S&W - Walther PPK/S recall


April 20, 2009, 03:15 PM
I didn't see this around so I am posting, sorry if it has been already.

Just saw my father today and he showed me a letter in today's mail.
Smith and Wesson has "issued a recall of certain Walther PPK/S pistols".
Here's a OCR copy of the front of said letter...

February 20, 2009
You have been identified as a purchaser of a Walther PPK/s pistol. This notice contains important safety information and we ask that you carefully review and follow the instructions in this notice.
On February 20, 2009, Smith & Wesson announced a recall of certain Walther PPK/s pistols. A copy of the important safety recall notice is enclosed.
At Smith & Wesson, we are constantly evaluating the safety, reliability, and performance of our products. As part of this process, we have identified a condition that may exist in certain PPK and PPK/S pistols which might permit a round to be discharged without the trigger being pulled. When the manual safety is disengaged, we have determined that, in certain pistols, the possibility exists that lowering the hammer may cause a chambered round to fire. We initiated this recall campaign in the interests of safety, since any unintended discharge of the pistol has the potential to cause injury.
PLEASE STOP USING YOUR WALTHER PPK/S PISTOL. We are asking that you return it to us immediately so that all necessary repairs can be completed.
To accomplish this task, please proceed as follows:
Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your pistol immediately.
When you return your pistol to Smith & Wesson, we will replace the existing hammer block feature with a new part at no cost to you. Your firearm will be returned as quickly and efficiently as possible. Visit www.ups.com or call {800) 654-3848 for the UPS store and box locations nearest you.
Smith & Wesson is committed to producing the safest and highest quality firearms available and this recall is part of that effort.

S&W listed shipping instructions on the back of the letter and included shipping labels.

I want to predicate that the following statement is not a bash on S&W.

I have first hand experience with his particular pistol, and it had to be sent back shortly after it was purchased. It had multiple problems/issues (mostly with the safety), and now this. It's a shame, we really like PPK series and S&W firearms.
What really bothers me is that the letter is dated Feb. 20th, 2009. He gets the notice on Apr. 20th, 2009?! This pistol is not a safe or range queen, it's a daily CCW tool.

Two months lag time in getting the word out? Really? Thanks S&W. Thanks a lot.

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Brian Williams
April 20, 2009, 05:37 PM
There is a short blurb in American Rifleman this month also, Pg 26. That copy had to be placed about 2 months ago.
Better late than never actually making it a recall like Glock and their "suggested changes"..

Upstate Gun Man
April 20, 2009, 06:04 PM
Any specifics on purchase dates or serial numbers etc?

April 20, 2009, 08:50 PM
Upstate Gun Man: Any specifics on purchase dates or serial numbers etc?

According to the May 2009 issue of American Rifleman:

"Smith and Wesson is recalling all Walther PPK and PPK/S pistols manufactured from March 21st, 2002, until Feburary 3rd, 2009."

"The serial numbers of recalled pistols are listed on the company's website, http://www.smith-wesson.com."

S&W can be contacted at (800)-331-0852.

May 1, 2009, 04:15 PM
Sent mine in about 6 wks ago. Just called S&W customer service. Looks like they finally got parts from their supplier and they are going to start doing the recall work on Monday (May 4). They said it would be another 3-4 weeks before I got my gun back. What an annoyance!! :cuss:

May 1, 2009, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the heads up walker944.
I'm sorry to hear that it will take that long to get your pistol back. When my father had to send his in a couple of years ago (has it been that long?), I believe it took about six weeks. I'm going to get in contact with him, hopefully he heard back from them.
But I'm really not surprised, especially with how things are going right now in the industry. Perhaps S&W is focused on certain products and getting them out there before the landscape changes.
Add the number of pistols that have been recalled over a seven year production period... I'm guessing S&W's fun meter at the factory is in overdrive.

May 15, 2009, 12:58 PM
Sorry if this sounds ignorant, but do the Smith&Walthers' safety levers act as a decocker?

May 26, 2009, 11:49 PM
Yes, the safety acts as a decocker. There seems to be a problem with some of them. I have not heard how often this malfunction occurs. I sent mine in a week ago.

May 28, 2009, 11:01 AM
Has anyone received their PPK back yet?
Seems to take forever...

They mailed me another shipping label after I had already sent it in.
At least S&W responded to my email to acknowledge reception of the gun.

May 28, 2009, 08:50 PM
A couple of folks on the Walther Forums have reported receiving their guns back as of this week, the first reports heard there on the topic. The process is taking far longer than S&W thought, apparently: upwards of from 12 to 16 weeks. Available parts seem to have been an issue initially. The best advice seems to be this: Be patient.

May 28, 2009, 10:40 PM
I sent mine in March 28. Nothing yet. Heck, when I get it back it will be like getting a new gun for free!

