Walther RSHA SS PP and PPK Pistols Contined
Here is another John Pearson article I have had for awhile and wanted to get up and get beyond the last presentation that was perhaps just too controversial and difficult to deal with. Lets get back to subject we have visited before. I hope you enjoy this article and find it informative, useful and valuable or at least something to consider and think about. Again, Mr. Pearson has included his telephone number and has asked me to tell you he is happy to hear from you with any questions, comments, suggestions, or further insight(s) you may have or serial numbers of SS PPs or PPKs you would care to share with him. He is also happy to help or assist you in verifying or confirming the authenticity of a potential SS PP or PPK purchase even with the limitations presented by a telephone conversation. Just as a reminder, I HAVE NOT contributed, assisted or in anyway helped in the writing of this article---I am just posting it for John.
Lloyd in Vegas
From Walther Collector John Pearson:
It has been four years since my groundbreaking research discovered how to identify Walther PP and PPK pistols which were purchased by and used within the Reichsicherheitshauptamt (the Reich Security Main Office, abbreviated as R.S. Hauptamt or also as RSHA) of the SS. I published a series of articles at that time which identified the unique characteristics of these SS pistols, to include the added muzzle serial numbers, serials with the P or K under the number, and guns with full right side slide serial numbers before that feature was standard for all Walther pistols. I also identified the unique style of factory serial numbered magazines for these SS pistols. I know how important this information has been to Walther collectors because I still regularly receive letters and phone calls telling me how grateful they are that I discovered this information and made it public.
In addition to letters of appreciation, I also continue to receive new serial number data for these SS pistols from collectors all around the world. Because of this continued assistance from so many collectors, my data base has now grown too three times as many SS serial numbers as I had at the time that I wrote those articles. This additional serial number data has revealed to me numerous batches of SS guns that I did not know about four years ago, including groups of guns both earlier and later than any of the serial number groups that I originally wrote about. This is all very positive, but unfortunately the publication of my articles also provided information to gun fakers, who got busy creating “SS Walthers” even before the ink was dry on my articles. That is an unfortunate byproduct of making information public - it helps both the good and the bad people in our hobby.
I am writing this article now to caution collectors to be aware of the existence of a number of fake SS pistols that now exist. Fakes take a few different forms. Probably the most common fakes are phony muzzle numbers added to genuine PPK pistols, especially those with the RZM slide. I want to be careful in this article not to provide more assistance to the fakers, so there are some things I will not explain here. But let me say that first of all if the gun is outside of the correct serial range for an SS group of guns, then no matter how well the fake muzzle numbers are done, the gun can still be easily identified as a fake. Also, the genuine muzzle serial numbers were not the same style as the factory frame serial numbers, and they were added under the muzzle one number at a time, and not as neatly as might be expected. These muzzle serial numbers are stamped into the slide with a set of number dies, not engraved into the metal, and the stamped numbers do not exhibit bright metal. If a collector has any doubt about whether a muzzle number is genuine, they should contact me at (818) 769-3509 before spending their money. I know of one fake muzzle numbered RZM PPK which sold in an auction in 2007 for $4,000, so this stuff is serious!
The other area of faking is with respect to the serial numbered magazines. In this case, a genuine SS gun might be enhanced with fake matching magazines, or a matching serial numbered magazine might be created for a late production PPK pistol in an attempt to “prove” that it is an SS gun. Again I do not want to help the fakers here, but on magazines the factory used the same style and size of numbers as they applied to the pistol’s frame. They stamped all of the numbers on the magazine as one strike, not by punching each number individually. The numbers should thus appear uniform in depth and be aligned and spaced the same as they appear on the frame of the pistol. The factory did not dent or deform the magazine case or bottom piece when they applied these numbers, and in general they should feel fairly smooth to the touch because they were polished and blued over after the factory applied the numbers. Again, please seek advice from me if in doubt, for these matching magazines, especially a pair, can add thousands of dollars to the value of an SS gun.
The factory numbered (including the "K") the spine of the case of the SS magazines until well into the three hundred thousand K serial range, at which time they switched to numbering the flat bottom plate of the magazine. You must know the correct serial ranges for later K suffix SS PPK pistols, for all guns at that point have the full slide serial number, and only if the gun is in the correct serial range and has the factory matching numbered magazine(s) is it possible to identify the PPK as a genuine SS gun. Thus for late guns the magazine is an important factor to identify the gun as an SS PPK. Even very late factory numbered magazine bottoms are well done in terms of neatness and being a consistent style with the frame serial numbers of the gun. By the way, in my opinion all SS Walther PP and PPK pistols originally came with two factory numbered magazines fitted with flat bottoms. SS magazines were not originally delivered with plastic finger extensions.
