Q: My father was a private first class in the 17th Airborne Division and made the parachute jump into Germany where he acquired an unusual semi- automatic pistol from a surrendering German SS officer. The gun is marked “DUO” on its stocks.
A: You have a Czech DUO pistol. The most interesting thing is that German officers were not supposed to carry 6.35 mm (.25 ACP) pistols, only 7.65 mm Browning (.32 ACP), for their personal military use. But, last year, a French contributor to an Auto-Mag collector magazine published a photo of a soldbuch belonging to a German World War II soldier, and it states he was allowed to own and carry a DUO .25 ACP pistol.
The soldbuch served as a form of identification and record-keeping. It was the standard identity document in the German military, issued to every man. It allowed the owner to draw pay, prove he had permission for leave, recorded what equipment he had been issued and identified his current and former units.
—Michael F. Carrick, Contributing Editor