I remember an ad in SGN many years ago. Some @$$klown offered a "KIT" that turned a P.38 into an open-bolt firing machine pistol. The safety/decocker rotated the firing pin into full forward position & the slide release lever became the "trigger"...
WHOA... ATF freaked out & followed up with a warning letter. Pretty dangerous stuff if you encounter one without knowing that it was modded.
9MM LUGER CALIBER, PISTOLS
WARNING: Converted to FULLY-AUTOMATIC FIRING
Officers should exercise extreme caution with any Walther P38 type pistol. Law enforcement agencies at the Federal, State and local levels plus branches of the U.S. and Canadian military service have encountered Walther P38s having a potentially hazardous conversion.
The conversion consists of a modified firing pin, which is activated by placing the safety in the safe position. When the safety is placed in this position, the weapon will immediately fire without the trigger being pulled if a round is in the chamber. If the safety is engaged with the slide open the weapon will fire in the full automatic mode as soon as the slide is closed. The full automatic is activated by the safety alone. The conversion can be accomplished on post-war P38s made by Walther or Manurhin, manufactured since April 1940. Full automatic fire may be accomplished by changing the thumb safety lever.
There is no field test, which can be performed to determine if a P38 has this conversion installed and there are no visible modifications. Consequently, any Walther P38 type pistols encountered should be handled in the following manner:
1. Do not touch the trigger or safety
2. Remove the magazine
3. Place the safety in the fire position
4. Open the slide and ensure that the chamber is empty
* California Department of Justice Safety Note 86-1
* Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, National Broadcast September 1985
* Florida Department of Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1986
* New York State Police Academy Training Bulletin, Number 86-1, May 1986