Walther’s New PPK: What Is Old Is New Again

Whether the year was 1929 or 1931 – sources vary – it was nearly a century ago when Walther introduced the PPK. It was a revolutionary design at the time because of its double-action trigger and its safety which also decocked the gun. Actually, it was based on the Walther PP which was a slightly larger pistol. The German police asked for a smaller, more easily carried pistol, so Walther decreased the size of the PP to come up with the PPK which stands for Police Pistol Kriminal. It was intended for carry by plainclothes law enforcement.

The Walther PPK design is almost 100 years old, and it is one of the few guns that is still made by the company that originated it. At one time, many considered it to be the standard for small carry guns. (Doug Larson photo)

The PPK became very popular and has also been carried by the military and civilians. And it has been produced in a number of countries although under different names. Back in the early 1960s, Walther imported the PPK from Germany into the US, but then came the Gun Control Act of 1968 which changed the game and resulted in a set of rules to be applied to any gun to determine if it was eligible to be imported. The PPK did not qualify for importation, so Walther created the PPK/S which mated the slightly larger PP frame with a PPK barrel and slide. It did qualify for importation, but people still wanted a PPK.

At that time, the PPK, it could be argued, was the standard in pocket pistols. So Walther licensed production of the PPK for manufacturing in the US by Ranger Manufacturing. Distribution was handled by Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia. But, the gun, despite wearing the Walther name and designation, was still not a genuine Walther manufactured gun. As the ban on importation of the Walther PPK continued, Walther licensed Smith & Wesson to produce the PPK, but that eventually ended. In time, Walther built a manufacturing facility in Arkansas and is now producing a genuine Walther PPK that can be sold in the US giving purists and everyone else access to a new Walther produced PPK.

When the Gun Control Act of 1968 became law, Walther could no longer send guns to the US, so it licensed a US company to make them. The guns were distributed for awhile by Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia. The gun used for comparison was a stainless steel gun purchased new in the early 1990s. (Doug Larson photo)

Walther is very proud of the PPK and notes that it is one of only a few vintage pistol designs that continues to be made and sold by the original manufacturer. And Walther says the gun is better than ever because of improved manufacturing methods and some small design changes. But all manufacturers say similar things about their products. In this case, though, I had access to a PPK that bears the Interarms name and was purchased sometime in the early 1990s during the period when importing a Walther PPK was illegal. For comparison, Walther sent me a new production PPK.

This stainless steel PPK was distributed by Interarms and bought in the US in the early 1990s. Walther has stayed with the original design for nearly 100 years now, and the gun is still a good choice for pocket carry and self-defense. (Doug Larson photo)

The most noticeable change in the new production PPK compared to the original PPK is the length of the beavertail. The new PPK has a longer one that is designed to reduce the chance that the shooter will be cut by the reciprocating slide or hammer. The original design had an abbreviated beavertail which was too small to prevent some shooters from suffering this minor injury. Other than that, the two guns are remarkably similar and it would take a side-by-side comparison by a person with a careful eye to see any differences.

The only obvious design difference between the older PPK used for comparison and the newer Walther made PPK is the length of the beavertail. The original design sported a shorter beavertail. (Doug Larson photo)
The new PPK made by Walther is true to the original design but has a slightly longer beavertail to help reduce the chance that the user’s firing hand will be cut by the reciprocating slide. (Doug Larson photo)

While the new production PPK and its sibling the PPK/S are available in black or stainless steel versions, the old Interarms model used for comparison was rendered in stainless steel. And judging by the wear marks on it, it has seen a fair amount of carry and use. Nevertheless, it still functions correctly. Both are chambered in .380 ACP, although the original PPK was chambered .32 ACP. Eventually, the PPK was also made in .22 Long Rifle and .380 ACP.

Back in the early days of PPK production, the .32 ACP cartridge was considered a viable self-defense round and was used by many military and police units. Today, that round is seen as inadequate for that role. For many years, people also considered the .380 ACP as inadequate for self-defense. But bullet makers and ammunition manufacturers have worked hard and now the .380 ACP round is considered a viable self-defense round by most knowledgeable people. The terminal ballistics of modern .380 ACP ammunition is very similar to other self-defense rounds to the point that differences are negligible.

There are many modern self-defense handguns chambered in .380 ACP, but the PPK, despite its nearly century-old design, can still compete with modern designs. The PPK may weigh a few ounces more than some of the similar-sized .380 ACP striker-fired pistols, but that extra weight and the comfortable grip of the PPK make the snappy recoil of the .380 ACP a bit more tolerable.

