The Germans realized at the beginning of the war, that it was not a smart idea to mark the firearms with the respective manufacturer, because captured weapons would give the allies a good indication of which factories they had to target. Therefore, all factories were assigned secret codes in 1940.
Walther was assigned the secret code 480 in June 1940, which was stamped on the slide and triggerguard. The 480 code was abandoned after two months because the Walther factory was assigned the new code: ac. Only 7,380 P38 pistols (serial range 1-7380) with the 480 code were produced, which make this variation quite rare.
In August of 1940, Walther started using the new ac code, and this was used until the end of the war. Four different variations of ac-marked pistols were produced in 1940. The first variation was the successor of the 480 variation and is called the “ac-no-date” variation because no markings are present that indicate the year of production, in contrast to later production. Only 2,600 P.38 pistols of the “ac-no-date” variation were produced, which make this variation quite rare as well. The serial numbers on these pistols continued where the 480 variation stopped (7384-9912).
Magazines provided with the P.38 pistols from the 480 and the “ac-no-date” variations are identical to the magazines found with late 0-series P.38 pistols. However, the serial numbers of these variations do not have a 0-prefix. Magazines were stamped with the serial number on the left side of the housing. Two Walther E/359 acceptance stamps were stamped next to each other on the bottom of the spine. The P.38 marking was not present yet, and all smaller parts were stamped with E/359. Differentiating between a magazine for a 480 and an “ac-no-date” pistol is possible, based on the serial number. Magazines with serial numbers in the range of 1-7380 belong to a 480-coded pistol, while magazines in the serial number range 7384-9912 belong to an “ac-no-date” pistol. Spare magazines have a suffix + stamped behind the serial number.