Concealed Carry – The Ruger LCP vs. The Walther PPK

by Administrator on April 13, 2011

Send to Kindle
The PPK and LCP are great examples of .380 ACP pistols made for the civilian concealed market.
The PPK and LCP are great examples of .380 ACP pistols made for the civilian concealed market.
The Ruger LCP is small enough to lose in your hand. This gun has got to be one of the smallest and easiest to shoot .380’s for the size.
The Ruger LCP is small enough to lose in your hand.  This gun has got to be one of the smallest and easiest to shoot .380’s for the size.
The PPK is not as small as the LCP, but compact=
The PPK is not as small as the LCP, but compact nonetheless.  The lines are still classic Bond.
The Ruger (lright) definitely has the Walther beat when it comes to compact=
The Ruger definitely has the Walther beat when it comes to compact size.
Both, disassembled. The Ruger, right, has the separate, floating barrel design that sits with the slide. The PPK to the left has the barrel integral to the frame.
Both, disassembled.  The Ruger, left, has the separate, floating barrel design that sits with the slide.  The PPK to the right has the barrel integral to the frame.
The Walther’s sights are far superior to the Ruger’s; however, this is a close-in gun. In reality, you will most likely be point shooting.
The Walther’s sights are far superior to the Ruger’s; however, this is a close-in gun.  In reality, you will most likely be point shooting.
Shooting the PPK. While heavier than the LCP, recoil was still fairly stout.
Shooting the PPK.  While heavier than the LCP, recoil was still fairly stout.
The LCP is surprisingly easy to shoot when you consider its weight. That doesn’t mean you’ll want long range sessions with it though.
The LCP is surprisingly easy to shoot when you consider its weight.  That doesn’t mean you’ll want long range sessions with it though.

Comparing the Classic Walther PPK to the Ruger LCP – Is Newer Really Better?

By Brian Jensen

Ruger:
http://www.ruger.com/

Smith and Wesson:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/

With the explosion of concealed carry permits throughout the United States, gun manufacturers have risen to the occasion with mini pistols made specifically for the civilian concealed market.  These pocket pistols are often chambered for smaller rounds, such as the .380 ACP.

The Walther PPK

The pocket pistol is nothing new.  The Colt Model 1908 Pocket was a small .25 caliber pistol introduced in 1908 in the US (and in 1905 by FN in Europe).  However one pistol that made a remarkable impact in history was the Walther PPK.

The PPK was a small, traditional double action pistol by Walther in Germany, chambered primarily in the .380 Auto and .32 Auto cartridges.  It carried a six round magazine in .380, and with its 3.3 inch barrel, it was easily concealable.  Another feature that some like, and others may not, is the slide mounted safety that doubles as a de-cocker for the hammer.

These were seen in blued versions from Germany, then later in stainless steel when production moved to the US under Interarms.  When the Gun Control Act of 1968 came about, a newer version, known as the PPK/S was developed to give the gun enough import “points” to come into the US.  It mated the full-size frame of the Walther PP (the PPK’s predecessor) with one round more capacity with the more compact slide of the PPK.

However, no mention of the PPK is complete without covering its impact on pop culture, courtesy of Ian Fleming’s James Bond.  In the opening scenes of Dr. No, the first 007 movie, Bond is forced to give up his small Beretta .25 for a Walther PPK in 7.65 Browning (.32 Auto) which Bond’s boss claimed that the CIA had great success with.  The PPK was with Bond for many years after that, and the Bond connection is credited by many, with its success in the 1960’s to now.

These guns have been carried by people throughout the decades; from German officers in WWII to modern day cops, even today.  Hitler is even reported to have exited this life (a few years later than the world would have liked) with a Walther PPK.  (In fact, when I first began in Law Enforcement twenty years ago, the “in” gun was still a stainless PPK/S.)  For many years, the PPK/S was the standard for the .380 pistol by which all others were measured.

These guns are still currently in production under license from Smith and Wesson, and enjoy a loyal following for the newer versions.  However, the price for one of these goes well into the high end $1000’s for collector grade and rare models.  If you want an older version, there are many early US-made versions under Interarms or French versions under the Manurhin name for sale.

Enter the LCP

Few guns have hit the US Market like the Ruger LCP.  The LCP (Ruger’s Lightweight Compact Pistol) is an example of today’s ultra mini .380 pistols, carrying six rounds in the magazine, plus one in the chamber.  This DAO gun rivals the firepower of the PPK in a very concealable package.

That’s not the truly exceptional part of this pistol.  This weapon is smaller, and lighter than what most have come to expect from our little .380’s like the PPK, Sig P232, or the Browning BDA.  This gun measures well under an inch in width, and weighs less than 10 ounces empty.