Nearly every writer when drafting an article about the PPK makes reference to novelist Ian Fleming’s fictional spy character, James Bond because Bond carried a PPK. While there is no doubt that exposure on the screen helped to increase the gun’s popularity, the PPK is a quality handgun and has features that make it a desirable self-defense sidearm. Bond’s use of the PPK aside, the gun has characteristics that make the nearly century-old design a solid choice for self-defense today.

The PPK has a double-action (DA) firing mechanism and a slide-mounted safety that also decocks the gun. This combination of features leads many people to carry the gun with a round in the chamber, the hammer down and the safety in the off, or up, position. Those people rely on the rather heavy and long double-action trigger pull to prevent unintentional discharges. Follow up shots are fired in the single-action (SA) mode where the hammer is cocked by the reciprocation of the slide and the trigger pull is considerably shorter and lighter than the DA pull.

The PPK controls are pretty simple. They consist of the trigger, safety – which also decocks the pistol, and the magazine catch which is located just a bit higher than the magazine catch on most US made semi-automatic handguns. (Doug Larson photo)

After the last round in the magazine is fired, the slide is locked to the rear by an internal slide catch. There is no external slide catch so after the magazine is replaced with a loaded one, the shooter pulls the slide slightly to the rear and lets it go so that the recoil spring drives the slide back into battery and loads another round into the chamber. If the shooter wishes to lock the slide back without firing the gun until it is empty, an unloaded magazine is inserted into the gun and the slide pulled to the rear where it will stay until the magazine is removed and the slide is pulled slightly farther rearward and released.

The lack of an external slide lock does not seem to be a problem for most shooters as is evident from the life of the PPK’s design. And another feature of the PPK that is different than many modern guns of the same size is the sights. Most modern guns have large three-dot sights that are adjustable, but the PPK has smaller sights that are machined into the slide and are not adjustable. With the test PPK, it didn’t matter because the sights were regulated correctly and the point of aim (POA) was the same as the point of impact (POI). Despite the small size, sights seemed to be adequate for the job and were easy to see. They also sport a small round red dot on the front sight and a small rectangular shaped red dot on the rear that helps.

The front sight hasn’t changed since it was originally designed. It is a fixed short blade, and even though small, it works surprisingly well. (Doug Larson photo)
The PPK rear sight is a square notch with a square red dot just below the notch. While the rear sight on the original and the new PPK is fixed, the one on the Interarms PPK used for comparison here is drift adjustable. Note the loaded chamber indicator just below the red dot. (Doug Larson photo)

However, the rear sight on the older Interarms PPK, while it has a square notch with a small rectangular red dot below it like the newer PPK, can be drift adjusted. All the photos I’ve seen of original PPKs show a fixed rear sight, so it appears that Walther followed the original sight design with the new gun. And a note to Walther: Your manual says the rear sight is drift adjustable, but it is not.

Originally, the PPK had a heel style magazine catch which was the common standard in Europe at the time. Sometime during the evolution of the PPK though, the heel catch was disposed of and replaced with a button type catch located near where American shooters have come to expect them. It is placed just below the slide and in front of the right grip panel. And it worked correctly on both the older Interarms model and the new Walther gun.

According to Garry James, a well known and respected writer who is an expert on vintage firearms, the PPK originally sold for the American equivalent of about $15.50 and came in a cardboard box with three dummy rounds, a spare magazine, a cleaning kit, cleaning rod and instruction manual. At that time, the loaded chamber indicator was an optional feature that increased the cost of the gun slightly.

The loaded chamber indicator is standard on the new PPK. It’s pretty simple and consists merely of a steel rod that, when a round is chambered, protrudes from the rear of the slide just in front of the hammer. It is easily seen if there is enough light and can also be felt.

When the slide-mounted safety is rotated downward, it also decocks the hammer while preventing the hammer from physically striking the firing pin or striker. The loaded chamber indicator at the rear of the slide just above the hammer protrudes as shown when a round is chambered. (Doug Larson photo)

Interestingly, James also says that originally a conversion kit was offered that changed the PPK chambering to a 4mm practice round that could be fired indoors. The kit consisted of a barrel insert, a few 4mm chambers, a cleaning rod, and an ejector rod. The practice rounds would not cycle the gun, however. Those were different times.

The elegant lines of the PPK have not changed over time. The top of the slide is rounded, which conceals better compared to the square, uninspired blocky look of most slides these days. And the slide still retains the serrations at the rear to aid in obtaining a solid grip to manually cycle the slide. Along the top of the slide between the front and rear sight, Walther has kept the flat that is machined with a series of wavy serrations that help reduce glare. They look great, too.

