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Book Review
The Luger
The Luger
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

Originally published on:

This is a review by Randy L Harvey of the Osprey Publishing LTD book The Luger by author Neil Grant, and illustrators Alan Gilliland and Johnny Shumate.

    Patented in 1898 and produced from 1900, Georg Luger's iconic semi-automatic pistol became synonymous with Germany's armed forces throughout both world wars. Initially chambered for the 7.65×21mm round, from 1903 the Luger was designed for DWM's 9×19mm round, which even today remains the most popular military handgun cartridge. It was adopted by the Imperial German Navy in 1904, followed by the German Army in 1908, receiving the name Pistole 08. Despite being supplanted by the Walther P38, the Luger remained in widespread service with all arms of Nazi Germany's armed forces throughout World War II, and even equipped East Germany's Volkpolizei in the years after 1945. Featuring full-colour artwork, expert analysis and archive and present-day photographs, this engaging study tells the story of the Luger, the distinctive and deadly semi-automatic pistol that was a sought-after souvenir for Allied troops and remains popular among collectors today.** Quoted from the back cover of the book.

Osprey Publications Ltd has released The Luger as Number 64 in their Weapon series. It is a softcover book with 80 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs and color photographs, color illustrations, a cut-away view illustration, schematic drawings, quotes, detailed captions and more. It has a 2018 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-1973-4. The book details the development, use and impact of the Luger.


- Introduction
- Development
- The first semi-automatic pistols
- Use
- Taking the Luger into battle
- Impact
- The Luger evaluated
- Conclusion
- Bibliography
- Index

Author Neil Grant focuses on the development, use and impact of the Luger in nicely written and well detailed text. Please refer to the Contents section of this review to learn all that is discussed in this volume. All aspects of the history of the Luger is covered very well and covers all areas that would be welcomed by anyone who has an interest in this well-known military firearm. An area of the book that I found to be particularly interesting was the detailed discussion of the various countries that took the Luger and conducted trials of it to determine whether or not to accept it into their military armories. Nations that tested the Luger include the Swiss, who later manufactured their own version of the Luger, British, Americans, Dutch, as well as its own country of origin, Germany. The use of the Luger before 1914, during World War I, the Interwar Years, and World War Two is discussed as are specific entities that used the Luger such as the police and the Luftwaffe. Also covered are the countries that took captured Lugers after World War Two and placed them in their military armories such as France, Norway and the Soviet Union. An area of discussion that will be of use to the enthusiast is the coverage of how to use, fire and clean and care for the Luger as well as the magazines and ammunition used. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the Luger to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.

There are 27 black and white photographs and 30 color photographs in total. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs. The majority of the photographs are of the German Luger as one can assume but there are also period photographs of the various other military handguns and small arms. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however a few have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and others appear too light. This is typical for the discussed periods of history and consideration needs to be given to the fact that some of the photographs are several years old and the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and do not take anything away from the book. I appreciate the fact that there are several photographs of just the weapons themselves as opposed to photographs that feature the weapons in a broad generalized military photograph. In my opinion it makes it much easier to study the various weapons and their details. Author Neil Grant stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to the firearm enthusiast due to the details they contain.

Some of the various handguns shown and discussed in addition to the Luger are:

- German 10.6mm black-powder Reichsrevolver 79
- German 10.6mm black-powder Reichsrevolver 83
- Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher 1901
- Austro-Hungarian Roth-Steyr
- German Bergmann 1897
- Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher 1903
- German Bergmann 1896
- American Colt 1902
- American Savage 1907
- American Knoble double-action
- American White-Merrill
- American Colt 1911
- German Mauser C96
- German Bergmann MP18
- German Walther P38
- German Mauser HSc
- German Walther PP
- German P38

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.

There are 4 color illustrations by illustrator Johnny Shumate. The illustrations are of:

- The Luger Exposed.
- A cut-away view showing the internal workings of the 9x19mm Pistole 08.
- Calvary mêlée on the Eastern Front, August 1914
- The illustration depicts a cavalry mêlée between Russian and German cavalrymen on the Eastern Front in August 1914.
- Trench raid, 1918
- The illustration shows German raiders that have gotten into a British trench just behind the front lines.
- Crete. May 1941
- The illustration shows German paratroops during the fighting in the invasion of Crete armed with Lugers and an MP 40.

Please refer to the scan that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.

There are 2 informational charts included in this volume and they are:

The Luger and its Contemporaries
A comparison of the Luger and other countries side arms such as the British Webley, American Colt 1911, Russian Tokarev TT-30 and others.
Manufacturing of the Luger
A listing of manufactures and the number of Lugers produced by each.

There are 4 notes included in this volume and they are:

- Dedication
- Acknowledgments
- Editor’s Note
- The Royal Armouries

The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons and their variations, dates, which side of the conflict they were used by and other such pertinent information. I was very impressed by Neil Grant’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.

As with the other Osprey Publishing weapons series titles I was impressed with this volume. This is a very nice reference book that contains many close-up detailed subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details various models of the German Luger, and several other handguns, from its development and introduction throughout it career as a military sidearm. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey Publishing titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.


US $20.00 / UK £12.99 / CAN $27.00


The P-08 Parabellum Luger Automatic Pistol
Edited by J. David MacFarland
Desert Publications

Sturmtruppen – The Kaiser’s Elite Stormtroopers
Tankograd – World War One No. 1002
Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of The Great War 1914-1918
Oliver Richter (with Jochen Vollert Collection)

Grabenkrieg German Trench Warfare Vol. 2
Tankograd – World War One No. 1006
Imperial German Army Weapons and Soldiers of The Great War 1914-1918
Oliver Richter (with Jochen Vollert Collection)

The Military Book Club Encyclopedia of Infantry Weapons of WWII
Ian V. Hogg
Saturn Books Ltd.

Search inside The Luger on the Osprey web site:


Look inside The Luger on the Amazon web site:

https://www.amazon.com/Luger-Weapon-Neil-Grant/dp/147281973X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1537193424&sr=8-1&keywords=the luger

Look inside the Kindle Edition of The Luger on the Amazon web site:

Highs: Well written text and captions. Subject specific photographs and illustrations.
Lows: Nothing to mention.
Verdict: Another excellent volume in Osprey Publishing’s Weapon series. Definitely beneficial to the small arms enthusiast.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-1-4728-1973-4
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 29, 2018

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. All rights reserved.



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