Most of the serial numbers also have a suffix letter.
Walther used serial numbers ranging from 1 to 10,000.
(courtesy of Orv Reichert & p38forum.com)The different P38 variations produced during the nazi-regime will be discussed on this page.
Varations are based on different manufacturers and changes in markings.
The Germans were afraid that the Allied forces could easily locate the German weapon production sites and bomb them when they knew the manufacturer. The secret code 480 for the Walther factory was already abandoned after two months use and replaced by a new code.
In June and July 1940 Walther used the secret code 480. This new code was ac and was introduced in august 1940.
The suffix letter increased each time the plant started at serial number 1 again.
In contrast to Walther, Mauser did not start over with serial numbers at the beginning of every year.
In the years after, fewer and fewer parts were stamped with this mark.The combination of year serial number suffix (or no suffix for the first 10,000 pistols) is unique for every pistol.From this combination it is easy to determine the production date of the pistol.The pistols produced in this period are therefore stamped with 480. In addition to the secret code the last two digits of the year of production were also stamped on the slide.There are periods were ac production year were stamped next to eachother and periods where this combination was stacked.The first 10,000 pistols produced at the start of the year had no suffix letter.For example: The 25,000th pistol produced in a certain year had serial number 5000b,and the 35,000th pistol produced had serial number 5000c.In 1942 the Mauser factory started the production of P38 pistols to fulfill the huge demand for these pistols by the German army.The secret code for Mauser is byf and is stamped on the slide just above the production year (last two digits).Around 1500 Walther HP pistols (serial number range 1000-2500) were exported to Sweden in 1939-40 to be used by the Swedish army under the name m/39.The grips of the Swedish m/39 have round loopholes for the lanyard and are checkered.