June 14, 2022
By Garry James
I recently bought a P.38 pistol from a friend of mine who owns a gun shop. It is different from other P.38s that I’ve had in the past. My friend thinks it was reblued, but I don’t think that’s it. The code and other stampings on it are not very deep and hard to read. You can see that it has the code “ac”. And the year is hard to make out, but looks to be “43” or “45”. The finish looks original to me, but with a lot of holster wear. What is unusual about it is that the slide does not have “P.38” stamped on the left side. Every other P.38 I’ve seen had “P.38” stamped on the slide. My friend’s theory is that when it was reblued, they sanded it off. I’m not so sure as there are no signs of stampings on there or evidence of it being sanded off. Did they make P.38s without the model stamp, or is this a case of it being removed? Otherwise, it looks original with typical markings. The serial number is 14XXe. The finish on the side is a brownish color with a lot of wear. Anything you can tell us about this pistol would be appreciated.
-P.McC. of Leechburg, Pennsylvania
I’m inclined to agree with your friend. The remaining markings look quite thin, and I believe I can see some rounding in a few areas that would indicate metal has been removed by filing or buffing. The “ac” code shows the gun was manufactured by Walther. The “43” or “45” would be the year of manufacture. The ac 43, 44 and 45 are fairly common P.38 variants. To my knowledge, no P.38s in this series were manufactured sans normal markings.
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