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Exclusive! Walther Factory & Museum Tour

By Dickson Ly

Walther is a well-recognized name for producing ergonomic pistols since the early 1900s. The name is most synonymous with the fictional character James Bond who favors the PPK (Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell, or Police Pistol Detective Model) pistol which was first featured on the silver screen in “Dr. No” in 1962. Most people are not aware of the fact that the company was originally started in 1886 by Carl Wilhelm Freund Walther, who was a gunsmith. The company celebrated its 130-year anniversary last year, and it shares the same age as other famous brands such as Coca Cola, Mercedes Benz and Bosch.

Walther’s Product Manager, Dr. Peter Dallhammer, took time out of his busy schedule to meet with me. He has a doctoral degree in engineering, and he has been with the company for over 20 years. He was directly involved with all of the current generation of Walther pistol developments such as the PPQ and PPX. There are four patents under his name, mostly related to trigger designs.

Dr. Dallhammer first gave me a presentation about the company and its history. Then he introduced me to Matthias Schulzendorf, Master gunsmith and the head of their Master Workshop (“Meister Manufaktur” in German). Matthias is only 38 years old, but he already has 15 years of experience under his belt working on guns.

Master Workshop

Matthias took me to his Master Workshop showroom on the ground level. It’s a nicely decorated room that has several neat examples of his work. First to mention is he has incredible wood working skills. He showed me thick blocks of Turkish walnut for their target rifles; they come from the deep center of the tree trunk, close to the root that, which show beautiful grain structure. He would do a bespoke measurement of the owner’s arms and shoulders and hand carve the wood to fit him or her. This is more akin to ordering a custom-made suit than purchasing a gun!

If wood is not your cup of tea, he can do different colors and finishes on the rifle stocks. It can be color anodizing...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N10 (December 2017)
and was posted online on October 20, 2017

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