The Walther PPK is an elegant looking small pistol and sports a well done, even black finish. A flat runs between the front and rear sights and is machined with wavy serrations to reduce glare. The rounded slide top and the serrations add to the stylish design. (Doug Larson photo)

The hammer retains the rowel style spur with a hole in the middle. It is easy to cock by hand if the shooter wishes to for the first shot. The slide-mounted safety and decocker are present on the new PPK as on the older comparison model. They are a little stiff, but not so stiff that they are too hard to manipulate. Up is off and reveals a red dot, while down is engaged and hides the red dot. When engaged, the hammer is safely dropped and blocked from contacting the firing pin, and the trigger is locked. It’s very effective, but a friend purchased a PPK and a PPK/S recently and had problems. Both were the new models made by Walther and with one it was nearly impossible to rotate the safety while with the other it was very difficult to. Both required gunsmith attention to correct.

To disassemble the PPK for cleaning and lubrication, after making sure the gun is unloaded and the magazine removed, the trigger guard is rotated down. (Doug Larson photo)

Disassembly of the PPK for cleaning is the same as it has always been. First, after removing the magazine and making sure the gun is unloaded – double check this and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction – the trigger guard is rotated downward on the hinge at the intersection of it and the front strap. Using the trigger finger to push the front of the guard slightly to the side keeps it from snapping back up into the frame. Then the slide is pulled to the rear, lifted free of the frame, and while holding on to it, allowed to go forward to clear the barrel. Then the recoil spring which surrounds the barrel is pulled forward to separate them. That’s all it takes. Assembly is in reverse.

The PPK components have been copied by many other designs. The barrel is semi-permanently pinned to the frame and the only parts after field stripping the gun are the slide assembly, recoil spring and frame assembly. (Doug Larson photo)

Both the older Interarms model and the new Walther PPK functioned flawlessly and the same in testing. The trigger pull on both guns was remarkably similar. In DA, the weight was around 16 pounds – that’s heavy – and a few ounces over four pounds in SA mode. There was no stacking. The new PPK had a little grittiness in the DA pull, while the older PPK was smooth. That’s probably because the older trigger had worn-in from being pulled a lot more. The SA pull was the same on both guns – after a little take-up, there was a minor amount of creep, a surprise break and a little over travel.

When the hammer is cocked, the trigger functions in the single-action (SA) mode. The stroke is shortened quite a bit and the pull weight is reduced making it easier to make precision shots. (Doug Larson photo)

There was a difference in the trigger face though. The older PPK had a serrated trigger face, while the new Walther has a smooth trigger face making the pull, especially in the stiffer DA mode, a little easier because the trigger finger could more easily slide over the surface. That’s personal preference though, and some shooters will like it while others would prefer a serrated trigger.

The PPK is supplied with two magazines each with a six-round capacity. One has a flat baseplate and the other an extended one which provides a place for the shooter’s little finger to grasp the gun. (Doug Larson photo)

Both guns were comfortable to shoot and more than accurate enough for self-defense work. And the slightly heavier steel frame compared to the prevalent polymer frames today, along with the slightly larger grip of the PPK, tamed felt recoil well. This is a gun that can be shot for recreation as well as serve a self-defense role.

So Walther has another hit on its hands. And this from an almost century-old design.

PERFORMANCE

                                                                                                     Accuracy

Load                                                        Velocity (fps)       Average     Best

Hornady Critical Defense 90 FTX          981                        .74               .45

Remington Golden Saber 102 JHP         936                        .98               .40

Winchester Bonded PDX1 95 JHP         983                        1.02             .80

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second 15’ from the muzzle by chronograph, and accuracy in inches for three five-shot groups at seven yards.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber:                            .380 ACP

Barrel length:                   3.3 inches

Overall length:                 6.1 inches

Weight:                            19 ounces

Grips:                               synthetic

Sights:                              fixed rear notch and fixed front blade

Action:                             double action

Finish:                              stainless or black (tested)

Capacity:                          6 rounds

Price:                                $849

*******************

For more information visit Walther Arms website.

Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!

About the author: Doug Larson is a former Contributing and Field Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine, Doug Larson’s articles have appeared in many top firearm publications. He has completed hundreds of hours of firearm and self-defense training provided by some of the finest world class gun fighting instructors and schools. He has experience with handguns, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, machine guns and other crew served weapons. He reports on the tactics, techniques and procedures developed by real life gunfighters and taught at the best martial arts schools. This information is passed on to the reader to stimulate thought and a desire to get the best training possible.

