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Old 05-01-2009, 01:35 AM   #1
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Question Last Year of Production for Walther P.88

According to that monster Walter Book I have, 1999 was the last Year of Production, as they came out with that Plastic Hammerless Toy that Year. Knowing that the P.88 was the last real Walther, I would like to know the very last year, I read somewhere else it was before 1999? I also recall in a 1984 Gun Magazine seeing the Pistol Previewed 4 Year's before it came out. It is sad in my Opinion they stopped making this fine Pistol to make a toy!(never have been with the Glock Clones Crowd) Even Sadder is the fact that James Bond never carried one!!!
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:00 AM   #2
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If I recall correctly, Walther discontinued the full-sized P88 in 1994. Sales were disappointing; because of the high price attached to the gun, no military or police contracts of any substance were ever received, which also hastened its decline.

In "The Walther Handgun Story," Gene Gangarosa Jr. reported that Walther produced about 10,000 pistols before production halted. The company then redesigned the P88 and called it the P88 Compact, producing that model for another five years before coming out with the P99.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #3
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I believe it was 1991 or 1992. Production of the P88 ceased before production of the P88C started, and I believe the P88C was introduced in 1992.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:29 PM   #4
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Interesting. Production ceased for the P88, apparently, depending on which source you either check or believe. At least two online sources that I just checked indicated that production ended in 1996, which contradicts the 1994 date from another source and also is at odds with parebellum's observations of 1991 or 1992. It's all quite curious.

I'll poke around a bit more and see what I can turn up, if anything, that's definitive ... but at the moment, your guess is as good as the next guy's.
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Last edited by searcher451; 05-01-2009 at 07:32 PM. Reason: typo repair
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #5
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Thanks guy's, Would like to know just for the Knowledge. What was the first year? 1988 right??? Paul
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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Well sir, it again depends on who you ask or where you look; the sources and books and reference sites seem to vary wildly, which is odd given the relative young age of the gun and its wide following as one of the so-called Super-nines and/or Wonder-nines. You also would think that the P88 was developed in 1988, but ...

According to Dieter Marschall's "Walther Pistols Models 1 Through P99," the P88 was introduced in January of 1987 and was produced until 1992. The P88C was introduced in December of 1992 and continues today. If you poke around online, you'll find at least three other competing dates, which is ... curious.

You might want to send a note to the Walther folks and see if they have anything to say on the matter. That's one horse's mouth, at least, that I would tend to believe.
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
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There is not much profit in trying to pin down too precisely the dates of earliest and latest "production". First there is the problem of definition: "introduction" and "production" are not the same thing, nor are "production" and "assembly" the same thing. Walther had a practice of going from a prototype series to small production runs to serial production. Which one are we talking about? "Introduction" (meaning unveiling at IWA, SHOT or NSGAW shows or write-ups in gun magazines) could occur variously at any point. Most manufacturers also follow a practice of making "clean-up" assembly of discontinued models by using up the spare parts inventory, often much later; this likewise could be considered "production".

One also should not expect too much from emailing Walther in Germany. The young clerks who answer these inquiries do not have the benefit of much institutional memory, a lot of which was lost after the Umarex acquisition in 1993. For example, people are no longer there who can personally recall the precise division of labor between Manurhin and Walther in the Ulm-marked PP-series pistols, so there is no point in asking them if you want an authoritative answer. They also can't figure out why some Walthers did not go through the Ulm proofhouse (though all were indeed proofed).

This is further complicated by conflicting information from the published authorities, including the redoubtable Mr. Marschall (for whom I have very high regard, as he worked largely from primary sources), who are occasionally just plain wrong on their facts.

For example, pertinent to this thread, Marschall writes that the experimental V ("versuchs")-series of P88s (V1170-1549) was made in Oct. 1986, and the "pre-production" series (s/n 881226-881390) in December 1986. Those dates are clearly incorrect. Photographs of one versuchs gun, V1195, was published five years earlier in the 1981 edition of Guillaume Tell, and the first preproduction P88 (marked "P88"), s/n 8811252, arrived in the United States in July 1982. A few months later seven more were imported for testing and evaluation by police departments and the Secret Service. In August 1984 30 P88s (also in the s/n 881-series) were submitted to the XM9 pistol trials at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Of these 30, 25 became the property of the U.S. Government; at least one is (or was) on display at the Smithsonian.

The first "commercial" P88s to be exported to the USA were received in May 1987, the last ones in June 1992. The first P88Cs (not really a compact version, but a completely different gun, as few parts were interchangeable with the standard P88) reached the US market in May 1992, though it had been displayed at IWA the year before. Presumably the P88C continued to be available from Walther (whether "manufactured" or simply assembled) for some while after the P99 (first called the HLP, then Modell M) came onstream in the autumn of 1996. The P88C was still being shown at the SHOT Show in 2000.

There, FWIW. No doubt this will add to the confusion.

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Old 05-02-2009, 10:42 AM   #8
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To the contrary, Mike. That's good stuff and helps with perspective. Thanks for the insightful post.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:49 PM   #9
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FYI - P88 & Compact

December 1, 1992 price list form Interarms shows~

Distributor price at $720, Dealer at $900, Retail at $1,200.

P5 was listed at $754.00; $943; $1257.00

Kind of interesting
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photohause View Post
FYI - P88 & Compact

December 1, 1992 price list form Interarms shows~

Distributor price at $720, Dealer at $900, Retail at $1,200.

P5 was listed at $754.00; $943; $1257.00

Kind of interesting
Of course. The P5 was a better gun.

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