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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Variations of the Walther P5
Just above 100.000 P5 pistols were produced by the Walther company from 1978 and onwards. Regular production ended around 1993 but production of small orders of these pistols went on till the early years of the new decennia. The biggest customer was the Dutch Police with a total order of 50,000 guns. A few technical changes were implemented over the years to re-inforce weak points or to make the weapon more user-friendly. An initial study to the technical changes of the P5 design was undertaken by Mr. Dieter H. Marschall. The Walther factory provided him with an overview of the technical changes with respect to the production dates and he reported these data in his book “Walther pistols: model 1 through P99”. Based on this information we can concluded that 8 variations of the Walther P5 exist when we considering the technical changes as different variations. These 8 variations exclude prototypes and other oddities outside the regular serial range. The information that the Walther company provided was very general and the exact change of the part was not described. Here, these changes we’ll be further discussed and backed up with pictures.
Based on Mr. Marschall research we already know the following info:

date SN range
variation 1 initial-6/79 001001-005700
variation 2
7/79-10/79 005701-008400
variation 3 11/79-10/82 008401-028100
variation 4 11/82-4/86 028101-044500
variation 5 5/86-12/86 044501-044526
variation 6* 1/87-10/90 044527-050000 and 100001-100200
variation 7 10/90 100201-100730
variation 8 12/90-end 100731-??????

With the variations being reported as:
Variation 1: initial production
Variation 2: shortened firing pin
Variation 3: new magazine catch
Variation 4: (i) Addition of a flushing opening in the side (to disperse salt crystals after blueing) and (ii) introduction of a reinforced cocking lever
Variation 5: (i) Introduction of another new magazine catch with a flatter bottom and (ii) an altered hammer marked with a four-pointed star
Variation 6: (i) new takedown lever (marked with a four-pointed star) and (ii) a new plunger
Variation 7: new and adjustable trigger stop
Variation 8: yet another new hammer

The 6th variation stops at serial number 50,000 and continues with 100,000. The serial numbers in the omitted range (50,000-100,000) were assigned to the Dutch Police P5s. The Dutch pistols were produced in parallel to the commercial P5s and these will be discussed in more detail at the end of this article.

I noticed during this study that studied pistol variations were not always exactly in agreement with the serial number ranges as reported by the Walther Factory / Mr. Marshall. I suspect that stocks of certain parts were first finished before changing over to the new design. I would like to ask forum members to report their guns with respect to product date, serial number, variation and any deviations.

Some older pistol variations were fitted with parts that were introduced much later. I expect that these pistols probably belonged to Law enforcing agencies and that these pistols were upgraded during their service life.


 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The variations

Variation 1 (sn range 001001-005700):
The first commercial bulk production started in 1978 with the serial number 01001. The initial production is used as a reference point for the other variations.

Variation 2 (sn range
005701-008400):
The first technical change involved the shortening of the firing pin.

-NO comparison yet possible. Because first variation is missing in my collection.

Variation 3 (sn range
008401-028100):
The 3rd variation involves the introduction of a new magazine catch. The earlier magazine catches were fitted with a hook and these were replaced by a magazine catch with a flatter bottom. The reason for this change is unknown but it is suspected that the hook of the earlier magazine catch could cause unwanted release of the magazine (easy to be stucked behind something). Another modification of the magazine catch was implemented later during production (see variation 5).








Variation 2 (left) and Variation 3 (right); showing the new magazine catch

Variation 4 (sn range
028101-044500):
The 4th variation involves two technical changes that were implemented simultaneously according to the Walther factory (see Mr. Dieter Marschall book; Walther pistols –model 1 through P99).

The first change was the addition of a flushing opening in the side to disperse salt crystals after the blueing process. Unfortunately I was not able to find this opening.



Secondly, a reinforced cocking lever was introduced. The pistol shown here falls into the serial range of the 4th variation as reported by the Walther company, however the cocking lever is still of the older non reinforced type.




