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I rcently placed a P-38 into the layaway program at a pawn shop in town. All numbers match except for the magazine, which I'm sure is pretty common. I found a great website that I'm learning a lot about the P-38 from, as I don't know a whole lot about them right now.

My question is, is there any possible way to find out the history on a particular handgun? What I'd love to do is search through records and match this P-38 to its original owner, but I very much doubt this is possible. Is there anything I can do?


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Hi Dillon,

First, welcome aboard! Secondly, I would suggest you also post this in the Firearms & Ordinance section:


As far as your question... I don't believe there would be a way to trace the original owner. There were so many of these made and many records from the war were either deliberately destroyed or destroyed during the normal course of the war (bombings, fires, etc.). If it is marked to a specific unit it might be possible to narrow it down but still rather doubtful.

Is it possible for you to take some good pictures of it (both sides, markings, etc.) that you could post? I for one would love to see it and I know of a number of other members who I'm sure would say the same. With good quality pics we may also be able to tell you more about it.

Congratulations on getting one. I was lucky to obtain one about nine years ago after waiting a lifetime. A very good friend of the family had one that I have a feeling he was going to will to me, as he knew how much I loved his and wanted one. His was about a minty as they come, all matching, etc. Had the smoothest action on a handgun I've ever run across and was extremely quiet which really surprised me when firing it. He'd made it known to his family that he was planning to go to his attorney and have a will drawn up after he got back from a routine treatment at the hospital that he'd gone through tons of times during his life. Sadly, this time he passed away so didn't have a chance to make the will. He had an utterly fantastic collection of military pistols from the Civil War up through WW2 and they all went to the four winds. :wacky: I know it would have broken his heart as I honestly believe he wanted certain pieces to go to certain friends and such. Just goes to show everyone, but especially collectors, should have a will.

A number of years later an acquaintance of mine owed me some money on a deal we made and he knew I'd wanted a P-38. His brother had several, so he talked him out of one and gave it to me in lieu of what he owed me. Needless to say I was overjoyed. It's a good shooter, looks good and serves as a good example of the type in my collection.

Hope you manage to get yours soon. They are nice and a dream to shoot. :beer:

Dan :cheers:

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