The 2.75 inch barrel allows for easy carry, and its slim profile disappears in a pocket without any effort.  The only control levers are the magazine release and a small nub that acts as a slide lock.  There are no manual safeties to accidentally fumble with.  Thanks to the glass-filled nylon frame mated with a hardened steel alloy slide its light weight makes the gun feel more like a toy than a pistol; even when loaded it feels a little surreal.   Since this gun was meant for concealed carry, it carries a set of fixed sights that are small and low-snag on the top of the gun.  They don’t look like much, but they do work.

When the LCP first came out a couple of years ago, stores couldn’t keep them on their shelves.  Then, a brief recall to correct some safety features occurred, but this didn’t dampen the appeal of the little gun.  In fact, it is one of the few guns priced reasonably so anyone could afford it.  It became known in some circles for a small gun you knew you would carry just because it’s so light that you’ll never have an excuse not to carry it.  Currently at my police department, officers have flocked to the gun for off-duty and backup carry, making it one of the most common types used.

The gun gained even more popularity when Texas Governor Rick Perry killed a coyote with one of these little guns while out on a walk with his daughter’s dog.  The incident left the predatory coyote as “mulch” per the Governor.  It even spawned a special edition gun to capitalize on the story.

Fit and Finish

OK, fit and finish is a relative thing for people.  For someone who just wants a utilitarian pistol for CCW,  they will likely favor a corrosion resistant finish to protect the gun against the sweat and salts that occur when carried.  To someone like this, stainless steel, a coating finish, or metal a treatment like Melonite will be high on their list.  However, for those who collect, or just like the old school look of traditional bluing they will want something less high tech and more old school.

For the utilitarian in you, the LCP has a pretty no-nonsense finish most will be happy with.  It offers decent corrosion resistance, and if that’s not enough, the slide can be refinished easily by such companies as CCR Refinishing for a very reasonable price.

The Walther excels for the traditionalist.  Mine has the traditional bluing, which looks classy, and will wear with that traditional look that a well-used (and even loved) weapon will get.  It will need a good wipe down with a cloth and oil from time to time to keep it in good condition.  Again, there are those who can refinish these guns, for a price, to make this more resistant to corrosion.  Or, you can opt for a Stainless Steel version that will be excellent for CCW with far less worries, yet still hold that bit of class.

Feel

Like I said before the Ruger feels almost like a toy since it’s so light.  That works highly in its favor in making it very easy to carry.  There were no rough spots to snag your clothes, or your skin for that matter.  With a finger extension, it is very comfortable to hold with a 3-finger grip.  Without it, you need to hold on tight with two fingers while you wrap your little finger under the grip.

The Walther feels much more substantial with its 21 ounces of steel.  That’s more than double the weight of the LCP, but not too heavy for a CCW weapon.  Then again, it is an all-steel gun.  (Personally, part of me prefers the feel of a metal gun sometimes, but to each their own.)  There is more room in the grip using the traditional finger extension to hold the gun with your whole hand – making it feel natural to grip, while the longer barrel makes it feel a little more balanced than the LCP.

At the Range

OK, so we’ve fawned over these two diminutive pistols, how does it feel when the rubber meets the road?  They can look or feel good all day long, but how do they shoot?

I took both to the range and tried not only ball, but some of the newer .380 defensive ammo in the Hornady Critical Defense 95 gr and the Remington Golden Saber 102 gr. JHP.

OK, now I kind of expected a lot from the Walther, due to it’s history, but what I failed to realize, was that this gun was designed to carry and be fired close in to your target.  That means, a painfully long initial heavy trigger pull.  Afterwards, it was a crisp single action pull.

The sights on the Walther were far superior to the LCP, but the first double action trigger pull was a bear – I’d realistically estimate it as north of 15 pounds, maybe even closer to 20.  But then came the single action pull, which was crisp and light in the neighborhood of 3-4 pounds.  This allowed for very accurate shooting compared to the primary trigger pull.

I called Walther to ask about a lighter hammer spring to drop the trigger pull weight, and they said recommended against it.  They explained these guns are meant for close in shooting, and while a lighter hammer spring may drop the trigger pull weight, it may also make it so the hammer will not drop with enough force to reliably strike the firing pin / primer.  I opted to keep it stock as a result.

Recoil was pretty stout for an all-steel pistol.  This is because the barrel of the Walther is fixed to he frame of the PPK, whereas pistols such as LCP use a floating barrel that sits inside the slide assembly.  This translates recoil a bit more abruptly to the shooter’s hand, unlike a design like the Ruger.

Accuracy was difficult to judge for the little PPK.  The first shot double action was difficult to be accurate, however, everything after that was fired single action and was pure silk smooth.  Three to four inch groups were the norm slow fire, even with the long and nasty first trigger pull.

