Humorous photograph depicting several variations of WWI P.08 Lugers.
WWI / WWII small arms marked with "M" were issued to the Navy or "Kriegsmarine." This particular example has WWI Kreigsmarine markings on its backstrap.
"S/42" denotes production in the Mauser factory.
These pre-WWII pistols were finished exceptionally well. Note the beautiful yellow straw bluing of certain small components.
Origin: Imperial Germany
Military Service: 1904 - 1945
Wars: WWI, WWII
Action: Semi-Automatic Toggle-Locked
Magazine: 8 Round Detachable
Significance: The first pistol to use the 9x19mm (9mm Luger) cartridge. This caliber has since become the most popular handgun cartridge in the world.
The Mauser factory stopped straw bluing small components on its Lugers in 1937 to meet higher production demands.
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties that ended WWI. It severely limited Germany's ability to manufacture small arms. When Germany began to rearm itself in the 1930s, it used letters--not numbers--to annotate the year of production of its P.08 pistols. The Mauser factory did this in an attempt to hide the fact that it was producing small arms in violation of the treaty.
In 1934 Mauser got its first Military P.08 contract from the German government. These pistols were marked with "K."
Beginning in 1935 the Mauser factory began by marking the guns with the "G" instead of "K."