Total Model 8 production was about 145,000
*Serial number ranges will change as new guns are documented
Production numbers and dates for the Walther Model 8 Pistol
By Earl Mount
After an intense study of the information available to me at this time I suggest that the Walther Model 8 pistol production dates be revised as follows:
First Variation: Beginning in 1920 to around 1926. Serial number range 390000 to about 480000. Number produced 84,000.
Second Variation: Beginning around 1927 to 1933 or 1934. Serial number range 700000 to about 715000 and then several thousand in the mid 720000 range. Number produced 24,000.
Third Variation: Beginning in 1933 or 1934 to 1940. Serial number range 715000 to about 745000 (less the Second Variations in the mid 720000 range) and then in 1938 900000A to perhaps 100000A but probably somewhat lower. Number produced perhaps 37000.
This means that total Model 8 production was about 145,000.
These dates and production numbers are based upon the following information:
I have fairly recently begun to compile a database of Walther Model 8 pistols with pictures of individual guns that I have owned, observed on various internet sites, or seen in books. I have used additional information that was provided by Dieter Marschall. There are currently only about 65 individual examples in my data base which much smaller than I would like, but it is what I have. In this database there is a fairly even scattering of serial numbers from 392295 through 470766. Then there is a void until 700399 (?) followed by an even scattering of serial numbers up to 743603. Next I have a variety of “A” suffix serial numbers beginning with 92291 A and ending with 96801 A. Surprisingly I have never seen a Model 8 with a serial number between 480000 and 700000. I can not say that there are none with certainty but the even scattering of serial numbers in the all the other ranges indicates to me that there is a chance that Walther may have stopped Model 8 serial numbers at 480000 and then jumped to 700000.
The result of these numbers tells me that Model 8 total production may have been much less then what has been previously written. 145000 is still a lot of pistols, but it is far less than other estimates that I have seen. A 1934 WALTHER catalog states that “by the end of 1933 … the sales figures for models 8 and 9 having passed the 200,000 mark.” I always assumed that this meant that both the Model 8 and the Model 9 had sold 200,000 units each. 1933 there had indeed been well over 200,000 Model 9’s sold. My current production numbers say that by 1934 there had been only 107,000 Model 8’s produced instead of the “over 200,000” claimed in the catalog. So the catalog must have been referring to the combined numbers of Model 8’s and 9’s produced, or perhaps Walther’s marketing department were just enhancing the truth in their catalog.
The production date ranges were established using the following information:
I am pretty comfortable with my production date estimates. The start date of 1920 has been written in virtually every book or document that I have seen and I believe it to be true. The 1934 Walther catalog states that the Model 8 has been in production for 14 years. So I am sure that production started in 1920.
In my database there is serial number 470466 which is a late production first variation. This pistol has Czechoslovakian proof mark “819 25” which dates the import of this gun to the first half of 1925. Another gun in the data base is 706498 which is an early production second variation. This pistol has Austrian proof mark “4988.29” which dates its import to 1929. Therefore the transition from the first variation Model 8 to the second variation Model 8 took place between 1925 and 1929. I place the change date as 1926-1927. I could be off a year.
As for the change from the second variation to the third variation I do not have import proof information and so I have used the change over from the plain grip panels to the grips with the WALTHER banner logo. The change in grip styles took place on the very late second variations and is seen on virtually all third variation pistols. A study of catalogs of the time show only the left side of the Model 8 in every picture. In the two catalogs that I have dated 1932 (W.U.M and Akah) the pistol is pictured with plain grips. In the two 1934 catalogs that I have (Walther and geco) the Walther Model 8 pistols are shown with the WALTHER banner logo. In my Walther Model 9 research I have found that the catalogs of the era were remarkably up to date in their pictures of the Walther pistols and so I have a relatively high degree of “trust” in these pictures. I am fairly comfortable with the transition from Walther Model 8 second variation to third variation taking place in 1933 or perhaps 1934.
The switch to serial numbers with the “A” suffix probably took place in sometime in 1938. Model 8 serial number 743630 has a 1938 Czechoslovakian proof. This is a very late 700000 series pistol and making allowance for the time lag between production and importation the pistol into Czechoslovakia the pistol was probably not made at the very end of 1938, allowing time for the introduction of the “A” suffix serial numbers in the later part of 1938. Plus Walther adopted the suffix serial numbers on the PP, PPK, and Model 9 during 1938 so it follows that the “A” suffix serial number on the Model 8 was also started in 1938.
The date when Model 8 and Model 9 production ended was covered in my earlier communications. I am still sure that production of parts ended in early 1940. Assembly and sales may have continued for a short time, but not as late as 1943.”
By Earl Mount