The Scarce Walther TP Pistol ::


Walther TP cover

The Walther TP was only made from 1961 to 1971 but even then had a decidedly retro style– and for good reason. (Photo:

Carl Walther and his son, Fritz, created the company’s first semiautomatic pistol in 1908 and the basic layout of that gun survived into the 1960s as the Walther TP.

Walther, originally located in Zella-Mehlis, Germany, was founded in 1886– back when Kaiser Willy was on the throne. After spending the first quarter-century of their existence crafting highly accurate schuetzen competition rifles, Fritz Walther returned to the company from an apprenticeship at DWM, home of the Luger pistol, and, seeing the industry was rapidly moving to produce then-novel semi-auto pistols, urged the older Walther to move in that direction as well. This led to a flurry of new patents for small, blowback-action semi-autos handguns with fixed barrels.

In the early 1900s, before they were a household name, Walther would file dozens of patents for small semi-auto pistols.

This effort led to the logically-named Model 1 in 1908, a striker-fired 6+1-shot .25ACP that had its recoil spring coiled around the 2.1-inch barrel. Competing against guns like the Pieper Bayard, Colt Vest Pocket, and Browning/FN Model 1906, the diminutive Walther Model 1 was often described in Central Europe as a “taschen pistole” or pocket pistol. It proved successful enough that the gun was produced in a variety of upgraded variants that ended with the Walther Model 9, which was a staple of the company almost up until the Zella-Mehlis factory was occupied by the Allies in 1945.

With the country divided into communist East and free West Germany and Walther’s old factory left behind the “Iron Curtain” in the former, the company relocated to the latter, setting up a new factory in Ulm in 1950. Many of the company’s former iconic handguns like the PP/PPK and P-38 were soon back in production in France– made there under license by Manurhin– as Walther was initially restricted by the Allies to making just air guns in Germany itself. Once the limits were removed, Walther went back into production with an updated version of the pre-1945 Model 9 that used the same hammer-fired action as the very similar Model 8.

The new gun, chambered in either .22LR or .25ACP, was a 12-ounce micro-compact with a 2.6-inch barrel and a concealed hammer, externally very similar to the Models 1 through 9 that preceded it. In an ode to its size, just 5.9-inches long overall and 5.1-inches high, it was marketed as the TP, for Taschen Pistole, when introduced in 1961.

Walther TP 25 pocket 6.35 GDC

The TP had fixed sights, a thumb-activated manual safety, and a heel-released magazine with a pinky extension. The grips had a blue Walther globe medallion, differing from the panels used before WWII. Note the eagle/N proof marks, Ulm roll marks, and “Made in Germany” stamp on the bottom of the grips. (Photo:

In advertisements circulating in the U.S., it was dubbed as a “Vest Pocket.” Selling for $64.50, they were a bit less than the $100 PP/PPK models of the day.

In Walther fashion, the company soon introduced a competing design, the Taschen Pistole Hahn (Pocket Pistol, Hammer) or TPH, which was more advanced as it was essentially a downsized Walther PPK chambered in .22LR and .25ACP. However, as a result of import restrictions on handguns that came in 1968, requiring pistols to meet a “sporting use” test, both the TP and TPH ran into problems when it came to being marketed in the U.S. and by 1971 the earlier gun was out of production.

In the end, with a production that only ran a decade at best, Walther TPs were made in small numbers with Stefan Klein at the Unblinking Eye estimating that only about 11,250 .25ACP variants left the factory.

Still, it is an interesting piece of firearms history that was a “throwback” even when it was new, and had ties both to Walther’s first entry into the handgun market and its rebirth after WWII.

Walther TP 25 pocket 6.35 GDC a

While the GCA of 1968 largely dropped the hammer on the TP, Walther had signaled they were looking to retire the model for a downsized variant of their popular PPK even before that.

Like rare, uncommon, and historic guns? Check out our Military Classics and Collector’s Corner sections where firearms like the Walther TP are just a click away.


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