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Discussion Starter #1
I will be picking up a P1 serial # 371xxx. It looks lightly used and in great shape. The only funny thing is the test target doesn't have any bullet holes in it, just three x's. Can anyone tell me anything about this pistol by the serial #? And what is the deal with the test target?
 

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I just picked up my P1 also.  My pistol came with test target too, and it was x's as opposed to bullet holes.  When I disassembled the pistol prior to firing it I found it to be perfectly as unused?  I could detect no residue of having been fired, but maybe "they" are just very good at cleaning after test firing.  After cleaning I fired approx. 100 rounds thru it and was amazed at the perfect functioning and accuracy.  The importer of my P1 was SSME out of Plant City Fl.  If anyone gives you a clue as to why the test target identifies by mark as opposed to holes, please let me know.
 

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px15, mine also has the same improter. It is in such perfect shape that i thought it must not of been fired much, but also possibley it was re-parkarized. On the right side of the frame there should be a W with a date after it, that stands for reworked date (by the Bundeswehr). Mine is better than any 9mm i have owned to date in regards to accuracy and reliability, even with hollow points. I have not found any info on the test target, my only guess is that sometime the german army discarded the original test target and replaced it with a more current one, marking where the original bullet holes were. I am going to try to have the test target translated to english so that i can maybe get a clue. I will let you know what i find out. By the way, there is a p38 forum and those guys dated my gun to be manufactured in 1976.
 

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banddr2, My P1 serial # is: 415xxx.  On the right side of the frame below the slide and above the trigger is etched DK 4/85. On the left side just past the Walther banner under the P1 Kai 9mm is 4/79 then a four pointed star.  I spoke to a gentleman on the p38 forum and he says this pistol apparently has the new improved slide even tho the same last 3 serial numbers of the gun are located just past the 4 pointed star.  Apparently these pistols come in a million variations depending on whether they have been reworked or not, or whether they were actually in service in the German Army, or Police.  I don't care where or what my pistol has been or seen as I too agree that this is a wonderful pistol.  Mine looks absolutely new, so mentally I'm sticking with that theory.  The only glitch I've found is that over Thanksgiving I took my 16 year old granddaughter and 13 year old Grandson out to shoot the Walther and they both had feeding problems.. I had shot 100 rds. thru it just last week with absolute perfect functioning, so I was at a loss.  Then I remembered the "limp wrist" syndrome and reeducated the kids on how to firmly hold the grip to get a more stable platform and it solved the problem completely.  My granddaughter then shot my Sig239 and that pistol is more forgiving (and a bit smaller) so she prefers it. The Sig is an excellent pistol, but doesn't have the 'history", or "personality" of the Walther.  I still love the P1 best.  I have had a lot of guns over the years (I'm 60) and I believe this P1 just beats them all.  Another thing I love about the Walther is that it is so easy to disassemble for cleaning.  By the way, SSME apparently sells pistols too, or thats what they indicate on their website.  You might take a look.  They are advertising ww2 Nazi marked p38's now, but I didn't care a thing about having a collectable, I wanted a shooter that could do double duty as self defense.  If you find out anything new please keep posting, and I'll return the favor..
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, it is amazing how much the guys on the p38 forum know considering how many different ways walther and the bundeswehr have marked on these pistols. I also currently use mine for target and home defense. It feeds hydroshock and gold dots flawlessly. The only problem i have had is the slide not locking open on the last round. I thought it was the mag springs and went as far as to purchase wolff +10% springs, and still had the same problem. Then I noticed when i fired my 127gr defense ammo it always locked open. It was the practice 115 gr stuff. Then i read that the p39 (p1) was designed for 127 gr ammo. Unfortunately, i never find practice ammo in this size
. By the way, my 10 yr old son can also shoot this one great. other hand guns i have had he could not shoot well.
 

