Walther Arms has been a leader in the firearms industry for over 130 years. Walther has been renowned throughout the world for its innovation since Carl Walther and his son, Fritz, created the first semiautomatic pistol in the year 1886. Today, the innovative spirit of its founders lives on as Walther celebrates 125 years as one of the world’s leading premium manufacturers of sporting, defense, and law enforcement firearms. For more information, visit Carl Walther and in the United States at Walther Arms, Inc.
In June of 2012, Arnsberg, Germany based PW Group, owners of shooting sports companies, CARL WALTHER Sportwaffen and UMAREX Sportwaffen, announced the formation of Walther Arms, Inc. to handle all the importation, sales, marketing, distribution, and servicing of Walther products in the United States early in 2012. The transition will occur in two phases beginning in 2013. Previously, Smith & Wesson held responsibility for the distribution of Walther firearms and accessories in the United States. On January 1, 2013, that responsibility will transfer to the newly formed Walther Arms, Inc. (with the exception of the Walther P22 and PK380 models, which Smith & Wesson will continue to sell and distribute through April 30, 2013).
Walther and Smith & Wesson will maintain their strategic alliance on several fronts—Smith & Wesson will continue to manufacture the PPK for Walther Arms, Inc. and CARL WALTHER will continue to manufacture the M&P22 handgun for S&W. Additionally, UMAREX will continue to license the Smith & Wesson brand for airgun products.
"We are extremely thankful for the relationship we have had and will continue to have with the quality organization of Smith & Wesson," said Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer, President of PW Group. "Smith & Wesson has been an outstanding partner and has represented the Walther brand in the U.S. with tremendous focus, effort, and results. We look forward to many more years of strategic alliance with Smith & Wesson."
"We are excited about the formation of our new company, Walther Arms, Inc. It will allow us to intensify our focus on the U.S. firearms market," said Pflaumer. "The Walther brand is a legend in the firearms industry with a rich history of design, innovation, and outstanding German manufacturing."
"Walther is known throughout the world as a leader in handgun innovation and quality. The new U.S. based Walther Arms allows a more direct influence from the U.S. consumer’s wants and needs into our product development." said Karl Heinz-Luther, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, CARL WALTHER GmbH Sportwaffen.
Walther Arms, Inc. will begin operations sharing a corporate campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas with Umarex USA, another company in the PW Group. Adam J. Blalock has been named President & CEO of Walther Arms, Inc. and will also remain as President & CEO of Umarex USA. "We are grateful for the way Smith & Wesson has represented Walther and we look forward to our continued relationship with them", said Blalock, "We will have a dedicated team focused on meeting the needs of U.S. consumers with high quality, innovative products worthy of the Walther brand. We are very thankful for the many loyal Walther customers and we’re excited for the opportunity to serve them."
For over a century, Carl Walther has set new standards in the design and manufacture of firearms. Working closely with German police firearm experts Walther products are built to meet the most stringent standards with unsurpassed fit, finish, reliability, and durability. Safety and quality are the true tests of a police firearm. Walther uses extensive experience in the law enforcement market to develop products for police and competitive shooters around the world. WALTHER sporting weapons have been the competitor’s choice in international competition ever since they first appeared in the Olympic Games.1993 marked a new chapter in Walther history when the company merged with the UMAREX Corporate Group. This merger was a cornerstone of worldwide success for the brand and continued growth of Walther. An important part of this growth is the construction of a new manufacturing facility on the original operating site near Ulm, Germany. The state-of-the-art facility is more than 5,000 m or 54,000 sq. ft., providing plenty of space for modern equipment, training facilities, and police firing ranges.
In the autumn of 1886, Carl Walther laid the foundation stone of Walther Works in Zella-Mehlis, a traditional site for many German factories. Carl Walther’s greatest interest was the design of self-loading pistols. Breaking new ground in firearm technology, the first usable German self-loading pistol was released in 1908 as the "Walther Model 1, caliber 6.35mm." Virtually every World War I German officer carried one of the small Walther pocket pistols.
After Carl Walther’s death in 1915, his sons continued his work. Fritz inherited his father’s passion for self-loading technology. In 1929, he succeeded in the production of the first pistol with a single/double action trigger – the Walther Model PP – and shortly thereafter, the compact model PPK. In 1938, when the German military called for a more powerful 9mm cartridge, the Model P38 was developed. The P38 is still used today and its classic design is imitated by numerous firearm companies. The original Walther factory was destroyed in WWII, but Fritz Walther managed to save a handful of design documents and bring them to West Germany after the war. Building again from the ground up, he was able to construct a new factory in 1953 in the city of Ulm, where most of today’s Walther production is located.
After celebrating its centennial as a family enterprise, Walther entered into the new globalization era by merging with Umarex in 1993. Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co KG, under the management of Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer and Franz Wonisch, has a truly unequaled history in the weapons business. The merger guaranteed the future of Walther tradition. Walther success has been demonstrated repeatedly in modern history by accomplishments like winning gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics and developing the acclaimed police and defense Model P99 – "The First Pistol for the Next Century.™" In 1999, another step was taken to bring Walther into the new millennium. Smith & Wesson of Springfield, Massachusetts and Carl Walther GmbH of Germany announced a joint plan to distribute Walther branded firearms and accessories in the United States.
History and legend have a way of weaving together throughout the development of Carl Walther. Tradition has shaped the company and Walther has had a hand in shaping history. Military, police, and other government security groups in every country of the world have relied on the high quality craftsmanship and rugged durability of Walther products. For sportsmen, hunters and target shooters everywhere are familiar with Walther quality. Excellent service and superior quality will continue to be benchmarks of Walther success. In the future Walther will continue its long tradition of technical expertise and innovation in design and production of firearms.