Old variation (left) and 4th variation (right); showing the reinforced cocking lever





Old variation (bottom) and 4th variation (top); showing the reinforced cocking lever


Variation 5 (sn range 044501-044526):
The 5th variation involves two technical changes that were introduced simultaneously. The first change was the Introduction of another new magazine catch with one less serration (4 instead of 5). The second change was the alteration of the hammer. Altered hammers can be recognizes by a 4-pointed star marking and the modification can be clearly seen in the last picture.


Old variation (left) and 5th variation (right); showing the new magazine catch with less serrations




Old variation (left) and 5th variation (right); showing the new hammer




Old variation (top) and 5th variation (bottom); showing the new hammer

Variation 6 (sn range 044527-050000 and 100001-100200):
The 6th variation involves the introduction of (1) a new take down lever and (2) a new plunger for this lever. The modified take down lever is easily identified by the 4-pointed star marking. The earlier design had a flat surface and therefore sometimes difficult to operate it with a finger because it can easily slip. The new design has a raised structure that enables better grip of the lever. A shorter plunger was also introduced.







Old variation (left) and 6th variation (right); showing the new take down lever and shorter plunger


Variation 7 (sn range 100201-100730):
The 7th variation involves the change of the position of the trigger stop. Earlier P5 variations have the trigger stop mounted on the trigger but the position was changed to the frame.



Old variation (left) and 6th variation (right); showing the new position of the trigger stop


The trigger stop can be adjusted by a screw inside the frame


Variation 8 (sn range 100731- end):
The 8th variation involves the introduction of yet another new hammer. Such a pistol is missing in my collection so a comparison cannot be made yet. Going through my box of P5 spare parts I found a few hammers stamped with a triangle. I haven’t spotted P5s with a triangle marked hammer and I do know that the box of spare parts that I have are very late production. Does the triangle indicate the last alteration of the hammer? Please check your P5s and please inform me if you have a P5 with a triangle marked hammer. I didn’t observe any changes between the 4-pointed star and the triangle marked hammers.





Other variations:
During the study of the different variations I noticed a few other differences between P5s. Some of these changes were observed between parts in my spare part box and therefore it is difficult to put them in a chronological perspective. Please check your P5s for these changes so we can perhaps relate them to production times.

Variation 9:
I noticed the existence of trigger bars that were stamped with a 4-pointed star, indication a possible change in design. However, I couldn’t find any difference in the design of the part.


Variation 10:
An opening inside the triggerguard (green arrow).


There are still many open questions; firing pin (variation 2), opening in the slide (variation 4), exact serial ranges etc. I hope that the members of this forum can compare their P5s with these variations and report their findings
:)



 

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Outstanding work, Dennis ... an instant Sticky. Well done. I've got a new homework assignment for the next week, apparently. :)
 

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OK, I'll go first:

Walther P5
SN: 045572
IF Date Code (1985)

Inconsistencies I've found when compared to Mr. Marschall's figures…

  • My P5 is SN 045572, which according to Mr. Marschall, puts it in the variation 6 (1/87-10/90) category, although my date code of IF indicates 1985 (variation 4) manufacture.
  • I do have the new takedown lever style that the variation 6 pistols claim to have introduced, but it does not have the four pointed star. I can't speak to the length of the plunger on my pistol, as I have not removed it.
  • I have the 4th variation style reinforced decocking lever.
  • Magazine catch serrations from my pistol are as shown in picture below. They are different from those mentioned previously in this thread. Don't know which variation they are attributed to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
@Searcher: I can't wait to see your observations.:D

@AoxoMoxoa; Thank you for your report. That magazine catch is definately a new variation! Lets call your example variation 11. Its probably not in chronological order with the other variations but we can fix this at the end of this study when we determined the exact serial ranges.
I also observed that the new take down lever starts to pop up much earlier than suggested by the Walther factory (upgraded during its police service).
It probably also has the older type of hammer?