{ 63 comments… add one }
  • 1Nimrof December 8, 2020, 8:28 am

    I’ve had two from across the river made in France both date from the early 1950’s a PP & a PP/K both in 32 auto (yes 32 auto). They both were sweet auto’s and after putting rubber packmire grips on the two Walther’s grip and handling improved immensely. I was quite unhappy with myself when I sold them both in the 90’s after keeping them close to ten years. The two I owned were the best little autos I’ve ever shot and I wouldn’t consider them heavy at all and they were very well made tight tolerances excellent DA’s. They had been broken in for many years by the time I acquired them and very smooth so the tiger pull was very smooth and nicely broken in on the single and double action mode. The new PP/Ks are for sure not as heavy as a Beretta M9 which today many CC them and the M9’s action is much worse then the PP/Ks of today that’s if you want to compare them but still apple’s to oranges… This is my .04 cent’s…

    1Nimrod

  • Leonard December 7, 2020, 2:37 pm

    So there I was, working in a gun shop with a range, and able to get a significant discount on gun purchases. I did not know about a .380 for self-defense, but I was going to get one anyway as an ankle gun. I had three choices, an HK-4, a Mauser HSC, or this, the PPK. I picked the HK and regretted it. It was too light, and the trigger tore up my finger. A girlfriend let me try her off-duty PPK and I shot about a 4″ group freehand and fell in ln love with it. The problem was, they were no longer importing, and prices went too high for an original.
    This is still a fairly expensive gun, but it should be worth the money, and with the new ammo, it should be able to fit my needs.

  • Amado leon December 7, 2020, 12:56 pm

    I had one made in west Germany gave it to my nephew I don’t like the way it shoots

    • Kane December 7, 2020, 8:14 pm

      I wish I had an uncle like you. Years ago I bought a low grade knock off PPK .22 made by American Arms. The DA trigger was dreadful. I sold it after a while. Recently, I bought a Walther PKK .22 and the DA trigger is still pretty rough but is that not typical of most rimfires? I am happy with the Walther despite the ruff DA.

      • Kane December 7, 2020, 8:34 pm

        My bad. I should have read about the posts on the PPK .380 before I commented but still most many rimfires DA are rough. Now I know the .380 is rough also.

  • robert prosser December 7, 2020, 11:56 am

    can i purchase this gun in ca?

    • MPStig December 8, 2020, 3:20 pm

      Not on the list.

  • Jon December 7, 2020, 11:19 am

    I have two PPK’s of original design. I would call myself an experienced pistol shooter with 40 plus years of experience. These are the worst defined pistols available. Slide bite is inevitable although the extended beaver tail in the revised design may address this.

    Fixed sights? Really? 380 ACP? 800+ bucks?

    A SIG P365 will outperform the PPK by a factor of 2 to 1 at half the price.

    The PPK is purely an affinity Gun that people want because of the Bond factor. To otherwise sing it’s praises is mystifying.

  • Norm Fishler December 7, 2020, 11:17 am

    1920s state of the art. Heavy, with poor ergonomics and lots of sharp edges with a nasty-harsh recoil that is way out of proportion for its size. I’ll take a Colt Mustang any day of the week.

  • Harry A. Taraskus December 7, 2020, 9:52 am

    In answer to Anne about the value of her gun, look on line for the PPK for sale on GunsAmerica. All usually have used PPK and you can find an approximate value.
    I have an Interarms PPK that I bought in the 70s. I carried it in an ankle holster as a backup gun for twenty-five years when I was a police officer. It has always been utterly reliable. I still carry it as a BUG to my Kahr K9 when I feel it necessary to have a second gun. Hornady Critical Defense rounds should be effective and they feed reliably. Now, for the detractors… The heavy DA trigger pull? It’s a safety feature! Adjustable sights or the laser option? It’s not a target gun. It is a bad breath distance, save your life gun. Yes the PPK is expensive and a bit heavy compared to the plastic guns, but they are like little gems. You feel like you have a gun in your hand and weight absorbs recoil. Slide bite? On the range I make sure the meat of my hand is below the tang so it doesn’t bite. In a self defense situation, I’m not going to worry about that. If the slide bites me, it’s a little scrape. No big deal. As for the stiff decocker quality issues? That’s rare. Every manufacturer turns out an occasional lemon. Generally speaking these are very high quality. One thing the author failed to mention; Model PPKs’ seven round mags will snap in and feed in the PPK. I carry the standard six round mag in the gun and my spare mags are the PPKs’ seven rounders.

  • Frank S. December 7, 2020, 7:36 am

    The Polish P-64 has a stiff DA pull and was criticized for it as well. I believed when I got mine that it was intended just as Clay described — made it safe to carry with a round in the chamber, hammer down, safety off. The first shot requires a bit of pull on the trigger which can pull you a bit off target, but you get that first shot off faster, and you’re not likely to be aiming anyway. If you have time to aim, you have time to pull the hammer back with your thumb first. I don’t have a Walther, but have a CZ-50 in .32 which is sim9ilar (but not a clone), and I see a lot of similarities with the PP(K) in my CZ-82 as well… and the P-64. Lots of small to medium sized guns are similar.

