Hey Hickok45. Oh nice, P08 Luger, and brought to us today by this gun, a 1911, both really classy classic firearms in the history of pistols. When it comes to firearms, it doesn’t get much better. Am I lucky or what? I’ve got a World War II 1911 pistol on the table, a World War Two P08 Luger on the table. Enough said right?
I am the luckiest man on the planet to be able to have these two firearms here that went to war and were brought back. They are really nice specimens. They are not perfect at all, by any means. They show use and wear and character. They both have a little character about them. Pretty cool. Pretty cool.
What we’re going to do is just talk about the differences between these two and maybe what I would prefer to have if I had to choose one of those two. I’m not going to go into a 30, 40 minute video of that discussion about what it was like to be a soldier. Would you have rather had one of these if you were in a fox hole, the trenches of World War One or World War Two?
We could write, of course, four or five books comparing these two pistols. Since they’re both iconic and we happen to have both of them in our possession, one of them mine, one of them borrowed, let’s just talk about the differences between these two, and some of my observations. Feel free to chime in with some of your observations.
You might have one or both of these. You might have fired one or both of these extensively. You can lend your expertise, your experience, what you think about them. I’ve fired both of them, of course. I’ve fired the 1911 extensively. I’ve fire the P08 a moderate amount. I don’t have as much experience with it. I’ve never owned one of my own.
First of all, again, we do want to in a way, honor both of them. They’re both really interesting; you could almost say masterpieces of machinery. They’re both obviously used, were used extensively in lots of different situations. The P08 goes back, designed in the late 1890’s, then of course manufactured up through the 1940’s, use in World War One, World War Two.
The 1911 had kind of the same timeframe initially. John Browning started the designs, I think in the late 1890’s, didn’t he? It was then finalized in this format, to some extent, in 1911. This one is actually an A1, so 1924, but essentially the same. They both have a lot of history. The 1911 still carries on. That is one major difference, isn’t it?
I don’t really want to bash either one, but we’ll bash the P08 a little bit in that regard. I don’t know of anybody carrying the Luger, the P08 or a replica of it, or a design for their carry gun. I don’t know of any manufacturers who have been scrambling around and copying it for the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) competitors or IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) competitors.
I don’t see a huge drive for anybody to copy this design. Can we say the same for the 1911? No, it’s being copied, it’s being manufactured by everybody, isn’t it? It’s still in wide use today, even in the military still and in competition. I started to say millions. I don’t know if that’s too big a number, but tens of thousands of people still actually carry the 1911, civilians with their carry permits.
That firearm lives on forever in that design, that drop-barrel link system, lockup style. That’s pretty much the basis for most semiautomatics today. We’ve got to give the nod to the old 1911 for that and to Mr. John Browning. Even though this is a really ingenious design and it’s fascinating to work with it, that toggle lock system, it’s really interesting to put an empty mag in it.
It’s just fascinating. I’ll tell you what this reminds me of. It reminds me of comparing a Colt single-action to a CS Scofield, Smith and Wesson. I’m fascinated by the Scofield and the Smith and Wesson, the old frontier revolvers. I guess the nod still goes to the Colt single-action in terms of a maybe more durable firearm.
Just the way this thing operates is so interesting and the close tolerances. It’s a marvel of machinery, it really is. It probably would not hold up as well in a really dirty environment. Although, it is so tight that it is not as likely to get as much dirt in it, just by the sheer design. I’ll take the magazine out.
That’s one of the knocks on it is it’s probably not going to stand up as well in a muddy trench. Let’s take a couple of shots and see if it will actually fire before we badmouth it too much. How’s that? Okay, the P08. This was made by Mauser. It’s a 1939 model.
It’s got a loaded magazine in it, so we pull up on the toggle, charge the first round. We see there’s a round in the chamber. I can tell by the chamber indicator there, loaded chamber indicator. I think they copied that from Ruger. Pretty funny huh? What shall we try to hit. Let’s see, I think I’ve discovered the sights are pretty much on.
We have our first hang-up with it. There we go. Let’s try that firepot. Nice. I’ll be darned; we’ve been really fortunate up until now. We’ve not had any hang-ups with it, until that magazine. It’s acting up, isn’t it? That’s Winchester white box, the same stuff we used in the original video with it. I’ll put that back in.
Like I said, maybe it’s more fragile.
Nice. I’ll try to put one on that orange one. I guess it’s empty, the other mag didn’t hold the slide back with the toggle, the toggle back. In its defense, we’ve really not had much trouble like that. I guess it heard me badmouthing it, right? It really did.
That was that magazine. I’ll remember that. That’s not the original magazine. Where is that? Was that the one? Let’s see, three six, five six. No that is. That is the original magazine, okay. This is a Mauser magazine, but it’s not the original. It’s not marked.
