced (you could tell from the anachronistic s/n) likely due to cracking at the locking lug recesses; this happens only after considerable shooting. Unlike most of the Bundeswehr P.38s now being marketed, the ex-police guns were rarely refinished.

However, a large percentage of the ex-police PPs had been refinished (and perhaps rebuilt) at least once. A reblue can hide a multitude of sins.

In the end, each gun is an individual, and should be inspected as such.

M
 

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Mike
you might be correct.....
I was thinking more along the lines of the P5, P6, P7 and P7M8's that flooded the market within recent years.......we have seen many guns that either were unissued or had more holster wear than anything.....
the rest was before my days
 

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In the end, each gun is an individual, and should be inspected as such.
No arguments from me. I'll say it again: The best way to get a handle on the gun you want to buy is to hold it, look at it, examine it, field-strip it, shoot it, study it, spend some time with it, shoot it some more. If it's the one, then buy it. If it's not, then let it go and find another. This perfect world has become increasingly difficult to maintain, however, what with all the laws and range restrictions and lack of common sense that has gone into the industry during the past 40 years or more; sometimes a leap of faith is the only way to get the job done. I'm less concerned about the condition of the P5 than I am about some of the P38s that are kicking around, however. The SOG-purchased P5 I obtained through a local dealer was immaculate on the inside, just as I had ordered it (and made very clear that it would go right back were it not in excellent shooting condition). Even the springs were in robust shape.
 

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Bear in mind that the P5, P6 and P7 ex-German and Dutch police pistols were all procured in the late '70s and mid-'80s; most are 20-30 years old, and some have seen considerable service in that time. The nice examples you are seeing probably are not representative of the lot as a whole.

I mentioned the P.38s because I had the opportunity to inspect large numbers of them, and they were in police service for about the same length of time before they were surplused. I have not inspected any significant number of surplus P5-6-7s.; though I have all three, mine are commercial examples.

P.38s in general are probably not as robust as P5s and P6s, but it is instructive that nearly 50% of the ex-police P.38s needed some kind of gunsmith attention before they were ready to resell commercially here. The usual problem was faulty hammer rebound, which can affect the function of the automatic firing pin block. These are the kinds of "hidden" things that one should function-check if possible before purchase. I have my doubts that the current crop of surplus distibutors have the staff, resources or inclination to do much beyond fill orders.

M
 

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Its the shooter - not the gun

I found that the P5 has taken longer for me to learn to shoot, than most other autos. Short barrel, lighter top end. I'm used to a little heaver top end, not much, but this gun has taken more range time for me to be happy with my results. Great gun.

Just the opposite happened to me when I got my 1911...too heavy, not used to all of that recoil. Took me about 500 rounds to get myself dialed in with that gun. My 225 - Bang! Right out of the box, like it was made for me, same for the P1 and several others.

Regards to all ~ photo
 

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I purchased my first P5 from CDNN. It was sold to me as being in excellent condition and was. MY second P5 came from Earl's in Mass. An even better piece if a bit pricier. Having dealt with the dealers in the past I didn't hesitate working with them both again. P5s don't grow on trees in my neck of the woods so hands on prior to purchase isn't always possible. Knowing of a reputable dealer really helps.
 
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