Carl Walther GmbH Forms US-based Walther Arms Inc.

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Next year Smith & Wesson will cease being the importer and distributor of Walther firearms in the USA. The owners of Carl Walther GmbH, the PW Group, have formed a new corporation called Walther Arms Inc which will taken over importing and distributing. Carl Walther GmbH will continue to manufacture the M&P22 pistol for S&W.

Walther Manufactured S&WMP22

S&W published very strong fourth quarter results yesterday and as of right now (Friday 12:48am EST) are up almost 13% in after hours trading. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this news when they open in the morning.

The full press release …

Arnsberg, Germany based PW Group, owners of shooting sports companies, CARL WALTHER GmbH Sportwaffen and Umarex, announce the formation of Walther Arms, Inc. to handle all the importation, sales, marketing, distribution and servicing of Walther products in the United States. The transition will occur in two phases beginning January 1, 2013. Previously, Smith & Wesson held responsibility for the distribution of Walther firearms and accessories in the United States. On January 1, that responsibility will be handled by 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 extremely 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.”

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Other Steve

    Good! Because S&W marketing and service for Walther guns SUUUUUUUCKS.

    As a P99, P99c, PPQ, PPS owner, ask me how I know! In fact, it really speaks to how great the PPQ is considering the abismal job smith does with USA marketing and distribution.

    • El Freddio

      P99 and PPQ are similiar to M&P, P99c is similiar to M&P Compact and PPS= M&P Shield. I’m sure Smith & Wesson would make more money selling their own guns over Walther. (I’m probably totally wrong as I know nothing about the American Gun Market and so on :P)

      • FourString

        Nah, the P99 has true restrike capability and a decocker unlike the M&P. :D

        I don’t think the PPQ has those though, which is probably why it is cheaper.

      • Other Steve

        FourString, the PPQ is cheaper than the P99 because Walther knew that would be the only way to sell them in the states. In Europe the HK P30 is much cheaper than the PPQ, so it is definitely not lack of second strike (an almost useless feature) or decocker (that would make no sense on the PPQ’s trigger)

        It’s cheap here because they are doing the correct thing to get them out the door.

      • FourString

        P30′s are cheaper than PPQ’s in Europe?? Hell, I should move to Europe :P

        Still though, I would imagine the PPQ has fewer parts than the P99, and therefore is cheaper to manufacture, but I don’t knowss!

  • BombedCarnivore

    If Walther is happy with the current arrangement why are they changing it?

    • BombedCarnivore

      If Wather & S&W are happy with the arrangement why are they changing it?

    • http://paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

      Because with the ever increasing US gun market, Walther wants a bigger piece of it, and you get that by controlling your own destiny.

      Keep in mind that I am full of disdain for German ‘Bauhaus’ pretense to greater quality. It is like Germans have a sense of inferiority from losing two for two in the last century, and compensate by asserting that their present and past products are ever so much higher quality, what ever quality may be.

      Sure, their products are often workmanlike copies of Browning’s designs. Gaston Glock (Austrians are kid of German, aren’t they?) was able to innovate his way to the non-safety safety and the use of Plastic was at that time as revolutionary as the use of Aluminium was in Stoner’s rifles. Those innovations are long in the past, and the revolver hada non-safety safety many years before Gaston Glock, so what is the point?

      So what would encourage someone to select a HK/Sig-Sauer/Walther over a Taurus? Not very darn much these days.

      • Dcowboyscr

        You had me until you said “What would encourage someone to buy a Sig Sauer/HK/Walther over a Taurus not much.”

        I’ve owned a few Taurus’ they are not near the quality of HK or Walther. Not to say they are a Hipoint they’re not that bad.

        Name me 1 police department or military(besides Brazil) that issues Taurus. Show me one endurance test by a credible source like Todd G. Heck show me a documented high round count Taurus from a reputable source.

        Taurus is good for someone who wants to buy a pistol shoot a box of ammo through it and throw it in a drawer.

  • Jeff Smith

    Just wondering, why does S&W have Walther make their M&P 22? It seems as if that’s something they could do themselves.

    • Other Steve

      Because the m&p22 is not a new design, it’s a P22 made a little larger and a very tiny bit better. I will say the 12rnd mag is pretty cool.

      I they made the same thing for PPQ I would buy it as a trainer. Although I would ofcourse prefer a better design over the P22

    • Samopal

      I was wondering about this too. An S&W spokesman said that S&W was taking advantage of Walther’s experience making rimfire handguns by letting them design and produce the M&P22. I thought this was both confusing and hilarious given that S&W has been producing rimfire pistols longer than Walther, and of much better quality.

