The Ur-PDW: Lange Pistole 08 Luger at C&Rsenal

Arcane Teutonic space magicks gave Imperial German assault troops the advantage in trench warfare during the first Great War, as the Kaiser’s sturmtruppen made deadly use of Arch-Industriemage Georg Luger’s fearsome Lange Pistole 08 “long Luger” semiautomatic handheld transforming death machines – err, I mean stocked pistols.

The over-the-top language isn’t just for fun, though, as it’s difficult to overstate the significance of the Luger LP.08 stocked pistol. It was one of the first firearms formally adopted in an echelon role specifically to fill the gap between the pistol and the carbine (i.e., it was one of the first PDWs), and when equipped with the 32 round trommel magazine developed by a Hungarian engineer named Friedrich Blum, it was the direct progenitor to the submachine gun. That 32 round snail drum magazine would be directly incorporated into the MP.18 submachine gun developed by Bergmann Waffenfabrik, which became the foundation not only for all German submachine gun development thereafter, but most European development as well.

Doubtless by now you want to learn more about the LP.08, which you can do by checking out C&Rsenal’s video on the little wunderwaffe below, hosted by Othais and Mae:

Once you’re done, you’ll know all about the grandfather of the PDW, and the great-uncle of the submachine gun!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Frédéric Baisieux

    Sorry the picture isn’t the P08 “lange pistole”. It’s really the P08 Artillerie.

    • iksnilol

      I think it is a gun of the biga$$ variety.

    • Michael

      Sorry, but both are identical. Officially, the nomenclature is ‘Lange Pistole 08’, commonly named ‘Artillerie 08’ or short ‘Ari 08’,
      Same with with the ‘Marine 08’: the Imperial German Navy adopted the ‘Navy Luger’ in 1904 as ‘Pistole 04’; it is no ’08’… although frequently called this way.

    • Othais

      The Germans never adopted an “artillerie.” That is just a collectors’ nickname. Official designation was Lange Pistole 08.

      • iksnilol

        Because Germans are a logical people: They adopt a long pistol, what do they call it? Long Pistol.

  • mark

    Love the narrator in this video. You can tell he’s not just a weapon’s nerd he’s also a historian. The lecture format is one of my favorite, but I’m a history nerd.

  • FWIW: It looks like Friedrich Blum was riding the coattails of Edmund Tatarek. Tatarek and Blum had filed other firearm patents together in Europe, circa 1913-1914.

    Here is Tatarek’s 1912 US patent:

    And here is Blum’s later Austrian patent:

    • @danielewatters:disqus It seems like you can find nearly anything about small arms… thank you sir!!

      • Tassiebush

        He really enriches the comments with this stuff!

    • ostiariusalpha

      Looks like they had two different solutions for feeding the last rounds up through the straight part of the magazine body. Tatarek had a telescoping extension on the radial arm to push the follower to the feed lips; whereas Blum split it into two functions, with a separate follower and spring for the straight segment.

    • Micki

      I’d first heard this snail-drum called a “Tatarek von Benko”, in some book or another. I just Googled it and the “Tatarek von Benko” patent shows something more symmetrical, like the early PPD drum. Don’t know how Johan von Benko fits into it, though.

      • Johan von Benko appears to have funded the invention and/or patent.

    • In the following link, Ian posts a photo of Tatarek’s semi-auto conversion of the Enfield P13. More links to the rifle patents are in the comments.

      It is also covered in this slideshow dedicated to early British semi-auto rifle testing.

  • “No use in wasting all this on just military contracts.”
    A lesson Colt should have learned from the start.

  • Edeco

    I barely crave regular 4 inch and 9mm Lugers at all. I’m not a member of the Luger cult. But I’d love a 30 Cal. artillery model. To me that’s where the proportions make sense.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “Damn Nazi’s blowed off my shins with one’a them!”

  • HKmaster

    I can make for yew looga gun top quarity. I sell you good pry, so good!

  • Mazryonh

    Grandfather of the PDW and SMG? Maybe if it had auto-fire capability.

    • ostiariusalpha

      If it had automatic fire, it would actually be a submachine gun, not an ancestor.

    • You’ll note I called it the “great-uncle” of the SMG.

  • AirborneSoldier

    One can make the argument that the l7ger, with the drum, was the fi4st assault weapon

  • ostiariusalpha

    I used to think somewhat the same thing, but those misperceptions are shaped largely by the subguns, such as the FN P90, HK MP7, and B&T MP9, developed to fulfill a NATO requirement from the late 80’s (AC/225-D/296) which requested the development of a new high performance cartridge which could be used in a submachine gun and semi-auto pistol; select-fire is not a necessary defining feature for a PDW at all. In actuality, the semi-automatic M1911A1 and M9 were both classified as PDWs by the U.S. Army. According to them a personal defense weapon is defined as an individual carry weapon fulfilling the role of defending one’s person in emergency situations while being unobstructive to one’s regular duties. Both the LP.08 and the M1 Carbine meet that requirement just fine without select-fire capabilities. But, if you’re going to use a PDW, it’s really nice if it happens to be a submachine gun.

