The Walther PPK: Still a Good Carry Gun

Black-handled, silver barreled Walkter PPK, barrel pointed to the right on a white background.

In this article we’re going to see if the Walther PPK is a good concealed carry option.

Among the most respected small self-loading pistols is the Walther PPK. The Walther P series was not the first double-action, first-shot pistol; the Little Tom predated the Walther, although the Walther PP was widely recognized as a high-quality, well-made and reliable handgun with good features.

Demand for a more compact version resulted in the PPK or detective version.

A black handled, silver barreld Walther PPK and box of ammunition, with barrel pointed down and to the left on wooden plankts.
The pistol proved reliable with a variety of loadings. This is a quality handgun.

The compact PPK is shorter in the slide and barrel, and the grip frame is also shorter.

The later PPK/S is a result of import points and other nonsense instigated after the 1968 Gun Control Act. The PPK/S features the short slide of the Walther PPK and full-length grip of the PP.

The PPK/S is not a bad gun at all. The combination of what was seen as an onerous law and great respect for the PPK affected sales of the PPK/S even though, eventually, the pistol was widely accepted; after all, there was no way to get a PPK.

Some years later, Walther began manufacturing the pistol in America, and the rest is history since import points are not applied to our own handguns.

The PPK is a fine gun. However, if you have fired the full-size, original PP pistol, you will realize that the PPK is a great shooter, easy to manage and accurate.

Features of the PPK

The PPK became known as the carry gun of one Bond, James Bond. I do not wear a tuxedo, and I drive a Ford Truck, not an Aston Martin. However, I still appreciate the Walther PPK. It is a simple pistol in most ways.

The trigger action is double-action, first-shot, and the operating action is a simple blow-back without the complication of a locked breech. The barrel is about 3.25 inches long, and it is heavier than the new breed of polymer-frame guns.

Black-handled, silver barreled Walther PPK, barrel pointed to the left, with focus on the slide mounted safety on a white background
The slide mounted safety of the Walther PPK isn’t difficult to manipulate.

It is heavier for a reason. The recoil is light, and the pistol is also very accurate, even surprisingly so. The double-action, first-shot pull is long and smooth and most useful at conversational range.

The single-action press is smooth and crisp at just under 4 pounds, which makes the trigger action an aid to accurate fire. A slide-mounted safety and decocker are part of the design. Pressing the decocker down safely lowers the cocked hammer and, if left down, the lever operates as a safety.

The PPK safety is easily manipulated by average-size hands. Unlike the safety lever of larger pistols such as the Beretta 92, this slide-mounted lever is easily reached due to the small dimensions of the PPK. The fit and finish of the Walther PPK are excellent. The hand fit is good, and while a large hand may be a little cramped, the pistol fits most of us well.

The 7-round magazines are of high quality, and the magazine release is positive.

My pistol came with two magazines. One features a finger-rest extension that makes it a better fit for larger hands. The checkered grips give your hand good adhesion when firing. That is important because the hand must be stable when firing the pistol and operating the double-action trigger.

The PPK’s slide has a reputation for biting the web of the firing hand in recoil. I experienced that trauma during these firing tests. Perhaps there is a means of gripping the pistol to avoid the problem.

By keeping a solid grip and the web a little lower, you can avoid that problem.

When disassembling the pistol, I noticed the rear edges of the slide are sharp.

In the past, the pistol also had a less-than-stellar reputation for reliability. However, after owning at least a half dozen of the type in the original PP, PPK and PPK/S versions (including one .22 LR and several .32 ACP versions), I cannot recall a malfunction. I did own a well-worn police trade that occasionally dropped the magazine due to a worn magazine catch, but the pistols have been generally trustworthy.

I believe they need more frequent cleaning and lubrication than some types, although that is part and parcel of older designs. And older designs are not a bad thing. They simply require more maintenance.

You must grasp the pistol firmly to ensure function. The PPK is a blow-back action—the simplest of designs—with a recoil spring that wraps around the barrel.

How to Field Strip a Walther PPK

  1. Remove the magazine.
  2. Rack the slide several times to be certain the handgun is not loaded.
  3. Place a fingertip in the chamber to be certain, beyond any question, the chamber is empty (this is an NRA-certified method of clearing the pistol).
  4. Press the trigger guard down.
    The tip of the trigger-guard housing will butt into the slide, anchoring the slide to the frame.
    With the trigger guard depressed, pull the slide to the rear.
  5. Tilt the rear of the slide up and over the front of the barrel, separating the slide from the barrel.
    The recoil spring remains wrapped around the barrel. The fixed barrel cannot be easily removed.

This is all the disassembly needed for routine maintenance.

Shooting the PPK

The Walther magazines are a good design that captures the loaded cartridges securely under the feed lips. Loading magazines requires some effort. I broke out my personal example from the safe, lubricated it and made it ready for this test and review.

