S&W PPK/s mini-review


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FJC
July 20, 2003, 12:14 PM
I picked up one of the Smith & Wesson produced versions of the Walther PPK/s in .380 caliber. It's certainly not a pistol I needed. There are plenty of more-modern and arguably better .380 pocket pistols around.

So why did I buy it? Simply because I've always wanted a PPK/s! Not all gun purchase decisions are based on best caliber, best carry piece, etc. I have plenty of other guns for carry purposes, but the classic lines of the PPK have always appealed to me.

So anyway, now that I've rationalized my purchase...I picked it up on Thursday. Externally it was flawless, with a nice shiny stainless finish on the flats. S&W did a good job of a production "melt-job" on the slide edges and rear of the slide, though the edges of the trigger guard are still quite sharp. The extended tang, while not really keeping with the classic PPK lines, does serve a purpose.

I field stripped it to clean it up, as it had quite a bit of thick lube on it from the factory. Disassembly was difficult the first time around - I had a very hard time getting the slide far enough to the rear to lift it off the slide rails. This wasn't due to the recoil spring strength, I believe it was just that this pistol has such a tight fit that it needed some breaking in. Later disassemblies were much easier after firing rounds through it.

The inside of the slide was very clean with few tool marks. The frame, on the other hand, was a bit rough. The areas at the top of the magazine well were very rough, with a few burrs that were high and sharp enough to potentially cut my fingers. I took a medium-fine stone and with just a couple passes cleared them up.

At the range, it performed flawlessly. I fired 25 S&B FMJ through it, no problems at all. I then put 25 Federal FMJ though it, also without any failures. 25 Winchester white box (with those notorious flat tips) also fed and fired perfectly. Two magazines of Winchester SilverTip hollowpoints also functioned without any problems.

The sights are small, and difficult to pick up quickly, but I was able to keep all shots on a 2" Shoot-n-C target spot at 15 yards. The trigger pull in DA mode is like all PPK's - long, hard, and creepy. The single action on this particular pistol is pretty good, though. A small amount of take-up, then it breaks pretty cleanly. I haven't measured the pull, but I would estimate it at around 5-6 lbs in single action mode.

Overall, I'm pleased!


http://www.condron.com/pics/walther/ppk1.jpg

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George Hill
July 20, 2003, 02:58 PM
Yeah, I know what you mean about the appeal. I wish I still had mine.
http://www.madogre.com/Interviews/MongoAndI.htm
I had one that I enjoyed carrying... it's a good carry pistol. Seriously. Cor-Bon and Pro Load both make good ammo for .380 that should serve you just fine in situations when packing a PPK makes sense... like in our current hot summer season when the bad guys are dressing as light as you are.
Mine had no problems with brisk loads or hollow points.

I think it's a good choice for a small auto. Looks like the trigger guard could use some melting... but other than that - the new PPK/s look like a dandy little pistol.

Byron
July 20, 2003, 03:17 PM
Is this listed under S&W's web site or Walther's? Thanks, Byron

dev_null
July 20, 2003, 05:07 PM
Schweet! I love my SIG P232, but if I'd known this was in the works I might have waited.

-0-

FJC
July 20, 2003, 05:19 PM
It's on the Walther site, at www.waltheramerica.com - specifically, the PPK/s page is at http://www.waltheramerica.com/ppks.htm

Somewhat lame site, though...not much info.

Just today I saw that American Handgunner's latest issue has an article on this new PPK/s.

My picture of the other side didn't come out that well, but here it is anyway - I should have mentioned that the right side of the frame has listed the Smith & Wesson name (under the Walther logo), and "Houlton, ME USA" for the manufacturing location:

http://www.condron.com/pics/walther/ppk2.jpg

The edges of the trigger guard are quite sharp - I may take a fine stone and break them slightly.