    As for price… well, you’re paying for the Walther name (and quality), that same as many popular/respected name bran items. A Toyota Camry is just as reliable and respected as a Mercedes of similar size, but the Mercedes costs a lot more. So if price is the issue, you can find a near clone of the PPK in the CZ-50/70, a bit larger (more like the PP) in the CZ-82 (it’s still available in the surplus market, the 50 or 70 harder to find), or a new gun like the Bersa Thunder.

    .32 is still a decent self defense round. FMJ will penetrate adequately at seven yards. Hollow points probably aren’t as good an idea with calibers under .380 (and as noted — not in the really short barreled pocket guns, but something more like 3.5″, or the 3.3″ of the PPK). It has been shown that ANYTHING that looks like a gun and goes “bang” will run off all but determined attackers. Determined attackers pretty much need something that will knock them down, but that’s not a situation most will ever be in.

  • Rumplestilskin December 7, 2020, 7:00 am

    Still get a laugh out of people calling magazines, clips.

    • FredFred December 7, 2020, 10:54 pm

      And I get a kick out of people who can’t get over the term “clips” being used in place of magazine (even if “clip” isn’t truly accurate)

  • michael December 7, 2020, 4:45 am

    One thing I had a early German model from Germany (time in Army). The double action was smooth from factory. Not needing broken in. Just so you know. Handled a couple of them at that time (1988). They were all smooth. At least that was my experience.

  • Anne deVilleneuve December 5, 2020, 9:14 pm

    I have a like new Walther PPK stainless that I purchased in the early 90’s. The test fire paper states 1993. It is stamped INTERARMS Alexandria, Virginia. I only fired it once at the range and it’s been stored ever since. Being a woman, I found the slide fairly hard to chamber a round, so I chose a different gun. Does anyone know what the current value on this gun is? I have the original box, test fire paper, and two magazines.

  • glenn sammon-USCCA instructor. September 25, 2020, 6:22 pm

    very good article , I like the PPK/S I have and the PP in 32 auto I have (380 for the PPK/S) . never had a problem. I think it is better then the plastic guns out there ( including the walther 380 and pps) I like the flatness to the gun, and the weight.it feels good in my hand.( these are the older interarms imported guns with short tang, but I don’t have big hands). and I would like to have a stainless PPK in 32 auto because there are good rounds for that as well. and I would like to have a stainless PPK/S in 380 as well . these would be good summer guns. ( mine are both blued). never had a problem with the trigger and think these guns still have alot to offer. I do think the price could be a little lower though, and I would like one with a lightweight aluminum frame.

    • glenn sammon-USCCA instructor. September 25, 2020, 6:27 pm

      and I forgot to say that the recoil with these guns is quite low, making them very easy guns to shoot. and they do point well. bringing these guns up to eye level you are looking right down the sites. I would like to have night sites though.

  • Daniel S August 7, 2020, 2:45 am

    I looked at these 11 years ago, as it was a sleek looking CC viable handgun. Fortunately I suppose, it was uncomfortable in my hand, and even then seemed rather expensive. I found a similar looking firearm made by Sig Sauer the model P232. Much more comfortable with the Hogue grips, at about the same price as the PPK at the time. Today there are much better, more comfortable, and slightly smaller CC handguns available by many manufacturers in both 380 and 9mm. If you want a piece of history, and can afford the investment, by all means check it out. The Sig P232 has been discontinued since 2014. Likely as a result of the P238. My favorite to day is the Kimber Micro 9. Still have the P232, but it collects mostly dust, shoot it maybe once a year.

  • Eric T August 3, 2020, 11:43 pm

    I would have hoped a new PPK would:
    1. Have front and rear sights that can be removed and replaced with tritium or fiber sights.
    2. Have a DA trigger pull of 10 pounds or less, not 16.
    3. Not require a gunsmith to make the safety / de-cocker usable.
    4. Be competitively priced around $500 to $550, not $849 with the aforementioned defects.
    5. Have an option to get it with Crimson Trace laser grips for an extra $100-.

    I have owned a German made PP model for many years. Nice gun. I honed the trigger and replaced some springs to get the DA down closer to 12 pounds pull.
    These days you can get a Walther PPS M2 in 9mm that is so much more practical than this PPK for less than $500. I have one! That makes this PPK mostly an expensive nostalgia purchase.

  • karl ernst August 3, 2020, 4:38 pm

    let me see…I paid $300 for the PPK’s twin – a Bersa 380 Thunder – 5 years ago. $850 for a new PPK? I cannot see it. In this current day and time, maybe Walther feels it is justified. Good luck with that….

