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Old 12-08-2012, 04:42 PM   #1
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One_Eyed_Jack .22
"Made in Germany"

I'm new to the forum and recently bought my second Walther PPK; I sold my first PPK when my daughter was born in 1974 and my wife didn't want a gun in the house. I really missed that well-made little 22LR Walther pistol!

Recently, while looking for another PP, PPK or PPK/S, I began to read about the history of their manufacture since I was confused by the various markings and licensing agreements. In general, I prefer older classic guns and focused initially on looking for a PP or PPK "Made in Germany." However, I now believe this phase is not to be taken completely literally with respect to post-war Walther PP and PPK pistols.

I'm posting to ask whether (1) the brief facts and conclusions below are correct, and (2) if they are already well known on the forum. I couldn't readily find a thread about PP and PPK history. Please accept my thesis as a way for a newbie to learn more about the Walther PP and PPK.

Thesis: All post-WW2 Walther PP and PPK pistols were assembled from parts made in France or manufactured completely in the USA. "Made in Germany" on a post-war Walther PP or PPK is not literally true but may be consistent with current markings regarding country of origin.

Brief Facts:

* Walther moved to Ulm after WW2 because Zella-Mehlis was now in East Germany under Soviet control.
* West Germany was forbidden to produce arms for some period of time after the war.
* To restart PP and PPK manufacturing, Walther licensed production in 1952 to Manurhin in France.
* Manurhin continued production of all PP and PPK pistols until at least 1978, when a dispute with Walther arose over licensing production to Ranger in the US in response to the 1968 Gun Control Act.
* PP and PPK pistols manufactured by Manurhin were shipped to Ulm where they were marked "Made in Germany".
* Manurhin continued production of the PP, while PPK and PPK/S production proceeded in the US with Ranger/Interarms and later S&W.

The best summary I found of PP and PPK production history is at:

Carl Walther's PP Series

The above summary agrees with other bits I've read online and answers many of the questions I had after reading other accounts. But there are some missing pieces of the manufacturing puzzle that I try to fill in below. Neverthless, important questions remain about early PP and PPK post-war production.

Tentative Conclusions:
* Only Walther PP and PPK pistols made before the end of WW2 were completely "Made in Germany."
* Post-war Walther PP (until 1986) and PPK (until 1978) pistols were made from parts manufactured by Manurhin in France.
* At Ulm they were roll-marked "Made in Germany."
* In addition, at Walther in Ulm there may have been finish bluing, final assembly, inspection and packaging that would logically occur after roll stamping the slide. I suggest that the slide would be blued after roll stamping, and that the frame and slide would be blued in the same facility to avoid finish color differences. Therefore, most of the final assembly could have been done at Ulm, a function that would have produced a "Made in Germany" pistol by current country of origin marking standards. If final assembly was not done at Ulm, then "Made in Germany" is misleading.

Obvious Questions:
It seems likely that fully assembled PP and PPK pistols could not have been shipped from Walther in Ulm until W. Germany was permitted to produce arms, even though the parts were made in France.
* When was this post-war prohibition against arms production ended? (Answer: circa 1954)
* Until this prohibition was ended, it seems logical to me that Walther PP and PPK pistols would have been produced entirely at Manurhin. In that case, how did Walther justify the "Made in Germany" marking and who actually did what until 1986? Some accounts suggest that Manurhin performed all the manufacturing functions until 1978 for the PP and PPK pistols.

OKay Walther historians, let's hear the correct story!
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Last edited by One_Eyed_Jack; 12-08-2012 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:05 PM   #2
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You're right about Manurhin making parts for W. Germany. Ulm had a problem getting parts and Manurhin made a lot more "Made in Germany" pistols than most think.

The Manurhin is the same as the German pistol and most likely any "German" pistol produced after WWII is Manurhin stamped German.

IA imported and IA made USA Walthers before the SW debacle. IA stayed with the original blue prints and SW made their doomed modifications that led to recall.

To date a Manurhin or German Walther PP series is pretty much identical no matter who had it or where it was worn or what have you.

To date IA made Rangers or true to the blueprints before SW Houlton made the "improvements" leading to disaster and recall.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:09 PM   #3
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You have developed the foundation for a helpful sticky.

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Old 12-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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JW, one possibility is that Manurhin was responsible for the complete post-war manufacturing of Walther PP and PPK pistols until at least 1978.