As for carry, the ONLY issue I have with it as a carry gun is that one MUST carry this pistol with the safety on. Otherwise, there is no firing pin block. If a round is chambered, the safety is off, and the pistol is dropped, it could fire. So, if you don't mind carrying a DA/SA pistol with the safety on, it's fine. It may see some pocket-pistol duty with me from time to time. :)

Marko Kloos
July 20, 2003, 06:03 PM
That's a pretty little gun. I've always liked the looks of the PPK and PPK/S...maybe someday I'll get one to keep the SIG P232 company.

Erich
July 20, 2003, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the review. It looks like it's much improved from the old PPK/Ss - your post was especially interesting after reading the AH article last night.

Byron
July 20, 2003, 06:09 PM
Wasn't there a firm in Alabama that was making the PPK/s under the Walther name? I shot one recently and the workmanship was poor. The slide locked in place using factory ball ammo.
What is the price of the S&W PPK/s? Byron

FJC
July 20, 2003, 08:24 PM
I paid $479 for it from a local dealer. I've seen them on the internet seller sites for $439.

Ali
July 20, 2003, 10:27 PM
Can anyone tell me specifics , as to why these pistols have a bad reputaion?

I always wanted one , shaken, not stired...but i heard bad things ,and saw them on DO NOT BUY lists .

10-Ring
July 20, 2003, 10:40 PM
Definitely on my "would like to have but really don't need" list too! Nice little report on her too

gbelleh
July 20, 2003, 11:00 PM
I recently got an Interarms PPK/S from the early 70's. It shoots great! It has quickly become one of my favorite guns to look at/fondle!

I'm glad yours works so well!

FJC
July 21, 2003, 08:22 AM
Ali, I think they have a bad reputation because the previous versions had some incredibly sharp edges on the slide, and a smaller tang - as a result, many MANY people could not shoot them without slicing up their hands.

Also, the Interarms versions that were made in the US had a reputation of being very unreliable - I was basically told that if you got one, you either accepted that they wouldn't feed reliably, or you paid a bunch to have them "fixed" so they'd feed. Others said you'd have to try a ton of different ammo to find what that pistol would feed.

Heck, even back in the 1980's when I went through a mini police academy to be a reserve deputy, the range officer showed us bank camera films of an off-duty police officer who was killed when he engaged a robber and his PPK/s jammed after the first shot...

S&W seems to have addressed these problems. My PPK/s came with a fairly nice polish on the feed ramp, and the chamber is full throated. As I said above, I've not had anything fail to feed yet (though I've not tried a ton of different ammo or significant quantities yet). I'm ordering some Golden Saber hollowpoints to try in it, and may pick up some other designs just to see how they do.

George Hill
July 21, 2003, 01:18 PM
"Heck, even back in the 1980's when I went through a mini police academy to be a reserve deputy, the range officer showed us bank camera films of an off-duty police officer who was killed when he engaged a robber and his PPK/s jammed after the first shot..."

*Shudder* I saw that one too. Or a similar one. Chilling. What is even more chilling is the case that happened in Richmond Virginia. Nations Bank branch got robbed. The guard, an old man, was unobservant and caught flat footed. He managed to get shots off from his .38 revolver. His rounds were soaked up by the thugs heavy coats. Then he got shot through the head with an AR-15 rifle. The bullet went through his head just behind his eyes, severing his optical nerves. He lived, but was blinded for the rest of his life. You guys probably never heard of it because a couple days later the big Bank Of America robbery went down in California and all the news went to that one because of all the video. I know this because I was the director of security at the Nations Bank plaza building in Richmond and thusly the guard's boss. I watched the video tape several times and was one of the first people there on the scene. Big gun fight envolving police outside the bank too. The whole place was shot to hell. Lots of rounds fired.
Why am I talking about this here? Bank robbers... I don't like them.

clubsoda22
July 21, 2003, 07:29 PM
I'm thinking of getting a bersa thunder simply because the trigger OWNS over any other PPK/s or clone on the market. Once again, i'm not getting this gun because it is the best choice for carry, for instance, i can easily get a similar sized and lighter 9mm or even 40, but none of those guns are going to be nearly as sexy (or as accurate come to think of it). Two words influence this purchace: James Bond. Plain and simple, the PPK is sex with a trigger and it's shilouette probably is the most regognized gun in the world.

zeke
July 22, 2003, 07:50 AM
FJC-have an Interarms PPK, and am very pleased with it. Ya may want to try taking a black magic marker to the sights and tob rib, and the sights are considerably easier to use. This is easily cleaned right off.

