These next two photographs show the markings that are located on the left side of this STAR Model B pistol. Across the slide it is stamped as follows, "STAR B. ECHEVERRIA", and then underneath that is "EIBAR-ESPANA" and at the end of it all is "S.A. CAL 9mm". The first part of this inscription identifies the pistol as the Star Model B that was manufactured by ECHEVERRIA. The next part of this stamp, "EIBAR-ESPANA" indicates that the firearm was manufactured in the Eibar region of Spain. The abbreviation "S.A." is basically the Spanish equivalent of "inc." or incorporated. It can be further explained with the Spanish words, Sociedad Anónima or Sociedad por Acciones. The last part of this inscription indicates that the pistol is chambered for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.
The stamps in the picture on the right are proof marks and year of manufacture marks. Starting at the top left, what appears to be the letter "D" with the asterisk or * on top of it, is actually a poorly struck letter "P" and indicates that the pistol was manufactured in 1946. This was realized after the research into the serial number on this pistol did not match with the letter "D" date code. The serial number also puts this pistol in a batch of firearms that was issued to the West German police after WWII. The symbol next to it, the knights helmet and shield with the X inside is the admission proof mark that appears on Spanish handguns submitted to the official government proof house in Eibar, Spain after July 9, 1931. All proofing of handguns in Spain still occurs in the city of Eibar at the Banco oficial de Pruebas(official proofhouse) and the same symbol is still applied to this very day.
Another symbol that is still in use today is the flaming bomb symbol that is shown above on the trigger guard in the picture on the right. This flaming bomb symbol was introduced on December 14, 1929 and has the letter P inside the bomb for semi-automatic pistols or the letter R for revolvers. The flaming bomb proof indicated that a semi-automatic pistol was fired and had passed two proof loads, each of which was 30 percent more then the normal maximum operating pressure. This is then followed by two more rounds fired at normal pressure levels to determine whether the self loading mechanism is still functioning properly, if it was, then the stamp was applied to the firearm. For a revolver, where reloading takes place by means of the turning of a cylinder, an over pressure load is used. The letter for the date code with the asterisk on top is still in use as well, and today the letter is followed by a single digit number.
An interesting note is that Spain took longer to establish national proofing laws and standards for firearms then some of the other important firearms producing nations, notably Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Great Britain. Although Spain began proof marking shotguns in 1910, it was not until July 18, 1923, nearly 5 years after the end of the first world war that Spain's proofing system for its pistols came into use.
The full serial number of the Star Model B pistol is found on the heel and underneath the right grip.
Spanish Handguns by Gene Gangarosa
Astra automatic pistols by Leonardo Antaris
The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger
Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson