Artillery Luger
Handloader|December 2019 - January 2020
Artillery Luger
What does a gun writer do when confined to the couch while recovering from major surgery?
Mike Venturino

Watch television or peruse firearms auction sites on the internet? For me it was the latter, and in doing so I ended up purchasing a firearm that had intrigued me for years. Specifically, it was a German “Artillery” Luger or, more correctly, a Lange [Long] Pistole ’08.

Germany developed this variety of the Pistole ’08 in 9mm Parabellum in 1913 specifically for protecting crew-served weapons teams, i.e. artillery and machine gun crews. The idea was that fast firing semiautos were better than five-shot bolt-action rifles when such crews were in danger of being overrun. To this end, Artillery Lugers were equipped with 8-inch barrels, tangent-style rear sights optimistically graduated to 800 meters and quick detachable shoulder boards. Today the latter item is usually referred to as a shoulder stock.

For transporting these long Lugers, a rather intricate holster was designed. It was lashed to the shoulder board with leather straps held by brass screws. In use it had a long shoulder strap that passed over the wearer’s head on the left side so the holstered Luger hung on the right side with its grip to the rear. On the holster were pockets for a cleaning rod and dismantling tool. Also usually carried on the strap was at least one leather pouch holding two standard eight-round Luger magazines.

Several years ago a friend allowed me to shoot the Artillery Luger his grandfather had brought home from World War I. In my ignorance, I stripped the leather from the shoulder board before mounting it on the Luger’s grip. My thought was: How in the world did German soldiers get these things rapidly into action when messing with all those leather straps? Duh! I learned that the shoulder board was meant to be used with the holster still in place. Knowing that, I was able to transform the Artillery Luger from handgun to light carbine in seconds.

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December 2019 - January 2020