The Ruger fired well, but recoil was also noticeable since it is such a light gun.  I definitely wouldn’t call this a gun for lengthy sessions at the range.  I qualify with mine once a year, and practice a few times in between those shoots – that’s plenty.   After about 100 rounds, my hand is a little tired.  Partly from recoil, and partly from the tedious way I have to hold the gun because it’s so small.

Accuracy was outstanding for the Ruger, being such a small pistol with very rudimentary sights.  I can put everything in a 2-3 inch pattern at 7 yards during slow fire.  The down side is that since this is such a small pistol, I had to grip the gun very deliberately to make sure I had my finger on the trigger correctly.  Otherwise I had too much of my finger on the trigger and would “push” the shots to the left.

While the Walther will lock back on an empty chamber, the Ruger will not, so you need to count your shots to be ready to reload.  If not, you need to be ready to reload as soon as you hear that deafening “click” and rack the slide.

I shot both with 95 FMJ ball, 102gr Remington Golden Saber and 95gr Hornady Critical Defense.  I had one slight hiccup with the Golden Sabers on the Ruger, but I have fired dozens of those rounds through the gun, so I would normally chalk that up as a fluke.  Both gave good accuracy as I mentioned before.  Definitely up to par for self defense shooting.

And the Winner Is…

The guns are two different examples of eras over 75 years apart.  Yet both offer something.  Both can be had for anywhere from $300 to $550, and both were reliable with all types of ammunition used.  I really believe both have something to offer to today’s shooter.

The Ruger wins hands-down for its ability to drop into a pocket without notice.  It is thinner and lighter than the Walther by a fair margin.  Not to mention Ruger makes fine, reliable, and durable firearms.  In going for the concealed carry market, they hit a home run with this gun.

The Walther has some things going for it as well.  It has better sights, the slide lock-back on an empty chamber, and the ability for a single action trigger pull.  For those who want a manual safety the Walther comes with one.

I have to say, if I had to go with just one, it would be the Walther.  To me, there is just something about a steel pistol; call me a traditionalist, but I know a few PPK’s from WWII that still work.  But either way, both would be good choice for a .380 as a concealed carry weapon.

Ruger:
http://www.ruger.com/

Smith and Wesson:
http://www.smith-wesson.com/

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

OhioDave April 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

I own the S&W made Walther PPK/S, with Crimson Laser Grips, and love it. It is an accurate weapon and makes a great conceal carry gun, especially since the laser lets you acquire the target quicker from any angle. If you do have a laser on your CCW, you should still practice without using them at the range in case something would happen where you couldn’t rely on them.

Reply

KERRY April 18, 2011 at 8:18 am

You avoided two other guns in this same catagory that offer the same benefits. First, the Colc Mustang series and then the Mauser HSc from WWII in 7.65 cal. I have both of these and find they follow the same lines as the attached notes. I carry the Colt because it is smaller than the Mauser, but only part time. I also want to get a new P238 Sig, but have not found one at a reasonable price. This gun is really a leader in many respects. However, most of the time I carry concealed a Kimber Ultra Carry II in 45 ACP simply because it will do the job with out a doubt with the first shot. Assuming that I hit what I point at. And this is one of the most important factors about concealed carry guns “You must be accurate with POINT SHOTS and not aimed shots. The reason is quite obvious. (Ex-military and 73 years old)

Reply

Charlie Stricklen April 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

Good comparison, Brian. You pretty much hit the strengths and appeal of each of these little pistols. For the reasons you mentioned, the LCP is with me every day, usually as a backup, but sometimes on its own. In a slick little Guru pocket holster, the LCP is almost irresistible as an unobtrusive and inconspicuous carry gun. Of course, there is a multitude of other competent small guns–too many to start listing–but the LCP is the hands-down winner for me because of its size. Yes, it looks and feels like a toy and it’s not much fun to shoot, but for its purpose, it’s nearly perfect.

Like you, I have to say I like the PPK better, but I rarely carry mine. When a little more heft is not a problem for carry, I go for a little more punch–usually the Bersa 9UC or the SIG P229. The LC9 naturally comes to mind here–but I don’t have one and, besides, there are too many to start listing. :-)

Interestingly, of my nearly 40 pistols, I think the LCP could be my least favorite, but it’s the one that’s always with me. Maybe I need to reconsider the meaning of the word favorite.

Reply

Don April 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

Great article, especially if you’re just comparing .380s, but what about the new Walther PPS in .40 S&W? I bought one of these as a carry gun, and I would think in terms of size and capacity it would be a natural for a comparison with the LCP, which I also have.

Reply

Joh B April 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

Caption appears to have the pistols switched I believe the Ruger is on the Left

“Both, disassembled. The Ruger, right, has the separate, floating barrel design that sits with the slide. The PPK to the left has the barrel integral to the frame.”

