Have you ever seen a WWI / WWII era 7.65 mm pistol with this kind of marking on the slide? If so, it indicates post‑WWII use by the Norwegian Police.
Collectors of WWI / WWII era 7.65 mm pistols occasionally come across these oddly marked guns, many with German WWII acceptance proofs. The pistols have a cleanly milled-out area on the left side of the slide. It’s stamped POLITI, which is Norwegian for police, the Norwegian Coat of Arms, and a unique 4-digit number. The pistols have a second matching four-digit number on the frame. These Norwegian POLITI pistols are of almost every make and model of 7.65 mm sidearms used by the Wehrmacht.
This POLITI marked German-proofed Astra 300 is 1 of 61 put into use post-war by the Norwegian police. This model was a favorite of Luftwaffe pilots.
Do these POLITI marked pistols have a place in the collections of WWI / WWII era collectors? Before we explore that question, let’s delve into the history of these guns.
Early in WWII, the Germans invaded neutral Norway and a five-year long occupation by the Wehrmacht began on April 9, 1940. Over the course of the occupation, the buildup of German troops reached about 400,000. After years of brutal war in Europe, Soviet forces encircled Berlin on April 25, 1945. On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide, and within days, Berlin fell to the Soviets. German armed forces under the command of General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of both east and west forces in Reims France on May 7, 1945. The following day an Allied military team arrived in Oslo Norway to deliver the conditions for capitulation to the Germans, and arranged the surrender, which took effect at midnight. The five-year occupation of Norway was officially over.
The 400,000 soldier German garrison in Norway surrendered their weapons to the Norwegians and Allies. While much of the war equipment was reportedly destroyed immediately post-war, a large quantity was retained by the Norwegian military, including K98k rifles, MP.38 and MP.40 machine pistols, P.08 and P.38 9 mm pistols, and a wide variety of 7.65 mm pistols.
About 1950, a government decision was made that the 7.65 mm pistols would be used by the Police. From the early 1950s, to as late as 1960, the government arms factory at Kongsberg assessed the 7.65 mm pistols and marked them for Police use. It is reported that only top condition pistols were retained and others scrapped. The most commonly remarked pistols were the Browning M1922, CZ27, Mauser 1914/1934, and Mauser HSc.
Right to Left: Mauser 1914, Astra 300, Mauser HSc, CZ27, Unique M17, FN 1900, CZ27, Alkartasuna Alkar Ruby.
The pistols were marked in batches of numbers by model. CZ27s, for example, were marked consecutively from numbers 3001 to 4004. Kongsberg kept good records, so the ranges of any particular model of pistol and the number reworked is well documented.
These two German‑proofed CZ27s were manufactured about a year apart at Strakonice but found themselves next to each other at Kongsberg and have consecutive police numbers 3158 (front) and 3159 (back). CZ27s were among the most common surrendered 7.65 mm pistols.
The surrendered / remarked pistols were used by the Norwegian police into the 1960s. After they were no longer being used by the police, a large portion of them were imported into the U.S., presumably before 1968, since none of them have been observed with import marks required by the GCA68. At the time they were imported, WWII era firearms were plentiful and the POLITI markings were generally a negative for the serious collector.
This FN 1900 is 1 of 114 used by the Norwegians. It’s an example of a non-WWII manufactured pistol. There are numerous examples of WWI era pistols with POLITI markings. It’s anyone’s guess how this one ended up in the stock of surrendered weapons.
This Mauser HSc is 1 of 372. It’s an example of a non-military proofed WWII pistol. It was most likely a private purchase by a German officer.
Today, many WWI / WWII era firearms collectors shun them, while others seek them out. Like any area of collecting, what one collects is a matter of personal tastes and budget. While original factory condition firearms will inarguably always be the most desirable in virtually every case, increasingly, variants like the Norwegian POLITI pistols are gaining in popularity. Perhaps it is the lack of reasonably priced factory original firearms, or perhaps it is increasing recognition of the legitimate place in history they occupy. Good collecting!
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