Carl Walther GmbH

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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
TypeGesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH)
IndustryFirearms, Sporting goods
Founded1886; 135 years ago (1886)
FounderCarl Walther
HeadquartersUlm and Arnsberg,
and accessories
Number of employees
280 (Ulm)[1]
ParentPW Group
SubsidiariesWalther Arms, Inc. Fort Smith Arkansas, USA

Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen (German: [ˈvaltɐ]), or simply known as Walther, is a German firearm manufacturer, and a subsidiary of the PW Group.[citation needed] Founded by Carl Walther in 1886, the company has manufactured firearms and air guns at its facility in Germany for more than 100 years. Walther Arms, Inc. is the United States Walther business unit and is based in Fort Smith, Arkansas.


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 Walther. This small shop was established in 1886 in Zella-Mehlis,[2] in what is today Thuringia. The company originally manufactured hunting and target rifles.[3] Then in 1888, he married Minna Georgine Pickert, daughter of Christian Friedrich Pickert, from the well-established revolver manufacturer "Arminius Waffenwerk", in the same town.

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 .25 ACP (6.35mm) and .32 ACP (7.65mm). 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 Walther PP Polizeipistole (police pistol) 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, Nazi Germany awarded the contract for that replacement to Walther for the 9mm P38.

The Hannover-Ahlem subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp after liberation, 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.[4]

With his factory destroyed in World War II and Zella-Mehlis in the Soviet occupation zone, Walther was reduced to just a collection of designs and patents. Fritz Walther started anew and began manufacturing in Ulm, West Germany in 1953.[2] 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.

In 1993, the Walther firm was acquired by Umarex Sportwaffen (now part of PW Group) of Arnsberg, Germany.[citation needed] 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.[5] 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.[6]


Walther Model 4, 7.65mm / .32 ACP
Walther PPQ Q5 Match 9mm with red dot reflex sight


Rifles, shotguns and submachine guns[edit]

LGV Master break barrel air rifle
LGR single stroke pneumatic match air rifle
Submachine guns
Air Rifles
Firearm Rifles


  1. ^ "Innovationsregion Ulm: Carl Walther". Innovationsregion Ulm. Ulm Innovation Region. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Keefe, Mark A., IV "Walther. Carl Walther." American Rifleman October 2013 pp.64-68&110-114
  3. ^ Smith, W.H.B. (1946). Walther Pistols. Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company. p. 106. ISBN 978-1169109599.
  4. ^ Walther-Werke (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.]
  5. ^ Kunkel, Jörg (2016-05-04). "Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co. KG". Die Erfolgsstrategie. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Dan (2012-06-29). "Walther Splits with Smith & Wesson. Mostly". The Truth About Guns. Retrieved 15 February 2017.

External links[edit]