Walther PPK/S .22LR Pistol—New Gun Review

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The Walther PPK/S .22 is an excellent quality firearm that any shoot would be proud to add to their collection.

The Walther PPK/S .22 is an excellent quality firearm that any shooter would be proud to add to own.

By Max Archer

Walther Arms
http://www.waltherarms.com/

Every man has wanted to be James Bond, especially these days with so many women drooling over Daniel Craig. Yet owning a Walther PPK and drinking the occasional martini is about as close as most of us will ever get.  And now that rimfire rounds are becoming a bit less scarce, you might wonder if the PPK/S in .22LR would make a good cheap trainer for the real-deal PPKs in .380ACP.  I was, too.  When I first heard that Walther was making a rimfire version, I thought I’d write a “buy this, it will be a great .22LR analog trainer” article, but that would be a gross misrepresentation of the .22LR version of the PPK.  It is so much more than that, and deserves more attention.

 Comparing the PPK.380 and PPK/S .22LR they are nearly identical with the exception of the longer grip.  From a material perspective the weight and alloy vs stainless does deliver a slightly different look and feel.

Comparing the PPK.380 and PPK/S .22LR, they are nearly identical with the exception of the longer grip. From a material perspective, the weight and alloy vs. stainless does deliver a slightly different look and feel.

Fit Feel, Finish, Features & Functions There have been a number of changes to the PPK designs over the years. Some would call them refinements; others would say perversions. Yet most will agree that the .22LR PPK is a different animal entirely from the original PPK design.  This PPK-S has a longer grip, a lighter slide and a number of changes internally to make it function as a rimfire pistol, such as a different extractor, firing pin, hammer and strut assembly, and barrel retention and mounting. Still, the classic Walther fit and finish carries through in the PPK/S .22LR, and overall it is a gun that you will be proud to own. From a distance, the PPK/S .22LR version looks like… well, a PPK. However, picking it up you notice a little weight difference because the slide is an zinc alloy instead of steel.  The gun has a 10+1 magazine capacity.

The threaded barrel can be adapter for supressor use

The threaded barrel can be adapter for suppressor use.

The Walther PPK/S’s 3.3” steel barrel is chambered in .22LR with a nickel plated alloy slide and receiver construction. Capacity is 10+1 rounds with a double-action 17.5lb and single-action 6.6lb trigger pull.  Overall dimensions are 6.1″ long and 4.9” tall with a slim .98” width.  The front metal sight is fixed and the rear metal sight is drift adjustable and provides a total sight radius of 4.2”. The PPK/S .22 weights in at 1.5 lbs.  The Walther drops the magazine, just as the regular PPK does, via the high mounted button which delivers a drop-free magazine. For those who are able to obtain Suppressors, the PPK/S .22LR does have a threaded barrel, but it does require the thread protector to be removed and to add a screw on adapter for standard 1/2x28TPI suppressor threads. And then there is the trigger….

The PPK/S .22LR has a 10+1 capacity and the magazine and PPK/S design delivers just a bit more grip for bigger hands.

The PPK/S .22LR has a 10+1 capacity, and the magazine and PPK/S design delivers just a bit more grip for bigger hands.

Where the big brother .380 ACP powered Walther PPK has a 13.4 lb. double action trigger, the PPK/S .22LR version has an absurdly heavy 17.5 lb. double-action pull. Honestly, I think it has to be the heaviest trigger pull in the industry. This seems to be a reoccurring problem in the industry, where the .22LR look-alike pistol version has seemingly twice the trigger pull weight, such as the Sig Mosquito and Ruger LCR that many feel also have excessive trigger pulls. The single-stage trigger is excellent and relatively light feeling after the first round goes off and the slide begins cocking the hammer for you. That full double-action pull, which is fully cocking the hammer, is heavy for a reason. Generally, .22LR primers can be pretty stubborn, and occasionally downright unreliable, if they don’t get a hard whacking. Knowing that it would be used defensively at some point by someone, Walther wanted to assure as much reliability out of the .22LR version as possible. So they’ve put in some serious springs. On the positive side, you aren’t going to pull this trigger accidentally, at least not without cocking the hammer first.

