The German Luger P08 was a legendary pistol back dating all the way back to the early 1900's and is still highly regarded to this day. The Pistole Parabellum 1908 (P08) Luger was widely used by the Germans during World War I and World War II. The recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol design was patented by Georg J. Luger in 1898. This was one of the first semi-automatic pistols ever designed. Even after WWII the Luger was widely used throughout Europe by military and police but was later replaced in most cases by the Walther P38 which was cheaper to manufacture. The namesake 9mm Luger cartridge is still the most popular pistol caliber in the world. Of course the Luger's use by the Germans in just about every WWII movie ever made contributed to its fame here in the USA.
It’s only natural that an American company would have tried to cash in on the Luger name.
The Wham-O toy company was one of the first with their “Kruger” 98 Pistol sold mainly through mail order in the backs of comic books. Here is the original ad copy from one of those ads.
"Wholesale! $3 00 FULL PRICE KRUGER PISTOLS .12 CALIBER SINGLE SHOT
|Original First Kruger Ad|
Crafted after famous German Luger design This is not an air or CO, gun. The Kruger is a small bore gun that actually shoots .12 caliber lead bullets fired by a .14 mg. powder charge. Beautifully designed—ideal for target shooting. It has a 4-inch steel barrel. Over-all length is 834 inches. This amazing low price is due to small bore gun design and direct factory to you sales. The Kruger comes with 50 bullets. Extra bullets are available direct from as or at your local store. This offer is limited. Special Mail Order price of $3.00 each. YOUR MONEY BACK IF YOU ARE NOT COMPLETELY SATISFIED. Adults only. Send $3.00 in check, cash or money order."
Thousands of excited kids and gun nuts ordered these cool sounding pistols, most were sorely disappointed by what they received in the mail. First of all that .14 mg. powder charge was nothing but a standard paper cap gun cap and the .12 caliber shots were nothing more than bird shot. The caps were enough to actually send the bird shot out the end of the barrel and a few more feet if you were lucky. The guns were almost entirely plastic except for a few internal parts which quickly began to rust from the corrosive cap gun powder. The manual suggested using several caps stacked on top of each other for extra power but the cushion provided by more caps made it impossible for the firing pin to engage more than one or two.
|Original First Ruger Ad|
|Japanese WW2 Era Type 14 Nambu 8mm Pistol|
Realizing that prospective buyers would share his sentiment, Sturm quickly signed on board with an initial investment of $50,000 and the two teamed up to create what was to become an iconic American firearms manufacturing company, Sturm, Ruger and Co."....Wikipedia.org
Eventually Rugers quality overcame any stigma associated with the Wham-o offering and everyone forgot about the ill-fated Kruger. What we were left with was a true contender that would soon come to compete with Smith and Wesson and Colt as a mainstream American Firearms manufacturer. Today the Ruger .22 Mark IV 22/45 is probably the most popular .22 automatic pistol of all time and it's name stands for itself.
|Original Ruger .22 Pistol|
|Original Kruger Toy Pistol|