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What’s in a Name?

I was perusing the new offerings over at, when this blurb caught my eye:

Hammerli is a Spanish-made gun from the long-established Norica firm located in Spain. Norica, not to be confused with Norinco (which is China North Industries Corporation), has been making airguns for nearly a century, starting around 1917. And making arms of some sort or another in this part of Spain can be traced all the way back to 1482, before Columbus made his historic voyage.

All well and good, except the Hammerli I recall was a Swiss maker of exceptionally fine firearms, including some of the world’s best target arms. But Hammerli was purchased by SIG in 1973, and then by Umarex/Walther in 2006. As has happened with many venerable names, the Hammerli name is now a commodity itself, freely applied to a variety of products that have nothing to do with the original Hammerli factory- like Spanish made airguns.

Not that there isn’t a fine tradition of gunsmithing of Spain- I have a fine sidelock 20ga double from AyA in Spain that I’d put up against just about any English made Best Gun. But we don’t know where these new “Hammerli” guns are being made, other than they’re not being made by the ‘smiths we associate with the Hammerli name.

The lesson? In today’s world of international marketing, with trademarks being traded like any other commodity, the name alone doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the product. Don’t buy on name alone.

One Comment

  1. J.R. wrote:

    If the design is right and the quality controls are exhaustive, the country of manufacturing is not necessarilly important: for example, my BMW F-650 motorcycle is Italian made with an Austrian made engine. But design and quality control are German, and it shows. I have owned it for 12 years and still feels like new…

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 3:59 am | Permalink

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