This makes the most sense as it avoids sending parts to Ulm at least for roll stamping, totally simplifies production logistics (everything done in one plant), and doesn't create a conflict with post-war German disarmament that continued until at least 1954.

In that case, why did Manurhin produce PP and PPK pistols that were roll-stamped "Manurhin", noting a license from Walther, and proclaiming "Made in France"? This is not a counterargument to your suggestion, but an outline of another mystery. Were the French licencees so proud of their product that they wanted their name on it?

I sincerely hope I won't become a PP/PPK collector as there is so much 20th century history here, as well as a beautifully made and proven firearm, that I could fall into the trap.

Last edited by One_Eyed_Jack; 12-08-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
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"One Eyed Jack". the reference below is a good read, if you have not already seen it. Of importance to remember is--the final fitting and finishing part.

https://www.waltherforums.com/forum/f...explained.html


It will take awhile to fully read and digest your posting.
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Last edited by Winterwind; 12-08-2012 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Eyed_Jack View Post
JW, you're suggesting that Manurhin was responsible for the complete post-war manufacturing of Walther PP and PPK pistols until at least 1978.

This makes the most sense as it avoids sending parts to Ulm at least for roll stamping, totally simplifies production logistics (everything done in one plant), and doesn't create a conflict with post-war German disarmament that continued until at least 1954.

In that case, why did Manurhin produce PP and PPK pistols that were roll-stamped "Manurhin", noting a license from Walther, and proclaiming "Made in France"? This is not a counterargument to your suggestion, but an outline of another mystery. Were the French licencees so proud of their product that they wanted their name on it?

I sincerely hope I won't become a PP/PPK collector as there is so much 20th century history here, as well as a beautifully made and proven firearm, that I could fall into the trap.
I think after the French sold out their most successful Army Commander to be burned at the stake as a witch (Jean de Arce) they learned their lesson to not burn their Manurhin PP series under some other source not recognizing them.

Ergo Manurhin learned the lesson of Joan of Arc and made a rather significant move to own it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
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Thanks Winterwind. I can see such a joint manufacturing process working after circa 1954, but not when W. Germany was prohibited from arms production - unless partially disassembled PP-series pistols left Ulm for "final assembly" in Manurhin. It may be that stamping "Made in Germany" on Walthers happened only after circa 1954.

My original proposition was that the slide and frame would have been blued together to achieve the same color - but apparently they weren't and a slight difference was acceptable - and this would have been done in Germany after the roll stamping of course. This allows more of the production process to have occurred in France.

It would be nice to have an authoritative written history of Walther-Manurhin as a reference instead of hyperlinks. I wonder if Walther has a historian?
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Walther PP"s were made entirely at Ulm, Germany after 1985 until production ended in the 1990's.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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I think because SW is the only present day source of currently manufactured Walthers in PP series there will be a bit of a dig to find a person or persons alive today (and willing to reveal) the facts.

The Walther was a German (Carl Walther) design that was originally German but also manufactured by Manurhin to the Germans at a time when the Germans could not make it themselves. Manurhin manufactured more than most know and many German "made" Walthers were stamped German after coming from Manurhin.

To this date people think the "German" Walther is better than a French Walther; but most of the post war guns available today stamped German have been actual Manurhin machining and production.

Now SW does the business with hit and miss after IA which actually imported both Manurhin and Walther before doing it themselves.

IA is trustworthy to me on their imports and on their USA productions (I.e. Ranger) but SW Houlton is not. Perhaps Houlton has cleared the mess and everyone knows sending a gun back to SW means nice customer service.

However, the problem I have is why should I send a brand new gun back to a good customer service company (like SW Houlton)? Why is Houlton doing the -1s (PPK/S-1) and finding problems AFTER they send it out to us?

IA never had THAT problem of recall and revamping of a perfect blue print in the first place.

SW is good in revolvers and maybe they are getting their act together with the PP series but now I hear Xamacs and Umarax and some other are trying to make a comeback on the original PPK.

My feeling is the originals (used or never fired or little fired) from IA and BACKWARDS to W. Germany and Manurhin are the best Walthers I'll ever see for sale new or used.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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One Eye, get Dieter Marschall's book Walther Pistols Models 1- P99. It is the bible for Walthers. Milspec is right as always. Don't worry about the trap, I have been in it for 60 years & still enjoy it.
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