Gun Collecting: The Walther Volkspistole

Walther Volkspistole.

Features of the People’s Gun

The real Volkspistole looks similar to these experimental pistols from the outward appearance, but it is only a conventional single-action weapon with a blowback mechanism. Almost the whole gun is made of stamped sheet metal, except for the barrel, bolt head, springs, grip-plates and a few other small parts. Almost everything is joined together with bolts and rivets, and the spot-welded points have been reduced to a minimum. Only the wooden grip-plates are still attached with common screws. The weight of the complete gun is 1.086 kg (approximately 38.3 ounces).

The whole range of simplification becomes obvious when disassembling the Volkspistole: The barrel is retained in the frame by a hardened cylindrical plug, which engages the blind hole shown in the underside of the barrel breech. When lowering the lever on the left side of the frame above the trigger, the plug retracts and the barrel can be withdrawn forward. Afterwards the slide can be removed.

The slide housing is made of two sheet metal half-shells, riveted together at the front. At the rear end they are held together by the clenching of the finger grips into slots in the inner shell. The slide housing is then positioned around a machined bolt, only connected by two lugs on the top surface of the bolt. These lugs absorb all of the recoil forces when shooting the Volkspistole.

On the phosphated surface, there are only a few markings visible. The slide bears the Walther-trademark (“Walther-Schleife”) on the left side and the safety is marked with the letters “S” (Sicher/safe) and “F” (Feuer/fire). Only two surviving Walther Volkspistolen are even known today: Serial numbers 6 and 12. The former is mismatched with the barrel of serial number 4. The “105” is a postwar number, presumably to register the weapon. The other pistol has the number “14” stamped on it in the same way.

In the 1970s, pistol number 12 found its way back to the collection of the Walther company in Ulm, Germany, to where the former Thuringian company moved after the war and remains there on display today.

Walther Volkspistole Technical Data
Length: 8.5 in.
Height:  5.7 in.
Width: 1.2 in.
Weight with empty magazine: 38.3 oz.
Weight without magazine: 35.3 oz.
Length of barrel: 5 in.

Special thanks to Werner Hampel of Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Ulm, Germany, and Darrin Weaver in Texas.

Editor’s Note: This article appeared in the June 3, 2013 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


Recommended Resources for Gun Collectors:

Gun value in the standard catalog of firearms.2013 Standard Catalog of Firearms, 23rd Edition

Standard Catalog of Military Firearms 6th Edition

Gun Digest 2014, 68th Edition

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