      • Jeff Smith

        @Other Steve and Samopal, thanks for the info!

  • Gun Slinger

    I got my S&W shield in the mail and it came with a booklet for accessories. In the booklet was a LaserMax, Inc. laser sight description. Later, I went to (a different brand) the LaserLyte website and saw they copied the LaserMax, Inc. description from the booklet, word for word! Even the headline. Not cool. LaserLyte just lost my business. I hope LaserMax, Inc. calls them out for this.. if they even know yet.

    • Tom – UK

      How do you know the copying wasn’t done the other way round?

  • bob

    Other Steve

    I would add that Walther PPQ is lower cost because Walther is not cold hammer forging their barrels with polygonal refiling, use plastic sights and lower cost polymers etc. and substitute as many parts as possible with polymer made ones instead of steel which all keeps costs lower. And in Germany the PPQ/P99 are on par with the hk p30 on price and the PPQ/P99 is actually more expensive than hk p2ooo’s or glock 17/19′s.

    • FourString

      I would snatch up the PPQ in a heartbeat if Mec-Gar started producing cheap, plentiful, beautiful 17-20 round mags.

      Oh and if there were a frame-mounted thumb safety option (since the trigger travel is so short), that’d be dandy too.

      Speaking of which, if only Mec-Gar made cheaper magazines for the FNS/FNX.. Le sigh.

      • Other Steve

        Keep your finger out of the trigger if you don’t want the gun to go off. The PPQ doesn’t need a manual safety. After putting 2k down mine now, I’m very confident that it’s a near perfect trigger and would not mess with it’s weight, distance, or adding a safety.

      • FourString

        Just because I prefer a thumb safety does not mean I do not have proper trigger discipline LOL

        For you no safety is perfect, but for me, having trained on HK USPs, the thumb safety is nice (flicked off on a draw / by reflex).

        It’s just nice if something foreign enters the trigger guard or if a perp somehow grabs your gun.

      • San Francisco Six Shooter

        Why so many downvotes for safeties?

        I guess there are more Glock fans here than 1911 users.

      • Other Steve

        I didn’t down vote a safety. I have a saftey on a few of my handguns. I down voted the “perp” grabbing your gun and then being completely mindf*cked as to why it won’t go bang.

        If we were talking a grip to cock like the HK P7, maybe I’d consider that obscure enough to confuse someone for a second (although a good grip and you don’t even know its there). But I think the ultra common thumb safety being a line of defense is a pretty far out there suggestion.

    • Other Steve

      Bob, you may want to check your facts on the PPQ barrel, I was under the impression they ARE hammer forged actually. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they are.

      Plastic sights I will give you. That said, I have used my rear sights to rack the gun one handed off my holser. No issues yet. But… As with Glock, M&P, Walthers, HKs, and Sigs, you’re probably going to replace the sights away.

      But you are flat out wrong about “lower quality plastics” and I’d love to see you back that claim up. The frame on the PPQ is every bit as good, if not better than the P99 it replaced. Dude, I honestly don’t even know if you were serious with that.

      Yes, I know the PPQ costs more in Europe than it does here, that was my point. I would not look at the USA cost of a PPQ and say it’s a less gun than the HK P30, G17, or P99 even though the P99 was NEVER as cheap as the PPQ is currently.

      • bob

        Other Steve I have my facts straight, the Walther PPQ’s barrel is a traditional lands and grooves barrel that isn’t cold hammer forged with polygonal rifling and walther’s polymer is not of a “non-fiberglass reinforced polymer” derivative like it is with glock, fn, hk. Call S&W customer service if you think I’m full of you know what, they’ll confirm it. Strip your Walther PPQ and see for yourself where polymer parts were used as substitutes for parts normally made of steel. I’m not knocking the Walther PPQ, I have one in .40SW and I like it enough not sell it. But it’s not lost on me either that Walther had to make compromises to be able to sell the PPQ for $550.

      • Other Steve

        Bob, you clearly do not have facts straight. You’re claiming “inferior plastics” is wrong and as to cold hammer forged, seems most agree that it is.

        Perhaps you mean to say you would prefer a steel guide rod ala the P99 vs the polymer of the PPQ’s, but have you broken one? I have a couple thousand down my gun and no issues, there is a steel part if you really had to have one.

        Your argument that Walther decontented to PPQ in order to reduce price makes ZERO sense when you consider it’s more expensive than comparable handguns in Europe. If it were made cheaper it would be cheaper everywhere.

        You are confusing the US retail PPQ price for some measure of the guns quality, pretty shortsighted IMO.