Reply

SW April 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

I was looking at various 380s a while back with a PPK in the mix of those. Like you I when I checked the trigger I was surprised how hard the double action was. I estimated 20 pounds. I would have bought it, but for that.

Reply

James April 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

I have very large hands and I can only get one or two fingers at best around the ruger grip. I have to say that the review was good but I cannot say for MYSELF that the ruger is even a practical carry piece. It felt dangerous for me to hold because of its small size and I dont think I would ever be willing to shoot it. I picked up a Bersa (PPK knock off) with the mag grip extension and it fits much better. Its about as small of a grip that would fit my hand. I really wish some of these new pocket pistols would come out with extended grip versions and not just mag extensions. Someone needs to make it clear to these manufactures that one size does not fit all when it comes to guns.

Reply

Mark April 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

I agree with Charlie as my little LCP slipped into any pocket I chose. In a fit of stupidity I sold it to a friend and have forever regretted it. However, I am now in the search for a new CCW pistol which will be fun. Brian thanks for a great article.

Reply

George S April 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

Thanks for the review I carry the lcp every day and love it!I have shot the Sig p232 Walther pk380 & Bersa thunder 380 all very nice with a better feel in my hand yet the lcp is all ways in my hip pocket and I can Hit a pocket gopher at 15 yards on a quick draw thanks again for the review G

Reply

Duane April 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

The most important point you made, Laser Grip…… anyone can do Point Shooting with it… It buys you that 3 seconds needed so as not to be in second place in a gun fight.

Reply

Brent Williams April 18, 2011 at 10:40 am

I have a Walther PK380 that I use for my everyday carry. It’s a little larger than most .380′s, but the action is so smooth and it fits my hand better than most other compacts. I use IWB holsters and have started using concealment t-shirts. It’s a little heavy for the t-shirts and I’ve been thinking about an LCP or PPK as an alternate. LOVE the PK380, but sometimes you need a little smaller/lighter weapon to carry. Thanks for the review! I was leaning towards the PPK myself.

Reply

James Hill August 18, 2012 at 4:40 am

I bought a Walther PPK/S 380 today for my wife. Now that me and my brother have been messing around with it. We both decided to each get one for CHG. My wife did not like the Rugar LCP, because the sights. It’s still a great pocket pistol though. These weapons are used for self defence, point blank to 5 ft. The rounds I’m using are Hornady Zombie Max 90 GR(CDR). It holds 7 in the mag + 1 and thats more the enough stoping power to defuse the stuation. I go with a Glock 21 SF 16+1 45ACP If I had to pick my favorite NCHG, to heavy to carry. If you go with the Ruger LCP your pinky will keep slipping off and its annoing. I prefere the PPK your hand will fit your hand a lot better + way better sights compared to the Rurger.

HOPE THIS HELPS YOUR DESICION. X US. ARMY GRUNT/ depolyed to RAMADI, IRAQ (05-06)Cop Falcon and SADR CITY (08-09) Cop JSS UR.

JAMES HILL-1st BATTALION, 6 INFANTRY REGIMENT, 3RD PLT C-CO “THE WOLFPACK” (“REGULARS BY GOD”) BAUMHOLDER, GERMANY(“THE ROCK”)!
NOW THERE 2-16 and all there new leadership is worthless,

Reply

Jeff April 18, 2011 at 11:08 am

Don’t forget the Kel-Tec P3AT that Ruger copied! Not as finished as the Ruger but a great little pistol.
Both the P3AT and LCP will rust like heck.

Reply

BuckshotScott April 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

The Ruger has never rusted after 90 days of sweaty carry, I do wipe it down with a Outers silicone impregnated cloth every few days though. The P3at is a rough, ugly little, dependable pistol-but the Ruger did one better. The Diamondback .380 is an even more refined model.

Reply

John Davis April 18, 2011 at 11:11 am

Both are fine examples of the.380 pocket pistols and you did a great job of defining the pros and cons of each. When I went in search of a pistol of this type, I looked and tried many until I found the Kahr P380. It is similar in size to the LCP but the similarities end there. The P380 has a decent set of sights but I installed a CT for reasons previously stated. The trigger pull is rather long as most pistols of this type without a safety for safety purposes. However, the Kahr trigger is lighter and glass smooth with a nice crisp break unlike any of the other pistols that I tried. The action is DAO and is striker fired like it’s big brothers in the Kahr line.
IMHO, many of the “mouse” guns will serve the purpose but the Kahr P380 does it better in most every category.

Reply

Mr. Nunya April 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

For those of you who may not know this the belt/pocket clip for the Kel Tec P3AT is a PERFECT fit on the LCP. I keep an LCP in my back pocket everywhere I go and nobody ever knows it’s there.

