Skip to main content Skip to main content

Sauer 38H Semiauto Pocket Pistol

Gun Room: Sauer 38H double-action, semiautomatic pocket pistols by J.P. Sauer & Sohn were issued to the German army, navy and police during WWII.

Gun Room: Sauer 38H Semiauto Pocket Pistol

Sauer 38H, 7.65mm, 70%: $350

Question: I have attached a few photos of my pistol, and I would love to know more about this sidearm. The story goes that my step-grandfather was a machine gunner in World War II in France. He was the lone survivor of a slaughtered machine gun team who played dead beneath his fallen brothers for two days, narrowly avoiding being bayonetted before the Germans moved on to another location. Once they did, he was able to escape the carnage and took this pistol with him from a dead Nazi on his way to safety. He never got too deep into the details, so I cannot prove this, but the pistol is certainly interesting. It has the original owner’s name etched into the slide and written on the accompanying holster. Any information you could provide would be appreciated.

-R.D. via email

Answer: You have a Sauer 38H double-action, semiautomatic pocket pistol. This was an excellent eight-shot repeater. Most were in 7.65mm (.32 ACP), but some were also made in .22 LR and 9mm kurz (.380 ACP). Model 38Hs were designed and manufactured by J.P. Sauer & Sohn beginning in 1938. They were issued to the German army, navy and police as well as being sold on the civilian market. Production ceased in 1945 with the end of World War II. Some 250,000 were made. The pistol in question seems to be a typical example of a 38H, and the electric pencil marking on the pistol’s slide, “Oberstlt König”, and “König” inked on the inside of the flap indicate the pistol was originally owned by a German first lieutenant of that name. Normally, unofficial scratching or marks detract from a gun’s value, but in this case I would say that, based on the past history of yours, these certainly add interest, if not value.

-Garry James

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now