American Eagle Lugers at RIA

Many people are aware of the .45 caliber Lugers made for US military field trials – but far fewer people realize that Lugers were both tested by the US military and sold commercially several years prior to the .45 tests.

In 1900, the US military put several hundred 7.65mm Luger pistols into field trials with both infantry and cavalry units. These pistols were marked with a large and elaborate American eagle crest, in an attempt by DWM to enhance the gun’s appeal to Americans. A similar tactic was used in production of Lugers for Swiss sale, with a large Swiss cross (and it worked well). After complaints about the small caliber of the early 1900 Lugers, DWM developed the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, and attempted to sell them commercially in the US (and elsewhere). A small batch were also purchased for further military testing. Rock Island has a bunch of Lugers in their upcoming auction, including the two in this video – a fat barrel 9mm American Eagle commercial gun and a 7.65mm American Eagle test trials gun, complete with holster.