Reply

Hoosier Daddy April 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

As a police officer, I carried the Kel-Tec P3AT .380 for years. Then, one day at the range, my 21 year old daughter was shooting it and was completely unable to rack the slide. It was extremely hard, even for me. This made me realize that needing to clear a malfunction during a firefight could end poorly. I decided to go looking for another “mouse gun.”

I checked out the LCP as well as little .380s made by several manufacturers. Ultimately, I purchased two Diamondback DB380s, one for me and one for my daughter. The Diamondback works smoothly and is economically priced. It has a trigger pull that is much smoother than the Kel-Tec. It looks and breaks down so much like a Glock that I’m surprised Glock hasn’t sued them.

Reviews rarely include the Diamondback DB380. That’s a shame because the DB380 is equal to “mouse guns” costing twice as much.

Reply

Vinny May 13, 2012 at 3:00 am

According to the latest issue of Handgunner magazine the owner of Diamond back is issuing a Gen 2 version in response to the reported problems with the original design. That could be one reason it was not mentioned as in the same league as the guns under review. The other reason is simply that this review was comparing two guns. Just like a Coke vs Pepsi review does not mention all the other soda drinks out there, neither does this one mention all the other mouse guns. As far as your inexpensive gun being as good as the more expensive ones, that is an argument made for many consumer goods like Timex vs Rolex, Hundai vs Mercedes, etc.. However, you rarely here it from those that can afford the more expensive items. :)

Reply

Administrator May 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

Diamondback is actually sending us two review guns this week so it is funny this came in now. We have heard nothing but good stuff about them these days.

Reply

Dennis K April 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

I agree the Rugar and Walther are good pistols but the Walther like to bite me when I shoot it. Long ago I switched to a Bulgarian Makarov. It weighs 28.6 oz. loaded and the safety works in the natural, (for me), and therefore correct direction for quick use for anybody trained in the Colt. I used to work in a large gun store after retiring from the military so I got to shoot and carry most of the little 380’s and 45’s. After a lot of miles I ended up with what I have. I have to agree with Kerry about the .45. When weight isn’t a problem I do carry a Kimber Ultra Custom that weighs 31.4 oz loaded with 230 gr. BT’s.

Reply

James Hill August 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

With the makarv pistol. Are we as americans able to get the holster which is a patent. I’m talking about the holster that you can push the weapon down to draw it and it chambers a round and takes it off safty.

JAMES HILL
X US.ARMY GRUNT DEPOLYMENTS TO RAMADI, IRAQ (COP FALCON) we built it! 05-06! SADR CITY, IRAQ (JSS UR) 08-09. 1-6 in BAUMHOLDER, Germany (“THE ROCK”)

Reply

Alvia M Martis April 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I read the article with great intrest, and find that you have done a good job in comparing the Wlather PPK/S and the Ruger LCP. I have shot both, and soon rid myself of the Ruger. It was a good little pistol, but found it like to twist in my hand when firing and even with the barrel able to disengage as it were and the glass filled frame absorbing recoil. Also, it reminded me of the Kel-Tec which the LCP should have in my oipinion been compared with rather than the Walther, of which I also owned and got rid of for the same reason as the Ruger, which also would jam on me.

I like the Walther, I own one made in Germany, imported into the states by Interarms before they started making them here. The only thing I did to it was put a pair of checkered Walnut grips form Houge (sp??) which gave a more handfilling feel. SInce then it hasn’t slide bit me. To each is own, as usual, but I prefer the Walther. Put in an inside the waist holster, it’s comfortable, unseen, easy to get at, (when I carry I carry, I carry off safe as I do not care for the way the safety is disengaged, trained on the 1911 safety) It carries well in a belt case, fanny pack as well as other means.

Reply

Robert April 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm

You failed to mention that the latest version of the PPKS-1 holds Eight rounds.

Reply

rory5 April 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I’ve owned and fired both the Ruger and Walther, and will stick with my airweight Smith Bodyguard revolver, thank you!

Reply

Jeffrey C Scholten April 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I have a walther PP in 380 and find it works just fine for concealed carry. I have crimson trace gripes on it and have found the accuracy to be just fine.

Reply

witkenbay April 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Should try a Bretta tomcat 32.cal much better.& easy to clean….& deadly aim..

Reply

witkenbay April 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Should try a Bretta tomcat 32.cal much better.& easy to clean….& deadly ..Accuracy…!

Reply

James Hill August 18, 2012 at 5:39 am

IN THE RIGHT HANDS ANY WEAPON HAS A DEADLY AIM NO MATTER THE CAL.

