WTW: The American Luger

american luger
October 5, 2016  
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Categories: Musings

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Weapon Trivia Wednesday: The American Luger

Ian McCollum

One of the most uniquely German pistols of the early twentieth century was the American Luger. They were the ultimate “bringback trophy” in both World Wars, yet scores of GIs probably did not realize these very pistols were built for the American commercial market over a decade before our doughboys arrived in France to sort out the Kaiser.

Ian takes a look at one in today’s video.

Tribute piece made on the 100th anniversary, but the Eagle is still the same.

Did you ever have this problem where you really want a Luger pistol but it’s just too German and you don’t want another German pistol? Well, there is a solution.

Perhaps you didn’t know you can get a Luger pistol with a great big patriotic American Eagle crest on top of the chamber. In fact, a lot of these Luger pistols are out there.

Luger pistol

The American civilian shooting market was one of the good early places where a lot of these Lugers were sold. This particular example is a 1904 production piece of the Model 1900 American Luger pistol. DWM, which stands for Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken Aktien-Gesellschaft (German Weapons and Munitions public limited company), manufactured these guns with an American crest on them specifically for the American shooting public. DWM figured they would sell a lot of American Lugers, and they were right.

About 20,000 of these guns were manufactured, including 1,000 in 7.65 purchased for formal testing by the US Army.

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7.65 Parabellum, aka 30 Luger, the forerunner to the 9mm Parabellum round.

This was in 1900, well before the Colt M1911 was in the mix.

Luger ergonomic grip handle

The iconic Luger has one of the most ergonomic grip handles out there.

Luger also tested a cartridge-counter version with a viewable side panel in the grip so soldiers could keep track of their ammunition. Those variants are really scarce today. 45 caliber Lugers made in  1907 are also pretty scarce, although they’re not quite the million-dollar guns common mythology has made them out to be.

These Commercial American Eagle Lugers are really cool, look awesome, are fantastically made, and there are more of them out there than you might think.

So if you really need to get a Luger but don’t want it to be quite that German, keep an eye out for the American Eagle versions. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

Screenshot from the video above of Ian taking a look at a Luger pistol


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About the Author

Author Ian McCollumIan McCollum is considered a gun nerd even among gun nerds. He’s probably best known for his work as the founder and editor of Forgotten Weapons. McCollum is also a producer and co-host of InRange TV. As if these chops weren’t enough, he’s a technical adviser for the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners and a professional researcher for Armament Research Services. Somehow he manages to balance such academic work with private consultation and practical shooting competition. He’s been published in publications such as Strzał Magazine and Popular Mechanics, and he has excellent taste in rare and obscure camouflage. If you’d like to support Ian’s goal of creating a comprehensive firearms encyclopedia, support him here: https://www.patreon.com/ForgottenWeapons. (Yes, we know he looks like someone crossed a beatnik with a Civil War cavalry officer — idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, and peculiarities are the first requirements to write for us. He’s gonna fit in perfectly.

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More about Freedom Munitions

Freedom Munitions is all about, well, ammunition. They’re aptly named, because in our minds the sound of freedom is best represented by the exuberant and well directed discharge of rifles. Freedom Munitions is part of Howell Munitions and Technology, as is their performance projectile line, X-treme Bullets. While they’re best known for remanufactured ammunition, they also have entire lines of new ammunition and perform OEM production for other companies. But more than that, they also make their own brass. They make their own projectiles. They package their own stuff. More than that, they make the machines that make the brass. They make the machines that make the projectiles. And they own their own trucking company. Be sure to check out Freedom Munitions online here, check out what they had at SHOT, or give them a follow on Facebook.

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