This Erma-Werke Luger model KGP-69 is a toggle locked, blowback operated, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered in .22 caliber. It utilizes a fixed blade front sight and a fixed V notch rear sight that is located on the rear toggle link. It is fed by a single column 8 round detachable box magazine. This KGP-69 has a steel receiver, toggle train, and barrel assembly, and then some form of aluminum alloy lower frame. When unloaded the pistol has a weight of 29.6 ounces. The parts built from steel have a blued bluish-black finish while the aluminum frame has a black coating. The grip panels are an imitation wood color and molded plastic. There is a sharp edged thumb rest sticking out on the left grip panel. The operation of this pistol is very similar to the P08 Luger.
The name Erma-Werke is short for Erfurter Maschinen und Werkzeugfabrik which was the firms original name. The firm was originally located in Erfurt, Germany but after WWII the company fell within the Soviet Occupation zone and was later reconstituted in Munich-Dachau, Germany in the late 1940's and became known as Erma-Werke Munchen-Dachau.
Before world war II, Erma was known for the production of sub-machine guns that were based on the designs and patents of Heinrich Vollmer such as the MP38 and MP40. To answer the needs of the German Army, Erma also produced a conversion kit that would turn a 7.65mm or 9mm pistol into a .22 caliber. Most famous of these designs were the ones that Erma produced for the P08 Luger pistol. These conversion kits were so successfully that Erma decided to start manufacturing small and inexpensive target pistols. The first of these .22 caliber target pistols was known as the Old Model and was produced in 1936. This model was an automatic of the blowback design. It had a fixed barrel with an open topped slide, a die cast frame and an exposed hammer. Then in 1937 Erma came out with an improved version that was called the New Model.
In the 1950's Erma stopped the manufacture of the .22 caliber conversion kit for the Luger pistol but continued to manufacture sub-machine guns and pistols. In 1964 Erma began production of the EP-22, a blowback operated .22 caliber pistol that resembled the P08 Luger. Then in 1968 Erma began production of the KGP-68 pistol, still Luger-styled, but freshly designed in a scaled-down size, and manufactured almost entirely from steel, retaining only the grip frame still of cast ZAMAK. The KGP-68 was offered in both .32 and .380 calibers. The KGP-68 utilized a toggle like the Luger pistol and according to the book German Handguns by Ivan V. Hogg these pistols operated by way of a delayed blowback due to a few modifications in the design. The sentence in the book about the “delayed blowback” appears incorrect, as fellow collector David Parker--who has owned several KGP-68s--confirms to me that no such delayed blowback system is in use in the KGP-68 pistol design. Mr. Parker offers the conjecture, “It is possible that the concept's basis--a delayed blowback firing system--was explored in a prototype for the KGP-68 because the power range of its selected calibers(.32 and .380 ) was perhaps theoretically capable of providing the energy to operate such a system.” Mr. Parker goes on to state: “The typical Erma toggle action presents a center toggle axle that always sits above the line between the two other axles' centers, so its breech never is actually locked in battery the way a Luger's would be. When fired, the Erma's barrel and extension never go anywhere in relation to the grip frame, and the breech block will begin its rearward travel immediately upon ignition of the round. So, pure blowback. The action is basically the same in all Erma "Luger" models, from the conversion kits through old model, to the KGPs.” Because of the U.S. Gun Control Act of 1968 which required a magazine safety for all imported newly made pistols, the KGP-68 could not be imported into the United States, Erma then developed the KGP-68A which added the magazine safety system which prevented firing of the pistol if the magazine was not fully engaged. Erma then started manufacture of the KGP-69 pistol as seen on this page.
The KGP-69 pistol incorporated most of the improvements of the KGP-68A except for the fact that the KGP-69 is a pure blowback design. Later, Erma also produced firearms such as the KGP-22, KGP-32, and KGP-38. They also manufactured a number of flare and starter pistols along with several different models of semi-automatic pistols in a variety of calibers and a number of revolvers. Erma-Werke went bankrupt in 1997 and many of the parts for these firearms are now becoming hard to find.