A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sock Drawer Guns

Sometimes you just have no idea what someone may pull out of a sock drawer. I was visiting my Father in Law one afternoon and we were talking guns. I was showing him a couple of my 1911's when he said "I have an old Japanese gun that my Dad gave me from WWI." I thought this was rather unusual, and I asked to see it.

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. Click to enlargeThe 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.



Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Wow, that's awesome. The front-sight filing must have been done to accurize it. Perhaps the loads were inconsistent or the original owner expected the pistol to be used at closer range, like in trenches?

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your title caught my attention. My father (pushing 90) moved a couple years ago and his pistol turned up missing. He was convinced the movers stole it. Last week he found it in his SOCK DRAWER, inside a pair of socks. Of course its not special like the Luger, but its his gun. He loves telling the story of how he traded an B&W TV for it back in 1950s.

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather recently passed away and much in the same way as others, we found an imperial luger, with matching mags, holster and tool in the bottom of a box in his bedroom. He told us prior to his death he didn't have any guns left. Guess he forgot about this one. Amazing the things people have, forget and so on.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strange. I picked up a Kar 88 recently with the unit markings of: 8.K.3.19.2353643

12:03 PM  

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