FJC
July 22, 2003, 09:54 AM
I may just try that magic-marker trick, I think it would really help with the sight picture.

Thanks for the tip. :)

zeke
July 23, 2003, 07:32 AM
FJC-ordered a case of Win white box recently, and sure enough they were the flatpoint version. Winchester White box (usually on sale from Natchez) and Hornady xtp's have been extremely relaibale and accurate in my PPK. While the Hornady's are unlikely to expand past the bullet diam, they may be acting as full wadcutters. Maybe a good idea in 380?

The PPK is one of my favorite small calibers. It's all steel, slim and rounded profile and very good accuracy. Still haven't had all the sharp edges and trigger rounded yet, but will in the future.

Byron
July 23, 2003, 10:03 AM
Note that Natchez will not sell to residents of TN, GA or AL. It is something to do with dealers being loyal about early ammo sells. I called them and this will not change. Byron

FJC
July 23, 2003, 11:21 AM
I ordered some Fiocchi FMJ and some Remington Golden Sabers to try in it - I've become interested in seeing if I can find anything that it won't feed. :)

On another note, I should have mentioned in the original post that the safety on this pistol was VERY stiff, so much so that it was hard for my thumb to quickly thumb it off (i.e. as would be necessary if using it for self-defense). It was suggested to me that I just work it in a bit.

So, yesterday since I was working from home, I kept it here near my computer (unloaded, of course), and every time I was on the phone or had a few minutes I just flipped the safety on and off. A couple times during the day I applied a small drop of FP10 to the little rotating firing-pin block mechanism (those needle-applicator bottles from Brownells are great for this, by the way).

Now the safetly flicks off easily with a bit of thumb pressure.

I also took an ultra-fine black Sharpie to the front and rear sights (easily cleaned off with WD40 or cleaning solvents), and WOW what a difference that makes to these sights.

I'm liking this little PPK more and more...it may see some pocket pistol duty on days when it's hard to conceal my Colt Commander. :)

clubsoda22
July 24, 2003, 03:53 AM
my favorite .380 personal defence ammo is the triton quik shok (+P)

OUCH! Click picture to link to the websight.
http://www.tritonammo.com/products/images/QSGel_med.jpg (http://www.tritonammo.com/)
Flight Ballistics match the CorBon, though termanal balistics, as you can see, are quite a different story.

tlhelmer
July 24, 2003, 07:31 AM
Nice job.

I carried one at my previous department in a surveilence role. Like you said it isnt the most effective caliber, but it is flat and easy to conceal.

What would you estimate the double action to be in lbs? I was told there is not much anyone can do to make it any better.

FJC
July 24, 2003, 08:21 AM
It's well off my RCBS Trigger Pull Scale guage...I'm not sure how high it is, but I wouldn't be surprised to find it's in the area of 14-15 lbs...

ArmyNavyGame
September 24, 2008, 01:00 AM
I just brought home a PPK/S, and displaying my usual amount of foresight, I checked the reviews AFTER I bought it.

I have to agree with much in the first review:

1. The double-action trigger pull pretty much takes 2 men and a boy.
2. The Safety switch is hard to flick with a thumb.

I did fear some of the things in the writeup like the presence of burrs, etc. The gun feels really, really tight, and I just figured it was new and needed to be cleaned/lubed.

Soon as I read the review, I took it apart to see if I'd need to do any deburring, etc.

I think the fit and finish have improved greatly. Everything on this gun is pretty well-done. I don't see any of the issues that the first writer had on the minor quality stuff.