We had a little issue there. It is considered to be one that would not withstand a lot of dirt and a lot of crud, because of the close tolerances. It’s an ingenious design. It’s not as quick to take down. If you saw me take it down, I struggled more than I should have. It does involve a little bit more than the 1911 in terms of takedown.
They’re both are fun to shoot. They’re both of course firearms that everybody would like to own, I’ll put it that way. Again, this design is not necessarily the ideal design for a carry piece. Here are a couple of things, ergonomically speaking that I don’t like about it as well as I do the 1911, for example.
I’m making sure she’s clear again. Okay. The safety. You’ve got ahold of it, let’s say. Okay. Thumb safety is not exactly… I have a longer thumb, granted, but still…There it is. Okay let’s get the safety off, and then get our grip reacquired there. You’ve got that issue, whereas with a 1911 it’s hard to beat. You can rake it up and back and forth, even if you have a long thumb like I do.
The same with the magazine release. I’ll get the empty magazine. Okay. I want to just release the mag, well I’ve got to change grips or use this hand to get up there on that. It’s probably just designed so you wouldn’t accidentally release the magazine. Still, it’s not exactly IPSC friendly, to say the least.
I did struggle with the breakdown of it of course, a little bit. The contour of the grip and everything, even though Ruger copied that, I don’t necessarily like it. A lot of people brag about the way it points when you grab it. It’s okay, but I’m not crazy about that. I prefer the feel of the 1911. Even though I don’t like the hump in this version of it, it feels better than that to me.
Maybe it does. Let’s take a couple shots with this baby. We don’t want to neglect a 1911. I’ll put my ears back on. It’s some old hardball. Alright.
I forgot about that heavy trigger. It’s pretty nice, good old Slap Sides, the workhorse right there, the 1911, which brings up another topic. This firearm, the P08, the Luger really wasn’t meant to be a workhorse. You’ll hear that word in association with the 1911 a lot because we wanted as many soldiers to have the 1911 as we could possibly outfit. It was not uncommon to see an infantryman with a 1911 in battle.
It’s a fighting handgun. It’s designed to be. That’s what it was designed for, not just something for only officers to carry around and look pretty, and be proud of. The Luger, the P08 in some ways was just kind of a badge of honor, a badge of authority that an officer would have in most cases, as I understand.
You’ve got a little bit of a difference there in purpose. That’s another thing to factor in. it wasn’t maybe as important for this to be a workhorse like the old 1911 that would withstand the mud and the grit and keep on trucking. This gun is made to looser tolerances. I think most people would agree. Some might even criticize it for that. Not I. I never really have. It’s never really bothered me.
I have competed in USPSA with 1911’s that were loose. They would rattle. They outshoot me. They shoot better than I can shoot. There are still people who pick one up and say it’s a little loose. I almost want to laugh. They probably couldn’t hit that tombstone there with any handgun and they’re complaining about it being loose.
I shouldn’t say that but they do just fine, even if they have loose tolerances. This gun does seem accurate. I’m going to shoot it again. I’m going to give it another chance. One thing I want to point out too is that the magazine in this firearm is very awkward to load. Let’s try the other magazine. You can’t just stick the rounds in. This one you can. We tried it in the other one. Oh, okay.
John and I were experimenting earlier. The magazine was hard to load. It does get hard. You’ve got this little button. That little button kills your thumb. The spring is extremely tight. It is really hard to push it down. I tell you. After I load one of these I have to change hands here in the middle. My thumb is about ripped off.
I’m trying to get that loaded. Since we had the little malfunction, let’s give it another chance there. This is just Winchester white box, but in the original video, it was doing fine with it. Oh man. I’ll put my other thumb on it. The same concept that the Ruger uses on some of their magazines but theirs works a lot better in the Ruger. Ouch, it hurts.
Let’s see if I can get another round in there without taking all of the skin off my thumb. Okay. By comparison now, look how hard the 1911 magazine is to load. I don’t even use a speed loader on these. They just slide in there beautifully, just beautifully, no trouble at all.
We’re not comparing 45 with nine millimeter, by the way. You saw my video on this. This firearm was actually submitted to the trials in the United States in 1906, 1907, when we were looking at firearms and evaluating them. Luger made two or more of these in 45 ACP and submitted it. We could have actually been carrying this thing around for the last 50 years in 45 ACP.
In that sense, we’re not comparing nine with 45. That old argument never goes away, does it? We’re mainly looking at the design of the firearms. Let’s shoot this thing a little more here. Let’s put it in the holster. Let’s say I had to load that magazine in a hurry. I’d be in trouble, wouldn’t I?