I loaded the pistol with Fiocchi 95-grain FMJ for the range work, ammunition that is reliable, accurate and clean burning. I fired 50 rounds of the Fiocchi cartridges in rapid-fire range drills and discovered the pistol is more accurate than you would think for the size.

The sights are a limiting factor; however, they are larger than those on many pocket pistols of the era.

The Walther is fast on the draw. The double-action trigger is smoother in some examples than others. After about 5 yards, rather than attempting to stage the trigger and hope for a hit, you may as well cock the hammer for deliberate fire.

In the single-action mode, the Walther is quite accurate, and it is not difficult to put a magazine into the X-ring at 10 yards in rapid fire. Recoil is controllable. I am no fan of the .380 ACP for personal defense—it is what it is.

I have some question as to the advisability of using an expanding bullet in this caliber.

The balance of penetration and expansion is too short on the side of expansion with most JHP loads in this caliber, limiting the effect of the cartridge.

The .380 ACP simply is not powerful enough to both penetrate and expand with most loads. This is a personal decision. I have proofed the PPK with a number of hollow-point loads and found them reliable and accurate enough for defense. The single, most important component of wound potential is marksmanship.

Fiocchi offers a number of good hollow-point loads, one of which is the Extreme Terminal Performance (XTP) bullet.

This is a loading I trust to provide adequate penetration with expansion as well, which provides an accurate, reliable loading suitable for personal defense.

The Walther PPK as a handgun is popular, often based more on appearance, fit, finish and even mystique than performance. There are more powerful handguns, although few that give you such pride of ownership.

The balance of the handgun is ideal, and it carries well. It is often considered a pocket pistol and may fit most pockets well. The PPK is an easy handgun to fire accurately at close range, at least in single-action fire, and it comes on target quickly in trained hands. Overall, there is little to fault.

The PPK is an iconic pistol that should be in every handgunner’s collection.

Side Note

Although James Bond is well-known for carrying a Walther PPK, a real-life individual who saw real action was the late Skeeter Skelton. Skelton was a gun writer active for several decades. His work could be taken to the bank.

Skelton’s talent was such that, occasionally, he passed the information and enlightenment stage to produce real literature. As a working cop on the Mexican border, Skelton was serious about finding a credible weapon for under-the-shirt carry that was not conspicuous.

The 2.5-inch barrel Smith and Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum did not quite make it; he preferred the Colt Commander .45. He also carried the PPK by necessity.

He tested the pistol’s penetration against pine boards. Compared to the most common .38 Special loading of the day, the 158-grain RNL, the PPK .380 ACP had the same penetration against pine boards. The 158-grain .38 breaks about 700 fps from a 2-inch barrel and the 95-grain FMJ .380 ACP breaks over 900 fps.

Clearly, either was comparable for concealed carry. Today, personal defense loads have greatly improved the .38 Special and give it a clear advantage. Just the same, the .380 ACP has the penetration to get to the vitals. The rest is up to you.

During the test program, I used an Alien Gear IWB/Tuckable of the hybrid type, an affordable, quality holster with a clean bill of health.

Accuracy Results

15 yards, bench-rested, 5-shot groups

Fiocchi 95-grain FMJ2.8 inches
Fiocchi 90-grain JHP2.4 inches
PMC 95-grain FMJ3.4 inches

Have you used or tested any of the Walter PPK pistols? Share your opinions, experiences, and results in the comments section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (82)

  1. I have had a PP several times over the years, all used. My first PP was in 1972. It never failed no matter what 380 ammo I fed it with. All were very accurate and I made sure I held them so as not to incur the dreaded “slide bite”. Today there is an incredible array of 380 ammo to choose from. Yes, thee are negatives and positives to anything, no matter what it is. As for the Walther PPK/S it has reached a very high point in it’s class and yes, thee will be people that on one end will hate it and the other, love it. I have known many people that have owned, used and carried one for many years and the truth is that the majority of users of this fine weapon find it very appropriate for it’s intended use, concealability, function and value. If you want my mathematics, it comes to a nice 98.6% positive rating….that’s 50 years worth of use and opinions from dozens of years and shooters. Based on that, Yes, I’m getting a brand new PPK/S…!


  3. I have a ppks 380 carry it a the time never had a problem i think its a very good gun. I buy nothing but stainless steel guns I like the heftyness and keep them polished. Payed $450 for mine in the late 90s.

