Why P-38 ejects to th left.................. - Pistolsmith

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Old 05-24-2004, 08:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 106
Why P-38 ejects to th left..................

I have been wondering about the reason why P-38 was designed to eject the case to the left. (This has been mentioned countless times whenever P-38 was covered in a magazine article by many gun writers, but without giving any definite answers.)

As I have been speculating German menality (I have purchased many German designed items besides firearms), a picture begans to form. Germans, in general, do not like to waste resources needlessly, also they are not just interested in pure performance, but also easier maintenance, sturdy reliability, ergonomics that takes into account, not just performance, but with regard to conserving resources. Even though taking this all into account could result in some very complexity, and therefore expensive item. That's their way.

I think, there are basically two reasons why P-38 ejects spent cases to the left. (Some of you think this could result in needless distraction, also when shooting around the corner to the left, the spent casings could land and hit the shooter's face. All legitimate concerns.)

1. This way, it is easier for one to count how many shots one has fired,(therefore, how many rounds are still remaining. I know, some of you think this could be very naive approach to gun fighting. But remember, when P-38 was designed, people didn't believe in shooting in "burst", they believed in shooting one round and recover, aim , shoot the next round. Ejecting the spent cases to the left makes it easier for the shooter to count.

2. In the case of double-feed(This was more relevant in the early days of autopistol ammunition, one can immediately recognize the problem. Ejecting the round to the right, in the heat of combat, one could miss the double-feed, with fatal consequences. Even nowdays, double-feed is a real danger. Brandon Lee, the son of Late Bruce Lee, died as a result of double-feeding pistol, during filmin.)
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Old 08-03-2004, 12:12 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 83
Here's another guess.
Perhaps the Germans intended the pistol to be fired with the left hand?
My thinking here is that in Europe, the pistol is supposedly regarded as a badge of rank, often little more. Maybe it's supposed to used in the left hand to free up the right for "more important" matters such as directing troops, tossing grenades, fixing the primary weapon, etc.

Beats me. I didn't even notice the P38 was left-ejecting until I saw my first P5 and saw that it was.
Old 08-03-2004, 02:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 876
Tony, I am unclear as to what you mean by a "double feed." Around here it is a common misnomer for a failure to extract, with a live round coming up behind an empty case still in the chamer. You are disarmed by a major malfunction but I don't see the risk so great that I am going to be counting the empties as they eject. If I am in combat I have more to worry about than an obscure gun malf anyhow. Anyhow, the empties are coming out so fast that I don't notice them.

Best I recall Brandon Lee was shot with a mishandled revolver, like so:
Load .44 magnum with dummy rounds to appear authentic and menacing when filmed from muzzle.
Remove dummy rounds and replace with blanks for shootout scene.
Bullet from a dummy round (Actually only an empty copper jacket.) sticks in the cylinder throat and blank loads in behind it.
Start shootout scene.
Actory fires blank behind dummy bullet, discharging dummy bullet into Lee.

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