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Article created: Saturday, 14 January 2012
Article modified: Saturday, 11 May 2012

Marine-Modell 1904 P.04 Navy Luger Article

  1. Marine-Modell 1904 P.04 Navy Luger Commercial Instruction Manual
  2. Chilean second Trials, BUG proofed production prototype Luger “Carbine” rig
  3. Ammunition/ballistics
  4. Aftermarket reproduction accessories and fake Chilean trials prototype Lugers
  5. Special brass cleaning rod and oiler combination for the 1901 Chilean Trials prototype and production prototype push-button board stock holster series Luger rigs
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Featured is an extremely rare ===== Marine-Modell 1904 ===== commercial P.04 navy Luger instruction manual, printed by DWM, titled: Die Selbstlade-Pistole „Parabellum“, Marine-Modell 1904, Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken, Berlin. The 100 year old plus manual was printed using the “letter offset” process and is in near new condition with all pages intact; no missing pages, fading, dog ears, and only minor yellowing or foxing of some pages. The front and rear cover are slightly faded from the darker blue/purple/grey shown on the inside front and rear covers. The slight fading of the front and rear cover is the only flaw or blemish in this, otherwise, perfect, unique example 4¼ inch x 6-1/8 inch format, 40 numbered page, P.04 commercial navy Luger rig instruction manual with three intact fold-out tables.

This exact manual is pictured on page 46 in Luger Holsters and Their Accessories of the 20th Century by E. Bender, identified as (formally) of the John Pearson collection. In fact, the identity of this manual can be traced back to 1985. Pictured on page 63 of the All New 4th Edition of the Gun Collector’s Digest, on the first page of a seven page article titled: Luger Literature by John P. Pearson, is the first serious, comprehensive article written about Luger paperwork as a collectible accessory. The manual is pictured open, showing the first page with a very interesting caption stating:

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(Bottom) Title page of DWM manual for the Navy Model Commercial Luger. Note that the pictured model is a composite drawing on 1900 variation with longer barrel – such a variation was probably never produced.

The comment, such a variation was probably never produced, is interesting because in reality what is pictured on page one was actually produced. It is an extremely rare, multi-position, adjustable rear sight, 1901 Chilean Trials Prototype Luger rig with a prototype push-button board-stock. The caption statement shows the lack of knowledge that such a rare Luger variation existed as of 1985, which is actually not that long ago. The knowledge of the existence of this variation and all the details surrounding its history reflects on the vast amount of Luger research accomplished in the last quarter century.

The Chilean Trials Prototype Lugers were briefly alluded to as “South American” guns in 1991 by Charlie Kenyon, Jr. on page 28 in Luger: The Multi-National Pistol.1 The gun is not positively identified but pictured only as pistol with a very early “belt loop” style holster and reference to …factory literature, written in Spanish…. The Chilean Trials Prototype Lugers were not written about or pictured in any detail until recently, with excellent research information by Görtz/Sturgess in their book titled: Pistole Parabellum. Some of that information is presented and discussed herein, such as an identical P.04 manual, albeit in poorer condition, that is pictured and discussed in great detail in Pistole Parabellum, Volume III, Chapter 37, pages 1136 and 1137. Below are pictures of the manual and the Pistole Parabellum figure 5-20 caption description of the manual with additional text information.


Pistole Parabellum, written by Görtz/Sturgess, published/edited by Blake Stevens, copyright © 2010, is disavowed by G. Sturgess, one of the authors, who feels that the three volume set has been modified against his wishes, as stated in the added sticker in volume 1. However, the publisher implied in his Statement of Responsibility in volumes 2 and 3, that he did not have the knowledge or inclination to change or modify any of the technical information or figures in the work. Therefore, with all due respect given to Dr. G. L. Sturgess and the Görtz estate, all information referenced herein from Pistole Parabellum, regarding the Chilean Trials prototype Lugers is deemed reliable and represents the author’s thoughts and research as presented in Pistole Parabellum. In the opinion of the writer, not changed in any manner by the publisher of Pistole Parabellum.

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G. Sturgess Collection

Fig. 5-20: The DWM manual for the commercial version of the Navy’s P.04 was a slightly edited version of the standard German New Model manual, using the same text, illustrations and plates, with the addition of illustrations of the Chilean model trials prototype, taken unaltered from the Spanish language supplement for this pistol, depicting, erroneously, the 175 mm slim barrel, push-button locking stock, six position rear sight, Type I safety lever and Old Model toggle grips which were never part of the Navy model; the stock/holster and its strap looked the part however.