  4. My own experiences with the PPK have not been favorable. It jammed frequently. Multiple efforts to improve this unreliability failed. Don’t forget that the police officer protecting Princess Anne had a PPK and it jammed on the second shot, causing him to be shot by the assailant. I have two friends who have also had similar problems with the PP and PPK. They may be well made but the feed mechanism is not at all good

  5. It is late at night and I have stayed up way too late. This has been a great thread starting with the original story. I just purchased a PPK/S that is the Arkansas made weapon. I have long wanted one and after a long time of not doing so have decided to conceal carry once again. I do love the look and feel of this gun. I have only had it for a few weeks but here is my summary: I found it easy to handle, easy to conceal (DeSantis holster) and really accurated. I didn’t fire hundreds of rounds but I did fire about thirty rounds. The gun is accurate and easy to fire. Didn’t have a problem with pull on the DA side but quite honestly I really prefer pulling the hammer back to begin with. I can’t imagine that or moving the safety as any real delay for me in poor circumstances. I love the gun and given my seventy six years on earth will carry it until! The only negative is it is very hard for me at my age to pull the slide back. I am thinking on trying a different spring and see how that goes.

    I did a lot of research prior to my purchase and did run into one really interesting story about the safety recall with the S&W produced gun. Some of them did indeed go off doing DeCocking! That is enough for me in and of itself. What I ran into doing my research was a gentleman who was angry because he felt like S&W didn’t do “Due Diligence” in notifying people of the recall. He really felt like they didn’t get the word out near enough because they didn’t want to hurt the brand and sales. Pretty serious business that! It didn’t worry me as I was buying a new gun produced in Ft. Smith!

    Thanks to everyone for the comments and insight! I hope most will join me in hoping that they will never need to use their carry weapon! Honestly, I returned to carry because I cannot physically defend my wife at my age and I do not intend to not be able to defend the love of my life!

  6. The only missing point in your story about the James Bond gun is that Bond carried a 7.65mm (32 cal) PPK. I have one. Great shooter and my back up gun.

  7. HAHA!!.. You guys do NOT even sell the PPK or PPK/s. And as a collector of some decades with a dozen PP’s, ppK’s and PPK/s I can say one fact the ones made by Smith and Wesson were pieces of JUNK. Zero quality control almost every one had cosmetic damage at least and mechanical damage at worst. NO surprise they had all the recalls.

    Every S&W ones I did try to order in the past I refused the transfer, yes they were that bad gritty slides, sharp edges or worst. Just bought a couple of the newest 2021 US made Walther ones and they are spot on just like the German made ones great fit and finish. One in a year has over 3000 rounds and not a problem. Oh I ONLY buy black ; ) can’t stand SS on any gun.

  8. It’s been awhile since I’ve read the “Bond” novels ,but in the first novel Bond carried a .25 caliber Berreta. I love my original 1945 pp in .32 cal . It is nickeled (the cheaper plating done to sell to the occupieing GI’s for cigarettes I was told. They were allowed to put the Guns together from parts remaining in stock in the factories , under supervision of course). The earlier nickeled Walthers were works of art and are worth much more.

  9. I have a Interarms PPK, and had a German-made, both in .380 ACP.

    Both are very reliable, concealable and accurate. I never had a stoppage.

    The Galco Shoulder Lite holster is excellent for concealed carry under a shirt. I used it when I worked with currency exchange. Never a client noted that I was armed.

    I suffered a robbery attempt once, when I was returning to office carrying a lot of currency. The criminal was wearing a motorcycle helmet and stalked me at back. I drew the Walther PPK (Interarms) from the Galco Shoulder Lite and, turning to point backwards, the pistol slide hitted and broke the helmet visor. I don´t fired, because the criminal went in panic and fled away.

  10. I have recently purchased a 380 cal. PPK, its stamped S & W. it has only been fired once by the manufacturer. so the gun as not been used. what was the problem with the S & W ppk. I did call S & W but they couldn’t tell me the date of manufacture by the S S number.

    If anyone knows what the problem was I would appreciate a reply

  11. Thx Vader. Hate to give up on the ppk. I have 3 ccw, Depends on ability to conceal (clothes). Sig P229 .40, ppk, Ruger lcp.

  12. Although the feed ramp should always be bright and polished, all of my stovepipe and FTE failures went away when I replaced the recoil spring. I used Wolff Springs, and I also now use a 16 pound spring instead of the manufacturer 20 pound spring, which although it increases the recoil, allows for the slide to fully go back. Don’t limp wrist it, that also can cause some stovepipes.

    The PPK/S and the new Ruger ECS9 are the only CCW for me because I can keep on in the chamber and they have a solid mechanical safety.

  13. I have a ppk/s .380 I got long before I started ccw. Now I carry it I shoot it a lot more. Have found it picky about ammo. It shoots Hornedy critical defence ok, but I don’t trust to carry it anymore. Stove pipes win white and Fibocchi. Any recommendations on ammo or does it need a gun Smith? Thx

  14. Can someone please tell me if the PPK/PP have second-strike capability in the event of a misfire? Meaning, can I pull the trigger a second time and not have to rack the slide?

