Firearm of the Week, the Walther PP/K/S

Who is cooler than James Bond? No one is—there is your answer plain and simple. So what could be cooler than having the gun of the coolest dude around? The gun in question is the Walther PPK, Polizei Pistole Kurz / Kriminal.

The Best Bond – With the PPK

“Walther PPK 7.65 mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window, it takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.” —Major Boothroyd to 007 in Dr. No

The first of its kind, the PPK is a quality double-action pistol. The operative word is quality. Other manufacturers attempted it, but with poor success. Pistols before that time were single action only, requiring manual cocking for the first shot. Furthermore, a single-action pistol might discharge with a strong blow to the back of the hammer. The purpose of the double-action design was to increase safety for the user.

Walther PP Polizei Pistole (Police Pistol)

The first entry was the Walther PP, Polizei Pistole. Designed specifically for police officers in the 7.65mm (.32 ACP) cartridge, it was an instant success in both Europe and the United States. For those naysayers who think the .32 ACP is a popgun, the First World War started with two shots from a .32 ACP—two shots and two kills.

In 1931, a smaller version of the PP came on the market in Europe and in the U.S. this model would be the most famous, the Walther PPK. The K has two interpretations. The first is that it stood for Kurz, which translates to Short. The second is Kiminal or Criminal. This was partially due to the gun being popular with a certain criminal element in the last half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, it was Ian Fleming’s character James Bond who made the Walther famous. This included later actors like Sean Connery and Roger Moore who rolled the Bond name off their tongue.

Walther PPK Polizei Pistole Kurz/Kiminal

With the new PP and PPK, a newer and even more potent caliber became available, the .380 ACP. The 380 ACP, or 9mm short caliber, far out-preformed the .32 ACP. One of the many names of the .380 is the 9mm Kurz, much like the gun.

However, leave it to twitchy control laws to affect even James Bond’s gun. In the American Gun Control act of 1968, the Walther PPK in its original form was too short for the law, which required it to be at least four inches tall. Thus, we have the new PPK/S, which met the height requirement. The S stood for Special. I guess tall guns are less dangerous, sorry Bond, not my rule. Nevertheless, this is still a fine gun with all joking aside.

Walther PPK/S (A Kinder and Safer version)

Is the Walther the biggest, loudest, most intimidating gun we’ve looked at? No. However, it is one of the sexiest. You have to be cool to sport one of these pocket rockets. Inevitably, someone will say, “Is that the James Bond gun?” and you had better be ready to bring it!

The Second Best Bond – Sporting the Walther PPK
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Comments (19)

  1. Pingback: 7.65 Walther Ammo
  2. The ww1 don`t start with cal 7.65, 32 APC it start with cal 9×17 (380 APC). He have a Fn 1910 ho was fore Cal 32 and 380. News papper write early the wrong cal but i have never see it in some fore shooters!

    1. You are sadly mistaken:
      The story of James Bond and the Walther PPK goes back to Dr. No, when M asks 007 to hand over his gun. “Yes, just what I thought,” he says angrily, “this damned Beretta again. I’ve told you about this before.” He then hands the pistol to Q, who rolls it over in his hand and quips, “It’s nice and light—in a lady’s handbag. No stopping power.” M looks straight at Bond and says, “You’ll carry the Walther. Show him Q.” He loads the magazine, slaps it into the gun and hands it to 007. “Walther PPK, 7.65mm with a delivery like a brick through a plate-glass window. Takes a brush silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swears by them.” (A technical error on the part of the film’s writers and set armorer, 7.65mm is .32 ACP not .380, an oversight that most people miss in the dialogue.) Bond holds the PPK, feels its weight and balance, and slips it into his tan and blue chamois shoulder holster. And thus the legend began.

  3. The K in PPK does mean Kriminal, but in German, that word translates into “forensic”.. Kriminal is what they call the department in the police force that employs detectives. So it is a smaller, lighter pistol for the detective who wears a sport jacket, as opposed to a uniformed officer.
    PPK = Police Pistol Detective (special)
    Source: an old pistol book that I cannot find at the moment

    1. Thanks to Tag for correcting the article. As cited in many sources, PPK stands for “Police Pistol Kriminal” which would best be translated for American readers as “Detective Special”.

    1. I bought a Walther PP in the early ’70s and carried it for many years as an off duty weapon. I carried it inside the waist band of my pants and had a hard time keeping the slide from rusting. We didn’t have Break Free at that time. The kids started to come a long and I needed money so I sold it. It was a sad day and I have missed it since. I wish I had it still. Every time I let someone else shoot it, they received a slide bite on the web of their hand. It was an accurate marvelous pistol and was not finicky about the ammo fed it. I now have a 1927 Remington P-51 in .380 ACP, I think that is the only caliber it was made in. It is no Walther but it is a clean classy looking pistol like the Walther. Maybe slimmer and with a bit longer slide and shorter grip. It is also a bugger to tear down and put back together. The new guns look thick and blocky and cumbersome. I like the old style best. This weekend, I tried a Bersa .380 and I hated the sights. They were too short and too thick. It also had a feeding problem like about every shot. It might have been the ammo though. I was shooting Sellier & Bellot. Maybe it is a picky eater. I wish I had another Walther.

  4. I bought my PPK/s in 1976 as a gift from me, to me, for graduating from Georgia Tech. Over the years it has been my main concealed carry pistol. Last year I finally had to have my gunsmith replace the trigger spring after only 36 years. What can you say about German engineering and manufacturing? This year I added Crimson Trace lasergrips. At 25 feet, 2″ group. At 50′, 5″ group. At longer range I think I need a bigger gun. I have tried the Bersa and must say it is not in the same league. And yes, when someone asks me about it at the range I reply, Bond, James Bond!

  5. I’m a pretty good shot with my Glock and even better with my colt defender but with my walther ppk/s not so much it’s more of an up close and personal gun in my opinion. But I’m not Bond nor do I pretend to be!

  6. I had a Berma .380 years ago. Would stovepipe any ammo except FMJ. I hope their engineering has improved since then, but for my money I’d have to bank on the reliability and reputation of Walther.

  7. Not even close. There is no comparison between a Bersa Thunder and a Walther PPK. Its like saying a Chevy Lumina and a Bentley Continental are close because they both use gas.

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