I will keep track of the reports and try to determine the exact serial ranges with respect to production dates and variations.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Please use the following format to report your P5s. This will allow me to save the characteristics in a database to draw any conclusions on production dates with respect to technical changes. Not all information is necessary to report but the more the better :)

Thank you guys. Lets dissect the history of the P5 :D

Report format:
Serial number:
Production date or code:
Length firing pin:
Magazine catch: hook / flat fully serrated / flat 6 serrations / flat 5 serrations
Flushing opening: Yes / NO (Note I was not able to locate the flushing opening myself, any help is appreciated)
Reinforced decocking lever: YES / NO
Hammer: Unmarked / 4-pointed star marked / Triangle marked
Takedown lever: Flat / Raised Unmarked / Raised 4-pointed star
Plunger: Long / Short
Triggerstop: Trigger / Frame
Triggerbar: unmarked / 4-pointed star
Opening on the inside of the triggerguard: YES / NO
 

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Report format:
Serial number: 032038
Production date or code: 2/83
Length firing pin:
Magazine catch: flat fully serrated
Flushing opening: NO (Note I was not able to locate the flushing opening myself, any help is appreciated)
Reinforced decocking lever: YES
Hammer: Unmarked
Takedown lever: Raised Unmarked
Plunger: Long / Short
Triggerstop: Trigger
Triggerbar: unmarked
Opening on the inside of the triggerguard: YES

Dennis, Here's the info on mine. Its one of the police trade-in's that came into country a few years ago. She also has the BMI marking on the left side lined through.
 

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For you guys with police surplus guns.... I would say you need to state so.... as the guns often where updated by the armory and don't represent the factory condition
 

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Ok, here is mine.

Report format:
Serial number: 105064
Production date or code: KI (1998)
Length firing pin: ?
Magazine catch: flat fully serrated (same as AoxoMoxoa photo)
Flushing opening: I was not able to locate the flushing
Reinforced decocking lever: YES
Hammer: Triangle marked
Takedown lever: Raised 4-pointed star
Plunger: Did not remove
Triggerstop: Frame
Triggerbar: unmarked
Opening on the inside of the triggerguard: No

Note: The triangle marked hammer that you asked about.
This is a commerical model.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys!

@winterwind; thank you for reporting your very late P5. I put an example of the opening in the triggerguard under "Variation 10" in the opening post.

@Uncut. You are more than right! This is very important info! Thanks!

@leighton: Thanks for reporting your P5 !!
 

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Ok guys, here's the report on my P5

Report format:
Serial number: 012833
Production date or code: IA (1980)
Length firing pin:
Magazine catch: flat 6 serrations
Flushing opening: NO (Note I was not able to locate the flushing opening myself, any help is appreciated)
Reinforced decocking lever: NO
Hammer: Unmarked
Takedown lever: Flat
Plunger: Long
Triggerstop: Trigger
Triggerbar: unmarked
Opening on the inside of the triggerguard: YES
 

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Here's my P5 info:

SN:038531
Prod code/date: IE/1984
Firing pin length:?
Mag Catch: Hook/No serrations, smooth
Flushing opening: ?
Reinforced decocking lever: Yes
Hammer: unmarked
Takedown Lever: Raised/ no star
Plunger: ?
Trigger stop: Trigger
Trigger Bar: Unmarked
TG inside opening: Yes
 

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Report Format
Serial numer: 037932
Production date or code: IE (2/84)
Length firing pin: ?
Magazine catch: flat fully serrated
Flushing opening: ?
Reinforced decocking lever: yes
Hammer: no marking
Takedown lever: Raised no marking
Plunger: ?
Triggerstop: Trigger
Opening on the inside of the triggerguard: no
 

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The "flushing hole" that you guys can't find is very probably the one inside the trigger guard....

There's no other reason for it to be there.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@TLQ: Thanks got it.

@MGMike: That was also my initial though, but the triggerguard hole is only found on the early pistols (some of the very early pistols even have 2 triggerguard holes) and the flushing hole was added later according to the factory. I think that the triggerguard hole is therefore not the flushing hole. Also Dieter Marshall reported that the flushing hole was in the side. However he was not able to recall where it was located exactly.
 
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