    1. Most definitely you have second strike. In normal carry mode, the first shot is DA and followup shots are SA. You can keep pulling the trigger until it goes “Bang!”

      Of course, it always helps to have the gun loaded! 😉

  15. Go to Wolff springs and get a spring that’s slightly less strong, by 1-2 lbs. You”ll have a gun easier to “rack” but it will also have a stronger recoil. I did that about 6 years ago to by PPK/S and I’ve put a few thousand rounds through it since.

  16. I have just started to shot my PPK and find that it is difficuylt for me to slide back and set the barrel for shooting. Is there any way to make this action easier?

  17. There’s a story of a 50 year old lady who took down a stalker with a Walther PPK (caliber unknown). A friend had just given her the pistol hours before the attack. No prior firearms training. The stalker broke into her home, wearing black leather gloves. If it wasn’t for that pistol, she’d be dead today. Google Ryan Lee Bergner. There’s also a recording of the actual 911 call on youtube.

  18. I have owned three PPK/S Walthers in .380 and one Nazi marked PPK in 7.65. All were flawless, accurate and, while I may just be lucky, they never bit the hand that fed them. Something shinier always seemed to come along, but if I ever get my hands on another one, I’m keeping it.

  19. I have one of the origional PPK .32 Cal. that was given to me by a Colonel who served in Germany during WW II. It was retrieved from the battlefield. It has a brown leather holster that covers the handle when closed. It has a Swastika on the frame. It is still in good condition with Nickle frame and black handles. It is one of my prized pistols.

  20. I have carried a PP for almost 35 years and never a problem
    I was the Director of a Drug Interdiction Program and this was my back up and I LOVE it. To this day it is in the small of my back in its custom made Bianci Holster
    There is a guy on eBay who makes a small piece of “plastic” that slides under the backtail to prevent the webslice that is talked about. However with several thousand rounds thru mine I have never had the issue. I guess it just depends on the hand shape. It must be enough for him to design this solution (about $10) do a search for Walther PPK and it will show up

  21. I have an Interarms ppk bought new in I believe the 80’s. I used it as my summertime carry . At the range a very reliable, accurate pistol. The workmanship inpecable . Only early on in break in did I ndexperience a few fte or ftf. A great gun as far as being. .380. Keep it well lubed and never have worries. My sweatshirt and cold weather carry is a sig p245 or glock36,browning 1911.. Anyway in mid 90’s I purchased a sig p232. I just had to say that the sig p232 is in my opinion in many ways equal in accuracy to the ppk. It has a lighter trigger pull, a few ounces less in weight ,not as many sharp edges and definitely needs to be mentioned when comparing. 380 carry pistols. Sig saur did a great job copying the ppk look while improving the above.

    1. Nick,

      I totally agree with you on the Sig P232. The only drawback I have found with the 232 is the magazine release button. Having the magazine release at the bottom of the handle makes it impossible (at least for me) to release the magazine with one hand, unlike the PPK and the Sig P22x series pistols.

    2. So, I need some info on my nazi swastaka
      Walter ppk ……. What ammo does it use
      .380 ammo does not work even though it fits
      the clip! The bullet does not chamber!

      What do you think it’s worth ?

    3. I would think 9mm. I can’t see the markings or the condition. You can look it up via internet or gun value book. Good luck.

    4. Hope you haven’t damaged it by trying to use .380 ACP (9mm Kurz). The other ammunition PPK and PPK/S p;der models use it .32 ACP or 7.65MM. You might also have a 9MM magazine sold to you on a pistol that is 7.65MM chambered. Make sure the magazine is also 7.65MM and matches the chamber. There should be some writing describing the chamber size on the slide.

      To get an idea of what it’s worth, look at the Bluebook of Gun Values.

    5. It is most likely a .32 ACP caliber (7.65×17mm) model. If it is really a PPK, they I really doubt it is a 9mm. If a .380 will not fit the chamber, then how would a 9mm? Also, I can see a .380 round being able to squeeze into a .32 mag. I really betcha it’s a .32. Worth depends a lot on condition.

  22. Right after I purchased my 2006 PPK, I read about the recall. I called S&W/Walther to find out more about the nature of the recall. Out of thousands of S&W Walthers, several (single digits) had supposedly discharged while being de-cocked. I took advantage of re-call for safety & liability sake. Within days they sent me a box postage paid. Sent my new gun in & had it back in under three weeks. They put a punch mark on the extended grip tang (thank you S&W)to show gun had been ‘repaired’. Great customer service. Every firearm manufacturer has had a recall at one time. Even the boutique brands! Anyway, Walther getting in bed with S&W was a great thing at the time. I wish Walther good luck with their independence. Two great companies building a fine firearm! Relax! Peace.