I am often asked about the correct holsters for these SS guns, so I will start by making the following comment. I believe that if a gun still had two original magazines when it came home from the War, then it almost always had a holster with it at that time. The holster was needed to keep the second magazine with the gun. So I generally feel that holsters are original to guns when that holster came home from the War along with two matched magazines. This does not mean that the holster could not have been switched during the war, however. Note that many of these SS guns were made before 1940, so by the end of the War the original holster might well have worn out and needed replacement. Thus even if the holster is original to the gun from the end of the War, that does not mean that it was necessarily the original holster that came with the gun when it was first issued to a member of the RSHA. I will now present some examples of what I feel are “correct” SS holsters, based on data that I have assembled from reliable sources.
In 1988 the German Arms magazine Deutsche Waffen Journal (DWJ) published a series of articles by Jurgen Schoenbeck on Walther PP and PPK pistols. Included in one of these articles were photos and information about PPK number 988648, which had the muzzle number and two factory numbered magazines, along with a brown Akah style holster. Ink stamped inside the holster was the marking “Eigentum der Geheimen Staatspolizei Hamburg”. This complete rig, with the Gestapo marked holster, was captured by a British serviceman in Hamburg at the end of the War. The photo of the holster shows it to be a medium brown color, and based on the markings it is clearly a genuine Gestapo issued holster which is the same vintage as the pistol. This is one of the earliest documented complete Gestapo rigs, some 15 years before I wrote my first article on the topic.
In April 1945 the U.S. Army took control of the Walther factory. Immediately soldiers went into the factory looking for war souvenirs. One of those soldiers was Jack Barr, with Patton's Third Army, 11th Armored Division, 42nd Tank Battalion. In an upstairs office desk drawer he found 2 SS PP pistols with holsters, both guns still new in their original factory boxes with both matched magazines. One of the two sets went to a friend of his. He kept the other, serial 1248xx/P. He discarded the box but kept both numbered magazines and the holster. These items are still in new condition today - I have been provided with clear color photos. The holster is medium brown and Akah marked, with the inside ink stamped “Walther PP”. This holster and pistol are both of the same vintage, which I accept as proof that they were originally issued together. I assume that these guns belonged to SS inspectors from the RSHA, who were assigned to monitor SS pistol production at Walther.
Years ago I purchased from the vet an SS Walther PP rig, serial number 193620P. There were two factory numbered matching magazines and the holster was a police pattern with only the early style Police Eagle marking above the closure stud. There were no other markings on the holster. The holster was dark brown, dyed black only on the front side. Based upon the vintage of the gun and the style of the holster Police eagle marking, I believe that this was the original issue holster for this pistol. I never knew this was an SS gun and later sold the rig for around $500!
SS PPK number 2064xx/K came home from the War complete with both factory numbered matching magazines and a black police style holster marked 1938, Robert Larsen, Berlin, but with no police eagle mark. I have recorded SS pistol 2331xx/K with the exact same model holster, again lacking the police eagle, and again with both factory numbered magazines. Note, these 1938 dated holsters are consistent with the timeframe of these 2 pistols and thus I accept that they were the original issue holsters for these guns. SS PPK number 2338xx/K is complete with both numbered magazines and paperwork from the original Gestapo owner, including his I.D. card and metal Gestapo disc. All of this was purchased from the Gestapo man’s family some years ago. The holster is a black Akah PPK model with the magazine pouch on the edge of the body rather than the normal front side. Note, this holster design was produced by Akah for undercover work because the relocation of the magazine pouch makes the holster slimmer to wear when concealed under civilian clothes. The Gestapo man’s name is ink written inside the holster and therefore I believe that this is the holster he used with this pistol while serving in the Gestapo. SS PPK number 2663xxK has both matching magazines and came in a brown police style holster marked Kern Klager Berlin, 1941, but again with no police Eagle B marking on the holster. SS PPK number 2814xxK came with both matched magazines and a black Akah style holster, but the only marking on the holster side flap is the D.R.G.M. mark, which would normally be stamped above an Akah trademark.
I have listed the above holster variations because I believe that they all were original to the guns at the time the War ended. Furthermore, based upon the dates and vintage of these holster models I also believe that these specific referenced holsters were originally issued to go with these SS pistols. These holster examples demonstrate that SS pistols will be found with a variety of holster patterns, and thus there is no single “correct” color or pattern of holster for SS pistols. If a collector wants to add a holster to an existing SS pistol, a good choice is an Akah commercial style in either black or brown color. I hope this answers the question of what holsters are proper for these SS pistols.
The information explained above should be of benefit to collectors who have an interest in Walther SS Model PP and PPK pistols. Again, if you have doubts or questions about any SS Walther pistols, telephone me to discuss it before spending hard earned money on a questionable gun. I am always happy to provide assistance to any serious collector.
what are the serial number ranges of the PPks for the SS guns that were not in the original particle?