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This week reminded me why its good to stop into Cabelas every once in a while. While their prices are sky high on new guns and common used guns, the Gun Library occasionally gets it wrong and I’ve cashed in few times now. Consider this absolutely mint condition 1988 Walther P88 complete with a set of $150-$200 Nill walnut grips for $649. Clearly I couldn’t buy it fast enough.

The Walther P88 debuted in 1988 and it was Walther’s attempt at the US Army contract pistol. It was also the first 9mm Walther that abandoned the company’s tried and true falling block locking system from the P38 in favor of a Browning system. As we know, it was the Beretta 92 that won the contract. Ironically enough the Beretta used Walther’s locking system.

The biggest thing going against the P88 was the extremely high cost of manufacture, which translated into 1988 retail prices of over $800. That’s expensive for a service gun now, 30 years later. Needless to say, the P88 didn’t sell well and that led to its replacement by the slightly smaller and less costly P88 Compact in the mid 1990’s. Nonetheless, the P88 was a very well made weapon. Accuracy was outstanding, due to tight tolerances and an outstanding trigger. Fit and finish and attention to detail were superb. The gun was also completely ambidextrous, which was a big deal in the late 1980’s. While Walther built the P88 to higher standards (and likewise cost) than what was required by the military, it made it an outstanding, high quality shooter. While the P88 Series isn’t traditional by Walther standards, its always been my favorite by the company and I feel they are the finest pistols Walther ever created. :)

Interestingly enough, the P88 was never a “finished” product. Changes happened throughout its short lifespan and later P88s differ a bit from this early model, mainly with the sights and shape of the slide. A firing pin safety was brought over from the P5 and worked well. The P88 also features a combination slide release and decocker on both sides of the gun.

This example is pristine. It doesn’t have the plastic case, but the Nills sort of make up for that. There’s not a scratch on it, no bluing loss, and even the grips are without a mark. The serial number (2550) is only 112 away from my other P88, which is also a first year model. I’ve always thought this Walther had a sleek German look to it and the Nills add to that.

I’ve been buying a lot of Walthers lately. Other than the P5 and P88, I’m not a big Walther fan, but those two series are outstanding handguns.

Who here has a P88 or P88 Compact? What do you think of it?

Thanks for reading...

Here's my P88 collection...two standard models, a Compact, and the SAO Competition model (very rare).

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