DWM Commercial Navy Manual
A slightly modified version of this manual, known only in German, was produced in the same format as a Commercial Navy manual. However, only the cover and title-page were changed to identify it as for the “Marine-Modell 1904”. The cut of a stocked pistol on the title page is that of the Chilean prototype, lifted wholly unchanged from the front page of the Chilean supplement to the 1900 manual, described above, complete with slender 175 mm barrel, multi-position rear sight located on the toggle, first model safety catch and push-button stock – evidence enough perhaps that this was also the first prototype of the Navy’s pistol. In the text, a short section was added covering attachment of the stock, which, although describing the lever-locking Navy stock, was illustrated again with the drawings of the push-button stock from the Chilean supplement. All other illustrations and the three plates (Tafeln) are those of the standard New Model manual.

The added section covering the rear-sight describes the 100/200 m Navy sight, and recommends holding over the target by 1 m to extend the range to 300 m while using the 200 m sight setting. The technical data gives lengths etc. only for the 150 mm barrel and 9 mm cartridge, and dispersion data for 100, 200 and 300 m ranges. The standard accessories are listed as two spare magazines, a leather holster combined with wooden stock, ‘a loop with sheet metal washers and screw to the stock’, a carrying strap with three adjusting buttons and pouch for two magazines, a cleaning rod and a screwdriver. The ‘loop with ... and screw to the stock’ appears to be a convoluted description of the leather retaining loop of the stock into which the tip of the holster is inserted. The spring steel hook which is usually found riveted to the carrying strap of these pistols to allow a belt to carry the weight of the holstered pistol is not specifically mentioned, however.

1906 New Model Commercial Parabellum German Language Instruction Manual
The two versions of the 1906 new model commercial Parabellum German language instruction manuals are very similar to the Marine-Model 1904 German language commercial navy Parabellum instruction manual. The 1906 new model, German language commercial Luger manual has 42 numbered pages with 11 figures and three fold-out drawings, while the “1904 new model” German language commercial navy manual has 40 numbered pages with 12 figures and three fold-out drawings, Tafel I, Tafel II and Tafel 3. The drawings of both the “1904” and 1906 new model German language, commercial manuals are identical, except for a two-line caption statement that has been added at the bottom of the new model “Marine-Model 1904” drawings. The text caption information is mostly identical on drawings 2 and 3, but slightly different on drawing 3; although all three captions state that the drawings are incomplete, directing the reader to pages 18 and 21 of the manual for more information.

The two additional figures that define the Marine-Modell 1904 commercial navy manual are figure 6, page 22 and figure 7, page 23 and pages 18 and 21 referenced in the three captions, figures or Tafeln I, II and III, with only partially correct English translations, are pictured below:

Tafel. I copy from manual reprint5

Anmerkung: Vorstehende Zeichnungen sind insofern unvollständig, als an denselben der den Ladezustand anzeigende Auszieherhebel (nach S. 18) der Visierschieber (nach S. 21) und die T-förmige Schaft-Kupplungsrippe (nach S. 21) sowie der Lauf in der entsprechenden Länge nicht veranschaulicht erscheinen.

Note: The drawings above are incomplete insofar as (referring) to the same (i.e. referring to these drawings) the loaded-state indicating extractor lever (as in p. 18), rear-sight slider (p. 21) and the T-shaped stock coupling rib (p.21) as well as the barrel in the corresponding length (i.e. as actually used for this model) do not appear as illustrated.

Tafel. II from subject original manual

Anmerkung: Vorstehende Zeichnungen sind insofern unvollständig, als an denselben: Der den Ladezustand anzeigende Auszieherhebel (nach S. 18) der Visierschieber nach (S. 21) und die T-förmige Schaft-Kupplungsrippe nach (S. 21), sowie der Lauf in der entsprechenden Länge nicht veranschaulicht erscheinen.

Note: The drawings above are incomplete insofar as (referring) to the same (i.e. referring to these drawings): The loaded-state indicating extractor lever as in (p. 18), rear-sight slider (p. 21) and the T-shaped stock coupling rib (p.21) as well as the barrel in the corresponding length (i.e. as actually used for this model) do not appear as illustrated."

Tafel. III from subject original manual

Anmerkung: Vorstehende Zeichnungen sind insofern unvollständig, als an denselben der Visierschieber (S. 21) und die T-förmige Schaftkupplungsrippe (S. 21), sowie der Lauf in der entsprechenden Länge nicht veranschaulicht erscheinen.

Note: The above drawings are incomplete, inasmuch as the visor to the same slide (p. 21) and the T-shaped rib shaft coupling (p. 21), and the run length does not appear in the corresponding illustration.

There are three other identified, surviving examples of the manual, plus the Sturgess example. Based on the covers, all the manuals have some form of damage/deterioration, color fading, repair or modification. The Sturgess collection example, pictured in volume I of Pistole Parabellum, shows signs of past repairs as evidenced by remnants of the shadow of yellowed tape, once used on the cover binder.