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A couple of things.  I have found the Walther to be ammo sensitive.  I shot 3 different brands thru it and there is a considerable variation in accuracy with them.  I shot Eagle and PMC ball ammo and while the Walther functioned perfectly it wasn't nearly as accurate at some Federal match (duh) ammo I had.  All of the ammo shot well enough for self-defense, but when you like to see all of the shots go into the black you just need quality ammo.  I actually keep Glaser , or mag-safe in my pistols.  This fragmentation ammo is NOT CHEAP but the test results I've seen say they do the job better than anything else.  Also I have a particular box of Cor-Bon (that isn't produced anymore) that had a very high stopping index in a test magazine several years ago.  I like Cor-Bon, it's very hot and I've never had trouble with it feeding in any of my automatics.  The only ammo that I consistantly see bad reports on is the Russian "Wolf" brand.  Apparently it's very cheap, but dirty, and accuracy is not very good.  By the way, did you get one or two magazines with your Walther?  Mine was advertised as having one, but when the box came there was a 2nd (new, still sealed in plastic) Walther marked magazine in the holster itself.  I called the Co. I bought the pistol from to express my pleasure with the package as it was better than advertised on the website, and mentioned the 2nd mag.  I was told that various suppliers are used, some only send one mag. and some send two.  The retailer (Impact Guns) said if I it came with a 2nd mag. good luck for me.  In the past I've owned other Sigs (p220), Glocks, Browning Hi-power, even a Tokarov (piece of crap), and I think this Walther is as good as they come. By the way, does your pistol have "white sights" (white dot front sight, small white vertical bar, rear sight)?  Does it have the "fat" improved slide? (hex bolt above trigger).   If you have any interest in revolvers (say for the wife) find yourself a used Colt Cobra..  I have 2, one stays in the car with my wife JoAnn, and the other I use when I'm out "golf-carting" in the woods (in the summer) with the wife and grandkids.  These are wonderful pistols.  They aren't as complicated to shoot, are very accurate, 100% reliable, period..   You can pick them up used (they have been out of production for years).  They are lightweight too..  Some folks are just put off a bit by what they think of as an automatic being complicated..  A revolver is actually a better choice for anyone who doesn't take the time or have the inclination to become comfortable with an automatic.By the way, I noticed that Lew Horton Dist. Co. is advertising what looks like the same P1 package as we bought, but for $650.00...  I don't know how much you paid for yours, but that price is a bit over what I paid. (like $351.00 over) You might look at the ad at www.lewhorton.com as it always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to think I got a bargain.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hope i don't forget to answer any of your questions.

I purchased my p1 for $300. There were two others for the same price, but they had scratches and chips out of them in places. There was also a non-issue for $400, but someone got to it first

Mine does have the fat slide (post 1973 i think is when they did that) and the hex thing in front of the trigger.

I heard to stay away from hot ammo like cor bon and glasers. The increased pressures can blow the top cover (the plate for metal in front of the rear sight) off, which could hurt. On the older p38/s i have heard the slide can blow off as well. Did I listen to this??... well no. I shot some 127 gr gold dot +p, about 5 rounds, with out any problems, but i was worried not to do any more that that. The steel cased Bear stuff scares me and i can get umc or winchester for $6 a box, another reason i want to shoot only 9mm these days.

my accuracy is getting better with the cheap winchester ammo, i am down to 2 1/2 inch 8 shot group at 15 yds. I test fired two mags of federal hydroshok and notices the accuracy did improve (some went in the same hole!!), so i think your right about ammo sensitive. I may try to find me some good quality ball ammo and see how it does.

My sights are the same as yours, i read they also improved the rear sights when they beefed up the slide.

The gun i sold before i bought this one was a sig 228, and the p1 is hands down waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better.

My grips were a little scratched up, so i just ordered a new set from Earl's repair. I will let you know how they work. Price was $45.

happy shooting -- wish some more would join in this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
oops, knew i would forget one. I received 2 mags. one was a p1 and the other was a p38 with the date of xx/62 stamped on it. i put wolff +10% springs in them.
 

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I think with our Walthers, as with any pistol that is 25-30 years old it is wise not to shoot +p in them.. EXCEPT.  I would run a few thru to make sure it will feed them, and then for self defense I would keep it loaded with them.  For plinking I would use the regular stuff (it's cheaper anyway).  I think this pistol will shoot plus p's ok, it's just not wise to do so.  Increased pressure only adds wear to your pistol, even if it does feed them ok.  I think we have been very lucky to get the "improved" slides as I think the "white sights" was part of that package, and my old eyes do a whole lot better with them.  I too was a Sig man (P239), and it's still a great pistol, but I just have some unexplained attachment to the Walther.  I think you and I got a great bargain.
 
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