I’ll go ahead and charge the chamber. Put it on safe. Put it in this do all holster I have. Now let’s say I needed to pull it out kind of in a hurry. Let me try that. I pull it out and I’ve got… There we go. I went backwards. Let me try again. It’s on safe. I’ve got to pull it out and take the safety off. I can’t just… There we go.
It’s kind of awkward.
There we go. It works okay once you get it shooting. While we’ve got her hot, let’s do it again. Put one in the chamber. Safety is on.
Boom. That’s that magazine that was acting up before, isn’t it? Okay. Maybe it doesn’t like to be fully loaded.
Okay. It’s a little awkward to work on the controls with any kind of smoothness or speed. That’s my opinion.
Whereas, this baby… let’s load him up. Put a round in the chamber. Put it on safe. Put it in the holster. Let’s just pull it out and shoot this watermelon.
I think I hit the post. Oh well.
Let’s do that again, safety on.
It’s just a lot more convenient to use and in terms of reloading, it works a lot better. I can pop that next round, magazine in there, put the slide down, and keep at it. Okay, 1911. You’ll notice this does not have a slide lock either, so if the magazine doesn’t hold it back, you’re just going to have to work with the toggling.
Some of that’s nit-picky stuff that I’m talking about, I realize. Both guns have a lot of history and both guns are very interesting. They’re, I would say, designed by geniuses in the firearms world, but the P08, looking at the history, is a little different than John Browning’s design. John browning pretty much designed this from the inception.
They went through kind of an evolution through the first decade of the 1900’s, more so than any other time. He may have started on that in the late 1890’s, but it was his baby. This is a firearm that was based on the Borchardt C93, a firearm that was already around that had this toggle link, toggle lock system on it, which comes from Maxim the machine gun.
It was kind of a quirky gun, a bigger gun. There weren’t a lot of them made. It had its problems. The Luger, the P08 is more or less Luger’s fix of that C93. He just kind of made it better. He did. I think he made it a lot better, but that’s what you’ve got. His taking a design and then improving upon it and trying to make the best of it, it’s an iconic firearm. It’s just an iconic firearm.
This is the Mauser version, as I said earlier, pretty cool. Let’s take just a couple more shots with each one. Then we’ll wrap it up. I’m going to use this magazine again on this one and see if I can have good luck with it again. These are really cool guns. I’m privileged to be able to shoot them, especially since they’re not even reproductions.
They were there. This one was in the Pacific, a minesweeper. I’ve given you the history on that before. The feller brought it back. He tried to scratch it off. He was afraid to get in trouble, this old guy. He scratched that off a little bit and it wasn’t a big deal. A lot of people brought them back and got by with it.
I think I’ve told you that story before. My father said they were almost threatened to the point where he was afraid to try to bring his back. I wish he had. He said they didn’t even check their bags or anything. He could’ve brought back five or six, he said. The history of these is pretty cool, pretty cool. They are just inanimate objects, pieces of steel, plastic, or wood. They have no minds of their own of course.
Several countries adopted both of these firearms. The P08 was adopted by the Swiss. In the early years, 1901, 1900, along in there, they were used then in different countries and carried. This was mostly something carried by officers. Really neat. I’ll tell you, even if you would never carry something like this, or you wouldn’t even trust it enough to depend on it to protect your life, it’s a fascinating firearm in the way it functions. I really wouldn’t mind having one. They’re very expensive. They’re really neat. I may have to have one in the collection one day.
My criticism of it is just in comparison with other firearms mostly. I’ve got to shoot them both one more time for you. Some of you may never get a chance to shoot a Luger. As hard as it is and as much as I hate to do it, I’m going to do it for you. That’s just the kind of friend I am. I’ll do it for you. Let’s shoot it one-handed, since that’s what it was really designed for. Actually it feels better with one hand.
Yeah, it shoots well, but it’s still getting a little bit of a hang-up though. Okay. I’ll clear that out. That mag’s empty. The Mauser, the P08, the Luger. Alright let’s try to finish this guy off. I shouldn’t say it out loud. I’ve had this for several years. Every time we bring it out I don’t think we’ve had a malfunction with it and it’s been through the war.
Is that beautiful or what? The good old 1911. What a pretty gun. This is not a setup to make the Luger look bad, to malfunction. It really has not been malfunctioning. It’s been doing fine. Be that as it may, you never know about Winchester white box. Two beautiful firearms, both with history.
I’m going to take us back into the 1930’s and 40’s when both of these were made, the P08 in 1939, this one in the early 40’s. Both were carried during World War Two. They both still work and are fun to shoot. Do I even have to say it? Life really is good.