Pistol P 1 – the Bundeswehr handgun – Part 1Part 1:
The first part of this article will provide the reader with an overview of the changes which the weapon and its accessories have undergone. The upcoming parts of this report will give the reader a more detailed description of individual features and introduce individual pistols.
In its initial phase in 1956 the Bundeswehr had to procure major defence equipment as well as handguns from the Allies of World War II. Hence, Colt 1911 pistols in .45 ACP were the first handguns handed out to German soldiers. The delivery of the first new Walther pistols started in June 1957. According to what we know today, pistols which had previously been used by the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany, and had been seized by the Allies of WW II were not released. While the WTS does have two Wehrmacht P 38 bearing delivery acceptance stamps by the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung - BWB), the purpose which these weapons served is not known unfortunately. The Belgian shooting test stamps suggest that they were procured on non-military markets. An inquiry on this has been launched.
P 38 manufactured by Mauser in 1943 showing Belgian stamp: "Waffe ausländischer Herstellung" ("Weapon of foreign origin").
Stamp by the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung - BWB).
The Belgian stamp overlaps with the German delivery acceptance stamp of 1943.
BWB stamp showing the number 27.
The Bundeswehr P 1 pistol is a replica of the Walther P 38 which was originally brought into Wehrmacht use in 1940. German common parlance and Bundeswehr regulations exclusively mention the term "Pistole P 1", even though the first pistols were marked with the designation P 8. The P 1 was the Bundeswehr standard issue pistol over many years before it was gradually superseded by the P 8 from 1996 onwards.
At first glance, one can hardly see any difference between the pistols manufactured during World War II and the Bundeswehr weapon, apart from the grip casings. Almost all components look identical.