Firearms

Walther Knows Pocket Pistols

Walther began making compact pocket pistols in 1908, and over the decades, the company has built a reputation for making well designed and reliable pistols. For example, one of the company’s enduring designs and most familiar models, the Walther PPK, was introduced in 1931. This 83-year-old pistol has gone through some design changes over the years, but it is still an excellent option for self defense and conceal carry.

Walther’s heritage is based on good designs as well as pushing the envelope on manufacturing techniques. During WWII, the full-size P-38 pistol used advanced manufacturing techniques (stamped steel) and materials (such as Bakerlite, a forerunner of polymer) in the production process.

This spirit of innovation and dedication to functionality are carried into the company’s interesting and useful pocket-pistol lineup, which we examine in more detail in this article.

Walther CCP (Conceal Carry Pistol)

Walther CCP 9mm Two Tone Left Angle Safety On
The CCP uses a gas-delayed blowback action that softens felt recoil.

Today, Walther’s CCP is a perfect example of the company continuing to push the envelope on cutting-edge pistol design. What’s unusual about the CCP is the gas-delayed blowback operating system. Most compact pistols, due to their compact design and lighter weight, are harder to operate and the user feels more recoil, especially in those pistols chambered in 9mm Luger. The CCP’s gas-delayed blowback system, or what Walther calls SOFTCOIL Technology, siphons gas from the fired cartridge and directs the gas into a piston under the barrel. This creates a rear opposing force to the slide. The system, according to Walther, helps decrease muzzle rise by a third when compared to similar pistols, producing less felt recoil and faster follow-up shots.

The trigger is smooth and set at 5.5 pounds. It features a manual thumb safety, and the magazine release can be reversed to accommodate both right-and left-hand shooters. A single-stack magazine holds eight rounds. A finger rest is built into the magazine floorplate.

 
Walther CCP
Action Striker fire
Barrel Length 3.5 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger
Overall Length 6.4 inches
Weight Unloaded 22.2 ounces
Sights 3-Dot, removable front, adjustable rear
Grips Textured polymer
Capacity 8+1
Finish Matte black

SLRule

Walther PK380

Walther PK380 with Laser
The PK380’s grip feels good, no matter the size of the shooter’s hand.

The PK380 is built with a polymer frame and steel slide and barrel. The first thing you will notice when you pick up the PK380 is how good the grip feels in your hand. For a petite female to a hulking brute with hams for fists, the PK380 feels right and points naturally. For shooters with big hands, a finger rest is built into the magazine floorplate so your small finger does not dangle off the bottom of the grip.

The controls consist of an ambidextrous safety mounted on the slide near the thumb of either a right- or left-handed shooter. Flip it up to fire the gun; rotate it down to put it on safe. The magazine release is also ambidextrous and built into the trigger guard, so it is easy to release the magazine with whatever hand you shoot with. The trigger has traditional double action/single action operation, with the DA pull about 11 pounds and the SA pull at 4 pounds. The exposed hammer allows the shooter to manually cock the hammer to fire single action, or the shooter can carefully grasp and control the hammer to lower it.

The sights on the PK380 are large and easy to align, especially with the incorporated 3-dot system. The rear sight can be drifted for windage adjustments. On models equipped with a laser, which mounts easily on the accessory rail, the PK380 is easy to shoot accurately at distances beyond point-blank range.

A sliding switch turns the laser on and off, and when the laser is turned on, two red lights facing the shooter inform you that the red dot is activated. With other lasers, the only way to tell the sight is activated is to see the projected dot. This is a nice feature, especially when the sight is used in bright daylight, when it can be hard to see the red dot projected on the target. The laser sight can easily be removed from the PK380 by pulling down on two tabs on either side of the unit and pulling the unit forward and off the accessory rail.

There is not a lot of ramp-up time required to start shooting the PK380 well. First, the magazine is easy on the thumbs. Cartridges are easily pushed into the magazine. The slide is also easy to rack, and that benefit is important to many shooters when considering a pocket pistol because the slides on smaller pistols can be more difficult to pull back. Chambered in .380 ACP, the PK380 is easy to control, even for less experienced shooters. The laser sight is perfect for aiming the pistol without using the sights. Shoot it from the hip or from a cramped, confined space, and you can still accurately hit your target.

 
Walther PK380
Action Double action, single action
Barrel Length 3.66 inches
Caliber .380 ACP
Overall Length 6.5 inches
Weight Unloaded 19.4 ounces
Sights 3-Dot, fixed front, drift adjustable rear; red dot laser
Grips Textured polymer
Capacity 8+1
Finish Matte black receiver and slide

SLRuleWalther Model PPK

Walther PPKS Handgun
The frame of the PPK/S is longer than the PPK, allowing for more magazine capacity.

