I spent an enjoyable afternoon plinking with the thoroughly modern but heavy Walther P-38.  About the only thing about the P-38 that isn't modern is that it is made out of steel instead of polymer.  The double action/single action operation is on par with modern pistols... a round can be carried in the chamber with the hammer down safely, and being put into action by just pulling the trigger.

The P-38 simplified construction compared the German Army's previous handgun, the Luger P08.  The Luger's parts were incredibly complicated and it took forever to build one.  The P-38 halved the time, but it was still more complicated to build than the Allies sidearm, the Browning M1911.

This particular gun was built in 1945 by the Carl Walther plant in Zella-Mehlis.  The numbers are mismatched, and this has been noticed in other Walther marked guns from 1945.  The plant was captured by the Allies in April of '45, and you can imagine the workers cranking out guns while being bombed in the last days of the war.  

The finish isn't bad for a late wartime gun, it has no import stamps but has some visible tooling marks.  Shoots great, and it carries 8 shots plus one in the chamber.  You could use this gun for self defense safely, but for concealed carry it is pretty heavy.

Originally published on 10/10/2010

The Birmingham UK website reveal the once mighty and proud works at Birmingham Small Arms stands lonely and derelict today.  The thriving manufacturer produced arms for the British Government from 1860 thru the 2 World Wars.  BSA was also the Worlds largest manufacturer of motorcycless in the 1960's.  The company built just about everything before it's final demise.  Today, air rifles and shotguns are built at one of the old plants by BSA GUNS, but the real brand rights belong to the BSA Regal Group, a group of engineering companies in Southampton.

the old BSA buildings

Update: 12/5/2015

Things are looking up for the old BSA buildings.  BSA Guns is still there, and the main building has been taken over by MSL Performance, a high end automobile performance tuning center.  The building has been rehabbed and the building has taken on a new life.

BSA in 2015
BSA in 2015