Safety and decocker

Safety and decocker

The Defensive .22LR Conundrum So here is the conundrum about the PPK/S .22LR: it is not only a plinking, practice or analog trainer for its .380 ACP chambered brothers. Instead, the PPK/S .22LR, in stock configuration, is really a good defensive tool for the recoil sensitive. I can hear it now, “Are you nuts?  A .22LR for defense?”, “Why would anyone buy this?”… etc. Well, there is a market for new shooters who find the recoil of the .380 ACP is too much to handle.  Now Walther provides this option. Personally, I would never use or recommend a .22LR for self defense. And yet, for some, it is the only acceptable option in terms of comfort and control. With those limitations in mind, the Walther .22LR would be an excellent recommendation and it offers a perfect transition to the .380 ACP model if the shooter begins to become comfortable with firearms.

Sights are trim, but easy to use

Sights are trim, but easy to use.

Frustrations I spent the better part of an afternoon cursing and swearing over problems the PPK/S .22 had with all manner of standard match and high-velocity 1200 fps .22LR ammo, from CCI Standard Velocity to M-22 Winchester bulk boxed ammo. The PPK .22 was regularly short-stroking rounds with the standard velocity match ammo, and the bulk high velocity ammo was not much better.  This may be due to the springs mentioned earlier.

Load the Walther with hot top end ammo and you will have flawless functioning. With bulk and sub-sonic ammo… not so much.

Load the Walther with hot top end ammo and you will have flawless functioning. With bulk and sub-sonic ammo… not so much.

Then I ran a mag of CCI Mini-Mags and suddenly had a properly cycling action.  The Mini-Mags are just a bit hotter than the bulk ammo I was running, and I finished the box with no malfunctions. The “ah-ha” moment happened, and I pumped through two full boxes of CCI Velociter (1400 FPS) rounds through the gun and again had zero failures of any kind. Then I tried another 100 rounds of CCI Stingers, and they worked perfectly on a gun that had not been cleaned at this point in over 400 rounds. So my conclusion was simple. Walther designed this pistol around very high velocity .22LR rounds, and it will take a lifetime of the abuse these hot .22LR rounds can dish out on a light alloy slide gun. However, it may not be fun or reliable to shoot with whatever ammo is cheapest on the shelf. With the PPK/S .22, the hotter the ammo the better.  I’ve read a lot of other write-ups of this gun, though, and others aren’t seem to have the gun running fine (even with subsonic loads with the gun open or suppressed).

Rear sight

Rear sight

The problem is that it is actually easier to find .380 ammo than it is .22LR ammo these days, and specifically the good .22LR CCI that functions well in the Walther. In addition, the .22LR ammo and the .380ACP rounds are nearly the same cost. Ten years ago, I would have said this was the gun to have if you were a Walther PPK nut. However, today the ammo it needs to operate reliably is really hard to find at any price.

Front Sight

Front sight

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for those wanting the Walther PPK/S .22LR to become a cheap plinker, trainer and cheap-to-shoot fun gun: swapping springs. I have heard that some have used the reduced-force .380 Walther Wolf Springs with success, but this would not be my recommendation for any gun intended for defensive use. The Wolf recoil/slide and hammer springs can be had for around $15 and are a reversible upgrade, so it may be worth the investment to give it a try at that price.  Or, if you aren’t going to use it for defense, take it for what it is, and don’t let the occasional hiccup get you down. Accuracy No one expects miraculous accuracy with any 3.3” .22LR pistol. However, once I had the right ammo in the magazine, I was able to put 10 rounds in a 1” circle at ten yards. At 25-yards, groups were more in the 4”-6” range. The PPK/S .22LR has a fixed barrel and was more accurate with Match ammo, with groups about half the size of the high-velocity Velociter. However, as noted, we ran into reliability issues and basically had to hand-charge some rounds. Given the intent of this pistol, the accuracy I experienced is perfectly acceptable for defense or plinking.

Even without the magazine, the Walther is easy to hold.

Even without the magazine, the Walther is easy to hold.

Final Thoughts To clear the air, the PPK/S .22LR is probably one of the best small semi-auto .22LR pistols for defensive use on the market and is extremely reliable with top-shelf hyper-velocity ammo. That said, given the ongoing ammo shortage, I wish Walther had designed the pistol to be more accommodating to the entire range of .22LR ammo. It would have been a better plinker, trainer, fun gun and far more practical.

The Walther PPK series still remain one of the sexiest pistols ever made thanks in part to the Bond files.

The Walther PPK series still remain one of the sexiest pistols ever made thanks in part to the Bond files.