    • Mazryonh

      Sure, a handgun might be called a PDW in a sense, but handguns are among the hardest firearm class to effectively use (especially under stress) and train for. At least a select-fire SMG has a lot more applications (such as CQB) than a handgun does and is easier to use accurately.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Not just in a sense, that’s actually what they were called in official documents when being used as a defensive weapon by troops not in direct combat roles. The SMG is definitely more versatile, but a pistol is more convenient for the 99.99% of the time. Both my grandfathers carried 1911s in WWII and neither was endeared to it. My paternal grandfather was an electrician and was only shot at one time while doing field service, he did make it clear that he would have greatly preferred an M1 Carbine at that moment.

        • Mazryonh

          It sounds like PDW is a bit of a loose term then, if handguns can be called that.

          There are PDWs that have been designed to be holstered like a large handgun, such as the MP7. Designs like that should be easier to carry around than a larger SMG.

          Sounds like your paternal grandfather would have appreciated the ease of aiming over longer distances that the M1 carbine had over the M1911 too, which is something a PDW SMG can also offer.

          • ostiariusalpha

            As it is a role, instead of a class of weapon (like SMG, LMG, HMG), it is inherently more flexible in what qualifies. Though I should point out that even AC/225-D/296 still specifies the use of pistols as personal defense weapons, and these pistols have all been designed (if not necessarily created): FN’s 5.7x28mm has the Five-seveN pistol, HK’s 4.6x30mm was to use the P46 Universal Combat Pistol, and 6.5x25mm CBJ is designed to work in any 9mm +P+ rated pistol with just a barrel swap.

            My paternal grandfather used his weapon appropriately at least, to beat a hasty retreat. But he was never happy that there had only been some basic training in the pistol’s use, with no subsequent practice except for his little misadventure. He was also an avid hunter even before the war, and was very familiar with shouldering a rifle, so the M1C would have been a better fit anyways. Another gripe he had was that you couldn’t quickly and easily change the holster position for a pistol, which could be inconvenient if it was trying to snag wire while you were on a ladder. The M1C, in contrast, could be slung any which way was comfortable or even hung off body, but within reach.

          • Mazryonh

            Thanks for the clarification on he reference. It seems that most PDW manufacturers (with the current exception of KAC and their PDW platform) have designed their PDW models to share ammunition with a companion handgun. That kind of paradigm might be interesting to pursue for other manufacturers in the future.

            It seems that the “lack of training” problem with regards to military handguns is something your paternal grandfather shared with today’s military forces. But perhaps the US armed forces back then hadn’t realized how much harder it is to use a handgun as opposed to a long gun. By the way, if a pistol holster proves uncomfortable or otherwise undesirable for a modern US armed forces member, is s/he allowed to obtain another model? Your paternal grandfather might have appreciated that option.

          • ostiariusalpha

            They are not allowed to do so; neither now nor back then.

          • Mazryonh

            Once again, “standard issue” proves to be “one size fits most.” At least in the civilian world there’s bound to be a holster that fits your needs.

            Given the complaints troops had about the M1 Carbine’s reported lack of stopping power in the Korean War, perhaps your paternal grandfather might not have found the carbine so useful after all, had he repeatedly gotten into serious firefights with one.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Anyone that has made a serious study of the .30 Carbine would tell you that it has just as much stopping power as any pistol magnum shooting a ball round. Its propellant, WW296, loses some power in bitterly cold weather, but it still has enough punch to penetrate heavy clothing and reach vital organs (certainly better than what .45 ACP could manage). So, shot placement is key, and bad shot placement by soldiers that were not particularly great marksmen explains a lot about any lack of stopping power during the Korean War or any other combat it was in. If my grandfather had been in a position where he was going to get in more frequent and serious firefights, he would have had some questions about his assignment with his superiors and probably asked to be assigned with a defensive detail armed with Garands and BARs. But he knew that he wasn’t in such a position, and that his one incident was an aberration, so any firearm heavier than the M1C would have been obtrusive. An ideal weapon that weighed less than 7 lbs., had soft recoil, and fired a round that had better lethality & range than .30 Carbine would have to wait another 50 years.

          • Mazryonh

            I think one of the problems with the .30 Carbine ammo back then was that it used round-nosed bullets like contemporary pistol ammo did. Back in WWI they learned that even full-power rifle calibers would often “ice pick” through opponents if round-nosed bullets were used, which led to the mass adoption of spitzer-tip bullets for rifle rounds to take advantage of that shape’s tendency to yaw in tissue to produce larger wounds. But to my knowledge spitzer-tip ammunition wasn’t adopted for WWII-era .30 Carbine ammo, so there was no yawing effect. Modern PDW cartridges like the 5.7x28mm and the 4.6x30mm generally have spitzer-tip bullets despite having a shorter COAL than the older .30 Carbine round.

            Sure, marksmanship under the stress-produced by hostile fire is something that has to be trained for, but at least a long gun is easier to hit accurately with in that situation than a handgun.