As a summation to the two part blog entry on the P.38 and P1, I’d like to share my thoughts. The P.38 was, back in the day, the coolest and most advanced handgun in the world. Today it’s viewed as a quaint relic of WWII and the Cold War.
The P.38 seems very ordinary and unremarkable, and like the old joke about Shakespeare, it’s full of clichés. Of course the double action trigger, excellent fixed sights and superb ergonomics (a term unknown at the time of the P.38s design) taken for granted today.
However the P.38 is still remarkable. Before there was an AK-47 rifle, the P.38 was the “AK-47 “of handguns. This is a metaphor, illustrating the P.38s excellent reliability in all climates and conditions.
This begs the question, what are the qualities of the P.38 that stand out today? Well, for one thing, the P.38 is a “no drama” handgun. This means there are not really controversial features or modifications needed. The sights, grips, trigger pull, surface finish are all just fine as it comes from the factory, no need for aftermarket add-ons.
The P.38 is superbly reliable and carries comfortably in a belt holster. Its 9mm Parabellum cartridge is accepted as a world standard. A pretty good package and a great piece of history.