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If, hypothetically, 3 WWII P38 models were available for sale, in the same state of conservation, one made by Walther, another by Mauser and a third by Spreewerk.

Which would you choose and why?

Rarity, quality, value?

Knowing that Walther's production was 617,000, Mauser's was 372,000 and Spreewerk's was 287,000.
 

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I think Spreewerk got a bad wrap for a long time b/c of quality of craftsmanship. My first P.38 was a Spreewerk and I was disappointed I didn’t have a Walther. I have five Walthers now, but after gaining an appreciation for Spreewerk hunted one out, they are beautiful in their own way.

Now all that being considered, if I had none I would still go for a Walther first, but knowing what I know now I wouldn’t shy away from a Spreewerk. Mauser’s P.38 never did much for me so all things being equal my list would go Walther then Spreewerk then Mauser.


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It depends entirely on your ownership and/or collection goal. All three are functional utilitarian warhorses.

If I just needed one representative wartime P.38 for a collection, the Walther is the obvious choice, since it is a Walther model. Unless one has a personal connection to Mauser or Grottau, owning one of these instead of a Walther makes little sense if, as you posit, condition and state of preservation are the same. If you are serious about the P.38 historically, you need one of each ;)

As for the Spreewerk pistols, two factors led to the overall lower quality of production: the general use of forced laborers with no experience in arms production, and the fact that parts were sourced from dozens of regional and foreign subcontractors. There are decent specimen, but consistency and quality control were just never achieved. And that does not even address the still debated issue of sabotage by workers, which for example was so bad at FN under the occupation that there is a don‘t-shoot recommendation for High Powers built under Nazi control.
 

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I have shot and sighted in very well over a hundred Walther post war P1s and have owned P.38s from all makers. As a shooter, I will check for tolerances and a good barrel. Corrosive ammo turned barrels into dark tunnels, sloppy fit will make some wartime P.38s sound like a rattle can, when shaken. The shooting results will equal that of a spray can with a dirty nozzle.
 

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My only WWII P.38 is a Spreewerk that I purchased from the estate of a friend. But if I was going to buy another I would choose the Walther because it was their design and they exhibit better machining and bluing.
 
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