The subject LOB Marine-Modell 1904 instruction manual was written for the BUG proofed commercial variation of the production new model Imperial Navy P.04 Luger. Sturgess describes the misuse of the manual introduction page illustration of a Chilean Trials prototype Luger rig with a multi-position, adjustable rear sight anda prototype push-button stock as erroneously depicting the new model commercial navy Luger. Sturgess correctly describes the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger illustration(s) as being copied from the purported circa 1901 Spanish language four-page flyer, published by DWM, along with a couple of other drawings used in the flyer. He states that they were incorrectly used in the Marine-Modell 1904 instruction manual and have also been used incorrectly in a host of period gun sales catalogs and magazines describing and advertising the commercial navy Luger well into the 1930s. This includes Swiss sales catalogs, American sales catalogs, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, A.F. Stoeger, Inc., and German catalogs, most notably, ALBRECHT KIND or AKAH. The AKAH catalog pictures a Chilean Trials Prototype Carbine rig in five known catalogs dating from 1910, 1926-27, 1930, and 1939. It is described as: No. 5875 Parabellum Pistol, Navy Pattern as captioned in their 1910 catalog, in English. Then there are Russian sales catalogs.

The American representative for DWM in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Hans Tauscher, has erroneously provided information and pictures of the Chilean Trials prototype Luger carbine with push-button board stock for the new model grip safety commercial navy Luger to a 1911 American outdoor sports magazine in response to an editor’s request. The Tauscher version of the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger rig is pictured together with an unusually marked 1902 Luger Carbine rig on page 76 of the article, a more recognized, relatively speaking, similarly marked picture of a standard new model 4¾ inch barrel grip safety Luger is shown. The publication is a relatively obscure, monthly American outdoors magazine, titled: Hunter-Trader-Trapper. Interestingly, the drawing mentioned above was provided by Tauscher and is the only example of a different, period line drawing or depiction of the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger rig. The original, circa 1901 four-page Spanish flyer, figure 1 illustration has been used many times. This obscure 1911 magazine, noted mainly for outdoors articles and not guns had a special article on Lugers otherwise this alternate picture or rendering of the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger and prototype push-button board stock may never have been discovered, i.e. was never known to exist, prior to this writing.

The newly identified line drawing or rendering does not represent technical changes from the only other known line drawing or rendering of the Chilean Trials prototype Luger rig, first pictured in the circa 1901 DWM published four-page supplemental Spanish flyer, but is different enough from the original rendering to be noticed, in other words, done several years later, by a different artist. The differences are noted specifically in the depiction of the push-button board stock, where the leather shoulder carrying strap is positioned, and twisted differently on the neck of the board stock. Also, the wraparound leather strap, secured with a single screw and washer, with the strap holding the toe end of the holster secure to the board, is positioned further on the neck, to the rear of the slightly different shape board stock.

The most distinguishing feature of the Tauscher 30 Cal, seven inch barrel Chilean Trials Prototype, narrow grip safety Luger pistol is the repositioning of the second issue thumb safety lever to the up-position and the addition of the English word “SAFE” in the lower polished bright white metal area. The pictured circa 1902 Luger carbine, in the same picture, but with the third issue fluted grasping surface thumb safety lever has also been modified, identical to the Chilean trials pistol. The pictured, standard new model grip safety Luger with a 4¾”, 30 Cal barrel is also marked SAFE in the lower area of the left side rear frame recess.

Why Tauscher would submit such a fantasy, misleading, incorrect depiction of the production new model commercial BUG proofed P.04 navy grip safety Luger rig in 1911 will never be known. The modifications, actually new, or at a minimum, never seen before depictions, were certainly deliberate and with Tauscher’s knowledge, who was most certainly involved in the modification of this newly identified “fantasy” drawing. It is interesting to note that Tauscher’s 1910 sales catalog still pictures the retro Chilean Trials Prototype Luger with push-button board stock on page 32. The picture is titled: “German Navy LUGER Automatic Pistol” and it is the same as it first appeared in the 1901 Spanish language, four-page flyer, nine years prior.

It wasn’t until Tauscher’s 1913 sales catalog that he finally did correctly picture an actual production P.04, Cal 9 m/m navy rig with the finalized 100 – 200 meter, two-position adjustable rear sight and production turn-lever attaching iron board stock on page 17, titled: “LUGER Automatic Navy Pistol. Cal 9 m/m (.354) Only.” Yet ironically to the left, he also pictured the retro 1901 Spanish flyer modified figure 2. In this instance, it was modified for and extracted from figure 7 of the Marine-Modell 1904 instruction manual and was a cropped picture of a sportsman-like figure shooting a Chilean Trials Prototype Luger. Coincidently, the correct P.04 navy version, albeit mislabeled and pictured differently, also appeared in the 1913 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. The 1911 A&F catalog ad for the P.04 navy Luger pictured the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger. This suggests possibly when the correct P.04 navy Luger version finally became generally available to retailers.

