The markings show this particular pistol was used both by the East German government and was later reissued by the combined Federal Republic of Germany. I purchased this pistol in the late 90’s. It was equipped with a set of thumb rest “target grips” to meet import requirements. I replaced those with the rubber Pearce Grips seen in the photo and also acquired a set of actual hard plastic East German grips later (which I couldn’t find for the photo.) In use I’ve found this pistol to be both reliable and accurate. The double-action trigger pull, while heavy, has smoothed out noticeably with use.
Walther's original factory was located in Zella-Mehlis in the " Land " (state) of Thuringia . As that part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union following World War II, Walther fled to West Germany , where they established a new factory in Ulm . For several years following the war, the Allied powers forbade any manufacture of weapons in Germany. As a result, in 1952, Walther licensed production of the PP series pistols to a French company, Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin , also known as Manurhin . The French company continued to manufacture the PP series until 1986.
In 1937 designs for the 9mm Luger were being developed to replace the expensive to produce Luger designs. Walther produced hammerless and external hammer designs which featured their SA/DA trigger, decocker lever, and a loaded chamber indicator on the models that eventually became the P38 when it was adopted by the German army. The P38 when developed, was considered one of the best natural pointing handguns in existence. Walther's open top recoil action permitted the handgun to continue to fire even if an obstruction in the barrel had caused a bulge in the barrel (typically caused by squib loads).