By Lars Dalseide | April 19 2012 17:18

Walther P38 at the NRA Museum

The best thing about Curator's Corner is a close up look you get at some fascinating guns. A near second are the stories behind them. Be they individual tales of a storied gun or a history of a specific model, you can always count on learning something special every Thursday night. Tonight, for example, you'll learn a noteworthy lesson about World War II.

When thinking about World War II souvenirs, most people go directly to the German Luger. It's practically a given. Only trouble is, it's also a falsehood.

"Not the case," says the National Firearms Museum Senior Curator Phil Schreier. "The standards side arm of the German Army in World War II was the Walther P38."

Walther P38, Front View, with NRA Senior Curator Phil Schreier

With an effective range of fifty meters, the P38 came with an eight round magazine and walnut grips. Production of this pistol, as one might guess, began in 1938. By the end of World War II, more than a million had been produced. Now Allied Forces did take these firearms as souvenirs … and in some cases, used the Walthers instead of the U.S. Army issued sidearms. And there's a reason for that.

"It is the 9 mm that most all others are descended from," said Schreier.

The primary advancement brought to bear by the P38 is the trigger. Known as a double-action/single-action, shooters could now carry a loaded round with the hammer down. Doesn't sound like much, but it was big.

To hear more about the P38, join Phil and NRANews Executive Producer John Popp tonight at 10:40 pm eastern time as Curator's Corner comes back to headquarters on and Sirius/XM's Patriot Channel.

trigger of the Walther P38

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