Edgar Budischowsky Model TP 70
by Dr. Stefan Klein
There were two independent companies that produced the TP 70. Beginning in 1968 the gun was made by KORRIPHILA-Präzisionsmechanik GmbH in Ulm, and from 1971 it was made by BUDISCHOWSKY-Waffen GmbH, also based in Ulm. BUDISCHOWSKY-Waffen GmbH was a German-American-Liechtenstein company with Mr. Budischowsky as managing director and operations manager. It was dissolved in 1976 after Budischowsky gained a foothold in the U.S. market with the founding of NORARMCO, Mt. Clemens, Michigan. NORARMCO was later acquired by AAA American Arms & Ammunition Corp., of Miami, Florid,a U.S.A. American Arms Inc., Provo, Utah, U.S.A. also produced the TP 70. However, the quality of the U.S.-made pistols lags well behind the pistols produced by Budischowsky in Germany.
On 31 December 1993 KORRIPHILA-Präzisionsmechanik GmbH, last based in Heidelberg, was closed, and on 1 January 1994 it was converted into the sole proprietorship "KORRIPHILA- Präzisionsmechanik Edgar Budischowsky". Budischowsky produced the last TP 70 in 2018 on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
The TP 70 was manufactured in 6.35 mm Browning and .22 long rifle. The gun has an external hammer and a double-action trigger. The unlocked breech is additionally held closed by the main spring and hammer spring. After firing the last cartridge, the slide locks open. The TP 70 pistols produced by Budischowsky are blued and have checkered walnut grips. Budischowsky offered annealed yellow-silver elements (trigger, safety, release lever, spring rod) for a small premium. The pistols were shipped in a brown-marbled cardboard box with manual and cleaning brush. U.S. pistols mostly have black plastic grips and are made of stainless steel.
The following slide inscriptions can be found on the TP 70, which were manufactured as standard in Germany:
BUDISCHOWSKY- Waffen GmbH Ulm/Do.
BUDISCHOWSKY- Waffen GmbH Ulm/Do.
The numbering of the weapons was at dealer request; serial numbers are therefore not consistent. Each company that produced the TP 70 numbered the guns independently. In German production pistols, no number has been used twice within the respective companies, even if the calibers were different. Late pistols made by the KORRIPHILA-Präzisionsmechanik GmbH used letter prefixes or suffixes A, B and EBy. The prefix A is found only on weapons in 6.35 mm Browning, B only on weapons in .22 long rifle. In NORARMCO production in the United States, 6.35 mm and .22 long rifle each had its own serial number sequence; hence, duplicate serial numbers may be found.
There are no exact production numbers for the pistols manufactured in Germany. However, due to his diverse activities, prototyping of large-caliber pistols, and production of the HSP 701, Edgar Budischowsky did not realize high quantities of production for the TP 70. The total number of pistols manufactured in Germany is therefore only in the high three-digit range.
The number of pistols manufactured in the USA by the various manufacturers is also not known for certain. It is known that NORARMCO produced about 400 pistols per month at the beginning of production, and serial numbers have been recorded as high as 4540 in late American Arms production.
In the United States, the TP 70 is found with the following slide inscriptions:
.22 LR. NORTON TP-70
American Arms Inc.
There are two gold-plated and elaborately engraved TP 70 pistols. BUDISCHOWSKY-Waffen GmbH manufactured a pistol in .22 long rifle with the serial number 0001. The KORRIPHILA -Präzisionsmechanik GmbH also presented a gold-plated and engraved pistol in 6.35 mm Browning with the serial number 0003. Both pistols were refined in the engraving workshop Aichholzer, Ulm, where all WALTHER weapons were engraved.
The 6.35 mm Browning pistol with the serial number 0001 of KORRIPHILA-Präzisionsmechanik GmbH is a hand-made prototype. All pistols produced thereafter were assembled from regular mass production parts.
1988, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the TP 70, Budischowsky produced a series of 20 pistols in .22 long rifle. On the 50th anniversary a small series of only five pistols with the numbers 1/5 to 5/5 followed. On the left side of the slide, the pistols show the year 1968, an oak wreath with year and the respective year of the anniversary:
For the company Collector Guns, Altenkirchen, three sets of TP 70 pistols were manufactured in a mahogany box with green felt, which additionally included a miniature pistol in scale 1:2. The set also included a tin box with 12 fake cartridges. The TP 70 in the set has a slightly plum-coloured blueing, walnut grips, and a stainless-steel magazine. A set with the number zMi0036 was sold in 2020 through the auction house Herman Historica.
I can rightly say that the German-made TP 70 is by far the highest quality vestpocket pistol I ever held in my hands. Produced in small quantities, the TP 70 is a sought-after collector's weapon, which has a great appeal. It is also rare to have the opportunity to exchange ideas with the inventor in person and to receive detailed information about his work. Fortunately, Edgar Budischowsky, now over 80 years old, was willing to provide detailed information about his company and the TP 70. Without his help, this article would not have been possible in this detail. I express my sincere thanks to him.
Copyright 2021 by Stefan Klein. All rights reserved.