JAMES HILL

Reply

Gunner777 April 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

What about the S&W Bodyguard 380? I really like mine. Small, reliable DAO with a nice trigger. Other than that I’d have to go with the old reliable Walther:-)

Reply

Dick April 19, 2011 at 1:46 am

The PPK/S has a loaded chamber indicator that was not mentioned. That plus slide locked after last shot fired are two very important features for me. Two things I don’t have to worry about.
I will purchase Crimson Trace grips for mine.
My wife uses them on her S&W 640.

Reply

Abel N April 19, 2011 at 1:50 am

My CCW is a Bersa Concealed Carry in .380 and find it to be highly accurate and concealable. Don’t think that the .380 is such a small caliber, though. It’s a small 9mm round that at 30 feet will put a world of hurt on someone. Like the PPK, it has a fixed barrel, but the kick isn’t great. Bersa puts out a pretty good weapon that looks a lot like the PPK for a LOT less money.

Reply

Dave P April 19, 2011 at 2:39 am

This article has excellence in both concept and execution. It is an interesting and informative side by side comparison of a classic and a modern pocket-sized .380. It is well published that the most widely sold civilian hand guns sold today are compact .380 and 9mm for CCW, so this article certainly has relevance. However, the “real world” value of this article – say, for someone who is considering a CCW weapon – could be improved with an acknowledgment of the superior performance (in terms of wound size, penetration, and deviance) of the 9mm and larger calibers. To choose between ‘X’ and ‘Y’ for the reader, when ‘Z’ is an objectively a better choice, is an academic exercise. Don’s question is poignant, “What about the Walther PPS?” The PPS comes in both 9mm and .40, it is the same size as the PPK /S, it is one of the hottest selling CCW options on the market right now and it offers many advantages when compared to either of the two options presented in this article. I only wish (as might Jeffrey C Scholten, v.s.) that Crimson Trace would hurry up with their long promised production of a laser grip for the PPS.

Reply

John B KY April 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

I always had a bug for the PPK and have owned several but when I got my CCW I found that it was just very slightly larger than felt confortable in my pocket. I went through a variety of pocket pistols and finally found the Ruger LCP as near perfect as I could get, except for the Loong double action trigger. Yes, if you have time and can really concentrate on what you are doing, it can be accurate however if you are in a hurry accuracy really suffers. Last week I was in a pawn shop and a little PPK asked if I would take it home and love it, so now I am conflicted. In short I like the PPK better for looks and accuracy but like the LCP better for carrying.

Reply

Geoff April 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

Interesting all the different opinions. How many people who carry actually have to pull their weapon ?? I can honestly recall only one incident here in Vegas in the past 30 years where a civilian who was carrying pulled their weapon. I carry a .45. Have for 32 years now. You guys will think I’m crazy, but I have carried a Colt Series 70 Government in my waistband and no one has ever been able to tell. As of last year, I purchased the Kimber Ultra Carry II .45. For a 3 inch .45, that weapon is surprisingly very comfortable to shoot. It’s recoil is smooth and reacquiring the target is no problem… I hope I never have to pull my weapon, but if that day should come, I want a weapon with a guaranteed stop when I squeeze the trigger. I’m a former US Marine and have enjoyed the .45 caliber. I know service men who wish they still carried the .45 caliber. I would much rather fire one round center mass and put the bad guy on his back, than shoot 3, 4 or even 5 rounds from a girlie-man gun like the .380.. Just kidden about the girlie-man comment, but really, if you are going to carry, conceal a weapon that takes only one round to put the bad guy down and practice so you only need to squeeze the weapon once and put the round exactly where you need it to go. I believe if you carry a pistol like the .380 you are going to have a tendency to squeeze off several rounds and most likely you are going to have a stray and a stray is the round that could just kill an innocent by stander..

Reply

chris perez April 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Excellent article. I find the comments very informative. Points out the varied views of personal choice, making it impossible to design the “perfect carry choice”. I have carried for many years, and many pistols, from a Colt 380, a .357 2″ revolver to my present choice, which is a pair of Bulgarian Makarovs in 9×18. I stand 5′ 9″ at an overweight 190 lbs. I make holsters for a hobby, so I have a variety, depending on weather and clothing. I have no trouble concealing the two Maks, and have found them as accurate as I am capable of in rapid fire and timed fire. I also have a P3at for times when I need more concealability, but I prefer the Makarovs.
Chris

Reply

David April 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm

With my Walther PPK 7.65mm (.32 cal.) that I bought in Germany in 1968, I have been very satisfied on all fronts except one: it hates hollow points and simply will not feed them into the chamber. It even hates the expensive Hornady HPs that I recently bought. The only things that it likes is standard FMJ ball.

