Among my own favourite videos:
Air Ghandi's DIANA reviews and General AirRifles Review
Airgun Exploration and Advancement Channel's DIANA and the Overall Show one
And of course, Airgun Gear's videos are always funny, although a little long, the General one will give you a good idea overall.
All these channels have more videos dedicated to specific parts of the industry, whether they are brands, or ammo, or accessories.
And then there are the excellent reports by Hard Air Magazine.
On this specific report, some friends and readers have written asking "What gives?" with Mr. Archer's cryptic mention of myself and so, I have to issue a comment in the interest of "Full Disclosure":
I have been retained by M&G (DIANA), as an external consultant.
This means that I am working part time for them, but it also means I am not an employee.
Interestingly enough, I am under strict instructions of the CEO to remain a "free thinker". So, I will continue with my work in other brands of guns, as well as optics, ammunition, and long range / precision shooting games like Silhouette, Field Target, and now I will add 3P Airgun because I have always been an advocate of practical riflery, and teaching the youth of this nation to shoot responsibly and properly is at the base of the future of the shooting sports.
I will not go into the whole story of DIANA as a brand, or of Mayer & Grammelspacher (the company that owns the brand) in here, that would take, probably, a medium size book, after all it's been more than 125 years of activities. What is important is to understand how the current metamorphosis is proceeding that is allowing the brand DIANA to be reborn from its ashes, like the mythical Phoenix.
For years, M&G was an underfunded company. The previous "Acting CEO", Herr Martin Zedler, tried hard to bring DIANA to the current manufacturing technologies that modern companies need to have, but he was not allowed the funds to do it. Instead of CNC machines, multiple machining jigs had to do.
Still he managed to bring out some beautiful (the T/H line) and some powerful (the 350 and the 460) rifles. He also broke some moulds (with the 430 and the 280) and introduced a quality, reliable Nitrogen-filled gas spring family (the N-Tec's).
Two years ago, the situation was quite unsustainable, the company was in deep debt, and with some guidance and forethought, the company was put on the block. It sold for €1-00
Now, who were the brave souls that would take such an old (and some would say fossilized) icon?
Well, the holding company is called German Sport Guns (GSG).
But GSG is only a small part of a much larger group of companies that form the L&O group.
The L&O group has two general "branches" one is textiles (non-woven), and the other is weapons. Some may think that there is no real connection between non-woven textiles and weapons, the truth is that the connection is at an almost "philosophical" level. Both industries share the same dedication to precision high speed manufacturing and a focus not so much on "getting a larger share of the pie", but on truly "making the pie bigger for all".
The Weapons part reads like a "Who's Who" in the firearms world: Sig, Sauer, Rigby, Blaser, Swiss Arms, and now it adds M&G with its prestigious brand DIANA.
In particular, it is interesting to see that the L&O group has a truly international focus. Think that they established the Sig-Sauer USA operation just a few years ago and very recently, they got the contract for the USA Armed Forces Service Pistol.
Still every single "business unit" is run quite independently, and while there is technical help and the purchasing power of a very large group, each company has to stand on its own merits. This will explain why SIG has recently come out with the first, and possibly the only, breakbarrel airgun designed and made in the USA in many decades. Even while having all the expertise of M&G available to them. We will look into the SIG ASP20 in detail in some other entry, just let it suffice to say here that it is built like a tank.
So, this particular IWA I was "stationed" at the DIANA booth, mainly because I wanted to have as many interactions with the retailers that are the lifeblood of a large manufacturing company, and those few members of the general public that get passes to what is, essentially, a "Trade Only" show.
I have seen more of the show through the videos I mentioned above, than by actually walking the floor, LOL!
The object was achieved and I now have a better understanding of what are the strong, and the weak, points of DIANA airguns in the eyes of many distinct markets. And believe me that what for one market is a weakness, in another it is a strength.
But enough talk, let's have an overview of the GSG booth to see what is the extent of their commercial activities in Europe:
While it is good to respect tradition and even thrive in it, after all 128 years of continuous production of airguns is nothing to sneeze at.
Remember I mentioned above the "philosophical" link between non-woven textiles and weapons?
Well this is the actual manifestation of that. Non-Wovens are now used in a lot of applications that no conventional woven textile may be used, from Haz-Mat suits to hospital disposables, Painter's suits, Car filters for any and every fluid/gas, HVAC filters for the home, cleaning towelettes for all sorts of chemicals and even BioHazards, and a host of other applications. The focus of the industry has been: what can we do to make the materials more widespread and useful. HOW can we GROW THE PIE?
I am seeing the same intention and prospective view in DIANA. ¿How can we make airguns more enjoyable, more accessible, and more useful to everyone?
It's a healthy balance between dreaming about going for the stars while at the same time tethering those dreams in what you are and what you truly want to be.
Keep well and shoot straight!