HAM Talks to Diana Airguns About New Air Rifles and More.
At the 2016 Extreme Benchrest Competition, Hard Air Magazine Publisher Stephen Archer sat down with Tobias Schmidt, International Sales Manager for DIANA, the German company that manufactures Diana airguns.
That’s Tobias, pictured above, holding a new Diana N-TEC 340 air rifle.
Hard Air Magazine: Tobias, it’s great to meet you! Can you tell us a little about your background?
Tobias Schmidt: Of course! I recently joined Diana as International Sales Manager because I was excited about the opportunities I could see in the way Diana is changing. Now that Diana is owned by the GSG (German Sporting Guns) Group, many things are different. For example I’m here in the US for this wonderful Extreme Benchrest event. That would never have happened with the “old Diana”! Before joining Diana, I used to work for Umarex. So I have many years of experience in the airgun industry.
Hard Air Magazine: Please tell us more about the “new Diana”.
Tobias Schmidt: Well, the old Diana had a huge, old, factory at Rastatt that was very expensive to operate. Now Diana airguns are made in a modern facility that makes production much more efficient. This gives us lots of new possibilities!
Below, the Diana NR8 N-Tec. Another of the new air rifles from Diana.
Hard Air Magazine: In the USA, Diana airguns have been sold through Umarex USA under the RWS brand name. Will this continue in future?
Tobias Schmidt: Diana has worked with Umarex USA for more than 10 years to sell RWS air rifles in America. I’m glad to say that Umarex USA will continue to sell and provide service for RWS-branded Diana airguns. Umarex USA has always been a great distributor for us, but they have only imported selected models in the Diana airguns range.
Hard Air Magazine: But the big news is that Diana airguns will now also be distributed in the US under their own name. Correct?
Tobias Schmidt: For sure! The full range of Diana-branded airguns will now be distributed in the US by Precision Airgun Distribution in Arizona and Air Venturi in Ohio. Both of these distributors will sell to their own dealer networks. They will also provide warranty support, service and parts backup for those guns they distribute. As with RWS-branded models, the Diana-branded guns will carry a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner.
We feel that making Diana-branded airguns available in the US allows customers to be part of the outstanding Diana history and heritage that’s a big part of our brand.
Below, the Diana Kar 98.
Hard Air Magazine: And I believe that Diana airguns will be sold through a new distributor in the UK, too?
Tobias Schmidt: Correct. In the UK, we’re partnering with Edgar Brothers, an outstanding, well-established airgun distributor. The UK is the biggest market in Europe for airguns and we’re delighted to benefit from Edgar Brothers expertise.
Hard Air Magazine: Can we expect to see new models from Diana?
Tobias Schmidt: Yes. The Diana 340 and 350 N-TEC rage of models is new to the US market. These have gas ram actions and a new, “sexy” style, unlike the established Diana airguns. There’s also the AR8 and AM03 models. And then there’s the Mauser K98 made by DIANA that’s modeled on the Mauser K98 firearm. These models were all announced at the 2016 SHOT Show and are now available in the USA.
Beyond that, I’m out there talking to our distributors around the world, asking them for market demand and suggestions for new products. Obviously it takes time to develop new airguns, but were starting the process by asking for feedback. That’s a completely new approach for Diana and one that we hope will bring exciting new airguns into being in the next few years.
And, of course, the GSG umbrella is important as this provides the financial backing that’s necessary for any new product development initiatives.
Below. Another view of the new Diana N-TEC 340.
Hard Air Magazine: That’s exciting! Can you add any more?
Tobias Schmidt: Just this. You can expect to see new Diana products in future with new ideas and new engineering. And you’ll see Diana airguns continuing to compete in the medium- to upper- ranges of the airgun market. But don’t forget that we have a great portfolio of classic Diana airguns like the Model 34, 350, 460 and so on. They will still be around!
Hard Air Magazine: Tobias, thank you for your time. Have a safe trip back home to Germany!
Tobias Schmidt: It’s my pleasure. I look forward to telling Hard Air Magazine readers more about Diana airguns in future!