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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The NIB "IH" (1987) date code P5 I just purchased has a very glossy black frame while the slide has the more familiar semi-matt finish with polished flats. I'm pretty certain this pistol is an all original Interarms import and not a police/military gun. Can any other P5 owners out there comment on the frame finish of their pistols? I once owned another Interarms P5 of nearly the same vintage and it's frame was not as glossy -- did Walther offer different finishes, or is what I'm seeing typical of an unfired gun? Thanks for your $0.02
 

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It's just black-anodized aluminum alloy. When it's new it's glossy, and like blued steel, it loses some lustre with handling --though the degree of polish before anodizing may vary, and will affect the brightness of final finish.

In any event, as with Ford's Model T, Walther offered only one choice: Black.

M
 

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Although most P5 's feature black anodized aluminum frames, older P5 frames may have a black baked enamel finish (like my 1984 P5 had). One can ascertain the difference because the 'painted' frames have a more glossy 'satin' appearance instead of the matte anodized frames. As for the quality or durability of both finishes, I believe they're equal but this also implicates that both finishes - if damaged - are hard to repair. After buying my (second hand) P5 about two years ago, I completely sand blasted the (damaged) frame and re-anodized it. Took a lot of work but after refinishing the frame and slide and replacing the grips and magazine, the gun looks like new again !
 

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Although most P5 's feature black anodized aluminum frames, older P5 frames may have a black baked enamel finish (like my 1984 P5 had). One can ascertain the difference because the 'painted' frames have a more glossy 'satin' appearance instead of the matte anodized frames. As for the quality or durability of both finishes, I believe they're equal but this also implicates that both finishes - if damaged - are hard to repair. After buying my (second hand) P5 about two years ago, I completely sand blasted the (damaged) frame and re-anodized it. Took a lot of work but after refinishing the frame and slide and replacing the grips and magazine, the gun looks like new again !
Any P5 that has baked enamel on the frame was refinished by someone post-manufacture. Rest assured it did not leave the factory that way.

An anodized finish --or what is left of it-- is removed most efficiently and least aggressively by reversing the electrical process by which it was applied, which strips the anodize without abrading the aluminum underneath. The frame can then be reanodized to the same final dimensions as it was originally . This may not be economically feasible on a one-off basis-- in which case the simple solution is one of the new paint-type finishes.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well... we seem to have a little friendly disagreement here ;) FWIW, the "baked enamel" description fits my NIB 1987 P5 to a "T" -- a glossy satin appearance is exactly right. I am not the original owner of my P5 so I suppose anything is possible, but there is nothing about it to suggest it has ever been fired and/or refinished - the finish on the slide, barrel assembly, and both mags is virginal. Thanks for the responses thus far!
 

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My P5 has an original glossy finish.

My P5C has an original satin finish. It is about 10 years newer.

This pic may not be clear enough to see the difference: Look at the difference at the top front of the trigger guard just under the serial numbers.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Banddr2, thanks for the great pic. You P5 frame has the exact same finish as mine. Your P5 Compact has a frame finish like the P5 I used to own. I'm glad to see there are other pistols finished like mine - I was a bit worried that I'd been sold a refinished gun rather than a NIB one.
 

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Whether anodize is glossy or matte will depend on the degree of finish given to the bare aluminum before it is anodized. Sand or bead blasting renders a matte finish, and is cheaper than polishing out machine marks.

If you want to know if it's paint or not, just shoot a few hundred rounds and carefully examine the worn spots on the slide rails. Black anodize, when it gets thin, goes to a translucent blue or purple before becoming silver.

M
 

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Any P5 that has baked enamel on the frame was refinished by someone post-manufacture. Rest assured it did not leave the factory that way.
M
Don't want to upset anyone but whether you like it or not, the "glossy" finishes - for as far as I can ascertain from the pictures - are definitely factory applied baked enamel. I suppose that the majority of P5's here in Europe featured the baked enamel finish and the "US export" (?) P5's featured anodized frames. Maybe somebody may do some research through Walther ? There's nothing wrong with baked enamel though. Lots of gun manufacturers apply it. This will bring us to personal preferences and taste...(no more, no less)

PS : the damaged frame of my P5 didn't show any "blueish worn spots". Just black finish or bare white metal. As for the post-manufacture refinishing : such a service is as good as non-existant here in Europe, so the chances you will find one here are nill. :)
 

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Banddr2, thanks for the great pic. You P5 frame has the exact same finish as mine. Your P5 Compact has a frame finish like the P5 I used to own. I'm glad to see there are other pistols finished like mine - I was a bit worried that I'd been sold a refinished gun rather than a NIB one.
Anytime.

I can only guess, perharps someone knows, but it looks like issued P5's got the glossy, just like P1's, and commercial P5's got the matt finish???:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Possibly, but my newly purchased P5 is an Interarms import, complete with all the paperwork indicating it is a commercial gun imported for sale to US consumers and not a military/police gun. A real mystery.
 

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OOps, I should of re read the original post, yours is a commercial with gloss frame, so my theory doesn't hold tru. Those crazy Walther factory guys have done some inconsistent things through out history.
 
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