  23. After reading so many comments & reviews on the PPK, I can’t understand all the hate on the S&W PPK &PPKs. My 2006 PPK in 380 has over 1000 trouble free rounds through it and stainless is the only way to go in a steel gun. They’re made by S&W for gosh sake! Even the extended grip tang was a great move. Best move ever for Walther. I just hope now that they’ve become independent from S&W they don’t blow it. The new .22 Walther looks like a cheap,cast toy!

  24. Great comments all. It’s my understanding after researching my Manhurin, all PP’s & PPK’s were made by them in France post war. Wether badged Walther or Manhurin. Had to do with factory getting destroyed & then weapon manufacturing after war. So don’t let Manhurin keep you from buying a great gun or get too happy about having a post war German PPK or PP. All made in France until made here. Bond’s gun would have been a French made PPK if issued new in ’52. Just sayin. Great firearms with a noble history.

  25. I have two Walther PPK’s, one 380 and one 32 ACP. The first time I fired the .32 my first shot was in the X ring and my second shot cut the same hole as the first. I have never accomplished this before with and hand gun. That includes Kimber, Springfield Arms, Ruger and Sig Saur.
    I carry the .32 constantly.

  26. I own & carry a 1954 PP in .32 & a 2006 PPK in .380. Both guns perform flawlessly at the range. Both are carried in a shoulder holster and/or IWB. Nice,classic firearms that work first,look good second. The extended grip tang is an improvement on the new PPK. Even if the purists hate it. Get one. Legends in Leather makes a great MI6 shoulder holster that fits both guns and others. M

  27. Just to clarify, the character “James Bond” carried a Walther PP 32 auto. That was his weapon of choice. He may have carried the PPK later in movies, but read the books. I dont meant to be a correction nazi, but it had to be said!

  28. I put Pachmayr grips on mine when I bought it back in the 70’s. They fit nicely around the gun, but were a little bit of a pain to put on. They show a little wear, but still do the job. I don’t know if Pachmayr still makes that kind of grip for the PPK.

    1. Our hosts here at CTD offer two styles of Pachmayr rubber grips for both PPK and PPK/S – at the best prices around, of course!

  29. No doubt about it, the German made pre-ban PPK’s are a prize. Only downside were the tacky plastic grips that came with it that covered the mainspring. Newer iterations of the PPK/PPKS have the mainspring in the backstrap and you can outfit them easily with a nice Pachmayr grip which I find gives a much better grip on the PPKS than what is afforded by the stock grips. On the PPK, my late gunsmith ran across a pair of custom carve rosewood grips and sold them to me for a song. Added a little beef to the grip for me and look beautiful on the gun.

    Definitely a better EDC gun than the Ruger LCP but… Now retired, I tend to shun sport and suit coats so I’m limited to a pocket gun or ankle holster for EDC. The PPK is marginal for the former and I have never gotten used to an ankle holster so for me, it’s the Ruger LCP which I don’t leave home without.

    At the end of the day, the best gun for CC is the gun you will ALWAYS Carry. At 12.6 oz, the LCP is that gun.

  30. I bought my PPK–German, mid 70s I believe–from a friend in the mid-80s. Glad I kept it because it is probably better than 95% of the newer .380 pocket pistols, not to mention a bargain by comparison. Only problem is that my wife prefers it over her S&W M&P 9, or her Sig 2022–both are too large for concealment in her opinion. So I seldom see it. At the range I can keep most shots in the 10-ring at 15 yards, SA,, but ideally it’s a close range gun. It’s no match for my Smith 3913, but it is very nicely concealable. I’d certainly recommend it over, say, a Ruger 380 LCP or similar poly-frame guns.

  31. I have a matched pair with consec. Ser. Nos.. Made in Germany Post WW 2 @ the Elm Do Factory on the Rhine River. A Prized possession to be sure. New.

  32. I bought my PPK back in the early ’70’s and used it sparingly for 2nd line of defense long before anyone called small handguns “concealed carry”. It was perfect for carrying inside a pants pocket or even inside one of my socks. Being all steel, it had a nice heft that I liked, and I think it contributed to the great accuracy (2″ groups @ 25 yds standing).

    Sadly, I sold it because i wanted a large caliber “knock-down” weapon so a perp would not get back up. Unfortunately, even the polymer .45’s are somewhat too big to stuff in my sock. I really wish I had kept my PPK.

  33. I have not seen any 32 cal for sale in quite a while. As far as price, I would estimate $500-700.00. I bought mine about 20 years ago at a local Gun Shop. I had been looking for one for years and when I came across this one, I bought it right then and there. It has a lanyard ring and was manufactured after the war and issued to German Police. I read somewhere that after the war, Germany was restricted in manufacturing 9mm or 9kurtz (380), therefore 32 acp was the caliber issued. Dont know how much new ones are, but they are nice pieces to own.