Reply

Phil April 19, 2011 at 11:30 pm

I can not believe I am the only LCP owner whose weapon jams on repeatedly. If you have bog hands the your thumb disengages the magazine release button no matter how hard you try to avoid doing so. Not a well designed model. I would gladly give it away, but I’d feel badly when you got into a fire fight and lost the battle.

Reply

Travis April 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

Phil,

I will gladly take that LCP off your hands if you’re giving it away. reply to my comment and let me know

Reply

Ancient Paths April 20, 2011 at 8:20 am

I’ll keep waiting–maybe forever–for Glock to make a single-stack 9mm along the lines of its model 36, which is my current CCW.

Reply

Brian April 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

FEG makes a very high quality PPK Clone in 18x9mm Makarov. These are ex- Hungarian military pistols, and many are available for less than $200. Hungary, by the way, was forced by the Nazis to produce some weapons during WWII. I would guess that they just used the tooling from Walther. These pistols, the PA-63, have the same issues that the PPK has, namely, a heavy first trigger pull on the first round, and a nasty recoil. I changed to a heaviest Wollf recoil spring , and a lighter hammer spring, and now have a very nice shooting concealable pistol that has all the nice attributes- extremely well- made,reliable, accurate, light, and concealable, and inexpensive. I like it so much that I bought two more, one extra for me, and another for my son in the military.

Reply

Bruce April 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I’ve been an instructor since 1959 and have never recommended such pistols. Buy a gun to shoot and not just for carry. Dress to complement what you carry. I carried a 1911 cocked and locked, on duty and off, well over 20 years. I’d have to press my elbow against it to know that it was still there. As a Dept. of Justice instructor I stress DAO and my students questioned my cocked and locked carry so I got a S&W M&P .40 with trigger job, wolf springs & rod, Adjustable Novak sights, and Crimson Trace grips. Missing the 1911, I sold a 1911 .38 Super comp gun to get a Para 7-45 (added Crimson Trace grips) for my present carry gun. Both the Para and a custom S&W 686Plus are carried in a X-15 holster. I’ve had a lot of students with small 5 shot revolvers trade for a larger revolver such as a 686 after shooting mine. If you want to get good, practice on the plate rack. Set a goal to be able to knock down the 6 eight inch plates at 30″ in 2 seconds. A Dillon 650 reloading press will help a whole lot!

Reply

Hanshi April 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I own three Walthers; a prewar 7.65 PPK, An early Interarms PPKS .380 and a Manhurin PPKS .22LR. These are sweet shooting little pistols. The .380 will eat up the center of a playing card at 25 yards using a rest.

Reply

dfm May 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I like the LCP however the lck of a safety only leaves a few options. One and best, keep your finger OFF the trigger always. don’t get distracted. Two leave the chamber empty since it can be chambered easily – bad habbit -trust me, see one above.
Three leave a blank as the first round- you will know when to pull the trigger once or if twice is required. Burns are better than accidental firing. Four leave it chambered, but USE a pocket holster to guard the trigger. I have caught my keys in the guard, with the weapon unloaded!

00

Reply

wideyed00 May 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I like the LCP however the lack of a safety only leaves a few options. Double action with no safety is a serious consideration. One and best, keep your finger OFF the trigger always. don’t get distracted. Two leave the chamber empty since it can be chambered easily – bad habbit -trust me, see one above.
Three leave a blank as the first round- you will know when to pull the trigger once or if twice is required. Burns are better than accidental firing. Four leave it chambered, but USE a pocket holster to guard the trigger. I have caught my keys in the guard, with the weapon unloaded! I am going to paint the concelead hammer inside the reciever to visually see if the bar is up, which means it is loaded.

Reply

George May 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I own a P232 and a PPK/S in 380. I carry a S&W 642 38 Special. I know it will work.

Reply

Racker May 5, 2011 at 2:59 am

Great article. As with a lot of people, I carried a large pistol on my belt (or in it) for many years (1911s, Sigs, and Glocks) as well as large and small wheel guns. As a second or backup, I bought a Llama .380 (the older one where the barrel locks like a 1911 Colt), the HK4 (in .380 & .22LR), and a PPKS to carry when I was attending an event that the wife did not want me flashing a “big gun” when dancing, etc. The little guns were worn in a 007 type of shoulder holster that went well with white shirts. The only thing I do not like about some small pistols is that some of them restrict me from breaking them down for a detailed cleaning (or after an untentional dunking). The PPK is a great gun but some of the older ones were a bit fussy and they bit the owner when you used them.