After Shot Show 2014, I picked up both the .380 PPK and this .22LR PPK/S, intending to write an article around using the .22LR version as the trainer, however that idea did not work. If you are a plinker, you will need patience to find the very hard-to-find hyper velocity .22LR rounds required to make the PPK/S go bang each and every time. The PPK/S .22LR is a fine design, well made, and even a great option for those with a need for a light-recoiling .22LR for defense. Just do not expect it to deliver joyous reliability with bulk ammo.

PPK/S .22 Specifications
Model: 5030320 Caliber: .22 L.R.
Finish: Nickel Plated
Barrel Length: 3.3″
Trigger Pull: DA: 17.5 lbs / SA: 6.6 lbs
Capacity: 10 rnds
Overall Length: 6.1″ Height: 4.9″ Width: 0.98″
Sight Radius: 4.2″
Weight (empty mag): 1.5 lbs

Pull down on the guard for disassembly

Pull down on the guard for disassembly

Disassembly is quick and easy.

Disassembly is quick and easy.

 

Fully field stripped

Fully field stripped

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed ramp

Feed ramp

up the magazine

Up the magazine

Just under an inch wide

Just under an inch wide

 
http://www.waltherarms.com/

 

{ 21 comments }

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • James Boyd March 24, 2014, 4:16 am

    My initial shock was the blue finish and weird single magazine ! A quick glance showed this gun had never seen the Walther factory at Ulm as it bears a different proof. By all means but the nickel version ! The little beast surprised the devil out of me at the range and the fully adjustable sights are lovely ! Always remember to take the tiny allen wrench to the range ! It is less sensitive to ammo than my other Walther .22lr guns and really likes CCI minimags. I bought some extra mags and plan a little experiment ! I think this little monster might carry a few extra rounds reliably and make a fantastic back up piece as well as a great pocket carry. And the price is right !

    • Luis Vieira September 5, 2014, 5:26 pm

      I would like to communicate with Max Archer on the polymer 80 build. Would it be possible to give him my e-mail address. Thanks.

    • frederick Walker November 2, 2014, 12:40 am

      I bought a PPK/S 22LR. I ordered it in March of 2013, Finally got it in October 2013, Fired 36 rounds throughout it, and it blew up in my hand at a Discount Guns firing range.. The retractor mechanism, completely denigrated. It appears that no one wants to take responsibility for the malfunction, especially the store that i purchased it in. I’m waiting to see what Armscor will do, or Walther. The gun had two jams before it went kablooey. If you’re contemplating purchasing this firearm, I’m thinking that you’ll want it just for plinking, not for a dependable defensive weapon. You’ll probable wind up throwing it at the bad guys.
      This “precision”? firearm (if that’s what it is supposed to be”) reminds me of the M-16. Give me an AK-47 any day over that Colt. The Browning 1911 22LR is a much more dependable firearm and does well with any make of ammo you can find in the 22LR. Caveat…..You will spend more time and money, and trouble trying to receive reimbursement for this firearm than its worth. Good Luck to you on any confrontation you may have using this piece.

    • frederick Walker November 2, 2014, 12:42 am

      I bought a PPK/S 22LR. I ordered it in March of 2013, Finally got it in October 2013, Fired 36 rounds throughout it, and it blew up in my hand at a Discount Guns firing range.. The retractor mechanism, completely denigrated. It appears that no one wants to take responsibility for the malfunction, especially the store that i purchased it in. I’m waiting to see what Armscor will do, or Walther. The gun had two jams before it went kablooey. If you’re contemplating purchasing this firearm, I’m thinking that you’ll want it just for plinking, not for a dependable defensive weapon. You’ll probable wind up throwing it at the bad guys.
      This “precision”? firearm (if that’s what it is supposed to be”) reminds me of the M-16. Give me an AK-47 any day over that Colt. The Browning 1911 22LR is a much more dependable firearm and does well with any make of ammo you can find in the 22LR. Caveat…..You will spend more time and money, and trouble trying to receive reimbursement for this firearm than its worth. Good Luck to you on any confrontation you may have using this piece.

  • Bob March 24, 2014, 6:32 am

    Actually, to be perfectly accurate, the .32 Walther PPK/S would be “the perfect transition to the .380 ACP model.”

  • Warlord1958 March 24, 2014, 7:35 am

    I bought one late last year. I loaded it with some Federal standard velocity, and it ran just fine. The ammo was from a brick at least forty years old, the sixty cent tags still on the boxes. Maybe yours is just picky.

