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JP Sauer Model 38H 32 ACP Pistol Review


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Cocker/Decocker, Takedown Latch, Assembly and Disassembly
Takedown latch and cock/decock levers are easy to operate on the J.P. Sauer Model 38H pistol

The takedown latch (left arrow) inside the trigger guard has been pulled down for disassembly. The diagonal arrow points to the thumb-operated lever used to cock and decock the pistol.

Photo © Russ Chastain
The 38's hammer is internal, so it can't be thumb-cocked. No matter; this gun's designers included a handy lever on the left side (indicated by the diagonal arrow in the photo), for cocking and de-cocking the hammer.

If the hammer is cocked, pushing downward on the lever will de-cock it, and the internal mechanism will "catch" the hammer without allowing it to fall all the way forward. Raising the lever will allow the hammer to ease forward - but not so far that it touches the firing pin. Instead, the hammer will cone to rest at a position reminiscent of the safety notch found on many single action handguns.

I much prefer this style decocker over those found on the Walther P38 (one of this pistol's contemporaries) and other pistols, which drop the hammer suddenly and don't allow the user to ease it forward under complete control. Those other types of decockers are usually safe, but in my book, dropping a hammer suddenly is asking a gun to fire - and safeties of that type have been known to fail. A hammer eased gently forward has never made a gun fire, to my knowledge.

To cock the hammer on a 38H, push the lever firmly downward. This takes more effort than decocking it, but it works. Of course, you may also cock the hammer by pulling the slide fully to the rear.

How to Take Apart a Sauer 38H Cal 7.65 Pistol

The vertical arrow in the photo points to the takedown latch, which is in the downward position. To disassemble the gun, first remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is empty. Then pull that latch downward, so it looks like this one. Grasp the grip in one hand and the slide in the other, and move the slide as far to the rear as it will go; then lift the rear of the slide and allow the slide to move forward against the tension of the action spring (spring not shown here).

Assemble in the reverse order. You might want to make sure the hammer is cocked before you attempt to assemble it, although this one can be assembled with the hammer uncocked - pushing down on the rear of the slide during assembly will cock it.


If you have trouble with assembly or disassembly, make sure the latch is pulled down and (when assembling) that you are pushing the slide and frame together sufficiently at the rear.

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