  • Tony

    Good news. No more S&W logos are Walther pistols.

    • Other Steve

      This.

      I’ll be first in line to buy a PPQ Navy without the S&W marking!

    • Dcowboyscr

      The polymer on the PPQ is not substandard. Furthermore it is fiberglass reinforced polymer(which is a GOOD THING). HK also fiberglass reinforces their polymer. Glock on the other hand still uses a non fiberglass reinforced polymer that was developed in the early 1980′s. The fiberglass reinforced polymers are an improvement to make the polymer stronger and more rigid. This isnt to say the Glock polymer is bad at all. It performs admirably just the new type is an improvement.

      The P99 also had a polymer recoil spring tube. There are no polymer internal parts that make the PPQ cheaper than the P99. Polymer sights are the only cost savibg(arguably) measure.

      The barrel is cold hammer forged and has conventional rifling hence the ability to shoot more lead rounds without cleaning or worry of ab over pressure condition than a polygonal rifled barrel such as a Glock barrel.

      The PPQ is in no way substandard in any aspect to the P99 other than possibly the polymer sights.

      • FourString

        Hmmm, I am curious.

        Is the Sig SP2022′s polymer frame reinforced with fiberglass or not?

      • Other Steve

        Fourrstring, I’m not sure who got into this, but almost all high strength polymers used in firearms are glass filled nylons starting from the 60′s on. The filler can be glass threads ie fiberglass or just spherical glass beads or not glass at all (aramid/kevlar or carbon fibers) that provide weight or surface tension gains. It’s a REALLY broad term. Since the glass/filler is put in during the same injection process vs traditional fiberglass that requires mat/weave/chop to be put in separate, it’s fast and easy to do. It’s more expensive than non-filled polymer injection, but we’re talking pennies per part here. It’s the tooling that is expensive with injection molding.

        On the HK UMP, the steel bolt slides on the polymer rails of the receiver. The glass filled nylon in that gun will probably wear that steel bolt out before they do.

        As a general rule, on plastics that get handled and take a lot of potential beating, just assume they are glass filled or fiber reinforced plastics. The idea that Walther cut out glass filled polymer to save money is probably one of the most baseless and silly things I’ve read on this site.

  • Big Kahuna Burger

    I wouldn’t call the restrike capability useless. I’ve had to cycle out fresh rounds when my Glock 17 failed to set off some light loads just to cock back the striker. Whenever that happens with my DA/SA sigs though, I can either just pull back the hammer or pull the trigger again. Sure it doesn’t matter for the range, but I would hate to imagine losing a precious round in a firefight in a worst case scenario.

    • Big Kahuna Burger

      This was replying to Other Steve but somehow the comment landed up here. :/

    • Other Steve

      Sorry dude but that’s poor or at best old school firearm manipulation.

      You use good ammo and if it doesn’t fire, you tap and rack. Tap and rack. Tap and rack. Not keep jamming to trigger hoping it’ll go off.

      • Big Kahuna Burger

        Nope. Pull the trigger again with a DA/SA and chances are that a round with a hard primer that didn’t go off the first time will go off the second time. It’s not “old school” at all; the technique just depends on your firearm’s capabilities.

        Clearly, if you shoot a Glock and the striker fails to detonate a case with a hard primer, then racking the slide is ALL you have at your disposal.

        If the last round you have in a gunfight doesn’t go off in a striker-fired weapon, the seconds it takes to rack the slide back and re-chamber the round might cost your life.

        Also: practicing dry fire with snap caps is less of a PITA with guns that have restrike capability / an external hammer. So, yeah, I don’t see why you think restrike capability is “useless.” Far from it.

        Anyway, I’d rather have a firearm that eats all kinds of ammo than have a pistol that can only take the best ammo. But, hey, that’s just me, right -_-

      • Other Steve

        Yea, I suppose if it takes you “seconds” to tap the magazine and rack the slide your best bet is probably just jamming the trigger again.

        It also explains why proper modern firearm manipulation gets thumbed down on this site. Oh this site :D

      • Big Kahuna Burger

        Other Steve, I’m going to call you out on this: you seem to be very opinionated. If others shoot differently than you, i.e. prefer thumb safeties for their own purposes or prefer Restrike/Tap/Rack/Bang, you downvote them. If you get downvoted, you blame the site.

        Shooting technique is not objective. Everyone, from individual civilians to persons in various police agencies and military groups, crafts his/her own technique, so please be open minded and respect that, instead of implying that those who practice techniques different from yours are inferior.

        And yes, *seconds* are all that are necessary to survive or die in a gunfight.

