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My LGS has a Walther P1 9mm pistol for sale, appears to be in very good condition and very evident that it has not been fired much at all, extra mag and and what appears to be a vintage flap holster for $589.
I like the look and feel of it but know nothing about them so any info would be appreciated.
 

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The P1 is the post WWII version of the P38 for the German Army. If differs from the WWII pistols mainly in that it has an aluminum frame. $589 sounds a little high to me but here goes.

There were two major upgrades to the P1 during its service. They're not neccessary for a good shooter but are nice to have. The first upgrade was to the slide. In the pics below the original version is on top. The lower version is reinforced to prevent cracking and is known to collectors as the "fat slide". It's easy to identify by the cocking serrations extending forward of the safety.

The second upgrade was the addition of a steel hex pin in the frame located above the trigger guard (the lower frame in the pic below). These pistols are rated for 9mm+P and should also have the "fat slide". Additionally the early pistols have plain black sights with a thin blade front sight. Later ones had von Stavenhagen style sights which are much larger and easier to see.

Examine the loaded chamber indicator. With the slide locked back you should be able to push it back and forth smoothly with no binding.

The slide cover should be tight with no play. A loose cover can pop off during shooting.

When you activate the decocking lever the trigger will stay in the single action position. With the safety placed on fire the trigger will snap forward to the double action pisition. This is normal.

If you can field strip it examine the locking block below the barrel for cracks.

These are the main subjects unique to the P38/P1 series. Otherwise inspect it like you would for any other pistol. The P1 is usually a pretty safe pistol to buy. Spare parts and magazines are plentiful and there are some good technical references available for them.

Good luck !
 

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Given that the supply of surplus P1s from overseas has all but evaporated, $589 for a "minty" example might not be a bad price. The halcyon days of being to get them for not much more than $200 are over.

I picked up two P1s back around 2006 for around $250 each from Gander Molehill. Both appeared unfired and were in perfect cosmetic condition. I vacuum-bagged one and threw it in the safe, where it still sits to this day. The other sees regular range use, where it has proven to be one of the most accurate 25-yard target pistols in my collection.

Strangely, though, one of my shooting buddies shot my P1 and liked it so much that he went to Gander and bought one for himself. For whatever reason, his P1 grouped as well as mine, except that the groups were consistently centered about 12" below the bullseye at 25 yards. He ended up milling off a bit from the top of the front sight to raise the POI.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the info, this has been interesting learning about this piece of history.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I went back to "look" at the P1 again and ended up buying it, the story was that a fellow purchased it years ago and it spent it's life in his safe, appears unfired, fat slide, hex cross bolt, white dot sights, 1 mag with Walther banner marked P38, the other plain, the holster is trash as the belt loop is missing.
I stripped it and cleaned the old dried oil, looking forward to shooting it.
The slide is dated 2/78, the SN is 406xxx, any idea when it was first built?
 

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While that high of a serial number might even be 1978, we would need to see pictures of any marks, rework marks, et to make a better guess. Since postwar use, refurbishments and repairs on these spans over 6 decades (compared to wartime, only five years), serial number records are often insufficient.
 

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You made a good decision. Now you need the P-4 (shorter barrel); a P-5 (the next generation of the P1) and a Manurhin (kinda made in France...very interesting history). And of course, an original P38 with the all steel body.


Then, next, a Beretta 1951 (they stole some of Walther's P38/P1 design) then the 92 (no suffix, the next generation of the 92 series); and then 92FS followed by the military versions of the 92.


Now, as long as you have a bunch of 9mm, you should have a 9mm "competitor" to the P38. Which means you are now in the market for a Browning HiPower. After a couple of versions of the BHP you need the other WWII icon, a 1911.


Now that you've got the American and German standard pistols, and the BHP, you need something in the British line....of course a S&W "Victory" in 38/200 (also know as 38 S&W) But you should have an US Victory in .38 special. And the model 10, also in .38 special which was derived from the Victory.




See where this leads? Buy another safe!
 

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Red', really thoro' and clear explanation; thanks. I had assumed the hex bolt came before the fat slide. Oddly, some variants of the Beretta 92 have reinforcement around the locking block area.
Local shop had a minty one for $300 about 4 years ago; came here to check the particulars; when I went back it was gone.
Best,
Moon
 

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You made a good decision. Now you need the P-4 (shorter barrel); a P-5 (the next generation of the P1) and a Manurhin (kinda made in France...very interesting history). And of course, an original P38 with the all steel body.

[snip list of classic pistols]

See where this leads? Buy another safe!

Nice list, except that you forgot the Swiss SIG P210 :cool:
 
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Naaawwww, veered off course with the Beretta, so all is fair game ;)
 

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Nice list, except that you forgot the Swiss SIG P210 :cool:

Well, if you're gonna get the original Swiss Sig 210 your gonna have to have the new one for a 'ying and yang' sorta thing.


Then the Sig 220 in 9mm has to be added as it's the less expensive version of the 210. Then the 226 as that's the next edition, and of course a P6 (and/or 225) as the more compact/police model. More modern versions of the 229, 225, and a 228 in nine should be part of the collection


Natch you'll need the 'new' 220 in .45 and a Sig 1911 as a compliment. And just to show they make small guns, a new 365.


Don't forget a more carry friendly version of the 220, the 245.


And what Sig collection is complete without a 250...in 9, 40, 45 and .380 with a .22 conversion unit.


And you'll clearly need the 320 (again in 9, 357, 40 and 45) to round out that part of the collection. You might need to buy the M17 for the military version, and some of the optical-friendly versions as well.


Hmmmm….gonna need a third safe.
 
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