Korth: at last, some real information on prices

Korth Combat Magnum in .357 -- $5,000

Korth Combat Magnum in .357 -- $5,000

Korth: you either know the name or you don’t. And if you do know it, you either dream of one day scraping together the scratch to buy one of the legendary German gunmaker’s custom pistols, or you think it’s silly to shell out untold thousands of dollars for a gun that’s not even made in the USA. I fall onto the former camp: I seriously want a Korth, but all the research I had done into finding and buying one of their guns had me despairing of ever being able to afford one. But today I got the chance to talk price and availability with a Korth rep at their booth, and I have good news to share: yes, the prices for Korth pistols are insanely high, but they’re not as high as may have been lead to believe.

Some googling for Korth pricing will turn up various forum threads where people who know people who know people who once called Korth’s only US distributor about a scoring a gun are weighing in with prices that they heard a decade ago. I’ve heard that the Korth Combat Magnum, for instance, starts at $20,000. And then there’s the Korth 9mm pistol, a unique-looking design that random forum people over the years have claimed goes for upwards of $40,000. But let’s take a look at some guns and see what they actually run.

The facts: you can pay $30K for a Korth, but you don’t have to

Korth Combat Magnum in .357 -- $5,000

Korth Combat Magnum in .357 — $5,000

Korth had a range of handguns on display at their booth, and did my best to capture the magic with my camera. The aforementioned Korth Combat Magnum in .357, shown above, starts at around $5,000. Yeah, it’s way pricey, but it’s nowhere near what has been rumored.

Korth .357 with hardened finish -- $6,500

Korth .357 with hardened finish — $6,500

If you want to pay a little more, there’s an interesting-looking hardened finish available on their guns, which you can see above. The gun above retails for $6,500.

Korth Classic Semi-Auto Pistol, 9mm in Plasma Finish -- $7,000

Korth Classic Semi-Auto Pistol, 9mm in Plasma Finish — $7,000

Above is my personal grail gun, the 9mm Korth Classic in a silver plasma finish. This gun comes in at $7,000 in the configuration shown here. Note that this gun is a prototype that won’t be available in the US until the middle of this year, and yeah, when I finish building out my AR collection I do plan to shell out for this bad-boy.

Korth Classic Semi-Auto Pistol, .45ACP with engraving -- $30,000

Korth Classic Semi-Auto Pistol, .45ACP with engraving — $30,000

The .45ACP Korth Classic is where things start getting very expensive. The gun shown above sold for $30,000 with all of the engraving. If that’s your thing and you’ve got the money to burn, its’ all good, I suppose. Then there are the Damascus steel guns — Korth’s Nibelungen line — which cost even more.

Korth Nibelungen -- Damascus .357 -- $37,000

Korth Nibelungen — Damascus .357 — $37,000

The revolver shown above retails for a whopping $37,000. The only other folded-steel weapon I can think of that costs this much is a Japanese katana from mastersmith Yoshindo Yoshihara. Madness!

Same as above, but with cutaway. You can see detail on the rest of the gun.

Same as above, but with cutaway. You can see detail on the rest of the gun.

The gun above has a cutaway that Korth was using to show the inner workings of the gun. I’ve included this shot so that you see the Damascus detail on the chamber.

Damascus is beautiful, but modern Damascus isn’t exactly legendary for its durability. I’m a knife nut, and though I’ve considered this or that Damascus blade over the years, I’ve never actually pulled the trigger on a purchase for durability/maintenance reasons. So as gorgeous as the Korth Damascus pistol is, it’s not for me.

Ultimately, I was thrilled to find out that Korth’s prices are actually within the reach of mere mortals. $7,000 is definitely a lot of money to spend on 9mm, but guys blow that much on German watches all of the time.

If you’re looking to score a Korth, there’s only one US distributor for Korth: some guy named Earl who runs the poorly maintained korth-usa.com site. (I am not making this up. ) Korth is looking for more US distributors, so drop them a line if you’re interested in selling their guns stateside.

