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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2010 - Page 63

Artist: Roy Pelz t was the last handgun offered at a local auction, and my modest bid was successful. It was a German Dreyse Model 1907 without grips or magazine, and was missing two screws. I knew I had a magazine and I figured I could get grips from Vintage and the screws from Numrich. Rebuilding this early .32 auto would be fun. When the auctioneer said “Sold!” my friend Dan Duffy reached across and nudged me. “You got a goody,” he said. “What? It’s just an old Dreyse.” “Did you look at the front of the grip frame?” he asked me. No, I hadn’t. During the pre-auction examination, I had just glanced at it on the table. Afterward, when I paid for it and picked it up I noticed the markings were definitely interesting, to say the least. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM On the right side near the ejection port there was a tiny crowned “W,” the military acceptance mark. The front of the grip frame was filled with markings: “P. A.C.H.,” a large “116” and across below, “L. G.” This stands for “Pioneer Abteilung Chevauleger,” weapon number 16, and “Luftschiff Garde.” Translation: Front-line unit, mounted cavalry — and airship guard! So, imagine this: Sometime in 1916, Hans is standing there at the edge of the airfield, making sure some peasant doesn’t herd goats across it. The spike on his Pickelhaube has a ball attached (can’t have sharp points around a blimp you know); and in the holster on his belt, this very pistol! Collector’s often say “I wish it could talk.” Well, this one did. Many thanks to my old friend, Roy Pelz, for the artwork showing just how it might have been. * 63

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