Mine came with Crimson Trace grips. (Somebody else ordered the gun and grips, but never picked it up or decided they didn't want it. The store owner made me a deal, and here it is.)

So, the sights in gunmetal color don't bother me because I'm too mezmerized by the red dot the thing throws out there.

I may sharpie the sights later, but with the laser sight, I haven't felt the need, yet.

I want to test fire some ammo just for familiarization and to see if I can find a load that works well. But overall, I figure this is a concealed carry weapon. If I need to use it, it won't be to pick somebody off at 50 yards. I've got other pistols I can use if I am thinking I need accuracy at distance.

The size is perfect, though. Now, I just need to find a cool ankle holster for the thing. Or maybe one that fits in the small of the back.

I do wonder if maybe the hard safety switch is a good thing, though. Figure you could have this thing in a briefcase or pocket and it's probably best if it doesn't go off-safe too easily to avoid accidents.

Maybe the same with the hard trigger pull in D/A mode. If you know you're shooting and want an accurate shot, it's a simple enough thing to pull the hammer back on a gun this tiny.

So, anyway, just wanted to re-iterate the first review. The trigger pull in D/A is a mutha, and the safety switch is a bit tough. But some of the fit and finish issues appear to be a little better on my gun than the one in the first review.

Plus, I have a cool laser. Granted, the laser would work better if it were mounted on a shark's head, but that'll have to wait for another day.

MICHAEL T
September 24, 2008, 02:31 AM
S&W is suppose yo have put a firepinblock for those that worry about dropping . I have a Interarms thats over 20 yrs old It is alwways carried in a holster either pocket ot IWB. Ready to fire. When this pistol was developed they intended to give you same fast shoot as a revolver .Not fiddling around with that silly backward safety.
Mine has been peerfect from day one. I keep fresh springs in her and shoot only quality ammo Corbon DPX for carry.
I don't like the S&W tang I have never been bitten and don't worry about it. I have large hands but never been a problem. Some have removed the tang on the S&W pokes in side when carry.

EHL
September 24, 2008, 02:40 AM
That's cool that your walther came with the crimson trace laser grips. I had to buy mine seperatley. Totally love this little S&W walther though. She's very accurate. I currently have her getting worked on by my gunsmith. He is emulating what they did to one of these S&W models over at Cylinder and Slide. They did a great package on this gun to make it (in my opinion) better.:) Here's the link.

http://www.cylinder-slide.com/combathandgun.shtml

I especially like the way they recontoured the grip and the way the put new sights on her! That's what I'm getting done to mine!

yourang?
September 24, 2008, 04:32 PM
i have a sw made ppk/s

it took a while to break in...and i am still in the process of
running it more

it seems to like ball more than hollowpoint and i think
it has to do with the feed ramp

it shoots great and it carries great....i can keep it in my
pocket with a nemisis holster and it does just great
barely can tell that it is there....although i put a spare
mag on top of it so it doesnt print so bad

krs
September 24, 2008, 05:28 PM
This pistol is completely reliable, fires and feeds perfectly with every ammo I've ever tried but it's .32 cal. as so many were back in the day. It's a "PP" which is the same size as the current day "PPK". It's never bit me at all, not even close. Has a great feel in the hand which is why they've maintained their popularity since originally made. Great pistols. I carry it sometimes but am not comfortable with the puny caliber and have been thinking to buy a new one in .380 but am not sure what to make of any of the imported or US made versions. Seems like everyone thinks they have to 'improve' them.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p263/twagger/guns/waltherPP_l_.jpg

The little guy at the top right in this photo is also reliable and also .32. A few months ago it went to a reliable full auto mode and I haven't fired it since the day it emptied itself with a single pull. But it's a pre WW2 pistol so I guess it's earned a right to have a breakdown.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p263/twagger/guns/CANONPictures041Medium.jpg

usp9
September 24, 2008, 06:06 PM
The little guy at the top right in this photo is also reliable and also .32. A few months ago it went to a reliable full auto mode and I haven't fired it since the day it emptied itself with a single pull. But it's a pre WW2 pistol so I guess it's earned a right to have a breakdown.