Update:In response to Ian’s request in the comments, here’s a side shot of the cutaway cocking mechanism.

A cutaway shot of Korth's $37K revolver.

A cutaway shot of Korth’s $37K revolver.

And in response to reader Michael Z., the German Korth rep himself told me: “Vee haf one US distributor. His name ist Earl.” I almost LOLed when he said that, but he was so serious I had to choke it down.




Bill J has done many things, but his latest project is his favorite: IronSights.com, a search engine for guns, ammo, optics, and shooting accessories. He also writes for AllOutdoor.com.


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  • Ian

    A dead on shot of the trigger mechanism would be very welcomed, if you have it.

    • Bill J.

      Done. See the update.

  • qubi

    Sorry to play negative Nancy, but from the few reviews I’ve been able to find (worryingly few, mind you), it seems that although the Korth line has excellent fit and finish, this comes at the price of reliability. I personally wouldn’t care to have a gun that lasted a thousand years of daily use if I couldn’t close the cylinder without cleaning every 100 rounds. The one review I read of the 9mm mentioned that the custom-fit spare magazine was so tight, the shooter thought it was stuck… not exactly my idea of a competition or combat-worthy gun. Tight tolerances are great for some things, but for systems that get gummed up with powder residue, not so much.

    I can understand the allure of rarity- these guns could make excellent conversation pieces / safe queens, so I don’t fault a collector for wanting one for this purpose. In my mind though, you could spend less than a third of the base price for a fully customized hand-fitted race gun from the likes of CZ or Glock that would objectively perform better than the Korth in every way, with the exception of getting cosmetic surface scratches during use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

      I have dozens of Korth revolvers, with many thousands of Magnum rounds fired through most of them. None ever malfunctioned.

      • noob

        What is the cleaning and care routine like to get good results?

        • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

          The same as any other revolver, only easier with a hand-detachable cylinder. Use a light oil for lubrication.

          • Hyok Kim

            Mr.Zeleny, I thought you didn’t care much for the hand-detachable cylinder feature. Anyway, I do agree that it would be a very handy feature for routine maintainance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

      Also, unlike their painstakingly refined revolvers, the Korth autopistol never advanced past the beta test process. I am hoping for this to change with Andreas Weber and his colleagues in charge.

  • MikeJ

    There was a pawnshop that I use to frequent in Louisiana that had a Korth in it’s case. It was a nice looking revolver in 38 spl. It was priced at $1,200, which at that price I thought they should have oiled it down. It had a couple of spots of minor rust.

  • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

    According to Korth Waffen, Earl Sheehan has no relationship with them. I have a few spare, older, used Korth revolver imported on ATF Form 6. New revolvers can be bought directly from the factory.

    The shiny autopistol is a prototype, left in the white.

    • Bill J.

      See my update above. The Korth guy told me that Earl is their US distributor, and that he maintains the Korth USA website. I’m not saying you’re wrong… I’m just saying that this is what the Korth guy told me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

        I spoke to Andreas Weber, and regardless of what you think you heard, he told you no such thing. Earl Sheehan briefly served as a U.S. Korth importer for Freylinger when they still made revolvers in Ratzeburg, and his website reflects that past relationship. He has no dealings of any kind with Korth in Lollar.

        • tacticaltshirts.com

          Dude, that’s what he was told. If they aren’t doing business together any longer, why would the name come up? Perhaps it isn’t correct information, but it is just as possible that the REP at the Korth booth was mistaken. Happens a lot at SHOT.

          • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

            Andreas Weber owns and runs Korth Waffen. I interviewed him at length this year, as I did upon their first appearance at SHOT in 2012. There is no chance of him being mistaken about his own distribution channels.

            http://larvatus.livejournal.com/tag/korth

          • tacticaltshirts.com

            I am reticent to post this but here goes….

