By Tom Sternal
Fans of European hunting guns will rejoice to learn of the recent formation of T&G German Gun Imports, a company whose business it is to rescue guns from certain destruction in Germany and find new homes for them in the US.
The company is the brainchild of George Inge, a physician in Mobile, Alabama, and Tobi Nisse, a gunsmith and dealer in the Sauerlands Region of central Germany.
In the 1980s Inge served as a US Army physician in Heidelberg, Germany, and while there he fell in love with German hunting traditions. Fast-forward to 2017, when Inge inherited his great-great grandfather’s 1902 Hollenbeck Drilling and could not find anyone in the US to restore it. Eventually he located Nisse, in Germany, and once the gun was repaired and restored, the seeds for a partnership had been planted.
It turns out that gun ownership in Germany is complicated and heavily regulated, and Germans must either maintain a license or get rid of their guns. As a result, each year thousands of guns are turned in to the police and, by law, melted down. Inge and Nisse saw this as not only a business opportunity but also a shared mission: Save the guns and give them second lives.
Starting in 2018, Inge and Nisse began acquiring guns before they were destroyed and selling them to interested Americans. They formed T&G German Gun Imports, created a website and began listing firearms on Guns International and their own site. Categories include Drillings, combination guns, shotguns, and bolt-action rifles/single-shot stalking rifles. Buying a gun through T&G requires a bit of patience. Buyers choose the guns they like, and then they must wait anywhere from 30 to 180 days to take delivery. According to Inge: “Because of the length of time, the 11-percent excise tax, freight and ATF-required engraving of our name on the gun, we sell them for very modest prices. A typical 16-gauge side-by-side is priced at $600 or less, and Drillings and combination guns are going to be less than $1,500.”
At press time T&G already had brought in two shipments totaling more than 100 guns, and there were another 200 guns in process. The company also provides full-service repairs; has a large stock of spare parts and accessories; and, because many of the rifles are in metric calibers, sells ammunition.