    • Irish-7 August 8, 2020, 10:34 am

      I bought a PPK/S for my wife when she first started concealed carry. She did not like it. I bought a Walther PK-380 next, for under $400. She loves it! I have to admit, the cheaper Walther shoots better and holds more rounds.

    • Scott December 7, 2020, 7:35 am

      Bersa rear site is adjustable too. Hmm.

  • Just Me August 3, 2020, 3:16 pm

    My wife and I both carry a PPKS. Over 1,000 rounds through both and never a problem. The recoil is not like a mule, it’s quite average. Accuracy right out of the box is exceptional. 18 hits in a 1 1/2″ group at 10 yards, standing position without a benchrest.

  • DarryH August 2, 2020, 11:24 pm

    I wrote Walther here in the US, requesting they make the PPK in .32ACP again. If others feel the same, contact them, maybe they will consider it if there is enough interest.

    • Bobo August 5, 2020, 3:12 am

      I did the same though I don’t really foresee it happening….

  • SP August 2, 2020, 9:34 am

    Bill Jordan’s (Border Patrolman, writer, speed shooter) book, “No Second Place Winner” (in a gun fight) said it early, though the saying may have been from even earlier.

    Caliber/ballistics is secondary. No one I know will volunteer to stand down range and catch incoming .32 ACP slugs. Much as in real estate, it’s all about Location, Location, Location. A .32 slug in the corner of an eye or up a nostril beats any .357, .40, .44, .45, .500 a bit off their mark, and there’s nothing at all wrong with one of the bigger ones, if placed accurately.

  • FRANCISCO BLANCO August 1, 2020, 12:23 pm

    Many naysayers of the .380 are ignorant about, one fact, it has nearly the same bullet diameter as a .357 magnum (.355 vs .357) & the in penetration tests, .380 show that it, gets the job done.

    “Closing Thoughts”
    “I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t tell you how many .380 ACP bullets I’ve fired into gel through fabric barriers. Almost all of them fail to expand properly with any type of .380 ACP pistol. These performed well in the smallest of guns and the worst velocity scenario. In a slightly larger pistol, with just ½-inch more barrel length, they performed perfectly.”

  • Brock Auten August 1, 2020, 10:41 am

    Great article.

  • Doug Larose July 31, 2020, 8:49 am

    I have a FEG PPL clone my only complaint is that the clip spring will not let me load more than 3rounds. Thinking about cutting the spring. Out side of that it’s a great little carry gun

    • John Friedmann August 3, 2020, 3:34 pm

      Sounds like you have a faulty mag. Dented internally perhaps? Or if it is just a very strong spring, get a mag loader device. Will help to compress spring for full loading.

    • glenn sammon-USCCA instructor. September 25, 2020, 6:15 pm

      get another magazine. there is something wrong with yours. or maybe you need a loader and force them in and let them sit around for a while. some magazine springs are very stiff and need to be broken in.

  • Frank S. July 31, 2020, 7:54 am

    Don’t tell James Bond his Walther PPK isn’t effective in .32!! Or that it’s heavy and ungainly….

    Seriously, there are better small carry options available today. Back in the 60s the PPK was probably one of the best for that purpose. I think the James Bond role is one thing that made it so popular, though Bond didn’t originally carry a Walther — he carried a Beretta 418 chambered in .25ACP in the first five Ian Fleming books. The MOVIE Bond carried a PPK in the Sean Connery era. Roger Moore started out with one, but he carried a variety of guns. They went back to Walthers in 97 (a P99 then a PPK/S — both 9mm). I believe the PPK/S was done to pay homage to the most popular PPK, but give the added punch of the popular 9mm, as so many now believe the .32 to be a bit weak. Well, it’s not a far range round, but up close and personal (25′ or less) the FMJ will penetrate quite enough. It’s one I prefer FMJ over hollow point, as the HP may not penetrate an assailant enough if heavy winter clothing is worn. JHP for summer, FMJ for winter loading, maybe?

  • ro July 28, 2020, 11:33 am

    have carried an Astra, a PPK clone for many years….very nice handling and reliable …..as Hi-Point will demonstrate most blow back pistols are….

  • Andrew E. Stewart III July 28, 2020, 6:53 am

    Doug, I made a sad mistake, I purchased a Walther PPK/S from Oshman’s sporting goods in 1978 or’79. It came with two clips the extended and regular. It was the best decision I made. I stayed at the range I enjoyed it so much. I come from a very religious family. I , myself am now a pastor. I allowed myself to be guilted into selling (along with a model 27 S&W 357) one of the most accurate, well balanced and well made concealable hand guns ever. This has haunted me for over thirty years. Anyone that doesn’t appreciate the .380 on the 9mm Walther PPK/S is sadder than I am.

