Identification of the Luger P08

by William McCoy

The Luger, at right, was a German sidearm in two wars.

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The Luger P08 pistol is notable for being the sidearm of the German military in the World War I and World War II. It was developed in 1898 in Germany, and because of its unique and easily identifiable design, it was a highly sought-after trophy for Allied soldiers in both wars.

Shape

The most discernible feature of the Luger P08 is its shape. Unlike many pistols that are a square, "L" shape, the Luger has a sleeker look. Instead of descending from the barrel at roughly a 90-degree angle, the Luger's handle is at a 45-degree angle from the barrel. The body of the pistol extends past the handle of the gun, creating a thumb rest for the user. The Luger has a rear breech lock with a hinge that allows it to swing open.

Ammunition

The Luger is a single-action, semiautomatic pistol that fires 7.65 mm or 9 mm x19 mm parabellum ammunition. The eight-round magazine is held in the Luger's handle.

Size

The Luger’s standard barrel length is 102 mm, giving the pistol an overall length of 230 mm. Pistol length variations for the firearm include barrels of 98 mm, 152 mm and 203 mm, depending on their use. For example, artillery officers carried the longest-barrel variation of the Luger.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.