The Walther Model PPK (Polizei Pistole Kurz) was one of Walther’s earliest compact-pistol designs to use steel stampings successfully. That was high-tech in 1931. Today, steel stampings are common, and the PPK is iconic. The pistol is still popular with LE agencies as a backup gun and with civilians who have concealed-carry permits. The German military used it extensively during WWII, and Ian Fleming armed his famous spy character, James Bond, with the PPK.

The PPK and the PPK/S, which has a longer frame that the PPK, both employ a steel frame, slide, and barrel. They feature a DA/SA trigger system and hold 6+1 and 7+1 rounds, respectively, of .380 ammo.

A trademark feature of the PPK and PPK/S is the decocking safety lever. With the hammer cocked all the way back, the safety is rotated downward, decocking the hammer and allowing it to fall against the decocking lever. These models also have loaded-chamber indicators that can be seen and felt in the dark if need be, telling the user a round is in the chamber. Both models are available in a matte stainless-steel finish or a traditional deep blue.

 
Walther PPK & PPK/S
Action Double action, single action
Barrel Length 3.3 inches
Caliber .380 ACP
Overall Length 6.1 inches
Weight Unloaded 22.4 ounces
Sights sight type
Grips Checkered polymer
Capacity 6+1 (PPK); 7+1 (PPK/S)
Finish Blue, matte stainless

SLRule

Walther PPS

Walther PPS Handgun
The PPS is chambered in 9mm Luger (shown) or .40 S&W.

For those shooters who want more bang in their pocket pistol, the PPS is a suitable combination of concealability and firepower. It is chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W. Not much larger than either the PK380 or the PPK, the PPS is lighter than the PPK and about 2 ounces heavier than the PK380. Even though this pocket pistol uses a larger round, the pistol remains thin—less than an inch thick. This means less bulk to conceal carry. The PPS has a no-nonsense, pure-business look to it, due in part to its matte-black Tenifer finish that is corrosion resistant.

The PPS uses a polymer frame that offers what Walther calls a Quicksafe backstrap, which can be made to custom fit your hand and disable the pistol when removed. No tools are required to remove the backstrap. The trigger safety requires the trigger to be pressed fully to discharge the pistol. It is striker-fire system with about a 6-pound pull. A cocking indicator that can be seen and felt slightly protrudes from the rear of the pistol. It also features as a loaded-chamber indicator by providing a small port that shows a round in the chamber. The 3-dot sights are big and bold and easy to use when acquiring a target. The sights are also made of steel, making them more durable than polymer sights.

Like the PK380, the PPS magazine release is ambidextrous and is built into the trigger guard. For those who like options, there are three magazine sizes, from units that hold six 9mm or five .40 S&W rounds flush to the butt to extended versions that hold up to eight 9mm rounds or seven .40 S&Ws.

 
Walther PPS
Action Striker fire
Barrel Length 3.2 inches
Caliber 9mm Luger, .40 S&W
Overall Length 6.3 inches
Weight Unloaded 21.3 ounces
Sights 3-Dot, fixed front, drift adjustable rear
Grips Textured polymer, modular grip strap
Capacity 6/7/8+1 (9mm); 5/6/7+1 (.40 S&W)
Finish Matte black

Do you own a Walther pistol? Like it? Don’t like it? Tell us about your experiences with Walther firearms in the comment section.

[rsadowski]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (21)

  1. The CCP has the WORST trigger I have ever used! Long, gritty and all together an epic fail by Walther standards.

    What were they thinking?

    I do like the PPS M2, but as for the PPK, I’d take the Bersa Thunder CC over it because it’s the spitting image of the PPK and costs less.

  2. I have a PPQ M2 and a PPS, both in 9mm. Both are awesome hand guns. The PPS is my EDC and I usually carry the 7 or 8 rd mag, always with one in the chamber. I carry IWB or OTW depending on my attire using Alien Gear. The weapon is accurate, reliable and very easy to shoot. Feels great in the hand with very manageable felt recoil. The PPQ is nothing short of an unbelievable pistol. It’s feel, accuracy, reliability (over 3000 rounds of multiple manufacturers with zero failures) and again, the best trigger out there, period. We live in a Glock world but I shoot Walther.

