1960s Curiosity: The Scarce Walther TP Pistol
By Chris Eger
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)
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