Walther Splits with Smith & Wesson. Mostly

Smith & Wesson has been the distributor for Walther guns in US of A since 1999. No more. Walther announced that they’ll be setting up a newco stateside called Walther Arms, Inc. to take over distribution here. But the two aren’t totally splitsville. Some of the relationship will live on (at least for now) as Smith will continue to make Bond fave, the PPK. Likewise, Walther will keep on keepin’ on by producing the M&P 22 for Smith. Full press release after the jump . . .

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.”