I recently bought a Walther P1, which is the model that replaced the P38 after WWII. It is the same design but the frame is aluminum rather than steel, with a steel slide, and a few updates.
I was toally surprised when I first shot it. It shoots as good as any defense gun I have and shot to the point of aim. It is nicely made. Mine was supposedly "Unissued" military. The metal work look like it but it had been referbed in 1963, as best I can tell form the markings. It needed new stocks which are readily available in plastic (collector item) or walnut. It was less than $400 on the internet through an advertiser in the Shotgun News from Texas. I would caution about the NAZI marked P38's: they are collector guns and are pricey, and the finish quality went down markedly as the manufacture date (marked on the gun as two digits) approached 1945. For a shooter the P1 is the answer and it is a shooter.
It should be noted that no P1 is a Curio or Relic (must be 50 years old to be C&R) and must be processed like any other handgun. The P38 is if it is pre-1955. In California someone has processed the Walther P1 through the Safety Program and it can be purchased. Some dealer don't recognise this but it is on the Attorney General's "aceptable" list for California. There is some confusion as it is listed as composite, steel when it is really Aluminum, steel but all the other specification match a P38/P1. Mine processed with no problems.
P-38. Mine was a P1 also owned by a Lt Stephens of a Border Guard Unit sometime issued during the 60's (written in the holster with the gun). Finish/Bore was very good for a used gun. Do not know import quality today of surplus P-38's.
It shot like a dream but it is a artillery piece. It's big. Clip removal is Euro heel style vice button frame 1911 style and some people hate this.
I loved mine and wish I hadn't traded up years ago to a modern gun. I should have saved up instead of trading to get another pistol but I was young.
The P-38 is a mean war fighter and that is why Germany used it. SW used it to base some of their design on (39 and 59 autos).
It is a wonderful piece in the history of firearms even though used by the Nazis at one time. Blame the user not the gun.
Performance - mine used modern hollow points at the time of ownership and had no FTF or jams. It was very accurate for me and a natural pointer.
I've shot both the Luger and my P-1 (aluminum framed post WW2 P-38).The P-1 feels good in your hand, shoot very well, has a decent single action trigger, and the sights are very usable. The Lugers are heavier, and have a terrible single action trigger, and shoot just OK as they are more prone to jams and the accuracy, at least on the samples I shot, does not match the Walther. The Lugers have become collector items and a shooter in fair condition is worth between $600 to $900 while you can still get these unisued, non matching number P-1's for about $400 to your door. I'll take the Walther any day!
I have a WWII luger that was given to me by a friend. It is in .30 Mauser caliber. From a bench, I can keep 10 rounds inside 1 1/2" all day long with Winchester factory ammo. I have NEVER had a jam. Maybe I'm just lucky! My friend was a gunsmith.
I have a P 38 and we shot many rounds through it.It's a reliable pistol
with a history.Mine made in 1945 in good shape.It was captured by
Greek resistance who came to Maine set up a Bakery where my father
worked and gave him one of three they had.An ac 45 in decent shape with holster and mag.
Does anyone have experience with the Walther P-38?
Like others here, I own a P1... the P-38 with Dural frame.
Mine looks unfired... and I've put less than a box of ammo through it. I got it just for the history and great feeling of handling a truly classic firearm. I don't really think of it as a weapon, though it certainly would serve.
It's a first-class artifact at a bargain-basement price. If this sort of thing appeals to you, you can't go wrong buying one.