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Coordinates: 48°27′07″N 9°58′21″E / 48.45185°N 9.97254°E / 48.45185; 9.97254

Carl Walther GmbH
Type Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH)
Industry Firearms, Sporting Goods, Defense
Founder(s) Carl Walther
Key people Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer, President of PW Group, Karl Heinz-Luther, Vice President Carl Walther GMBH
Products Firearms
and accessories
Employees 280 (Ulm)[1]
Parent PW Group
Subsidiaries Walther Arms, Inc. Fort Smith Arkansas, USA
Website (International) (United States)

Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen German pronunciation: [kaʁl ˈvaltɐ ˈgeˈɛmˈbeˈha ˈʃpɔʁtvafn̩], or simply Walther, is a German arms manufacturer. For more than 100 years, Walther has manufactured firearms and air guns at its facility in Germany. Carl Walther Sportwaffen is a subsidiary of the PW Group. Walther Arms, Inc. is the United States representative for Walther business and is located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.[2]

Pronunciation of the name WaltherEdit

The correct pronunciation of Walther is [ˈvaltɐ], similar to the English word vaulter. 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 /ˈwɔːltər/ or even /ˈwɔːlθər/.


The history of Walther started with the factory created by Matthias Conrad Pistor who was the chief armorer of the Kassel Armory. Pistor is the ancestor of the Walther family. This plant was operating in 1780 and made pistols and other weapons. It was the granddaughter of Gustave Wilhelm Pistor who married August Theodore Walther whose son Carl Wilhelm Freund established the factory that employed apprentice Carl Wather. This small shop was established in 1886 in Zella-Mehlis,[3] in what was then Hesse but is today Thuringia. The company originally manufactured hunting and target rifles.[4]

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 to 5 and 7 to 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.

A sick Polish survivor in the Hannover-Ahlem concentration camp receives medicine from a German Red Cross worker

A sick Polish survivor in the Hannover-Ahlem subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp receives medicine from the Red Cross, 11 April 1945

From 1942 until 1945, the company used slave labour at the Neuengamme concentration camp, and operated its own factory at the camp.[5]

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.[3] 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 Sportwaffen (now part of PW Group) of Arnsberg, Germany. who continued to manufacture under the Walther name in Ulm and Arnsberg. The German Walther company is known as Carl Walther Sportwaffen.

In 1999, the US based Smith & Wesson company became the authorized importer for Walther Firearms.[6] In 2012, the PW Group formed a new subsidiary, Walther Arms, Inc., located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to take over distribution of Walther arms in the United States.[7]

Design InnovationsEdit

The advent of the single/action, double/action trigger, the decocker lever, and firing pin block safety were first seen on Walther handguns.

In 1937 designs for the 9mm Luger were being developed to replace the expensive to produce Luger designs. Walther produced hammerless and external hammer designs which featured their SA/DA trigger, decocker lever, and a loaded chamber indicator on the models that eventually became the P38 when it was adopted by the German army. The P38 when developed, was considered one of the best natural pointing handguns in existence. Walther's open top recoil action permitted the handgun to continue to fire even if an obstruction in the barrel had caused a bulge in the barrel (typically caused by squib loads).


Walther mod 4 (6971798071)

Walther Model 4, 7.65mm / .32 ACP


Air PistolEdit

  • Walther LPM1
  • Walther LP53
  • Walther LP400 (five models) [9]

Submachine gunsEdit


Air Rifles
Ballistic Rifles


Walther makes a long line of tactical knives.[10]


  1. "Innovationsregion Ulm: Carl Walther". Ulm Innovation Region. Retrieved 20 February 2016. 
  2. "History - Walther Arms". Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nra
  4. Smith, W.H.B. (1946). Walther Pistols. Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company. pp. 106. ISBN 978-1169109599. 
  5. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (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.]" 
  6. "Historical data on Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co. KG". Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  7. Zimmerman, Dan. "Walther Splits with Smith & Wesson. Mostly". Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  8. Walther PPX
  9. "Sportwaffen - Luftpistolen". Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  10. Walther tactical knives

Further readingEdit

  • Carl Walther Waffenfabrik (1986) (in German) (booklet). 100 Jahre Walther: 1886-1986. Ulm, Germany: Carl Walther Waffenfabrik. OCLC 312091364. 

External linksEdit

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