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Walther Arms

Carl Walther GmbH
Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH)
Industry Defense
Founded Founded 1886 in Zella-Mehlis; Factory destroyed in World War II; New corporation founded in 1953 in Ulm[1]
Founder Carl Walther
Headquarters Ulm and Arnsberg
Key people
Carl Walther
Fritz Walther
Products Firearms
Parent Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co. KG

Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen German pronunciation: , or simply Walther, is a German arms manufacturer. For more than 100 years, Walther has made major breakthroughs in the development of pistols. Some are iconic, like the PPK, the P99 – both pistols carried by the fictional character James Bond – and the P38, the standard-issue sidearm of the German military in World War II.[1]


  • Pronunciation of the name Walther 1
  • History 2
  • Products 3
    • Handguns 3.1
    • Submachine guns 3.2
    • Rifles 3.3
    • Knives 3.4
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Pronunciation of the name Walther

The correct pronunciation of Walther is . In German, w sounds like /v/, th sounds like /t/, and a is an open front vowel similar to the u in ugly. However, it is common for English speakers not familiar with German phonology to pronounce the name as .


The firm was founded in 1886 by Carl Walther in Zella-Mehlis,[1] in what was then Hesse but is today Thuringia. The company originally manufactured hunting and target rifles. It was not until 1908 that, under the initiative of Fritz Walther, the oldest son of Carl Walther, they began to make pistols. Models 1 through 5 and 7 through 9 were in calibers 6.35 and 7.65. The Model 6 was Walther's first attempt at a 9mm Luger pistol. It used blowback rather than a locked breech and proved unsuccessful, with only around 1,000 made. Its rarity has made it highly sought after on the collectors market. In 1929 they began to make the popular Polizeipistole (police pistols) or PP models. This was followed in 1931 by the first of the PPKs (Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell, or Police Pistol Detective Model). Both PP and PPKs were manufactured in .22 Long Rifle, .32 ACP (the most common caliber), .380 ACP and a very small number in .25 ACP. The PP models were the first mass-produced pistols with stamped parts, but the overall increase in dependability and high quality of production with lower relative manufacturing costs made them the best option to replace the P-08 Luger. In 1938 the German Reich awarded the contract for that replacement to Walther for the 9mm P38 with a weight of 960 g.

From 1942 until 1945, the company used slave labour at the Neuengamme concentration camp, and operated its own factory at the camp.[2]

With his factory destroyed by World War II and Zella-Mehlis in Soviet-occupied East Germany, Walther was reduced to just a collection of designs and patents. But Fritz Walther started anew and began manufacturing in Ulm, West Germany in 1953.[1] The company resumed production of the P38 (renamed the P1) in 1957 in order to equip the new West German Army, the Bundeswehr, with sidearms. When Fritz Walther died in December 1966, his son, Karl-Heinz, took over the company, which then concentrated on the sports sector and the introduction of new technologies. In 1993 the Walther firm was acquired by Umarex of Arnsberg, who continued to manufacture under the Walther name in Ulm and Arnsberg.



Submachine guns


Air Rifles
Ballistic Rifles


Walther makes a long line of tactical knives.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Keefe, Mark A., IV "Walther. Carl Walther." American Rifleman October 2013 pp.64-68&110-114
  2. ^ KZ-Zwangsarbeit Rüstungsproduktion (in German), KZ Gedenkstätte Neuengamme, retrieved 2009-10-13, Seit diesem Zeitpunkt stellten Häftlinge [...] Pistolen und Karabiner (Metallwerke Neuengamme, Zweigbetrieb des thüringischen Waffenherstellers Carl Walther. [Transl.: Since this the prisoners built pistols and rifles (Metal Works Neuengamme, a branch of the Thuringian arms manufacturer Carl Walther.] 
  3. ^ Walther PPX
  4. ^ Walther tactical knives

Further reading

  • Carl Walther Waffenfabrik (1986). 100 Jahre Walther: 1886-1986 (booklet) (in German). Ulm, Germany: Carl Walther Waffenfabrik.  

External links

  • Carl Walther, official German brand website (German).
  • Carl Walther, official German brand website (English).
  • Walther Arms, Inc., official U.S. brand website.
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