Here’s What You Need to Remember: It has been argued that the Luger remained a popular “bring back” because that is what fathers and uncles had brought back a generation earlier. During both World Wars the American soldier earned a reputation as “inveterate souvenir hunters,” who at times took home everything that wasn’t nailed down—unless they had a crowbar to pull out the nails! Amongst the most sought after items for many the Doughboy or GI was the German P08 Luger 9mm. While the pistol, which was named after its Austrian small arms designer Georg Luger, had largely been replaced by the far superior P38 in World War II, it has been argued that the Luger remained a popular “bring back” because that is what fathers and uncles had brought back a generation earlier. An irony of this insatiable desire for the Luger was that those same soldiers could have been issued it, had the U.S. Army not gone in another—and perhaps superior—direction. It is impossible to consider that the Army could have adopted anything other than the Colt M1911 .45 pistol—which was one of John Browning’s many weapons—military planners did consider other handguns.
That included the Luger. The United States had been using the Colt M1892 .38 Long Colt Revolver—not a Browning design—and while it served well in the Spanish-American War, it was found not up for the rigors of jungle warfare during the Philippine-American War or Moro Insurrection. The Moro weren’t just tough warriors; they actually wore armor with plates made of either black water buffalo horn or brass plates connected with butted brass mail. They also often took drugs to inhibit pain in battle. The .38 round lacked the stopping power the Army needed, and sought a new sidearm. [full article]