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German Items


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.



The photograph on the left is of the markings that are found on the right side of this KGP-69. At the top it is stamped LA DISTR. NEW YORK, then underneath that is Reg. Patents and then to the right of that is Made in W. Germany. These markings indicate that the firearm was manufactured in West Germany and has registered patents. The distributor and/or importer was out of New York and went by the initials LA. As of this writing I have no other information to report on the importer.

The photograph on the right is of the markings that are found on the left side of this pistol. At the top is Kal. 22lr, then underneath that is the serial number and then to the right of that is ERMA-WERKE Mod. KGP 69. Underneath all of this and nearly directly above the trigger is a round Erma logo. The markings on this side of the pistol tell us that the caliber is .22 long rifle, the serial number, then the manufacturer and model of the pistol.  

The photograph on the left is of the marking that is found on the front toggle link on this KGP-69 pistol.

The picture on the right is of the thumb safety lever. The thumb safety area of Luger pistols is marked on the frame to indicate the position of the thumb safety lever. Nearly all variations of Luger pistols are marked to indicate the safe position, but there are a few variations that are marked to indicate the fire position. This KGP-69 pistol has both an "S" or safe marking and an "F" or fire marking. In the example above we can see the letter "S" is exposed and not covered by the safety lever. This indicates that the safety is engaged and the pistol is in the safe position and should not fire if the trigger is pulled.  

The photograph on the left is an attempt to capture the round Erma logo. This logo has been lightly double struck on the frame of this pistol. While tough to make out in the picture, the word Erma is surrounded by a circle.

The two pictures of the KGP-69 on the right show both the muzzle and rear of the pistol. As can be seen in the upper photograph on the right, the KGP-69 has 6 grooves in the bore with a right hand twist. The bottom picture on the right is of the rear of the pistol and is some what similar in appearance to the P08 Luger design. Of course the KGP-69 has no grip safety or lanyard ring but still, for a little pistol wanting to be a Luger, it is doing a pretty good job.  

The photograph on the left is showing the KGP-69 while field stripped. Please take note of the arrow that is pointing to the red line. The red line represents a "needle like" protrusion, which is the shell ejector, that is supposed to extend from the end of the spring guide. This needle like protrusion is missing from the spring guide in the picture above. It probably broke on a former owner some time in the past. I wish to thank the eagle eye of my friend David Ridgeway from NC for bringing this to my attention. He took one look at the photograph and instantly knew that there was a problem.

I found a source for the spring guide as well as other ERMA parts. Should anyone be in need of an ERMA part please contact Joes 1911 Magmania by way of email to 

The picture on the right depicts the under side of both the toggle link and barrel assembly.




Please click on the thumbnail at the left to view a larger picture of the Erma schematic.




How to field strip the pistol.


1. Remove the magazine and disengage the safety.

2. Push the barrel forward and remove the locking bolt that is located above the trigger guard. The locking bolt is removed towards the left side of the pistol.

3. Push barrel backwards and lift the toggle assembly. The barrel will now slide further backwards and reveal the back connecting pin. Remove back connecting pin.

4. Lift toggle joint and remove. Next remove the barrel from the frame and we are all done. The pistol has now been field stripped.




Erma-Werke instruction manual and schematic

Lugers at Radom by Charles Kenyon                

German Handguns by Ian Hogg                

German small arms markings by Joachim Gortz & Don Bryans                

History Writ in Steel by Donald Maus               

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger               

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson                  

Mauser military rifle markings by Terence Lapin               

Handbook of military rifle marks 1866-1950 by Richard Hoffman & Noel Schott  

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