            Michael, I swung in this post since I was curious to see something about Korth. I even thought to myself, “I wonder if that Michael Z. guy will show up?” And viola! There you are.

            And right off the bat, you start to get argumentative with posters about Korth. In particular the following I find distasteful:

            “… and regardless of what you think you heard, he told you no such thing.”

            Without getting into the obvious points about how you couldn’t possibly know what transpired between two individuals if you weren’t part of the conversation, you immediately attacked the messenger. And it’s not necessary.

            I suggest you try to be more diplomatic in your conversations about Korth products. I’ve seen one too many arguments from you on other forums about this product.

            Michael, you are obviously very knowledgable about Korth: past, present and future. I just wish you would spend more time posting pics and groups from your pistols. I wish you would share load data. I wish you would do a better job of being a positive asset on the subject. Perhaps head-to-head comparisons between American makes? That would be VERY interesting.

            If I was an executive at Korth, I would hope a major collector of my products would be more informative and less corporal in relating to my potential American customers. I would suggest saying something like, “I wish to clarify the information posted here. There was some miscommunication or confusion regarding US based Korth dealers, etc, etc,etc.

            But the current pattern is so predictable, when the subject of Korth revolvers comes up, as a private consumer, I dread it.

            TTR

          • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

            If you want diplomacy, talk to a politician. Life is short, so I speak bluntly. I know Andreas Weber as a truthful man. He and I have discussed his company’s non-relationship with Earl Sheehan at length. Consequently, I am certain that he wouldn’t mischaracterize it to anyone else.

            I am conducting an ongoing study of Korth and Manurhin revolvers. I’ve yet to develop custom loads for either one. I have no machine rest inserts for them, and photos of groups fired off hand or from an arm rest or a sandbag attest to the shooter’s ability much more than they do to the mechanical accuracy of his arm. I am hoping to get access to a TriggerScan system, as used by Veit Morgenroth for his Korth study, but my present agenda do not warrant its purchase. I do recommend the Korth book to anyone interested in its subject matter, regardless of his reading ability in German. The photos alone make it worthwhile.

          • tacticaltshirts.com

            Michael, what in God’s name are you even talking about? NOBODY is even questioning anyone’s honesty here. I wish for once you would stop with the provocative comments. At least on this forum.

            As for the event in Vegas, It’s called SHOT show. It’s busy. It’s filled with too few professionals and too many wanna-be’s. It’s loud, crowed and tedious. Things happen. Back-ground noise. Accents. Miss-cummunciation. Notes were transposed? Who knows?

            But what I do know is the members of TFB were nice enough to even stop by the Korth table and make a few notes and pictures. Considering how many venders there are at SHOT, I would hope you would recognize that for was it is: a gift to Korth.

            Considering all the tactical, military, competition, survival, LE based products it’s a small miracle TFB even took the time to stop at a European based REVOLVER company at all. Most of their readers will never own a Korth. And a damn sight fewer have even heard of Korth Revolvers. As the internet’s resident Korth fan, why aren’t you being more gracious?

            I know when I saw the Korth post here, I zeroed right in on it. Something different. Something I don’t know much about. I thought maybe I’ll see something truly unique or different. But I’m disappointed. I’m seeing something I always see when the Korth name pops up….

            “Michael Zeleny” rolls in with his trade-mark provocative behavior, and my heart just sinks. “Oh no. Not again.” Perhaps it’s ego invested in your brand selection? Perhaps you are so jaded with all the, “My Colt Python is XXX” arguments you’ve had? Maybe if I was you, I would walk around half-cocked all day spoiling for a fight in the land of S&W? I don’t pretend to know.

            But I do know it sucks. It’s not fun. I dread seeing your posts anymore. I dread the topic. I dread the brand. I dread the whole thing. And I suspect the next time TFB walks past a Korth product, that dread will keep them from stopping for a second visit. And that’s the shame. We are all here to “shoot guns and have fun”. That’s my company motto.

