- 9:46 pm - Mon, Feb 18, 2013
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The German Parabellum-Pistole 1908, or P-08, was created by Georg J. Luger and patented in 1898. One of the first semi-automatic pistols, it shot a 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge and used a toggle-lock action, first seen in the Borchardt C-93. Wikipedia, (who described it better than I could have) says about the action:
"The Luger was designed to use a toggle-lock action, which uses a jointed arm to lock, as opposed to the slide actions of almost every other semi-automatic pistol. After a round is fired, the barrel and toggle assembly (both locked together at this point) travel rearward due to recoil. After moving roughly 0.5 in (13 mm) rearward, the toggle strikes a cam built into the frame, causing the knee joint to hinge and the toggle and breech assembly to unlock. At this point the barrel impacts the frame and stops its rearward movement, but the toggle assembly continues moving (bending the knee joint) due to momentum, extracting the spent casing from the chamber and ejecting it. The toggle and breech assembly subsequently travel forward under spring tension and the next round from the magazine is loaded into the chamber. The entire sequence occurs in a fraction of a second."
The Luger began production in 1900 at the Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken, or DWM, plant. The pistol has a long service life, and was used by the German, Swiss, and Bolivian armies, as well as many other countries’ law enforcement and armed forces.
There are many variations of Lugers made. The Artillery Luger, which had a wooden stock and a 32 round drum magazine, was used as a sort of PDW by Wehrmacht Artillerymen. In 1904, the German Navy accepted the Luger as it’s service pistol, which had a 150 mm barrel with sights up to 200 meters.The variation made for the Swiss army in 1900 was chambered in 7.65x21 mm Parabellum, and sported a 120 mm barrel. In 1906-07, the US Army held trials for a new service pistol, and the Luger was one of the candidates.The US version, for which only 2 prototypes were made, were chambered in .45 ACP. One of these two pistols is held in a private collection, and is estimated to be worth around $1 million.