    1. Go to Gun Broker or Guns America and you’ll see them. Sit down before you look, however. The WW2 Nazi ones go for up to 4K. The 22LR or new .380 ACP go from 350 to 800. New from 600-700.

    2. Hi Jose
      I recently bought a Wlather PPK .32 and paid $720 for it.The very first time I tool it to an indoor range I shot the first two rounds at 7 yards and the first two bullets cut the same hole and the third shot was a missfire and when I pulled the trigger the fourth time I was only 1″ away. I was so excited I could not believe I did that. Yes the gun is a bit spindy and the ammo is higher than a 9MM but I like it and I am keeping it. I also have a HK-P30S and it is a really great gun as well, it is my primary carry.

  34. My PPKS (.380) has the Interarms, Alexandria, VA stamp, but on the other side of the slide it also says Carl Walther Waffenfabrik Ulm/Do, and off to the right, just above the mag. release it says “Made in W. Germany.” Anyone know what the story is with this one?
    Functions well, not sure of the accuracy, need to fire it more. Very stiff DA trigger pull. The spring that controlled the loaded chamber indicator above the firing pin was broken when I bought it, and I had it replaced. Also have two Bersa PP copies, which are great guns.

    1. No mystery, Marcus. The PPK/S was designed by Walther to meet the “points” criteria imposed by the 1968 gun act which prevented the import of the PPK and many other fine guns. Interarms was only an importer hence both names appeared on the gun. It was only much later in “life” that Walther licensed the patents and the Walther began to be produced in the US. AFAIK, Walther still does not manufacture in the US, all the Walthers made here are made by other firms under license.

    2. With the PPK’s the big problem is cycling (stovepipes and jams) and it’s usually either the springs or a dirty/rough feed path. In many cases the spring is too strong and the problem goes away by going to a softer spring like 18 or 16 lbs instead of the standard 20 lbs. Polishing the feed path is usually the other problem, but more rare.

      The Nazi copies, if in good condition are worth some money, especially if you have some sort of papers on it. Check on Gun Broker the prices and you might just want to keep it in the gun safe appreciating in value.

  35. I have 2 Walther PP’s, matched pair, consec. serial num’s. Was given to me by Military officer during?–that war. Blued W/2 mags ea.. But in .32 acp instead of .380. Original German manu. @ Elm Do on the Rhine River. Told couldn’t use as a backup so.; I Quit and went somewhere else. It was a Good Luck thing like a 4 leaf clover. Still have & hides out anywhere. Especially in my Navy pigskin flight jacket inside lower left pocket. Perfect since I’m Right Handed. Loaded with Win. hollow point Silver Tips.

  36. I’ve owned a PPK Hungarian knockoff for about 15 years, use it for my CCW. Great hand fit, excellent target acquisition, and more than adequate accuracy. I’d take another in a heartbeat!

  37. Great article , my ww2 & Korea uncle left me a ppk with a swastika stamp on it ……. Bought a box of .380 acp since I was told it was the ammo for it ….. But
    It didn’t fit …… I know now from this article that it probably is .320 ACP that I need …. Thanks

  38. This article features the Interarms US made PPk, the model I own. I only have about five hundred rounds through mine, but it has NEVER failed to function. Just keep it lubed! A simple manual polish with “crocus cloth” of the feed ramp and the upper chamber will avoid any possible issues. Note that the more recent Walther/Smith @ Wesson produced PPks are less safe and reliable—every single one was recalled for crucial safety improvements. If you find one to buy, make sure that it has been through the recall process. Their only advantage is a longer frame tang which eliminates “slide bite.” Using a rubber grip sleeve with finger ridges also helps lower the grip and avoid the bite, which otherwise is a real issue. If you see and Interarms PPk in good condition for sale, JUMP ON IT!……………………….elsullo

  39. I’ve owned a pre-ban (1967 proof mark) PPK since 1970. I carried it both off duty and in plain clothes assignments for twenty years. Never a problem with it. It shot like pointing your finger. Still have it and a PPK/S stainless and qualify with it every year.

    Now retired, my EDC is a Ruger LCP that will do the job with a good load and in the right hand… mine!

    Yeah, the Walther will “bite” you, but that’s what happens whenever you don’t know and respect a particular gun.

  40. I purchased a new PPK-S in the late 70s. It was my first handgun. It still holds the record of being the worst handgun I ever owned or fired. Maybe I didn’t know enough to try different ammunition, but I never managed to fire a full magazine without a failure. It both stove-piped and mis-fed. When it did, you needed a screwdriver or pliers to clear it.

    It wasn’t big or heavy enough to be useful club, though I suppose if I had tied it to a rope or chain, it would have made an ok smiley. It was pretty, though. Just not much of a gun.

