Walther is one of the oldest gun manufacturers in the world. The German company is best known for its PPK pistol made famous because it’s James Bond’s gun of choice.
In the United States, Walther partners with Smith & Wesson. Last month, the president of Walther, Wulf Pflaumer, visited Oklahoma City’s H&H Gun Range.
He sat down for a brief question and answer session with The Oklahoman, talking about the history of the company and new products to be introduced at next week’s SHOT show in Las Vegas, Nev.
Q: Tell me a little about the history of the company.
A: The company Walther was started in 1886. In 2011, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Walther brand. My company purchased Walther from the family in 1993.
Q: Why are you visiting Oklahoma?
A: It is very, very important for me every year to go to many gunsmiths. I like to see what is going on, especially in America. The American market is completely different than the European market. For me, it is a must to go every year to many American stores.
“It is important for us to understand the retail market in the USA. I like to check to see how our current products are performing and ask questions about the users in the USA and the USA competitors so we can learn and use that information to improve our current products and develop new products for the USA market.”
Q: Do you have any new products on the way to the market?
A: At the SHOT show, we will be working closely with Smith & Wesson to launch several new products. First for the Walther brand, we will be launching our new PPQ which is a new full size pistol in 9mm and .40 caliber.
“This pistol is based on the same duty weapon carried by many divisions of the German police. It has a newly designed grip with a new texture that improves the grip, an ambidextrous magazine release and a very smooth and crisp trigger.
“We will also be launching our new P22 in the ‘Q style’. The Walther P22 is the best selling .22 pistol in the USA. The new pistol has a redesigned housing that reflects the same grip texturing as the PPQ and also has a new serration design on the slide.
“This change provide a nice update to the already excellent P22 and improve the overall styling and ergonomics.
Lastly, with Smith & Wesson, we developed the new Smith & Wesson M&P22 based on the quality and specification requirements of our U.S. partner. This new pistol has the same ergonomics and features of the Military & Police range of pistols, but is chambered in the less expensive .22 caliber.
“We have developed this product for sports shooting but we also expect it to be used by police agencies for training.”
Q: What is Walther’s number one selling gun in the United States?
A: “Our number one selling gun in the United States is the Walther P22. It was actually the first tactical .22 handgun available in the USA. Since it was launched, we have sold over 500,000 units. At the SHOT show this year, we are updating the look of the P22 with a new housing design and a new slide design.”
Q: How many guns has James Bond sold for Walther over the years?
A: “This is the best advertising for us for more than 40 years. James Bond is carrying a Walther weapon. I think we have a lot of fans all over world (because of James Bond). Everybody doesn’t know the name Walther but everybody knows PPK because this means James Bond. I don’t like to give the numbers, but we are not unhappy.”