Original U.S. Pre-WWI Era US Army Test Eagle American Luger Brown Leather Holster By Rock Island Arsenal - Extremely Rare
Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is an item that has all but been forgotten to history, a holster for an American Luger! In 1901, Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken sent two Lugers to the United States, who were also interested in a semi-automatic pistol. After doing well in testing, a total of 1,000 pistols and 200,000 rounds were purchased for use by the Military Academy at West Point, and several other forts. The Luger was unpopular, with most troops preferring their .38 Long Colt revolvers, resulting in the Luger being recalled in 1905.
The holster is in wonderful condition and besides the cracking in the leather finish, this does not appear to have ever been used. The reverse side to the left is stamped with ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL above the inspector’s initials of E.H.S. Established as both an arsenal and a center for the manufacture of leather accouterments and field gear, today RIA still provides manufacturing, logistics, and base support services for the Armed Forces.
This is an incredibly rare holster, one that will not be encountered in this condition anytime soon!
Comes more than ready for display.
In 1906, the United States evaluated several domestic and foreign-made semi-automatic pistols, including the Colt M1900, Steyr Mannlicher M1894, and an entry from Mauser. This was in response to combat reports which stated that the .38 caliber revolvers used in the 1899–1902 Philippine Insurrection lacked stopping power. Due to the findings in the Thompson–LaGarde Tests, the military required a handgun in .45 (11.25mm) caliber.
In 1906 and 1907, the U.S. Army held trials for a large-caliber semi-automatic pistol. At least two, and possibly three Parabellum Model 1902/1906 pattern pistols in were brought to the U.S. by Georg Luger for the 1907 trials, each chambered in .45 ACP caliber. Prior to his arrival, the U.S. Frankford Arsenal had provided Luger with 5,000 rounds of .45 ammunition for experimentation and to serve as a guide for chambering measurements. Finding numerous defects in this prototype ammunition (U.S. authorities later were forced to produce new ammunition for the 1907 trials), Luger had DWM pull the bullets of these cartridges and had them re-loaded with a special faster-burning powder in new brass cases. Luger brought 746 rounds of this new ammunition to the March 1907 trials with his .45 Luger pistol. Two test .45 Luger pistols, bearing serial numbers 1 and 2 are known to have been used in the 1907 tests. Although the .45 Luger passed the firing tests, it was ranked below the Colt/Browning and Savage pistols in number of malfunctions and misfires, though Army officials conceded that the .45 Luger performed satisfactorily with the DWM-loaded ammunition: "The Luger automatic pistol, although it possesses manifest advantages in many particulars, is not recommended for service tests because its certainty of action, even with Luger ammunition, it is not considered satisfactory, because of the final seating of the cartridge is not by positive spring action, and because the powder stated by Mr. Luger to be necessary, for its satisfactory use is not now obtainable in this country." DWM and Luger later rejected an invitation by Army officials to produce 200 pistols in .45 caliber for further competition against the Colt and Savage submissions, at which point DWM effectively withdrew from the U.S. trials.
The fate of the .45 Luger, serial number 1 is unknown, as it was not returned and is believed to have been destroyed during testing. The .45 Luger prototype serial number 2, believed to have been a back-up to Serial Number 1, survived the 1907 trials and is in private ownership. Its rarity gives its value of around US$1 million at the time the "Million Dollar Guns" episode of the History Channel's Tales of the Gun was filmed, recheck by Guns & Ammo as of 1994. At least two .45 caliber Luger pistols were manufactured later for possible commercial or military sales; one is exhibited at the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, in Shreveport, Louisiana. The other was sold in 2010 and remains in a private collection. A single .45 Luger carbine is also known to exist.
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