Sock Drawer Guns
What the old man brought out was a 1910 Imperial era Luger with a double digit serial number. I cleared it, and began to examine it. All parts matched on the pistol. The only bad quality about the pistol was some monkey somewhere along the way had carved his initials into the grips. They were defaced with a crudely carved "M", but they were numbered to the weapon. My wife was enthralled with the pistol, especially when I corrected her old man and told him it was a German Luger P-08. With his permission, I took some digital photos. My Father in Law recounted a couple of war stories his father had told him, and informed my wife that the pistol was hers to be inherited. Later that year, sadly, the old man passed away.
After his death, the pistol became caught up in his estate.
Meanwhile, I went to the Luger Forum for more information. There, I learned from Jeff Noll's book "The Imperial German Regimental Markings" lists a DWM Luger dated 1910, serial number 6745c as marked 8.K.3.14. which translates to "Kurassier-Regiment 8, Eskadron 3, Waffe Nr. 14". My Luger would appear to have been issued to the same unit as waffe (weapon) number 2. Kurassier-Regiment 8 was apparently a cavalry unit. Weapon number two would likely have been issued to the second in command, or perhaps the first sergeant.
The general consensus regarding the M carved into the grips is that it was relatively recent. My wife's father had emphatically stated that the carving was in the grips from the time he was a little boy. The carving was lighter than the grips themselves, and I can only come to the conclusion that it was done while the pistol was in an American soldier's hands. I cannot conceive that an officer or a first sergeant would do such a thing, and the provenance of the weapon after it's arrival in the US is beyond dispute. Perhaps the lighter color of the carving is simply because the pistol stayed in the dark of a sock drawer all those years. At any rate, I changed the grips, and packed the original numbered to the pistol grips away for safe keeping.
We don't shoot this pistol. The risk of breaking a numbered and thus irreplaceable part on an all matching Luger is a a little to high for us. We keep it stored away in a fitted box I made for it. It's a pistol to hold and fondle, while remembering a magical evening with a distinguished old man who is now gone.
Labels: Gun Collecting