    • Big Al 45 July 31, 2020, 10:28 am

      Guilted??? Did someone forget The Book of Joel?
      Far too often, this is forgotten over The Book of Micah and Isiah.
      For free People, there is NO guilt in their willingness to protect their freedom, for only in freedom can a People practice their beliefs openly.

  • Mark Wynn July 28, 2020, 1:27 am

    $849? For that one could buy two Ruger subcompact .380 or .9 mm pistols equipped with Crimson Trace green lasers and Sticky pocket holsters. Same size, same melted exterior, better sights, lighter weight, utterly reliable.

    • John Friedmann August 3, 2020, 3:46 pm

      Just for discussion, I have those Rugers (in fact, 2 of the LCP’s because they were so inexpensive) and the triggers are terrible in comparison to the PPK. The LC9 is positively PAINFUL to shoot. The LCP has a 3 mile long trigger pull! They shoot well, just clumsy and uncomfortable. They also do not have half the features of the PPK. -No.- At $849 the Walther is a bargain next to the Ruger choices.

  • Big Al 45 July 27, 2020, 9:25 pm

    Too bad the Walther reputation is so overrated.
    I’ve sold dozens, and the very heavy DA pull is just stupid.
    I bought one for a song because of this, and after hours of honing the guts to rid it of the severe galling and machining from poor workmanship as well as a Trapper spring kit, it’s actually good.
    And it wasn’t one made on a Friday or whatever nonsense, that was normal for a Walther back then, especially the Stainless models.
    It’s still a good serviceable design, but unless they changed something, still poorly executed.

  • Elliot Green July 27, 2020, 7:07 pm

    Paper cut? Every time I shot my ppk/s it just tore apart the area between my thumb and forefinger. Always had bandages when i went to the range. It was eventually stolen & I did not replace it . Don’t miss it.

  • Bryan July 27, 2020, 3:38 pm

    The old Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S are nice safe queens, leave it at that. They are heavy pistols with light capacity, they work, but they are what they are…

    I’ve had a few in my past but they are gone, never felt the urge to replace any of them.

    One problem I have seen on a number of the new ones is the loaded chamber indicator creeping back past where it should stop and then not returning on an empty chamber. One friend sent his back a couple of times and shortly after receiving back it would start doing the same thing again. I had some luck in ordering new springs and replacing ones that did this…not sure why Walther couldn’t fix his gun.

    Maybe they could bring back a broomhandle Mauser with a shortened barrel as a current contender in a crowded CC world…yeah…that’s sarcasm…

  • DW July 27, 2020, 1:56 pm

    For those working stiffs like myself, if you want to cc a quality .380 and like the Walther PPK design, take a look at the Bersa Thunder.

    Basically a complete copy of the PPK – at a reasonable cost. I personally have the Bersa Thunder Plus – 15 round version. I like that it has double the standard capacity and the slightly wider grip fits my hand better.

    Have 1100+ rounds thru it with no issues ( use primarily federal ammo ). Will point out it is a DA/SA trigger, which is no longer popular, but if you train, you will be fine.

  • frank July 27, 2020, 12:32 pm

    I purchased a new Walters PPK back in the 70’s when I first fired it the extractor fell out and I replaced it and found it a new home. Garbage!

  • Norm Fishler July 27, 2020, 11:27 am

    I feel it, I really do! The entire PP series is in its death throes and thank God. Heavy, poorly balanced, full of sharp edges and recoiling like a pistol of considerably larger caliber, the PPK is back (again) to torment the American shooting public with more 007 nonsense. When will people get over the PPK’s mystique? It is at best, 1920s technology at its very finest.

    • SP August 2, 2020, 9:10 am

      Hmmm…An original, classic, & innovative design from the late 1920’s & 1930’s. Made from steel, ’cause Glock and Kel-tec polymers weren’t developed yet. Heavy, yet sleek & smooth. No PP or PPK will do what my Glock 27 or 29 will do and they don’t carry concealed alike either. Nor do my Glocks have near the stylish lines. Personally, I love them for what they are but also understand technology has advanced. Heck, If you don’t like them, use something else.
      Traditionalists will forgive your crass complaining and utter lack of appreciation for the aesthetics and historical significance of the design. The Walther DA/SA trigger was as innovative in it’s day as the Glock Safe Action would later be. Most everything we have stands on the shoulders of what came before. The same will likey be true 90 years from now.

      • John Friedmann August 3, 2020, 4:03 pm

        Agreeing with SP. – I have no patience with folks that think the PPK started it’s existence in the year; .007! Such a fabulous design that just about ALL pistols use some aspect of today. – And if one has a problem with “old technology”, then throw away your 1911. By the way, the PPK is a better gun than the 1911.
        Thumbs down to Norm Fishler.

