How it all started
Nothing stands still. Not even in the ancient region of Skåne, or as the Romans called it: Scania. It was in this alluring part of Sweden, that Viggo Olsson grew up, knowing he wanted to create something remarkable which he could be proud of. VO Vapen has made quite a journey from its rather humble beginnings, but that ambition has never changed.
As a young man, Viggo Olsson was a passionate marksman, competing with pistols. His father was an ofﬁcer in the Swedish army and came from a long line of professional soldiers. Weapons and life in the open air were in a way a family tradition, nevertheless young Olsson came to choose a path of his own. He studied to become a carpenter. Beginning as an apprentice, he dedicated himself to his craft and eventually established himself as one of the ﬁnest artisans in the county.
– I have always been intensely interested in ﬁne carpentry. Even as a boy I could work for days with a single detail, says Viggo Olsson while reﬂecting on his ﬁrst choice of profession.
Our Master Gunsmith’s ﬁrst steps into gunmaking came when he decided to make an elegant stock for his own pistol. When his shooting friends saw the result, they soon wanted one for themselves. Viggo’s reputation started to spread and he decided to transform his garage, behind the house in Kristianstad, into a workshop. All the time he had been a devoted hunter himself and now he started sketching his ﬁrst series of bolt action rifles. When the hunting season started, Viggo was shooting with his very ﬁrst handmade rifle, all to the great admiration of his friends in the hunting party. In 1977 VO Vapen was founded.
Still he felt the need to learn more, especially about mechanics. Viggo Olsson knew that if he wanted to create something truly remarkable he had to get out into the world and study the art of gunmaking.
OUT IN THE WORLD
In the early 80s Viggo packed his bags and took off to Italy. Over a period of many years he worked side by side with some of the ﬁnest craftsmen in the region of Brescia and Val Trompia, known for its long tradition in gunmaking. As he learned from the best, ideas of his own started to take shape. As he travelled back and forth between his little workshop and his workbench in the Italian alps, rifle mechanics became his new passion.
– I learned a lot in Italy, he says, reminiscing about those travelling days. I also made great connections with some of the ﬁnest craftsmen in the world in our trade. True professionals, from barrel makers to stock makers, that in some cases, I am now proud to call my colleagues here at VO Vapen.
In the late 80s he was invited by an encouraging Count in his region to demonstrate his exclusive rifles to some very renowned Swedish hunters. The guests at the hunting castle were all deeply fascinated and were eager to order.
The reputation of the craftsmanship of Viggo Olson soon travelled throughout the country. Hunters stood in line to own their own rifle, made by the Master Gunsmith’s hand. Even members of the Swedish royal family enjoyed hunting with their very own VO Royal rifle. The customers were at this point predominantly in Scandinavia, but all that was about to change when the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, bought his Big ﬁve VO Collection. A magniﬁcent suite of weaponry that made VO Vapen famous in the Middle East. This was the beginning of a new era with a focus on exclusive collections, limited editions and unique tailor-made rifles for some of the most demanding customers in the world.
TODAY AND BEYOND
Through the years, VO Vapen have had the pleasure of welcoming devoted hunters and collectors from all over the globe as clients. It has always been the person, no matter where he or she might be from, who has been in focus. No business strategies for speciﬁc geographical markets have ever existed. This bond, between the craftsman and the customer, has often grown into a relationship that has lasted, sometimes throughout generations. Even VO Vapen has made a move into the next generation: Viggo Olsson’s son, Ulf, has for some time now been working side by side with his father.
Today father and son, together with their colleagues, are travelling the world to meet new clients and discuss forthcoming projects. They still, however, ﬁnd great pleasure in welcoming visitors to their part of the world, this enchanting rural part of Sweden famed as a hunter’s paradise. It is in this county in Skåne, very close to where the very ﬁrst VO Vapen rifle once was made, that VO Faktori opened its doors in 2018. A unique facility exclusively created for the making of the ﬁnest rifles possible. Finally, this long-term dream of Viggo Olsson and his son, has become a reality.
Even though much has happened since VO Vapen made its ﬁrst rifle, the spirit is still the same. The joy of creating something unique and all the experiences that go with it. Maybe that is why the moment, when a VO Vapen rifle is ﬁnally placed in the hands of its rightful owner, is not a straightforwardly joyous occasion for our Master Gunsmith. When a craftsman says farewell to something that has been a part of their life for so long, mixed emotions are inevitable.