    1. You can find them used on Guns America or Gun Broker, or buy them new directly from a dealer/gun shop. They go about 600-800 new for current models. The antiques with provenance go for 750-6000 depending on their history, condition, etc.

      It may not be the latest fancy design, but for a design that’s about 75 years old, it’s still a valid, useful, great and classic weapon design. My son and I own 22 handguns and that’s my conceal carry. Somewhat heavier and with smaller caliber when (because it’s made of steel) compared to many of the new small handguns, but it’s solid and accurate in my hands. I took mine out to a USMC range a few months ago and many of the Marines on the range loved it. The Sig P22x (the 226 is their main weapon-MARSOC) and I own 5 of them is also a great weapon and more accurate , but it’s not as compact as the PPK or PPK/S. It’s all a matter of application, experiences, taste and human ergonomics.

      An old USMC Gunny once told me: “A weapon is like a sexual partner. Some you fall in love with instantly, some you hate and some you only want to use only once……”

  41. I have owned 8 and still own 6 P Series handguns. They are Pre-War, War Issue and Post-War PP’s, PPK’s and PPK/S’s in 7.65 and .380 caliber. I’ve never had any problem with any of them. I also own Walther Olympia’s, Walther P-38’s and Walther HP’s (Heeres Pistole). Any of Walther’s guns manufactured in Zella-Mehlis and Ulm are exceptional in quality and use.

  42. I have owned and carried a PPK .32cal for almost 15 years. Cannot get this piston in .32cal anymore, but have found it to be a fine shooter and a faster to bring back on target than the 380, during rapid fire. For carry, I load the magazine with alternating Federal HydroShock and FMJ. Many consider the .32cal too light for personal defense, but the effectiveness of the round is really in the proficiency of the shooter.

    1. I agree, Tim. I miss not beiong able to buy the .32 ACP PPK model from Walther. I shot one and thought it was a great weapon. I have owned for years a PPK/S in .380 ACP and have had some feed failures but thery were caused by too strong a spring (20lbs) from the manufacturer. I went down to 16lbs and the feed problems went away. Limbsaver makes some great grips for the PPK and PPK/S which although they make the gun a little fatter, they eliminate the slide bites and make it easier to shoot a few hundred rounds at the range without sore hands the next day. Love that gun. Hope it comes back in .32 ACP and send a letter to Walther telling them to bring it back!

  43. I carried a ’67 PPK for backup starting in 1973 when I was on duty as a police officer. It was comfortable to carry and shoot and was totally reliable for me. I shot it extensively in training without a failure. Strangely, I never suffered from the bite of the slide. Our duty weapon was a .357 revolver and we never were able to certify a semi auto for duty carry as of 1981. At that time there just wasn’t a semi auto that was as reliable as the revolver. Later in life I bought a stainless Interarms PPK when they were just being introduced here. That one also has been 100% reliable and accurate. I later bought one of Interarms first TPH stainless .22s and was not as thrilled with the reliability. I finally figured out that it would function reliably with standard velocity ammo. I have no experience with the later S&W models but have heard they were not as reliable.

  44. PPK .380 magazine capacity is 6 rounds not 7 as written. PP and PPK/S have 7 round .380 capacity.

  45. I have owned a Walther PPK for almost 30 years. I have never gotten slide bite from it. I’ve put 300+ rounds through it and use it as my primary conceal carry weapon. It’s a great little gun, easy to disassemble, easy to clean and easy to care for. I’ve dropped it and never had a mis-fire and never had it get damaged. It’s just a flat out reliable firearm. Although aftermarket clips for it are not very good, they tend to have feed problems. Also these guns do not like CHEAP ammo – at least mine doesn’t. Buy the good stuff. I use 95 grain Gold Dot HP in mine and never have an issue. It runs about $21 for a box of 20 rounds, but you get what you pay for. use original Walther clips and good ammo and the gun will be a true reliable defense weapon.

  46. ‘Bond used a 32 cal (better penetration)’ Oh, nonsense. ‘Bond’ used a .32ACP because Fleming was advised by a horse’s patoot named Boothroyd who fancied himself a ‘gun expert’ and proved to be not quite as fancy as he fancied. Man was one of the reasons the rest of us just call ourselves “RKIs” and leave it at that. Also the source of that ridiculous line about .32 ‘hits like a brick through a plate glass window.’ Perhaps we can just agree some middle neddie in SIS decided that’s what was to be issued. Fictional neddie, of course.
    Next thought: I like the silly little thing, but it has a rep for only jamming occasionally – but that will occur in the middle of an op or duty use. Public mention in the past by MI5, Special Branch guarding Royals, that absurd Austrian Opera Presidential Guard of Nixon’s, and even local cops in my former and current towns. They can’t all be limp-wristing the things. HERE’S the odd funny datum: .22LR is supposedly unreliable enough in feeding that John Browning came up with .25ACP to solve the problem – and yet, none, say again ‘none,’ of us have ever been able to make a righteous(‘it reely, reely happened’) jam with a PP or PPK in .22LR. Go figure.
    LAST: I will never buy a Walther again with a toy company or, whatever, owning/running/dictating what constitutes a Walther and using cast steel parts(the SLIDE?!,, on a Walther PPK?) I – might – buy a cherry old one – and frankly, couldn’t care less if it was made by the French and marked ‘Manurhin’ – but if I want cast parts and roll pins holding together a piece of junk, well, there’s always Hi-Point, and other low points, isn’t there . . . ?