Sounds like your firing pin stuck. I'd clean the pin, spring and channel very well.

krs
September 24, 2008, 06:23 PM
usp9Sounds like your firing pin stuck. I'd clean the pin, spring and channel very well.

Thanks but it's not the pin. I went around with the pin on the upper gun, the PP, before finally replacing it and the spring so that was the first place I looked on the PPKs. Its pin looks like new and the return spring is strong. The channel (square pin) is clean and there isn't a burr anywhere in the field strip access. I haven't gone deeper in the pistol - frankly I'm not sure of myself far enough to try it, but I'm suspecting that the sear or hammer are so worn as to release under recoil. The pistol seems to be working fine when operated dry.

Although I'm interested in it I'm not so interested as to send it away for repair. I have two of the brown handled PPKs's and this one was a cheapie because the slide was poorly redone. Whoever did it polished it so much that it doesn't have a single marking visible. I bought it as a shooter for $150. some 15 years ago, and as I said the caliber is too light to want to carry it. I'll get around to it someday probably but for now it's just a nice little feely toy.

9x19sig
September 24, 2008, 07:29 PM
Disconnecter possibly?

thunder173
September 24, 2008, 07:58 PM
Carried a Walther PP in .32 ACP for over 20 years. It did have a few hiccups,...but was one of the finest handguns I ever owned. An ex wife agrees with me on that one,...as she got custody of it during that "life changing experience',.....I ever find another on when the stars and moon are lined up right,..it'll likely follow me home. Present bride carries the SGS Firestorm version of the Bersa Thunder .380,.....same gun,...just different trigger guard. A Poor Man's Walther,...but equally effective,...just not as pretty. Talking the gun here,...not the bride :-)

krs
September 24, 2008, 08:13 PM
Disconnecter possibly?

Well, that's what I thought and if it were a 1911 I'd be looking hard at the length of it. But these don't have one by that name. Instead they have a 'hammer block' assembly and the .32 a 'hammer arrestor' that appears to be deeper in the frame. All I've got is a very crummy blowup picture that doesn't show locations or even alignment of the small parts well at all. So I put up the pistol and play with other ones until I can get better info. I Didn't mean to bring a trouble to the OP's happy thread.

hoser45
January 7, 2009, 02:34 AM
Anyone have a sxs comparison photo of the difference in tang between S&W version and the older version of the PPK/S?

searcher451
January 7, 2009, 09:37 PM
The S&W Walther gets mixed reviews on most boards from knowledgable owners/carriers/users. It seems to be a hit-or-miss proposition: you either get one that works and you love it, or you get one that doesn't work and -- despite the best efforts of the folks at S&W to repair it -- end up hating it.

Truth be told, there's no comparison with the original German-made guns, or even the French-made (Manuhrin) Walthers. And yes, the Interarms models will get higher ratings as well. The S&W version has an extended beavertail that does pretty much end hand-bite, but it's not the same gun because of it. That's not to say that it doesn't work or that it isn't effective, by the way. I carry an S&W PPK/S daily and trust my life to it.

fractal7
January 8, 2009, 05:26 PM
So I recently picked up a stainless S&W PPK/s the other day and took it to the range with a box of Fiocchi ammo, 95 grain FMJs, and it jammed constantly, about once a magazine. The casing would eject but the next round would seem to seat all the way. I was pretty upset after 50 rounds and a bunch of FTFs. I also had a box of 90 grain gold dots that I had picked up and it fired those without a problem (except I did have to take out the magazine once while loaded and it almost seems that when it feeds it pushes the next bullet in line forward a bit because it was hard to take out). So does anyone have any opinions on if this is an ammo problem or if this something I need to address with S&W. I wanted a nice quality pistol for carrying but right now my confidence isn't all that high.

SuperNaut
January 8, 2009, 05:36 PM
I shouldn't have gotten rid of my Interarms PPK/s, I loved that little gun. That thing never malf'd once despite my less than studious attention to its care.