The cover of the 1910 Tauscher sales catalog features a new model 30 Cal., 4¾ inch barrel Luger which is identical to the Tauscher pistol discussed above. The SAFE marked thumb safety area shown in the pictures of the 1902 carbine and especially the Chilean Trials prototype Luger are solely the imagination of Hans Tauscher. Therefore, this dispels the theory (or, it is “safe” to say) of some Luger collectors, that in addition to the LOADED marked extractor, there exists pre-WWI, new model grip safety Lugers marked SAFE based solely on the 1910 Tauscher sales catalog cover. The SAFE mark or stamping was first used on P.08 style thumb safety commercial Lugers in the 1920s.

Perhaps Tauscher, who coined the word Luger, suggested to DWM that they apply the word SAFE to Lugers exported to the United States and DWM was favorable to the change. In anticipation to that change, Tauscher had made some new drawings, but before it could be implemented, Germany got occupied by World War I. Although this explanation would not explain the SAFE marked Chilean Trials prototype Luger. The Tauscher SAFE marked 30 Cal grip safety Luger that first appeared on the cover of his 1910 sales catalog, despite not being adopted by DWM, was used in retailer catalogs as late as August 1914 as evidenced in the 1914 Charles William Stores catalog pictured on page 852. It wasn’t until after the war that DWM did mark some 1920s P.08 style Lugers for export with SAFE.

Sturgess describes the circa 1901 published Spanish language 4-page flyer of the Chilean Trials Prototype Luger and prototype push-button board stock with the following comment: "Given the probable date of production of the prototype 'Chilean Model' pistols it describes, in mid-1901, it was most probably produced as a supplement to the 'first provisional manual' rather than the edition of 1902" (in Pistole Parabellum, Volume III, Chapter Thirty-Seven, page 1132). As to what first provisional manual Sturgess avers to is not pictured or identified. However, one particular example of a 1902 purple and gold lettered, large format cover, commercial Spanish language manual for the old model Luger (part of the LOB collection2) was obtained from Argentina and it included a purported circa 1901 published Chilean Trials prototype Luger supplemental 4-page Spanish language flyer insert.

     Spanish language 4-page 2-sided advertising flyer    

Click for close-up of page 1, pages 2 and 3 and page 4 of the flier.

This flyer is not military in nature since it uses a civilian sportsman-like figure in gentleman type European hunting attire to demonstrate the shooting and handling of the pistol and stock. It suggests that this new type of stocked pistol, being the first Luger carbine configuration, was also being promoted to the South American hunting or civilian community. Although the flyer was focused on the potential Chilean military adoption of the pistol, which at the time South America, especially Argentina, was enamored of anything European. Some examples of the later or second series produced Chilean Trials production prototype, fixed rear sight pistols, approximately 50 in all, have been identified without matching push-button board stocks. These examples have period, non-German belt loop affixed holsters and suggests not all pistols were issued/sold with push-button board stocks. Pictured below are two such examples.

Example 1

Example 2

Pictured is another example of an inaccurate description of a fixed rear sight, preproduction prototype Chilean Trials Carbine Luger, serial number 10007. Although, someone knew what it was as the final hammer price was in excess of $20,000 in September 2002.

Pictured is a correct, genuine example of a Chilean Production Prototype "second" Trials, fixed rear sight Luger Carbine pistol with a reasonably correct description, which recently sold in 2012 for $19,995, interestingly, reflecting no increase in value, a decade later, after the last recorded sale of serial number 10007 in 2002.

The Example 2 Kenyon pictured holster and Chilean Trials production prototype fixed rear sight pistol, especially the holster, at first glance, supports Kenyon’s contention or suggestion, that some of these unique pistols were supplied without push-button board stocks, as the pictured holster appears to be a very early pre-1904 DWM factory supplied belt-loop holster, based on its early tear-drop style, crazed surface3 and most significantly for the especially long cleaning rod pouch for the longer cleaning rod, specifically made for the Chilean trials, seven inch barrel Luger pistols. However, a closer examination of the holster shows it to be a push-button second trials board-stock holster, as the toe area clearly shows where the leather strap used to secure the holster toe to the neck of the board-stock, as evidenced by a darker band, where the holster was shielded from the elements by the leather securing strap.


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