1960s Curiosity: The Scarce Walther TP Pistol

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. The post 1960s Curiosity: The Scarce Walther TP Pistol appeared first on Guns.com.

1960s Curiosity: The Scarce Walther TP Pistol

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

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 , for Taschen Pistole, when introduced in 1961.

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: Guns.com)

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.

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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The Colt Cobra: A Capable Snub-Nosed Snake Gun

With it’s light weight, 2-inch barrel and six shot capability, the all-stainless steel Colt Cobra makes for an ideal carry or backup gun. The post The Colt Cobra: A Capable Snub-Nosed Snake Gun appeared first on Guns.com.

The Colt Cobra: A Capable Snub-Nosed Snake Gun

The all-stainless steel Colt Cobra revolver is built for concealability. With its small frame, 2-inch barrel, an unloaded weight of 25-ounces, it makes for an ideal carry or backup gun.

A vintage Colt Cobra 2nd model located in the Guns.com Vault.

Original Cobras were produced from 1950 to 1981. Some of these vintage gems can be found in the Guns.com Vault. After a 36-year hiatus, and to much fanfare, Colt brought back the Cobra in 2017. They kept the same good looks but modernized the internals.

An astute study of the new Cobra’s internals reveals several Metal Injection Molded (MIM) parts, including the hammer and trigger. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Demand was so strong upon its release, the Cobra was often difficult to find. The success of the Cobra saw Colt bring two more of its iconic revolvers out of retirement. The King Cobra was re-released in 2019, and the Python in 2020. These two revolvers are chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special.

Shop King Cobra or Python

Although we expected no less than perfection, the Cobra fired all ammo with 100 percent reliability. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The double/single-action Cobra is the baby in Colt’s wheelgun lineup. It holds 6-rounds of .38 Special and is capable of firing the hotter +P ammunition as well. Many other guns in the same size category hold only five rounds. Hogue overmolded grips come standard and a red fiber optic front sight comes factory installed. Colt also offers a tritium front sight as an upgrade.

Trigger pull is rated from the factory between 7- and 9-pounds in double-action, and 3- to 4-pounds in single-action. Guns.com writer Kristin Alberts took a Cobra for a test drive, discovering the Cobra’s trigger broke at 3.6-pounds in single, and a hair over 7-pounds in double-action. The extra-large trigger guard allowed ample room for gloved fingers and the hammer pull and mechanics were slick and sound.

Ergonomics on the Cobra are exceptional. The combination of the grip angle and rubber grip makes shooting controllable and comfortable. The revolver points easily and the fiber optic red front sight is quick to acquire.

The front fiber optic sight is held in place with the tiny Allen screw at the muzzle, which is easily removed or replaced with the use of the included wrench. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Muzzle jump and flip, commonly associated with small revolvers, is nonexistent on the Cobra. We fed a mix of ammo to the test Cobra with decent accuracy. Alberts achieved six-shot groups within a 2-inch circle at defense distances with no problem in single-action. The grouping opened up only slightly in double-action.

Six shots at 7 yards in double-action. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Colt spent many years carefully planning before re-entering the revolver market with the Cobra. With an MSRP of $699, the Colt Cobra is a capable, concealable, and smooth shooting snub-nosed snake gun.


Have a gun that’s collecting dust? Let us make you an offer! 

The Cobra holds 6-rounds, one more than many revolvers the same size. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The fixed rear sight and front red fiber optic. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

The ejector rod is short, no doubt due to housing constraints of the snub barrel, but is more than adequate to push spent rounds far enough to dump the cylinder. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

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