The Walther P38 is a 9x19mm Parabellum pistol that was developed as the service pistol of the Wehrmacht at the beginning of World War II. It was intended to replace the costly Luger P08, the production of which was scheduled to end in 1942. The P38 uses a double action trigger design similar to that of the earlier Walther PPKs, and a loaded chamber indicator is also incorporated. The P38 was the first locked-breech pistol to use a double-action trigger (the earlier double-action PPK was an unlocked blowback design, but the more powerful 9x19mm Parabellum round used in the P38 mandated a locked breech design). The shooter could load a round into the chamber, use the de-cocking lever to safely lower the hammer without firing the round, and carry the weapon loaded with the hammer down. A pull of the trigger, with the hammer down, fired the first shot and the operation of the pistol ejected the fired round and reloaded a fresh round into the chamber, all features found in many modern day handguns. The fixed-barrel design mechanism operates by use of a wedge-shaped locking block underneath the breech. When the pistol is fired both the barrel and slide recoil for a short distance together, where the locking block drives down, disengaging the slide and arresting further rearward movement of the barrel. The slide however continues its rearward movement on the frame, ejecting the spent case and cocking the hammer before reaching the end of travel. Two return springs located on either side of the frame and below the slide, having been compressed by the slide's rearward movement, drive the slide forward, stripping a new round from the magazine, driving it into the breech and, in the process, re-engaging the barrel; ending its return travel with a fresh round chambered, hammer cocked and ready to repeat the process.
Weight: 28.2 oz (800 g)
Length: 8.4″ (214 mm)
Height: 5.4″ (136 mm)
Width: 1.50″ (38 mm)
Barrel Length: 4.9″ (125 mm)
Operation: Semi-automatic, Short recoil
Grip: Grooved plastic (Bakelite)
Safety: Slide-mounted safety/decocker
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