Video – Will a German Luger Run HP Ammo?

This was a short video we filmed one night when the subject came up about shooting modern HP ammo out of an old German P08 Luger. Speer Gold Dot 9mm Duty Ammo. Let me explain:

  1. It is not uncommon to run across people who may have a firearm but aren’t “gun people”. Maybe they inherited a gun? Maybe it’s just “the gun” their household has always had?

2. Inevitably when things get tough, someone will start thinking about pop’s old Luger and wonder if it’s safe to shoot? And will it work for “home defense”?


In the case of Lugers? Generally yes. Lugers are much stronger than people give them credit for. And if it will cycle HP ammo? And you ALREADY own it! It can certainly be pressed into “home defense” duty.

Right now many of my fellow gun people are scratching their heads since this logic doesn’t compute for them. But the short-circuit is emotional. Non-gun people don’t look for excuses to run to the gun shop and drop another 300-400-500-600-700 on a new toy. That’s a lot of money in the real world.

Or perhaps you would suggest they go and buy a $150 hi-point instead? Which…wait for it…a lot of times doesn’t run HP ammo well. Has a terrible, terrible safety. And…may only hold 8 shots. Functionally the same firepower as a Luger. And in most of these situations I am describing, these people rarely, if EVER, shoot.

My advice is to test pop’s gun for function. See if it shoots HP ammo? Clean it up. Understand the safety. And march on. It’ll be there if you need it. There is always a better choice, but don’t toss out good enough because of your own personal bias.




“Shooting Guns & Having Guns”

Marky Mark

Marky Mark

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Writer for Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Analysis of the Geo-political / Military Relationship in the Context of Strategic Goals.
Marky Mark

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  • MickeyG

    Got a early ’40s P-38 that cycles/shoots everything I feed it.

  • Mikial

    I’m not too surprised it cycles. Lugers were pretty well engineered for their day. I wouldn’t want to run too much modern self defense ammo through one just because of the differences in metals from then till now. But if it’s an emergency, a few rounds isn’t going to be a deal breaker.

    • I am of two minds on that. One one hand, you hear that metallurgy wasn’t a good then as it is now. But on the other hand, I can think of many examples of firearms from around the 19-teens through 1930’s that have had 100,000’s of rounds though them.

      As I recall, Freeze’s “main” Colt 1911 is a 1928 that he has shot non-stop since the early 1980’s.

      We can say the same for early 1900’s smokeless / Spitzer ammo. Nobody complains about the metallurgy of a 100 year old mauser shooting store-bought hunting ammo?


      • MickeyG

        I have 2 Colt 1911’s (1914 &1918) from my grandfathers one of which my father carried in War 2 & Korea, my older brother carried in ‘Nams early years, and I carried in ‘Nam 65-69. I don’t really know how many rounds have been fired through them, but I’ve put 1000s of rounds through them and still shoot them, never had a problem and they still run fine.