            Michael, you are by far the biggest expert on Korth revolvers on the internet. At least in English. Your posts can at times be technical, knowledgable, and complete. Korth should be so lucky to have a man such as you representing their products professionally. But frankly your behavior repeatedly from venue to venue to venue has probably done more damage to the Korth brand in The United States than any other combination of factors or competitors. And nobody here has to take my word for it. Research “Michael Zeleny Korth”.

            And I can’t figure out for the life of me what the point is?

            Michael, I’m sure you don’t give a flying F. about what I think. But if you did, I would be asking you to shoot more. I would be asking you to take pics of your Korth revolvers. I would be trying to find local 2700, ICORE and IDPA matches in your neck of the woods so you could, “Run it on Sunday and sell it on Monday”. Shoot some groups. Take some pics. Show some wear or lack there-of. Tell your story. We would all LOVE that.

            I can’t think of anything cooler at a match or a training class where the guy next to me is running a M’ing F’ing Korth! Wow! Talk about cool. Talk about different. I wanna shoot with THAT guy.

            Regards,
            TTR

          • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

            To echo Fat Bastard, everyone likes their own brand don’t they? My own brand is the only one I care about, and am responsible for. Not Korth Waffen, not SIG P210, not Manurhin MR73. Me, the snarky assclown in top-shelf combat regalia. In the furtherance of the same principle, Andreas Weber can very well — and does — speak for himself and his wares, but willingly or inadvertently mischaracterizing his statements in this venue does as little to promote the brand of Korth Waffen, as to uphold the integrity of online journalism.

            Anyone who has read this far is welcome to join me at the Firing Line in Burbank or a private range in Burro Canyon. The best way to appreciate a Korth is by shooting one.

          • Hyok Kim

            “If you want diplomacy, talk to a politician. I speak straight because life is short.”

            That’s my spirit. Now, you see where I am coming from.

            ” I do recommend the Korth book to anyone interested in its subject matter, regardless of his reading ability in German. The photos alone make it worthwhile.”

            Yes, I have the book myself. Doesn’t reveal too much about the inner workings of the revolver, but does reveal quite a bit about the workings of the semi-auto. Very interesting variation of Walther P38/1/4/5 locking system. Looks to be more positive lock up than Walther locking system, and easier to detail strip as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.jones.31149 Bryan Jones

    i admit to a bit of Korth “Python” envy. I better stick to Colt Python envy, I have a better chance at affording one of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.jones.31149 Bryan Jones

    Say, …where, exactly is the cylinder release located?

    • Burst

      It’s a 2nd lever, by the Hammer.
      That makes Korths among the most friendly designs to lefthanders.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.jones.31149 Bryan Jones

        Thank you!

  • Lee

    Is there anything special about their locking mechanisms or timing? Most look like expensive copies of easily obtained guns. They are beautifull though. I’m pretty sure I could get/build a fully custom, hand folded, then CNC machined Demarcus revolver for half the price that functions flawlessly. I think the big price spike is simply that it’s manufactured in Germany.

    • Marc

      The DA trigger runs on a roller and depending on picked roller size hits an edge for a second stage just before breaking the shot.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

      Further to Marc’s comment, Willi Korth used to guarantee his revolvers to maintain the same accuracy after firing 50,000 .357 Magnum rounds. Here is an excerpt from a test conducted by another shooter, putting this claim in perspective:

      I mentioned the strength of the metal in the Korth as well as the care of the hand fitting. I began some tests of the Korth vs. the M28. At the beginng of the tests the barrel to cylinder gap of the Korth was just over .0025 while that of the M28 was .003. With just under 200 rounds of heavy hunting loads through both guns the barrel to cylinder gap of the Korth was where it had begun for all cylinders. The M28 however had opended up and varied from .003 to .004. The S&W showed wear and some additional gas cutting on the frame above the barrel from some hot .125 grain loads. The Korth showed no significant wear.

      http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=122799

    • Anonymoose

      It’s because they are made with Teutonic gnome magic!

