The Luger P08 is a semi-automatic large-frame pistol chambered in 9mm. The P08, commonly known as the Luger, was produced by the now defunct German arms manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken from 1900 to 1945.
The Luger is perhaps best known for its use by the German military during WWI and WWII. The gun was first introduced in 7.65x22mm Parabellum, and is the pistol for which the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge was designed.
Unique to the Luger is its use of a toggle-lock action in place of the slide actions used by the vast majority of semi-automatic pistols. The toggle lock employs a jointed arm that bends and recoils rearward when a shot is fired. This motion, integral to recoil-operated weapons, is responsible for the ejection of the spent casing and the chambering of a new round. The forward motion of the toggle lock (that chambers a new round) is powered by a spring.
The P08’s predecessor, chambered in 7.65x21mm, was adopted by the Swiss Army in 1900. Subsequently, in 1908, the P08 was employed by the German Army to replace the Reichsrevolver as a front line service revolver. The P08 enjoyed a long service history with the German military, and was subsequently adopted by numerous armed forces worldwide. Although the Luger was eventually phased out by the German Army in the mid-20th Century, it remains a favorite of collectors and gun aficionados today.