I hope the guy I sold it to shoots it a lot; be a shame otherwise.

Phantom Captain
January 8, 2009, 07:41 PM
So I recently picked up a stainless S&W PPK/s the other day and took it to the range with a box of Fiocchi ammo, 95 grain FMJs, and it jammed constantly, about once a magazine. The casing would eject but the next round would seem to seat all the way. I was pretty upset after 50 rounds and a bunch of FTFs. I also had a box of 90 grain gold dots that I had picked up and it fired those without a problem (except I did have to take out the magazine once while loaded and it almost seems that when it feeds it pushes the next bullet in line forward a bit because it was hard to take out). So does anyone have any opinions on if this is an ammo problem or if this something I need to address with S&W. I wanted a nice quality pistol for carrying but right now my confidence isn't all that high.

Hi fractal7,

Don't worry and don't fret, mine HATES the Fiocchi FMJs too and did the exact same thing as yours. I don't know what it is, if it's because they are hotter or what but my SW stainless PPK/s is pretty much flawless with anything but those Fiocchis. Magtech, Independence, S&B, American Eagle even Winchester white box FMJs all get ate up no probs. For HPs I've fired Gold Dots and Remington Golden Sabers flawlessly as well. My carry round is the Golden Sabers.

Go back to the range and try a few boxes of something else and see if yours is the same. Don't know what it is but I also found it weird that my pistol worked so great with everything BUT those :cuss: Fiocchis. They just do not get along. :D

I have every confidence in my PPK/s and carry it all the time. I think you will see yours is just as likewise reliable. You just started off with the one bullet it seems these pistols absolutely do not like. One other thing, after about 100 rounds it starts to get a little sticky too. They definitely like to be clean. Now when I practice at the range I limit it to 100 rounds and NO Fiocchis!! LOL!

Here's mine with it's pretty grips.

http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r130/mboyd13/Gun%20pictures/IMG_4082.jpg

JB Books
January 9, 2009, 04:42 AM
I have quite a few PPK pistols, everything from pre-War RZM and War time Eagle C's and F's to German made pistols from the 1960's to American made Interarms pistols. I agree with the posters who wrote about the sharp edges of the Interarm pistols. However, that is also true of the German made pistols, especially if one has bigger hands. It is an almost 80 year old design.

As for reliability issues, I have found that the American pistols tend to do better with ball ammo. I use Fiocchi which is loaded a little hotter and tends to cycle better (this is also true of the HK P7 K3 in .380 or .32).

German pistols tend to have a better trigger pull and are a bit more accurate. Still, in any version, this is a wonderful pistol, which has been carried and used for decades. Indeed, it set the standard for many years.

I do not have a SW pistol, although I have handled one. The beaver's tail, while practical, offends the purist in me.

SuperNaut
January 9, 2009, 12:09 PM
The S&W beavertail is just begging for a smith to reshape IMO.

searcher451
January 9, 2009, 01:11 PM
Phantom Captain: Are those the coco bolo grips that are advertised by CDNN Sports for less than $27? I put the same pair on my S&W-made Walther PPK/S and love them. You can't beat the looks, the feel ... or the price. Thanks for the photo. It's a good heads-up for all Walther owners. Here's a link for those who might be interested:

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/wappchcobogr.html

Phantom Captain
January 9, 2009, 09:17 PM
Phantom Captain: Are those the coco bolo grips that are advertised by CDNN Sports for less than $27? I put the same pair on my S&W-made Walther PPK/S and love them. You can't beat the looks, the feel ... or the price. Thanks for the photo. It's a good heads-up for all Walther owners. Here's a link for those who might be interested:

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/wappchcobogr.html

Yes sir! They are indeed! Great grips, I love em too.

blkbrd666
January 9, 2009, 09:30 PM
It's a "PP" which is the same size as the current day "PPK".

The PP has a longer barrel and grip than the PPK...old or new. It has the same grip as a PPK/S, but has a longer barrel and slide.

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