        Restriking saves you precious seconds and a live round compared with directly starting with TRB. If you’ve ever actually tried it, instead of immediately scoffing / dismissing it, you would know that it works for many types of ammo.

      • Big Kahuna Burger

        If restrike capability were useless, why is it incorporated in many battle proven designs throughout the decades, i.e. the HK USP, Sig Sauer P2xx series, Beretta 92FS, CZ75B, and (the list goes on and on)? Why would they even offer the feature on the Walther P99 to begin with, if it meant greater complexity and more parts?

        Do you seriously believe that, for decades and decades, restrike capability was only a marketing gimmick?

        C’mon, man.

      • Other Steve

        Big Kauhuna, you’re a being foolish. Not in the sense that you’re a dumb person, or that you are incapable of understanding things, it’s in the sense that you have nothing to back up your belief except that it’s YOUR belief. It’s foolish to not recognize that you might be dead wrong, I had to go out and double check that I wasn’t the dummy, took about 10 second to figure out that wasn’t the case :)

        You may like second strike capability. But it is NOT a modern handgun method for dealing with a click/non-firing round.

        Anyone with any formal training (police, mil, civilian/private) knows that that the proper method to deal with a non-firing round is is to tap the magazine in, rack the slide to chamber a fresh round and bang. TRB TRB TRB Period.

        By just 2nd strike / jamming the trigger again, you are NOT ensuring that magazine is seated (which by account of all my training is by and far the majority of handgun malfunctions). You are NOT ensuring there is even a round in the chamber. You are NOT ensuring that the slide is not partially obstructed and not in battery (stove pipe, FTE, sqiuib round that is blocking the next round from the chamber, etc). You are NOT doing any of the proper combat-diagnosis for why the gun did not fire, you’re just mindlessly jamming the trigger again. And your reasoning…? Because it takes you “seconds” to tap the mag and rack the slide.

        Second strike is a joke. Don’t use clown ammo. If you have a problem, get the f**k rid of that round and keep moving. That’s all there is to it. Second strike may “help” with a the exceptionally rare instance where a primer is not hit hard enough, but does nothing to clear the most common malfunctions that are actually likely to occur.

        Second strike is not thought of well (notice the posts from 2002, being 10 years behind isn’t so bad I guess):
        thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106420
        http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106420
        http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-10925.html
        http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090406123645AAFPKJh
        http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/367506__ARCHIVED_THREAD____Second_strike_capability_on_pistol___.html&page=1
        http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1413904&page=4

        I don’t even know why I’m internet-aguing with such a foolish idea. Perhaps that because someone who doesn’t know any better than you might think second strike is a good idea, and it’s definitely not. I’m here for them.

        “restrike capability” is in-fact useless. It is “incorporated” in many battle proven designs because it is simply a natural bi-product of most SA/DA guns! Do you really think SA/DA exists because it allows multiple pulls of the trigger on a hard primer? WOW. Not having second strike not be there in a SA/DA gun would probably mean more parts, not less as you suggest. This is just beyond reason. There was no marketing for second strike other than, the gun already does this… so…. It’s a “feature”!

        I’ve taken formal training with a military instructor, twice with MDFI in Michigan, Chris Costa when he was with magpul, and have another class scheduled in September and then I’m taking 2013 for rifle training mostly… Who have you had any formal training from? I’d love to ask them about second strike…..

        Dude, it’s a joke and wrong firearm manipulation. I’m done on the topic, but feel free to go on about it.

      • http://paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

        Tap and rack doesn’t work too well for revolvers. Restrike does. About the only thing that can stop a revolver cold is a high primer, and the pressure required to generate that means you at least got a good round out.

        And yes, I do have a clip loading revolver in .45 ACP.

  • CW

    I’m kind of surprised that S&W’s stock price is going up on the news. I would think that loosing Walther and gaining them as a competitor would sink the stock. Any ideas why?

    • Tony

      From a investment stand point, S&W’s current share price has a P/E over 100.

  • Dcowboyscr

    Since 2006 all P99/PPQ barrels have been cold hammer forged & one piece. The PPS barrels aren’t cold hammer forged. The ORIGINAL P99 barrels were NOT one piece or cold hammer forged. Yes the PPQ has conventional rifling.

  • Paralus

    Good, It’s good to see S&W do well as it is to see Walther stand up on its own two feet.

    They needed each other at one point, but both have grown more successful.

  • Mike M.

    Interesting development. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the fact that the M&P is a direct competitor to the PPQ, etc.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Walther does with their serious target pistols (meaning the GSP and SSP, not the cheap plinkers).