I spent a rather nice day today. To start off with, my 6 year old and I saddled up to run around and get some errands taken care of. I snapped this picture of him as we were sitting at a traffic light. He wasn't really in the mood for dad to be poking cameras in his face.
It was nice to spend a little time just him and I. We headed out to get some car care items. Then we took a little side trip to the local Class III dealer to pick up some ammo. While we were there. My boy spotted this and demanded that I take a picture of it:
What can I say? He is my spawn after all. So for any of you out there that feel like buying me a father's day present... That'll do nicely thank you! I thought it was kind of funny however to see a ordinary red-dot sight mounted on a minigun...
Once the boy and I got back home, we found that his momma was coming down with a migraine. So I spent a little time keeping an eye on the boys while she was recuperating and letting her medicine take effect. Once she was feeling better, I went out to the local range where I got to shoot a real classic, a Walther P-38. These things are classics for a reason. The recoil is light and easily controllable. Agreed, it only fires 9mm Luger so recoil isn't really an issue any ways, but considering to how light the weapon is... I've certainly felt worse. The grip is natural and it practically points itself.
Here's the target. Considering that this was my first go with this gun, I don't think it's too bad for a fifty yard target.
This particular P-38 was manufactured in July of 1962 at the Walther factory in Ulm Germany. It is not a WWII era firearm (more's the pity). It is most likely a retired polizei (police) or Bundeswehr (German army) sidearm. The principle difference between the WWII era P-38's and post-War P-38's is the frame. A post-war P-38's frame is an aluminum composite material which makes the gun lighter than it's steel-framed counterpart. Personally, I've always been a little dubious of aluminum and polymer frames. It just seems wrong to have such soft materials in a firearm, but the aluminum frame seems to perform its task well enough. The differing materials do lead to a mismatched finish between the frame (anodized) and the upper parts (parkerized). So there is an aesthetic difference between the WWII and post-war pistols as well.
This particular pistol fired nicely though, although there was one small glitch. Some of the ammo that I had was some el-cheapo Walmart/Winchester stuff. The bullet was shaped just slightly different. It was slightly blunter & less tapered than the more expensive Federal ammo that I also had (you can see one of them in the picture above with the lighter colored bullet). The Winchester rounds chambered and fired nicely, but when the slide recoiled, the slide catch would latch the slide open. This happened because the lever that is supposed to ride on the magazine follower, latching the action open after the last round has been fired, was instead riding on the blunt bullets in the magazine.
Field stripping a P-38 is really a simple matter when compared to a 1911. Here's field stripping directions:
1. Engage the safety.
2. Latch the slide to the rear.
3. Twist the take-down latch.
4. Disengage the slide latch & slide the top end off the frame.
5. Press the action lock release button (small silver button inside the slide) and separate the barrel from the slide.
To reassemble simply reverse the disassembly instructions. There are some notes there though. When mating the slide with the frame, you'll need to push the ejector down to allow the slide to pass. Also, ensure that the hammer is in the up position and not the cocked position.
All in all it was a nice day. I got to spend a little one-on-one time with one of my boys. I got to drool on some sweet if-I-were-only-rich toys and to cap it off I got to send a few rounds downrange out of an absolute classic pistol. The only down-side was my wife's aching noodle.
Labels: Family, Guns, Marksmanship, P-38, Reviews