Deutsche Werk .380

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by jkdulin, May 30, 2012.

  1. jkdulin

    jkdulin New Member

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    I have come across a Deutsche Werk .380 semi-automatic pistol. There are a few minor 'dings' in the wood grips. There is very little rust across the barrel and receiver. The serial number is 136014.

    The slide won't lock back. Should it?

    Printed on the barrel is Deutsche Werk Werk Erfurt (?)

    Something about Ortaies Patent (?)

    The gun came with a wide leather holster with a slot for one magazine, and a strap you pull to pull the gun out slightly.

    Can you give me any info on age of the gun, where it was manufactured and a price range.

    Thank you so much.

    jkdulin
  2. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Uhhh, hrf, it don't have a manual safety. Got a grip safety. That thing that looks like it should be a manual safety is for unlocking the grip safety and for disassembly.
  4. jkdulin

    jkdulin New Member

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    Thanks for your help. Do you have any more information on this weapon? Like when it was manufactured? Or when it was used? Or by whom?

    jkdulin
  5. 3/2 STA SS

    3/2 STA SS Active Member

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    Alot of different countries used it. The Germans did too as they captured them and weapons factories.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP) model is pretty rare; the majority of those guns are in 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP). The 9mm model has a manual safety catch and the grips are held on by a screw, unlike the internal grip latch of the other models.

    AFAIK, the Ortgies was not used as an official pistol by any Army or Police force; while it was a popular war souvenir, many of those seen in the U.S. were commercially imported in the 1920's and 1930's and are marked "GERMANY."

    If disassembling the gun, be aware of the "trick" in re-assembly. In order to install the firing pin, its spring and guide, turn the slide over and push forward on the spring guide until its rear can be locked into the small notch in the inside top of the slide. If that is not done, it will be nearly impossible to re-install the slide.

    Jim
  7. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    I will add the following for what it may be worth in the interest of safety.

    In his book "Introduction to Modern Gunsmithing", Stackpole books 1965, Harold E MacFarland warns that these pistols are notorious for having that part of the striker that engages the sear break off while cocked. Needless to say, if this happens with a round in the chamber, the gun fires.

    Thus, these guns (with a chambered round) are not safe when the "Safety" is applied.
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  8. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Your pistol was designed by a German named Hermann Ortgies during or shortly after the First World War. It was originally produced by Ortgies himself around 1920, and those early guns bear only his name. It was apparently a success, and Ortgies sold his company to the Deutsche Werke of Erfurt, Germany (Ortgies may have died, triggering the sale; I don't remember.) Deutsche Werke produced the large majority of these guns. There was a scaled-down 25 caliber version, but I forget if Ortigies or the Deutsche Werke introduced that. Production ended sometime in the mid-to-late 30's, before, World War II.

    It was an ingenious design, with a clean modern appearance for the time, and apparently could be made and sold at an advantageous price. It has some odd features, which Alpo, JimK, and Hammerslagger have remarked on above. I would add that the screwless grips are another one, and the original grips are often damaged or broken by people attempting to force them off.

    It was sold primarily to the civilian market, although police marked examples sometimes turn up. I think a batch with a special manual safety catch was made for a Czech police department. It was never a military pistol, although by the end of WWII, you could never tell what a Home Guard or Volkssturm officer might be carrying.

    It was widely exported and many were sold in the United States, so they turn up here pretty often. I believe there is a photograph of John Dillinger, the famous 1930's gangster, brandishing one.

    As JimK says, the vast majority of them were 32s. Ortgies is in 380 are scarce, and these guns do have a modest collector following. I would not know the value of yours, and pictures would be needed for anyone to make a reasonable estimate.

    Most of the above comes from an excellent article in one of Joseph Schroeder's "Gun Collectors Digest" books. I think it was by Donald Simmons. These books are long out of print, but can sometimes be found online or in used bookstores. J. B. Wood wrote a piece about the mechanical design of the Ortgies, which agrees with what Hammerslagger said, in his book "Troubleshooting Your Handgun" (which is another oldie-but-goodie).

    PS - if you do put up photos, people here would also be interested to see the holster. The pull-up strap reminds me of the Russian holster for their Makarov pistol.
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  9. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    >I believe there is a photograph of John Dillinger, the famous 1930's gangster, brandishing one.<

    This ain't that picture, but it's the FBI's collection of Dillinger's guns. There is one on the left, 3rd from the bottom, underneath the holstered 1911.

    [​IMG]
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    For some years, I had believed that the Ortgies was safe enough as it seemed very unlikely that both sides of the firing pin tang would break at the same time. But an examination showed that only one of those "legs" actually was engaged by the sear, so that if it broke, the gun would fire. While I still think that such a possibility is pretty remote, it has happened and I recommend not keeping one of those guns loaded, and using a snap cap when dry snapping it for storage. Dry firing otherwise is a definite no-no.

    I consider those guns interesting designs and nice collectors items, but not practical pistols unless nothing better is available.

    Jim
  11. 3/2 STA SS

    3/2 STA SS Active Member

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    I love the modified 38 super they used...
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Huh??? "Modified .38 Super"???

    Jim
  13. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Jim, I think he's talking about my picture. The 1911 with the forward pistol grip, the muzzle brake and the extended magazine. That's full auto, in 38 Super.
  14. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    OK. I wondered what Ortgies used a modified .38 Super round.

    Jim
  15. jkdulin

    jkdulin New Member

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    Thank you to all in sharing this information. It have been very enlightening. I especially took note about the possibility of these guns unintentionally firing! I will post pictures soon.
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