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Walther Olympia: Germany’s Interwar Target Pistol

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The Colt Woodsman, introduced in 1915, was the premier – and really the only serious – option for the competitive target shooter into the 1920s when the Walther company decided to introduce a competitor. Walther needed a product to bring business, of course, and the Versailles treaty prohibited it from manufacturing military arms. So, with the flexibility and responsiveness that the company often exhibited, it decided to enter the competition pistol market in 1925 with the Olympia.

This was a semiautomatic, .22 Long Rifle caliber pistol with a 10-round magazine. It was a simple blowback action, with large precise sights and a quite nice feel to the grip. It was not quite the equal of the Woodsman in international competition, but still a strong second-place contender on the market.

Always looking to improve and respond to customer desires, Walther began to experiment with changes to the Olympia in the early 1930s, and in 1936 introduced a brand new version. This new Olympia offered, among other improvements, the option to add barrel weights, and it became an even more serious competitor for the Woodsman.

Today we will be looking at a large selection of Olympias, showing you all the different variations of both the 1925 and 1936 models as well as some transitional guns from Walther’s experimental period.

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