  • ibjj March 24, 2014, 8:49 am

    Why not for self defense? Lightning fast recovery, low noise, just walk off after shooting the perp-no one will even pay attention to the little popping noises. When an assailant realizes that he is leaking from six different holes in less than 2 seconds he knows he made a mistake. A prosecuting attorney is not going to be so hard to live with either when you say you didn’t want a one shot kill with your .45 ACP -just to make him go away with your mouse gun.
    Don’t believe me? Just ask my neighbor Delma. That’s how it went down…and the perp got 5 years in Carrizales Prison in S. E. Texas. (Multiple priors)

  • petru Sova March 24, 2014, 8:56 am

    It used to be that if you went with a name brand gun and paid a little more money you received a quality gun that would be an instant collectors item and be 100 per cent reliable and have a good trigger pull. Now days everyone is making junk with junk zinc frames, MIM cast parts and literally no workmanship whatsoever. Lets face facts a 17 1/2 lb trigger pull in a design that’s been around for years equals sloppy workmanship. The atrocious accuracy does not compare with early Walther .22 PP guns that gave groups as small as 1 inch at 25 yards. This gun just as sloppy workmanship period. Today gun companies have the attitude that the market is so big and that since everyone else is making junk that it does not matter if they ever get any repeat customers.

    Even my hard kicking French/German PPK/S in .380 and my Browning FN 1910 .380 will often shoot 1 inch groups with home made cast bullets at 25 yards but they were made back in the days long ago when gun companies made quality firearms at reasonable prices. I wonder if the idiot s that run gun companies today realize that if they just took a little more time to make a quality product and used quality materials even if they did have to charge more that they would have people tearing of the doors of gun shops to buy their products but nope they would rather build junk and screw the consumer.

    The old foxes would not keep a gun like Walther is building today if it was given to them for free.

  • Charles L Bloss Jr March 24, 2014, 9:57 am

    The PPK/S in .22lr is probably a fine pistol. I have a PPK & PPK/S in stainless, in .380. I also have a TPH in stainless, chambered for .22lr. It is much, much smaller than the PPK/S. It is an ideal back up pistol. They are no longer made.

  • Phil March 24, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the frank writeup. Some details I might have missed might be important for self defense – especially concealed carry – such as the provision for a loaded or chambered indicator, and non-fire when dropped.

  • Poppagriz March 24, 2014, 12:52 pm

    I have an old (???) Iver Johnson in same frame and model style, .22LR, bought with ankle holster from sergeant deputy some yrs back, nice little carry pistol, but found out standard ammo would not function. Remington Vipers, HV, was only thing I had and found that functioned every time. CCI Stingers wouldn’t either, I still have a few boxes of Remington Vipers on the shelf reserved for this old pistol. Ammo was bought back in late 1970′s when it cost about 9.95 a brick/carton. (500 rds) Got two mags for it, pistol and holster for $100 in 1988. Seemed reasonable at the time.

  • DarthVaderMentor March 24, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Bring back the PPK and PPK/S .32 caliber versions!

  • Mark Wynn March 24, 2014, 8:20 pm

    A zinc slide will “take a lifetime of abuse” from hot .22 rounds?

    • Administrator March 25, 2014, 5:06 pm

      Most likely it will. I don’t know what all of you experts think you are backing up your assumptions with. Internet whiners? 9 times out of 10 they did something to break their own gun, or re-assembled it incorrectly. The company that makes the MIM parts for these guns exhibits across the isle from us at SHOT and they are meticulous in their quality control and performance. There is no downside to the MIM parts in this gun. It is a genius technology that people who want to make themselves more experienced and well research than they are like to beat up. Do you know that they have to actually cast the parts like 40% larger, to shrinkydink them down to tolerances of several thousandths? MIM is really amazing stuff.

  • Roger March 24, 2014, 10:12 pm

    Cast Zinc? No way!

    Reminds of those junk Raven 22lr/.25 ACP pistols.

    I have an old Sterling (stainless steel slide and frame) which has been perfectly reliable for me with all ammunition fed it. Lost the magazine heel retainer at one point but purchased a replacement from Numrich.

  • SteveT March 25, 2014, 11:42 pm

    1) If Walther was willing to have their name on it, they should’ve done sufficient testing to see how well the zinc alloy would hold up to avoid a public relations fiasco such as the Springfield XDS underwent. If I’m wrong about that, someone at Walther will likely join the bright spark behind ‘New Coke’ years ago in looking for a new job later on.

