My new German WWII gun - J.P. Sauer & Sohn 38H in 7.65 Browning

Picked this up from a friend-of-a-friend, he picked it up at an estate sale for a WWII veteran who had recently passed. He said it was loaded with one in the chamber sitting there on the table (!)

Anyhow, it's a J.P. Sauer & Sohn (J.P. Sauer & Son) 38H (S/N 303XXX) in 7.65 Browning, or what we in the States call .32 ACP. Matching numbers on the frame, slide and breech block. The frame has the "Eagle-N" stamp, indicating nazi-era manufacture. However, it has no acceptance stamp for either the military or the police which suggests manufacture for civilian ownership. A few interesting things about this model of gun:
  • It has a decocking lever much like a modern Sig, in fact it was the first gun to have one. However, this decocking lever also recocks the gun. You can work the lever and go from single to double action and back again. The hammer is concealed, so there was no other way to manually recock after decocking.
  • The 38H was originally made with a slide-mounted safety, although it was omitted on late-war models to speed production. This one has the spot for the safety but no actual safety; I don't know if it was removed or if it was not put in at the factory.
  • The 38H has a loaded chamber indicator in the form of a small pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide, much like the pin on an XD that indicates the striker is cocked.
  • The barrel is fixed to the frame and the recoil spring encompasses the barrel.
This particular specimen has almost all the finish worn off the slide, some minor pitting but no active rust that I can see anywhere. It has all the markings on the slide (manufacturer and caliber on the left, 'patent' on the right) which suggests early-war manufacture. This website lists all the different variations, based on that it seems to be a "High polish finish with safety lever" Non-Military wartime variation.

The magazine that came with it is a reproduction. It's supposed to hold 8 rounds, but I was able to fit 9 in without undue effort. Having 9 round in the magazine did cause a feed problem, as chambering the first round off the stack required the slide to be bumped closed and required a second bump to fully chamber the second round off the overfull magazine; I will stick with 8 in the future. Other than that little hickup the gun ran great through a 50 round box of S&B .32 ACP. I was able to get 3" groups at 7 yards slow-fire and the gun ran flawlessly through two rapid-fire mag dumps.

I'm pleased with it, it's a great little gun!

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These are great little pocket guns !!!
I'm sure the safety fell out sometime along the line.. But you can find them..
Cy the guy that has all the parts at the expo shows may have one.

I needed a firing pin and safety and found the parts via auction arms..


Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Rimfire Challenge Dec 12th @ DRRC
Douglas Ridge Rifle Club
27787 OR-224, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, USA
Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA


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