Like most members of the concealed carry community, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time browsing the goods at your favorite gun shop. If you were actually in the market for a handgun at the time, you’ve probably experienced the reality of sticker-shock.
The growing popularity of self-defense equipment, the rise of the “doomsday preppers,” and inflation in general have created an upward price spiral in the firearm industry with no end in sight.
Luckily, there are still some bargains out there if you know where to look.
One of these is the Walther 9mm P1 semi-automatic pistol, a Cold War surplus model imported by Century Arms International.
Not only is the Walther P1 an excellent firearm, but it’s also steeped in history, originating with the renowned WWII era German Luger 9mm pistol. The Luger was updated during wartime to the Walther P38 and then updated again during the Cold War to the Walther P1 9mm for use by West German Police.
The Walther P1 is made from lightweight aluminum and performs superbly in controlled environments. Author Scott W. Wagner describes his reaction when first firing the Walther P1 in his article “Century Arms International 9mm Walther P1” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“My first shots from the P1 were fired with ZVS 9mm ball ammo from Century Arms and made me think ‘where have you been all my life?’ Recoil was easily controlled and accuracy — out to 100 yards — was excellent! There were no malfunctions.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
Yet the best selling point about the Walther P1 has nothing to do with the spec sheet. Century Arms is selling the pistol at a budget-pleasing $325 average price. This gun will serve well as a lightweight option for carry or for recreational range practice.
The P1 borrowed the trigger system and slide-mounted de-cocking lever from the earlier Walther. It uses an open-top slide-operating mechanism. The Walther P1 first began production in 1956, before the advent of the high-powered +P and +P+ ammo.
Although the P1 can handle limited +P use, it’s recommended to use high-quality non +P rounds to maintain the structural integrity of this vintage firearm. As for hollow points, the only glitch is that the first round will load only when there are seven rounds in the magazine instead of the normal eight, which might be a deal-breaker for some purists.
The magazine release is “heel” style at the base of the backstrap. This is a safety benefit for concealed carry holders, as it prohibits accidental magazine ejection during day-to-day activities.
The Walther P1 is not a high-tech all-purpose firearm for every situation, but if you’ve been searching for a reasonably priced, lightweight, and unobtrusive carry weapon, this little piece of history may be what you are looking for.