In this month’s Brand Focus, Joe Meakin takes a closer look at German manufacturers, Umarex, whose produce a wide range of highly prized airguns under a variety of big name brands.
Umarex is a fairly new company in the world of airguns. The company formed in 1972, after a new weapons act in Germany was passed that same year. At first Umarex produced a range of blank firers and airguns which could be freely purchased over the counter, a proposition which appealed to the 10 million strong fanbase of recreational shooters in the country at that time.
The History Of Umarex
The company started off as Mayer & Riem, with its founding members Franz Wonisch and Karl Mayer Senior. They were joined by Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer and together they set off to create what would since become one of the largest companies in the firearms and shooting business today.
In 1972 the company’s product range was rather limited, with only one gun being produced, which was the Perfecta Model G1, a blank firing pistol. The company quickly expanded, as they became one of the largest importers of airguns from China, taking in brands such as Daisy, Norica, Milbro and Marksman. These made a huge impact internationally in 1974/75 and they even managed to secure the exclusive rights for Marksman and Daisy at this time, heightening their success even more.
Although Umarex were growing as a company, a lot of the wholesalers were ignoring them, and the only path at the time for products was from wholesalers to retailers with no direct link to the manufacturer. Umarex decided to take the innovative step of bypassing the wholesalers, and go direct to the shops to sell their goods. By 1976 they had six sales representatives visiting gun dealers around Germany. In total, there were around 1000 gun shops in total selling Umarex products and this meant that the growth rates for Umarex averaged 30 – 50%, which set them up for the future ahead.
Walther, Colt, Browning And More: Iconic Big Brand Replicas
Since then Umarex has gone on to seal deals with some of the biggest names in the business such as Beretta, Browning, Colt, Magnum Research, Smith & Wesson, to produce licensed versions of their most famous firearms in all sorts of airgun variants. This brings much loved icons to the realms of recreational shooters that usually wouldn’t be able to own them, due to licensing restrictions in different countries and regions.
One of the most popular pistols in this category is the Beretta M92FS Co2 pistol which comes in Black and Nickel models, complete with the authentic markings just like the real thing. These pistols are made to very high standards, in full metal which provides a heavy weight feel, and great quality. The hammer, trigger and safety work just like the real model, and the pistol fires pellets from an 8-shot magazine for excellent reliability, accuracy and precision. Another popular model is the Smith & Wesson 586 which come in a 4inch and 6inch variants. Again, this is made from full metal, fires .177 pellets from a different 10 shot magazine and is very high quality. If you’re looking for a top notch co2 pistol, then look no further than the offerings from Umarex.
Hammerli & Walther: Sporting Prowess
Some of the other names that the Umarex group own are Walther, Hammerli and Rohm, which have been acquired over the years to extend their product range further. The products produced under the Walther & Hammerli names are high quality and extremely accurate target rifles and pistols which have been used by competitive shooters at Olympic levels for years.
The base model is the Hammerli AP20 which uses a great deal of components from the AP20, but isn’t to quite the same standard as the Walther range. The AP20 is a compressed air pistol, which provides excellent accuracy, and is perfect for an introduction into target shooting, allowing the user to get comfortable with this type of weapon, are they are quite different to standard pistols.
Moving up from the Hammerli into the Walther range of pistols is the Walther LP400, which comes in several different styles with a carbon barrel shroud or aluminium, but the components behind these are all the same. The LP400s are a firm favourite for Olympic level target shooting and if you have any doubts about the accuracy, each pistol comes with a paper test target with just one hole in, but 5 shots fired at it showing just how well made these pistols are. A range of grips are available in both left and right hands, with different sizes as well for all types of shooters today.
Quality PCP Rifles
Umarex also produce air rifles under the Walther name in both PCP and Spring power plants, with PCP offerings ranging from the top selling Walther Rotex RM8 with an 8-shot magazine system, to Spring powered rifle such as the Walther LGV, Walther LGU and Walther Terrus which are all fine rifles.
The range of Walther LGV and LGU rifles are technically very impressive with the internals running on synthetic bearings for low friction, which ultimately requires a less powerful spring so recoil is dramatically reduced. This also makes it very quiet, so when fitted with a silencer it is almost near silent. This all adds up to very accurate and quiet rifles, ideal for hunting, pest control and target shooting with many field target shooters turning to a Walther LGU or LGV for their first choice.
Umarex are always at the forefront of new designs for airguns, and are very good with releasing new products at a large trade show in March, so if you’re a Umarex fan, keep an eye out each year around that time for the latest in new products from Umarex!