Airguns with a Turkish origin
THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE TURKISH SUCCESS
There were tons of Turkish airguns on display at this year's gun shows, whether at Europe's largest gun show, the IWA in Nuremberg, or the wonderful Shot Show in Las Vegas. This trend is not a coincidence, as it can be observed in every sector of the firearms industry. However, not that long ago, at the turn of the century, Turkey was mostly an importer of military and special services equipment, but over time, through careful planning and, more importantly, well thought out purchases of technologies, it has become the leading producer of weapons in the world, including airguns.
The Turkish trend is also confirmed by the numbers, which show that in 2018, for the first time in history, Turkish companies in the arms sector made a record profit of USD 2.035 billion. In addition, two Turkish companies - TAI and Aselsan - also appeared in the annual ranking of the 100 largest arms companies in the world. Between 2009 and 2013, Turkey exported 170% more military products. And so we could go on and on.
Currently, the Turkish government is investing heavily in the development of new technologies, which includes the creation of specialised workplaces and development centres. Despite difficult political relations with the Saudis and Egypt and strong competition from Israel, Turkey has managed to establish itself in the Middle East market, where it has partnered with Qatar and Oman. The situation is very similar in Europe, where superpowers such as Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France are among the major customers.
Recently, Turkey has experienced even further growth, mainly due to events in Ukraine, Oman and African countries. All of this fuels further weaponisation and the search for new contractors, especially in the sector of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. It was exactly those for which Turkey has recently gained recognition in Ukraine, where the highly praised Bayraktar TB2 received a lot of credit for its effective elimination of Russian armoured vehicles. There was even written a song of the same name in its honour in 2022.
NEW TURKISH AIRGUN BRANDS
But let's go back to airguns, as the Turks are really good at making those too. The first pioneer in the Turkish airgun industry was the company Hatsan. It was mostly famous for its classic low-cost spring piston rifles. However, other, less known Turkish brands, such as Reximex, Kral Arms and Effecto, drew a lot of attention at this year's gun shows. All of them are prominent Turkish manufacturers with a long history of making competition and hunting shotguns. Their products are known all over the world, although they have yet to fully break through in the USA. However, this was to change at this year's SHOT Show in 2023 in Las Vegas.
Another interesting fact is that all three of these Turkish companies are based in the same city - Konya, located in the south of Turkey. Moreover, the owners of Kral Arms and Reximex are literally related by family. Both companies offer a wide range of PCP airguns - Kral Arms especially stands out with their Turkish walnut rifle stocks. The Effecto brand has its own origins, as a part of the large Huglu company, which has been making shotguns for more than a century.
TURKISH ACCENT AT THIS YEAR's SHOWS
At this year's exhibitions (SHOT Show and IWA), Turkish companies presented several new products. One of them was the second generation of the PCP airgun Reximex Throne, labeled "Gen 2", available in .177, .22 and .25 caliber. It is available in two types of cartridges - classic aluminum with a capacity of 425 cc or special carbon cylinder with a capacity of 480 cc - and in 6 colors: black, FDE, G1 camo, safari, skull camo and bronze. Following the trend, this airgun also has the option of caliber conversion.
Reximex also added a Zone and Meta bullpup model. The Meta attracts a lot of attention with its tactical design and especially with the aluminium buttstock adjustable in 3 segments and with a built-in monopod.
Compared to its two rivals, Kral Arms company has a stronger position, especially because it has been in the airgun industry for much longer. Its classic BigMax, BigHorn, Shadow or Reborn models are part of the iconic Puncher series of PCP airguns. Most of them come in several calibers, finishes and configurations. Some models, such as the BigMax and Bighorn, are even available in .30 and .35 calibers.
The Effecto brand is the youngest Turkish representative on the airgun market, hence the more humble range of models, which also includes the Bullpup version in the form of the Zeon series or the more classic configuration in the form of the PX-5 series available in PRO and Sport variants.
The Zeon Bullpup brings an innovative approach and design. The choice of materials and excellent craftsmanship are truly a pleasure to look at. The barrel from the well-known company Lothar Walther only adds to the overall prestige. Matching the preferences of shooters, the charging handle is moved more forward, which makes shooting more comfortable considering the bullpup configuration. They are available in three calibers - .177, .22, .25 and three styles - bronze, grey, and khaki.
The wooden stock Effecto PX-5 model charmed every visitor of the exhibition with its simple, traditional design, yet modern features in the form of a pressure regulator, an adjustable cheekpiece, or a manual safety. Everything is adapted to the shooter who enjoys more traditional design.
SOME FINAL WORDS
The new Turkish brands clearly prove that the term "Turkish airgun" does not have to be only Hatsan. They also show that Turkey does not have to be just a cheap assembly line, but a place to develop modern and globally respected airguns. We already can't wait to see what the Turkish companies will come up with next year.