    • Eric T August 3, 2020, 11:57 pm

      I tend to agree with Norm. Even Walther agrees when you look at their own Walther PPS M2 in 9mm. A much better gun even if it might be less iconic looking than the PPK. Walther clearly thought they could do better than the PPK when they designed the PPS M2!

      To quote Walther website on the PPS M2 “These features make the PPS M2 the most accurate, controllable, and concealable handgun available on the market.” I have one and I agree!

      That should settle it right there!

      • Bobo August 5, 2020, 3:20 am

        Hardly….It’s an apples to oranges comparison.

        If you’re going to compare the PPS M2 to something compare it to the PPS Gen1 which was an ergonomic failure and one of the few guns that you could say was more block like then a Block…..

  • Wayne Walker July 27, 2020, 11:22 am

    The K actually stands for Kurtz (short) the same as the Mauser K98K which is the shortened K98

    • Kane December 7, 2020, 8:53 pm

      My money is with the author and Police Pistol Kriminal.

  • MB July 27, 2020, 11:02 am

    Just for comparison, a Bulgarian or Russian made Makarov firing the more powerful 9×18 Makarov (actually 9.3 mm) is a direct copy of the Walter for less than 1/3 the price. (used military and police turn ins) Makarov ammo is also readily available for less than $13,00 a box of 50, and Hornady makes a JHP/XTP self defense round. .(which may be more difficult to find.) Build quality of Bulgarian or Russian made Makarov are as good or better than most previous Walter’s not sure if this newer model.

    • Jim December 7, 2020, 1:25 pm

      I bought one of those years ago and carried it for awhile but it was heavy as they were all steel construction. Great little guns that are highly accurate and well constructed. Mine is a Russian made E. German Stasa issued from the 60’s and so marked.

  • Dave Lemay July 27, 2020, 9:45 am

    I had a PPK in the early 90’s and the author glazed over the two main issues that made it a crap gun. If you weren’t extremely careful about how you placed your hand, the slide would give you a fast cut, similar to a paper cut, that would really be painful. Next, was the fact that for a small gun it kicked like a mule, which made it no fun to shoot. I don’t get why manufacturers attempt to improve something that was essentially, garbage. Why not just create something entirely new and entirely modern, with the best of features available? Finally, I see that this heavier than a lot of 9mm out there and the price is ridiculous, which isn’t saying much, cause at half the price it would be too much.

    • Joe Bhe July 27, 2020, 12:27 pm

      Mr. Larson did mention the extended beavertail in the new PPK. I always read that heavier guns did not kick as much as lighter guns.

    • Big Al 45 July 27, 2020, 9:18 pm

      An all steel frame PPK kicks like a mule?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
      Uh, no, it doesn’t.
      If you want kick like a mule, shoot a full bore .357 Sp101, then complain about the diminutive .380.
      Then you mention the weight as heavier than a lot of 9mm’s.
      Make up your mind.

    • Tyrone Greene December 7, 2020, 11:08 am

      This sounds like the wussy general who’s an expert with all things AR-15….

  • sky buster July 27, 2020, 9:21 am

    I used to own a S&W version in SS but sold it as I felt it was to heavy for
    it’s size. I would buy another in a heart beat if it was offered with a alloy
    frame.

  • Gp1935 July 27, 2020, 9:18 am

    Production in France did not begin until the 50’s.

    • John Friedmann August 3, 2020, 6:08 pm

      Actually the French were making Nazi PP/K pistols in the 1940’s.

  • Jim Parker July 27, 2020, 9:16 am

    I was loving the article until my eyes fell on one of the oldest canards in ballistics—the 32acp is a perfect carry round.

    You don’t need a .44 magnum to be well protected. The guy who gets off the first shot wins. Caliber is secondary.

    There is no trophy for being second—I think an old sourdough said that once or twice.

    • Bill Anderson July 27, 2020, 11:36 am

      I agree completely.

      • Puz July 28, 2020, 8:40 am

        Absolutely. I have the .32 ACP model from Interarms (7+1) and it’s very accurate and frankly…a real sweet shooter.

  • me July 27, 2020, 8:29 am

    I am curious if all shots for accuracy were from single action or was the first shot from double action and the rest single. With that light of a gun and that heavy of a trigger the first would be difficult to keep in a small group.

  • Hulon Lane July 27, 2020, 8:18 am

    Hi Doug. I have a PPK mfg. in 1943 7.65mm that has the “Made in France” branding on it. I also have the original box w/cleaning rod and instruction book. My rear sight is dovetailed in and I believe it to be drift adjusted if someone wanted to. It’s a fine old gun that I have been pocket carrying for many years now without any problems whatsoever. Do9 you happen to know how many of these made in France guns were made for the French police during the German occupation of France? thanks, H. Lane.

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