It is with a heavy heart that we at TFB bring news of the death of a true industry great: Jim Schatz has died. Jim’s career in the industry spanned four decades, and he served as a paratrooper (11B) with the 82nd Airborne, a shooter and instructor with the Army Marksmanship Unit, and most famously as an officer with Heckler & Koch. Through his time at H&K, he became known as the guru of all things HK, and many times he was recommended to me as the “go-to” personality whenever my research intersected with that company (which was often).
I knew Jim only briefly and by remote, having conducted a telephone interview with him earlier last year regarding the XM8 program with which he was intimately familiar. Though I did not build a strong relationship with him, Jim was an individual whose merits were known through his reputation. Regardless of professional or technical disagreements, all knew Jim as a man of character and substance, and as the man to talk to regarding Heckler & Koch’s history through the 1990s and early 2000s. In his later life, Jim carried the standard for a new armament program for the modern US Army soldier, and fought fiercely to get the best equipment in the hands of the infantry. In recognition of his substantial contributions to advancing the state of the art of the small arms industry, Jim was recognized in 2015 by the National Defense Industry Association with a Chinn Award.
Tonight, we pour one out for you, Jim. You will be sorely missed.