  47. I own a retired police PPK-S in 32cal made in Germany. I really like this pistol for ease of concelament, reliability, smooth operarion and classic design. I reload this cartridge and is very economic to produce ammunition. It works well with any type of rounds from lead to hollow points. Shot placement is a breeze and follow up shots are always on target due to low recoil. James Bond had it right. Now im going to buy a Tuxedo!

    1. I purchased my PPK/S .380 in 1972 as an off duty gun. I’ve put countless rounds through it without a misfire. It’s accurate and a fine weapon. With the advent of the polymer frames, I carry my Ruger LCP more often than the PPK/S, the the Walther is still a favorite!

  48. For many years I carried a German made PPK. I never had a single malfunction. It was easy to shoot, extremely accurate and easy to conceal. Unfortunately, I let it get away. Last year I decided to choose another carry pistol. Compared to what I paid for that original PPK, the new ones are about 3 times as expensive. My current choice is now the Bersa Thunder. Similar look,similar design and equally as reliable and accurate as the original.

  49. I too have a Walther PPK/S in stainless steel. It’s the Smith and Wesson version, not the Interarms version. The article didn’t note that this iteration fixed the web-biting problem by increasing the length of the backstrap. I had the same web-biting problem as the author from my 1st, Interarms PPK/S, and thanks to S&W, that isn’t an issue any more.

    I commisioned the world renowned, PPK gunsmith,Teddy Jacobson, to completely tune the action and jewel all the pertinant components.Teddy also turned me onto the Corbon brand as the least likely ammunition to jam. But I found that Winchester Ranger, 95 GR. T-Series to be even better. Regardless of the fact that the Ranger +P ammo is referred to as Law Inforcement Ammunition, if you ever find it, it’s legal for anyone to purchase. The Winchester catologue number is RA380T. After extensive testing of many brands, I found that ammo to be the hardest hitting, most acurate and consistant I’ve found. I highly recommend it. Cheers.

  50. A very sentimental article on what in my opinion is a mediocre gun. I say mediocre because there is not one area that the ppk particularly excells in. It isn’t the easiest to conceal, nor the most effective caliber, not even the best bang for the buck.

    The brief mention of some of the flaws of the ppk were admirable, however, one major flaw was missed.

    Please do be sure of what you are purchasing if buying a ppk/s that is not new or that has been sitting on the shelf for a while. I personally have seen this malfunction (not at the range) and it is a very serious thing to have a weapon fire without actuation of the trigger.

    1. I find my Walther PPK VERY easy to conceal. I use a Bianchi inside waistband holster on my right side hip and it is almost invisible even under just a t-shirt. Also I bought mine back in 1985 brand – no recalls on it. It’s just a good overall CCW.

    2. Thanks for providing that link, Stan. I wasn’t aware of the recall and own one of the recalled PPK/S models. Yours truly and untold others owe you big time.

    3. This problem applies only to the S&W manufactured guns. Older (made in Germany) PPK and PPK/S do not have it. I have a PPK/S that I purchased in the 1970’s that I have used extensively, both as a concealed carry gun and for target practice. It has always performed flawlessly. The only problem is the occasional minor slide bite, which I usually discover when I am cleaning my hands after shooting.

  51. The ppk is a classic , Bond used a 32 cal (better penetration)

    The Walther is rather pricey and can be ammo sensitive. Preffering fmj the old winchester silver tips performed very well.

    Similar in design but at a fraction of the cost the Bersa thunder is a close substitute. as well as the makarovs.

    Like alot of the big names the Walther has gotten to pricey for its intended purpose.
    I still want one though, 😀

    1. Yes “kurz” is short in German (as 9mm kurz = .380), but the K in PPK stands for Polizei Pistole “Kriminal,” which is what the Walther named this smaller version of the PP for the police/detective use. Keep in mind that the PPK is made in other calibers besides 9mm kurz.

    2. It is 9mm – 9mm kurz!

      The diameter of .357 mag, .38 special, 9mm and .380 ( 9mm kurz) is identical.

    3. WRONG!
      9mm and .380 are .555 inches in diameter. The 38 and 357 are .357 inches in diameter. Any reloader doing both calibers knows this very well.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.