I finally found a PPK type that I could tear down and that did not bite me. It is the Makarov PM. The Soviets liked the PPK so much that when the made up a new pistol, they made it, “PPK like.” The best thing they did is designed it so that the whole thing can be taken down without a lot of pins or latches. It was/is a great design. It is very accurate, solid as a bag of rocks, and, once you learn the manner for the thing, it is a great carry pistol. I liked it so well that after I carried my first one for a while, I sold the PPK and bought a second one (plus a lot of different ammo for then). As I “mature” (get older), I find I carry this gun a lot more than others. Sure, it does not start with a .4 but it is still a great gun if I do my part. And do not tell me that the butt mag latch is a bad thing. If you follow the way the Russians taught their people to use it, I find I am almost as fast as I am with a 1911 (especially if I have a spare mag out before the slide locks back).

Reply

David Brown May 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I have a walther ppk in the .32 caliber that was pull from a German Officer in WWII. Now I must admit I am a little prejudice because I did get this gun for free from my father’s side of the family, but it is the gun I use as a ccw and it works great. I shoot it on a regular basis and have not had any trouble out of it. I would agree with a post above that these guns do not like hollow points, they just wont load. I know some of you will think I am crazy using a weapon that is that old for self defense but it sure gets the job done. The gun has been re blued so it’s collector value is greatly reduced, so a shooter it is!

Reply

David May 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I have own two PPKs one German and one USA, both jammed fairly often. Checked around with other owners and it seems that was a common problem.Of course that was many years ago and maybe the problem has been fixed. The Ruger LCP is so much easier to carry it’s not even close. But i have not fired it but a few times so i can only go with what my friends say that own one — that it is very reliable. I did not find the recoil bad in the LCP but it is very loud, which i think is a good thing. I will carry this LCP with me when i can’t carry any thing else as sometimes i have to remind myself that it is in my pocket.

Reply

Christine July 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

I recently purchased a Ruger LCP .380 and while firing it, I noticed the trigger pull is very strong. It’s listed at 8 LBS. That’s not bad, but I have Car Pol tunnel in both wrists and arthritis. Even tho I’m a small woman I found that the grip is very short and was concerned that as my hand fatigued, I might drop the weapon. I have decided to purchased a hand grip and magazine extension. Is there anyway for a gun shop to lessen the trigger pull to around 5 LBS?

Reply

bimmerland November 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm

If you want a 380 with a smooth light trigger pull look at the DB380. It is a striker fired gun with a short 5 lbs pull. Weighs in at about 9 oz. Great pocket gun.

Reply

Joe March 30, 2012 at 7:17 am

I’ve owned both. The LCP never gives you an excuse not to have it on you and with a LaserMax..you never have an excuse to miss.

Reply

LoFlyer May 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

My dad gave me all of his guns, including the PPK which I overlooked for nearly two decades. Found it, cleaned it and fired it. I was stunned with its accuracy. It placed rounds within two feet of center target at 60 yards, it easily outshoots my Beretta 92 SB.
I am replacing the really cheap plastic, original Walther grips with Pachmeyers, and ordering a couple of extra mags with the finger extensions. I have fairly small hands but the mag extension works well for me.
Sight enhancements. The sights are damn small on my PPK and with my eyes the rear dovetails are blurs and the front is better defined. I have learned to compensate but researched better sights. Reflex sights, my favorie choice are out. You can’t mount a rail on the PPK and reflex sights are big and clunky for this size of weapon. Looked at Trijicon tritium sights and a company named Tooltech will install tritium sights for about 300 bucks (including hardware) which is a pretty good price considering what you are getting.
Instead I have ordered some Truglow luminous sight paint for 17 dollars. If that doesn’t work I might go with Tooltech.
The PPK is a solid, heavy and compact weapon. I wish the sights were better and it weighed less. It shoots accurately and not prone to jamming. I can’t ask for any more with this compact weapon of this era. Well done Walther!

Reply

Jeff July 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Great review! Thank you for providing insight to the comparison of both handguns. I had a PPK and sold it to get an LCP. That did not last long. Within a year, I traded it back for a PPK. Despite it being a much easier conceal and carry pistol, the trigger travel is way too long, which effects accuracy(at least with me). I have found the PPK more accurate and stable, especially in rapid fire. It is truly a matter of preference, but I just did not feel comfortable with the reliability of accuracy with the LCP. I figure that no matter how lightweight and easy a handgun is, if you can’t hit your mark, you might as well carry a cap pistol.

Reply

Joey October 1, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Walther PPK has been my favorite pistol since I first held one.. It’s a beautiful piece of machinery !

Reply

Gregory F Burbo November 23, 2012 at 12:53 am

I have a very early production PPK that has a full *90 degree safety and serial number that suggests 1930 production. I like very much for shooting and carrying with one up the shoot. Cock the fire is fine, no safety one. The problem is the I cannot lift the slide off the receiver no matter how many u tube demonstration I watch. Are the eary iest model different in some way?

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

April 13, 2011