Cutaway of the Day: Luger P08
The diagrams above explain how the Luger’s iconic toggle-lock recoil system worked. With the toggle moving backwards up the cam ramp. It has been said that the Luger is the best balanced and most ergonomic pistol ever made. However there are some drawbacks to its very complex design which relied on close tolerances. The positioning of both the magazine release and safety are not ideal. The magazine release being too far forward for it to be reached by the thumb of the grip hand without breaking your grip. Similarly with its safety catch, which is located to the rear above the pistol grip making it difficult to quickly ‘thumb’ off the safety before firing - a disadvantage in combat when time is of the essence, especially in an unexpected contact.
Originally chambered in 7.65×21mm Luger it was rechambered in 1902 to fire the now ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum which was specifically designed for the Luger. It was actually first adopted by the Swiss in 1900 in the original smaller calibre. The Imperial German Navy then adopted it in 1904 with the army selecting it in 1908, designating it the P08.
It remained in use with the German Army throughout the First World War and interwar period. It was used extensively during World War Two where it was a highly sought after prize gun. It was supplemented eventually by the simpler Walther P38. It was returned to production after the war under French orders and was subsequently produced by Mauser during the 1970s until the mid 1980s.
More on the Luger here
Image One & Two Source
Image Three Source