  3. I’ve been carrying the PPS .40S&W since it came out and absolutly love it. I have a small hand so the single stack is wonderful, combined with 3 sizes of back strap it will fit almost everyone. 5,6,7 round +1 magizines are suffecent, I always carry all 3. The 5 rnd mag allows me to carry in the summer wearing a t-shirt with no printing at all during the other seasons I use the 7 rnd mag. The magazine release takes a bit of getting used to but I have found the design to be excellent, heres why, when the magazine is empty the slide locks open, my hand stays in battery position w/ trigger finger extended while my second finger sweeps downward releasing and dropping the empty magazine by this time I already have removed my backup from my rear pocket and insert it. My reload time is less than .5 seconds because I never adjust my grip with my dominate firing hand.
    I will always have my Walther PPS. I use an IWB “Gun Glove” Holster and it is spectacular, but that story is foe anouther day.

  4. I carry the PK380 and absolutely love it! Picked it up as my first handgun with the main purpose of concealed carry. With my Crossbreed holster it does that quite well. At the range it’s never failed me with the only issues being from bad ammunition. It’s also quite accurate and consistent, which is what I want for a carry firearm.

  5. I have a PPKS in .22 cal. An excellent shooter but the d/a trigger pull is over 20 lbs. Can anyone help me.

    Thankd

  6. Owned the PPS a few years. Concealed carry, back up weapon, even range time works well. I find that the 9 is accurate and easy to handle.
    I have large hands, but no problems with handling.

  7. Have 2 Walther PP’s in .32 acp ;a matched pair made in germany @ Ulm Duo on the Rhine in Germany . Steel framed and slide,I bought in 1970’s. Got em, lovem’ all.

  8. Walther is most definitely my favorite and the only pistols I buy. I absolutely love my PK380 and nothing has ever felt as comfortable in my hand. I carry it on me every night because of the hours I return home from work. I also love my PPQ. The trigger is second to none. Walther is just all around great quality and craftsmanship.

  9. I have the PPS in 9mm. Very accurate for such a small gun, but is unpleasant to shoot due to small grip and snappy recoil. Not exactly painful, but not something anyone I’ve let shoot it would want to regularly train with. Don’t even want to contemplate shooting the .40 S&W version. High marks for concealability though, and the reliability has been perfect for several hundred rounds so far.

    My wife has had two P22s (the new generation grip is really sweet for her small hands) and she loved both of them. She also had a PK380 that she traded in very quickly, because it had a nasty habit of ejecting the brass straight back at her face. Not a major danger wearing safety glasses at the range, but distracting as hell, and definitely not something you want to have happen in a defensive situation.

  10. I own Glocks , S&W’s , Colts , and I had a PPK . I now carry a PPQ and its its one of the finest guns I have ever used , no joke .
    Not to big to carry and not to heavy . Best handling and best trigger on any sem-auto pistol I have ever had used . With the right holsters — Kramer horsehide paddle –or a Stealthgear Onyx IWB , it is without equal IMO.

  11. I have a P22, PK380, P99 in 9mm and 40 cal. Love them all, especially the P99’s. Prefer the decocking lever of the P99 to the manual safety of the P22 and PK380. Don’t like having to use the safety and cock the hammer to fire! Great quality firearms.

  12. Walther PP, 32 auto pre war stamped with eagles for approved use by Hitler officers. Police pistol tried to buy from my uncle when I was about 18. Before he died he instructed my mother to give to me when she thought I was old enough. Got it for my 48th birthday.

    1. Heh. I like your carefully-crafted ambiguity. MAYBE your mother is overprotective. MAYBE she’s not! ; )

  13. I have a PK380 love it. Nice carry gun, never failed to fire at the range, no picky about ammo type. Have been very pleased with this gun. I also have the P22 I shoot at the range for fun. Big difference between the two. P22 is picky as to ammo. wrong ammo an its going to stove or jam on you. I even called Walther to make sure I bought the most updated version at the time. Its fun to shoot but no as a carry, PK380 is a much better choice to carry.

  14. I’ve got a PPS in both 9 and .40, as well as the PPQ in 9. I love them all. Great shooters–accurate & feel good in the hand. That said, I modified the backstraps of my PPS guns by dremeling off the ridges so they weren’t as harsh. Made a huge difference for me.

    1. I also have a PPS in 9mm and I love it. One thing worth mentioning is that the recoil on the PPS is much less than you would expect for a gun that size. I think is has something to do with the dual recoil springs on the two part guide rod. German engineering at its finest.

  15. No mention of the PPQ!? It’s only 0.12″ wider, and 0.18 taller, and 0.69″ longer.
    So,
    The PPQ is less than 0.15 wider.
    The PPQ is less than 0.20 taller.
    The PPQ is less than 0.70 longer.
    And it holds 14 instead of 8….
    I love the gas delayed blowback, but thr the trigger on the PPQ has beem called thebest trigger ever, and I bet I can use my dremel and polish things ever better.

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