    • JANZ

      You mean DAMASCUS as in the folding of metal layers named after city in SYRIA..CHRISTENSEN makes a great DAMASCUS 1911. There is a guy in FLORIDA who makes awesome custom DAMASCUS blade survival knives with giraffe bone grips sometimes found on ebay for less than a RANDALL and i bought one and the blade is as good as my MERCWORX or COLD STEEL for $250 and the giraffe bone,micarta or ivory are genuine not bogus flea market junk.

  • Joseph B Campbell

    Still out of my budget.

  • Anonymoose

    Most foreign-made guns tend to be more expensive than their US-made counterparts (except for like Bersas and Glocks) to start with because of importation costs. Why would you shell out more for a gun made in the USA (unless it was automatic, of course)? AFAIK the majority of (modern) European-made rifles (except for those cheap-ass Spanish muzzleloaders- although they’re not really “modern” they were developed in very recent times) have pricetags that meet or exceed those of the highest-end American-made ARs, and many European-made pistols (besides Glocks) can cost the same or more than match-grade American 1911 raceguns.

    • Anonymoose

      Just to clarify, I probably wouldn’t even spend more than $1500 on any gun unless I planned on keeping it locked up in a safe as an investment. I like how they bill that one as a “Combat Magnum” but charge 5 grand for it- no one in their right mind would take that thing anywhere near a battlefield…

  • John

    I would rather have a Manhurin Revolver

  • http://www.facebook.com/larvatus Michael Zeleny

    I have posted my Korth photos from this year’s SHOT Show here:
    https://plus.google.com/photos/107899053055981883378/albums/5839502331951263217

    The last image is of the factory retail price list. Please note that its starts at 4,500 €, amounting to $6,112.35 at today’s exchange rates, Anyone who believes that Earl Sheehan is a Korth distributor would be well advised to try ordering a new revolver from him: http://korthusa.com/.

  • Jdotjdot7

    My last name is Korth so I thought maybe I should buy a Korth handgun… welp thanks for crushing that idea, 30 grand for a pistol!

  • JANZ REVOLVERS

    JANZ REVOLVERs are by far the best revolvers made in the world,he does copy the cylinder release inspired by KORTH,
    But JANZ has a -60C rockwell hardness treatment and different grades of steel used for each specific application on the revolver.

    Look at the all black JANZ .44 mag,yes they make dairy equipment but is why they CNC and have the best fit and finish on any firearm. The timing is SWISS watch accurate.
    Youtube KORTH revolver a guy does a review and says it shoots like a S&W with a good trigger job,cylinder isnt as tight as a JANZ. If you are a SHEIK or want the best its JANZ not KORTH.

  • Dr.Cox

    HI guys,

    I’d like to ask something if there’s anyone still haunting around here.

    My Father gave me (as a present) a gun, it looks pretty much like these guns called Korth (actually it says something like: Korth…made in Germany on it…) but every gun (Korth) i’ve checked on google has a cylinder that can hold 6 bullets whereas the cylinder of my gun can only hold 5!
    Now I’m interested to sell it because to be honest I don’t really like it (too big, too heavy, too hard to shoot with…) and the guy who wanted to buy it said well I can only give you 1000 Euros because (according to him) the cylinder is not the original one. He said that these kind of guns must have cylinders that can hold 6 bullets.

    I ‘ve heard these guns are very expensive that’s why I wanted to sell it and by some Glock or something similar.
    The thing is a Glock here costs around 1200 Euros so I thought to myself If I can’t buy a new gun with the money I get from selling it I might aswell keep it.

    So my question is: could this gun be a forgery or was the guy just trying to fool me?
    And if someone could tell what’s the value of this gun these days.

    Thank You.