For Those Who Like Their Lugers Long: The Lange Pistole 1908
While the Luger P08 was a sought-after souvenir for returning GIs in both World Wars, the rarely encountered long-barreled model was especially prized.
We've seen hundreds of Lugers come through the Guns.com Vault in the past few years, ranging from Swiss-made guns to American Eagles, Black Widows, and 1980s commemoratives, but the "Artillery Luger" is more of a unicorn.
Officially dubbed the Lange Pistole 1908, or LP.08, while the rest of the Imperial German Army was using the regular P08, it was decided the cannon cockers of the field and fortress artillery, in 1913, were to be issued a lengthened (lange= long) version with a 7.87-inch barrel and a graduated tangent leaf rear sight marked to a wildly optimistic 800m. The LP.08 would take the place of both the short carbine and the revolver for the artillery, making it something of a Ragtime-era PDW.
Put into production in mid-1913, the Royal Prussian rifle factory at Erfurt produced the LP08 for 1914 only while DWM (Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken), the commercial maker of the Luger, by far delivered the most, keeping the gun in production until 1918 with the end of the Great War. The gun was typically supplied with a wooden shoulder stock that slid into a locking lug in the heel of the grip, like the C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser and the early Browning Hi-Power.
Besides the standard capacity magazine, late in the war, a special 32-round snail drum magazine was often issued alongside LP.08s, while the same magazine was used by the Bergmann submachine-gun in 1918, especially in the hands of trench-raiding German Sturmtruppen in the final offensives of the conflict.
These guns were sought-after by the Doughboys who encountered them.
While a lot of LP.08s were made in the Great War-- some reports say 180,000, some 205,000-- stockpiles of these guns were impounded and destroyed during the Allied occupation, as the guns were considered especially bannable. Compare this number to the standard 4-inch 9mm P.08 military variant by DWM and Erfurt, who made over one million of the guns, which did not have such a warrant out for their demise.
While the standard P.08 was allowed to remain in some limited production for commercial sales in the 1920s, the Inter-Allied Commission or IMKK restricted barrel length to 4-inches, ending the reign of the Lange.
This has not stopped the gun's popularity, and they continued to show up in unusual places.
With two inches more panache than the German Naval Luger and twice the length of the standard P.08, the Artillery Luger has appeared in more than 40 films over the years, including The Guns of Navarone, The Land That Time Forgot, Layer Cake, Warhorse, and King Kong.
A closer look
This circa 1917 DWM model in the Guns.com Warehouse, SN 8749 has the full serial number on side of the receiver and the underside of the barrel while the abbreviated "49" is on the side of the side plate, the takedown lever, the sight body and leaf, the toggle, and the toggle link.
If you like interesting finds such as this fine period firearm, be sure to check out our Collector's Corner and Military Classics selections to put a piece of history in your own museum.