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Walther P5

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Walther P5
9mm semi-auto handgun

includes
-factory case, manual, factory test target
-two factory 8-round magazine




The date code is IG, which means this P5 was manufactured in 1986.

I bought this in 2002, and put about 500 rounds through it until around 2005, when circumstances prevented me from getting to the shooting range as often as I wanted to.  Since my range time has become incredibly scarce (and the price of ammo has doubled since then), I spend most of my time shooting either .22 LR or my CCW piece.  Although this is one of the best shooting handguns I own, with one of the best double-action triggers I've experienced (definitely better than my SIGs), it has sadly been sitting the safe unused for the past 5 - 6 years.  UPDATE:  I did take it out last month, and put about 25 rounds through it.

If I wasn't already heavily invested in holsters and magazines for my Glock and 1911 at the time I bought this, the Walther P5 probably would have ended up as my CCW piece.   If I had a wife or girlfriend (or one of each!) who was a new shooter looking at a handgun for self-defense, the Walther P5 would be one of the first handguns I'd have her try.  (I used to preach the Glock to newbies, but discovered that enough new shooters are sensitive to the recoil of a light-weight plastic gun).

The only caveat with this gun is that I've found only one source of magazines, and they're not cheap unless you buy in bulk.

New magazines are $89.00 each at Earl's Repair Service, with used magazines being $25 each (for 10 ea.) to $35 each (for 5 ea.) to $45 each (for 1 ea.).   If this is going to be a handgun for "serious social work," be prepared to spend an additional $175 to $250 to have enough magazines on hand, especially if you're shooting competitive matches or going to one of those expensive shooting schools.  Otherwise, your time at the range is going to be spent re-loading magazines rather than shooting.

I've heard rumors of people modifying Walther P-38 and P-1 magazines, which are cheap and plentiful, to work in the Walther P5, but do not have any source or confirmation.


from Small Arms of the World (12 edition, 1982):


WEST GERMAN PISTOLS

The West German police trials of the mid-1970s led to the development of three new standard handgun models that meet the requirements established by the West German Ministry of the Interior.  The Federal Republic of Germany has to basic classes of police forces -- those that report to the Federal Government in Bonn and those that are responsible to the individual German states.  Whereas the Bundesgrenzshutz (border police)  and the Bereitschaftspolizei (Police Field Force Reserve), who fall into the federal category, have carried the P1 post-war version of the P38, the local forces have carried 7.65mm (.32 ACP) automatic pistols.

Following the Palestinian terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, the West German government decided to standardize police handgun ammunition (9 x 19mm Parabellum) and create uniform specifications for law-enforcement handguns.

In addition to the dimensional criteria, the Federal authorities required a weapon that could be safely carried and drawn from a holster with a live round in the chamber.  Candidate weapons had to be capable of immediate fire without the deliberate operation of a safety or cocking lever.  Pistols were also required to be used by either right- or left-handed shooters.  And finally, the new handguns had to have a minimum service life of 10,000 shots.

Originally, four guns were submitted for evaluation - Heckler & Koch Polizei Selbstlade Pistole (PSP), Mauser HsP, SIG-Sauer P225, and Walther P5.   Early in the trials Mause withdrew their prototype because the other designs were much more fully developed  All of the remaining pistols were adopted as being suited for police use, and none have a traditional manually operated safety mechanism.  Because of the requirement for instant, quick-draw-readiness, the designers at the three arms companies had to develop alternative means of creating a safe, but loaded, handgun.

WALTHER P5

The P5 is essentially a new generation P38.  Starting with the basic operaton of the P38, the engineers at Walther created a much improved design.  The most interesting aspect of the P5 is the safety system.  When the pistol is uncocked and being carried in the holster, the firing pin rests in a position that matches up to a hold counter-bored in the face of the hammer.  In this position, the striking face of the hammer cannot touch the firing pin.  When the double-action trigger is pulled to the rear, the trigger-bar (which connects the trigger to the hammer assembly) rotates both the hammer and the firing-pin safety lever to the rear.  The rearward motion of the firing-pin safety lever brings a cam to bear against the base of the firing pin, raising the firing pin so it can be struck by the face of the hammer.  The single-action cycle, where the hammer is socked by the thumb, is similar.  But the firing pin is only raised when the trigger is pulled.  When the decocking lever is used to lower the hammer, the firing pin is already down and in the safe position.  Thus, even with a fast falling hammer, the cartridge in the chamber cannot be fired.

The Walther P5 and the SIG-Sauer P6 (P225) firing-pin safeties are similar in principle, but different in exact details.  In function, they serve the same purpose as the transfer bar in modern revolvers.  Both mechanical devices eliminate accidental discharge of the handgun by introducing a mechanical linkage that must be consciously engaged to bring the firing pin into proper alignment for firing.


links of interest:






above:  factory test target, 25 meters


above:  the mark toward the muzzle is tape over the serial number