John Martz Custom P38s: Babies, .45s, and .38 Supers

Guns in this video:

Baby P38
.38 Super P38
.45ACP P38

John Martz was a WWII US Navy veteran who spent a career in metalworking before turning his gunsmithing hobby into a full time occupation in the 1960s. He is best known for his custom Luger pistols, but also worked extensively with the P38. Today we are looking at an assortment of his custom P38s – a baby model with a shortened barrel and grip, a standard pattern gun converted to .38 Super, and a long barreled model converted to .45 ACP.



  1. Great, more customizable guns! Wartime surplus is no exception to the rule, some will end badly… especially when you look at rifles with chopped stocks.

  2. The Martz Baby was essentially the U.N.C.L.E. Special P.38 from the TV series, minus the shoulder stock and etc. which would make it a Class III weapon. Similar “chopped” P.38s were around as far back as WW2, mainly with various intelligence outfits. This was probably the origin of the TV show gun.

    Some time later, Walther brought out their own version, the P.38K, which was made for quite a while right alongside the P-5.



  3. Amazing work.

    Back in the ’80s in several gun magazines, there were customized P38’s such as these. I don’t recall if Mr. Martz did the work, but they all featured nicely straw-finished small parts like these do.

    One P38 was done up like the guns from the TV show “Man From Uncle” to include a birdcage flash hider on the short barrel.

  4. I have seen several of Martz’ Lugers over the decades and they were works of art, but I have never personally seen one of his P38’s.

  5. I believe that capable and interested person has right to take on known design and alter it or add to it according to his liking and claim it as his own; part of those which are under patent protection. Knowledge of the world should be free for all to be shared.

    With this presentation Ian has paid deserved homage to creator to these very attractive pistols.

  6. These belong in an art museum, they are that good. It is not a matter of fancy engraving and such, rather it is profoundly good craftsmanship and making the most of every part.

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