    2) Although not a direct-copy of the .380 version for training purposes, it’s entirely suitable for point-shooting practice using .22LR to reduce cost (when suitable fodder can be had). The PPK/S frame and grip rake is ideal for getting newer shooters into the basics of point-shooting without recoil being a negative issue.

    3) The 17+ lb. DA pull is made to feel worse with the narrow, standard trigger. If at all possible, I’ll be looking for a trigger-shoe to help with the DA first-pull. Short of that, I’ve been cocking to set SA for first shots at targets. Once cocked, it’s as responsive as the .380 versions I have in a PPK and PPK/S carried for several years.

    4) The rimfire trigger and action mechanism within the grip extends out past the frame into the grip plates, thereby disallowing any use of grip-plate Crimson Trace lasers made for the .380 PPK/S.

    5) Like many other .22 semi-autos of all makes and brands, mine does show a preference for higher velocity cartridges and stubbornness in feeding/ejecting bulk-buy fodder. In a similar vein, I have a pair of Beretta 92′s that ate everything in 9mm without a single feeding/ejection issue, until eventually finding they despise steel-cased cartridges by indulging in non-cooperative sulks when trying it.

    6) One side of the slide is stamped Fort Smith, Arkansas, through which PPK/S’s are cycled during importation. The other side of the slide and box itself state the .22 PPK/S was manufactured in Germany. The ‘DE’ stamped on the frame with other proof marks implies German origin.

    7) Extra magazines weren’t easy or cheap to obtain soon after the pistol hit the market last year, but this may change as time goes along.

    8) Users should note the .22 PPK/S lacks the extended beaver-tail frame of the US-made .380 PPK & PPK/S, so hammer bite isn’t out of the question with a high grip hold.

    9) Unlike the .380 versions, which have a very visible red dots under safety lever ‘fire’ position, the .22 PPK/S only has small ‘S’ and ‘F’ stamped on the slide under it. Also, the sights on the .22 are fully unmarked, whilst the .380′s do at least have a small red dot up front and narrow vertical red line on the back sight.

    10) Overall, I was extremely disappointed by the ‘Hey, is it locked up or what?’ DA trigger pull more than anything else, but went with it anyway to get the familiar PPK feel in lower-cost, point-shooting practice. While not my main choice as a defensive caliber, anyone spending adequate time in practice with the .22 PPK/S can deal out a serious, well-aimed, rapid-fire response if ever required.

    • EVILJOE June 21, 2014, 11:31 am

      So the CT LG-480 laser won’t work with this gun? I was wondering if it would clear a Sparrow suppressor, but it seems that may be a non-issue if it won’t even mount on the gun.

  • Norniron April 2, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Walther’s are heavy guns. This one weighs 24 oz unloaded. My dad has a PPK .380, and every time I hold it in my hand I think, “I would never carry that.”

    As for using A .22LR for self-defense, I would have concerns. I’ll add that I think a .380 round is very sufficient for self defense, so I’m not one of these guys that thinks you have to carry a .45 to be safe. At 30 ft., a .380 round will go through 10 pieces of sheet rock separated by 6″ each, and puts an 11 in long, 3 in wide hole in ballistics gel at the same distance. However, a .22 round is pretty small, and a large assailant possibly under the influence may very well not go down, even on multiple shots, with this handgun.

  • Scot May 12, 2014, 12:44 pm

    I put the first box of Aguila 40 gr. through today for the new weapon and experienced about one bad eject per magazine. The CCI’s are difficult to find in the Houston area, but will keep trying. Good information.

  • Dan May 21, 2014, 2:11 am

    The 17 pd pull is true but past that it is a shooter. rapid fire singles with CCI stingers or velociters work very well. Gun is fun to shoot and feels natural in hand. I wouldn;t hesitate to use it for self defense however not first choice but If that’s all you have and your trained to shoot it rapidly it would be a perps nightmare cause its accurate as hell within 10 yards or less. As always Maintain it, clean it and lube it up. small enough to conceal very nicely in glove box or under seat Little heavy on body but will do with a good holster . Remember you have 11 rounds vs 7 for the 380 ppk. more holes and more shots. It is also a safe gun .

  • Tom arse August 14, 2014, 4:19 pm

    Nice arseticle but you if you tell me one more time that it didn’t like the lower spec ammunition my arse will fall off.

    Arse.

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