Disclaimer: The Germans never referred to their toggle-locked service pistol as the Luger officially. However in this history of the pistol I will refer to the various models as the Luger as it is far more commonly known by that name today.
The most well-known rendition of the Luger pistol is the P-08, adopted by the German Army after extensive trials as a pistol and another version (with an 8″ barrel, removable stock and adjustable tangent sight) was adopted as an artillery carbine. However, this was not the first rendition of a toggle-lock pistol, nor even the first Luger.
The Borchardt C-93 was the first use of a toggle-lock, however it was somewhat clunky and quite uncomfortable.
Georg Luger took this design and made huge improvements to the balance, weight and ergonomics, much to the chagrin of Hugo Borchardt who felt his idea had been ‘stolen’. However the improvements Luger made to this mechanism really made it viable for use as a sidearm.
This was then adopted by the Swiss (who had a reputation of staying ahead of the curve) and four years later by the Imperial German Navy in 1904. This featured a rear sight adjustable to 100 and 200m and a 6″ barrel. This is the rendition in question.
While it is possible to get Lugers in all three German service versions that take green gas, they have a bit of a varied reputation, among which problems include firing full auto on occasion. I’m also a CO2 man myself, I much prefer the stability and reliability of CO2 cartridges.
The KWC Luger P08 will be the donor for this conversion, which will feature a longer barrel, the adjustable rear sight, new grips, lots of extra detailing (including maker’s marks missing on the KWC), some tweaks to the magazine and an overall refinishing. Plus some internal modifications to make it skirmishable as it is firing pretty hot, as my back will testify.
I’d like to go into a lot more detail about the history of the toggle-lock and the Luger specifically as it had a long and successful service life as well as entry into a number of trials in countries that nearly adopted the Luger but it’s a broad subject and at the moment building the replicas is what allows me to do this blog rather than the other way around. If you want to see more content along those lines, let me know and I’ll try and write more.
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