Walther Experimental Hybrid Olympia/Woodsman

In the early 1930s, Walther began to experiment with changes to its Olympia target pistol in hopes of beating the Colt Woodsman out of its place as the most popular pistol of the type. The most distinctive difference between the Woodsman and the Olympia was in their grip angles; quite straight for the Olympia and sharply angled for the Woodsman. In an effort to answer the question of which was better, Walther built this prototype Olympia with a Woodsman-style grip angle.

They clearly decided that they preferred their existing grip design, because the new 1936 pattern Olympia would continue to use it, leaving this gun as a dead end of an experimental hybrid.


  1. Olympic Rapid Fire silver medalist of 1932 (Los Angeles) Heinrich “Heinz” Hax used a Colt Woodsman because, as he said afterwards, he simply could fire it faster than his Walther. At the time it was 6 silhouette targets in 8 seconds, 6 second, 4 seconds and finally 3 seconds. In 1936 he again won silver, this time with a Walther. Looks as if Walther managed to substantially improve the design.

  2. Walther couldn’t get the product endorsement of Al Tessilore, the assassin in Chandler’s ‘Red Wind.’

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