I am lucky that I have plenty of other handguns to keep me busy in the meantime!

June 10, 2009, 07:28 PM
I received mine back today. Guess the Rodentwoman didn't know it was a firearm since she signed for it.

The did the mod, polished the feedramp and replaced the cracked grips. I'll take it to the range Friday.

Now I gotta clean it. Appears to have been fired, but definitely not clean as when I sent it in.

But it's here!

June 11, 2009, 01:31 AM
I missed the delivery last night. Big Brown will be back after 5PM today. 76 days from the day I shipped it until the attempted delivery last night.

June 12, 2009, 01:03 AM
Mine came tonight. Sent via 2-day UPS, but it arrived in one day. Same story as the rest of the guys. I feel a two-stage "step" in the safety now, I'm guessing first stage sets the safety, second stage drops the hammer.

June 12, 2009, 04:26 PM
I took it to the range today. Ran a box thru with no troubles at all. I didn't want to shoot more than a box since .380 is still hard to find and I am down to a few boxes. I don't reload that caliber.

I am pleased with the work done.

June 12, 2009, 05:01 PM
According to S&W, only the PPK/S are being worked on. S&W doesn't even have the parts to repair the PPK yet.

June 13, 2009, 01:17 AM
According to S&W, only the PPK/S are being worked on. S&W doesn't even have the parts to repair the PPK yet.
Yes, can you believe it?!!! The PPK guys on another board are REALLY PO'd. After waiting a month after being told not to use it, for the shipping label to arrive, then another two months for the safety department to give the green light, then a couple of weeks of actual processing, only then to be told that only the PPK/S's were being fixed! Stories I've seen on the boards, as heard by calls to S/W seems to center around a needed spring. Some say it's in, some say it's being engineered, and some say they're waiting on parts. Every call to Customer Service is a different story. Some pistols have been there since January, i.e. in for another fix, then held up once the recall became reality. What a late time to discover this "spring" issue!

J Lambs
June 28, 2009, 08:53 AM
Just got mine back this week. Looks the same. The invoice says that they also polished the feed ramp. At least Ruger gave me some free stuff for my troubles with the LCP.

June 28, 2009, 09:08 AM
J Lambs, what did you get back? PPK or PPK/S?

J Lambs
June 28, 2009, 10:33 AM
PPK/s. I emailed them last friday and they replied on Wednesday that it had shipped on Monday. Not sure if my inquiry expedited the process or not.

June 29, 2009, 01:02 AM
The thread on The Firing Line shows no information, or movement yet, on the PPK models.

July 1, 2009, 09:48 PM
I spoke with My father on the status of his PPK/S today.
It turns out he spoke with S&W over two weeks ago, they stated he would have his back in under two weeks.

Fast forward two weeks... No pistol.

He gives it a few days, nothing.

He calls S&W today, they feed him a line of blah, blah, blah. Then they top it off with "it will take another four weeks". Long story short, my father speaks with someone higher up, they spew the same line of B.S.. He kept his cool and now has to take the matter further up the ladder.

July 2, 2009, 10:46 AM
Lots of discussion, and news of returned guns, is showing up here:


The guns began rolling out of Houlton into the hands of waiting PPK owners in late May and have been reported at a steady rate since.

July 2, 2009, 11:07 AM
Actually PPK/S owners have been getting their guns back. PPK repairs haven't started yet.

July 6, 2009, 07:57 PM
You are absolutely right, NC. I generally refer to all of them as PPKs, a shorthand based on the original design, but it's not accurate in this case, to be sure. Thanks for the correction. Depending on who you ask, a spring being supplied by an outside vendor is the current issue causing the delay. But who can say for sure?

July 20, 2009, 01:54 PM
PPK/S came home today. I mailed it May 11 so the time to return seems to be getting a little shorter, about 10 weeks+. Everything seems ok, a little dirty. New grip panels, thank you. The originals were a terrible fit. Looks like they buffed some scratches they may have made during repair. Looks ok. The mark showing the repair was done is a plain centerpunch mark. I hope it isn't faked in the future for a sale by someone who wouldn't send it in.

July 20, 2009, 03:43 PM
Word is that the S&W crew are starting to get around to the PPKs now.

July 23, 2009, 07:17 PM
1) Some others who have the PPK (not PPK/S) have reported receiving their PPK back in the last week (initial receipt around March 30 and at the repair line around April 5).

2) The following statement is from an e-mail I received from Smith and Wesson a few days ago (I haven't received mine yet...it was delivered to S&W on March 31 and made it to the repair line on April 6):

"We just started sending out the PPK guns on Monday July 13th. There was a long delay in beginning the repairs due to 1 part that we were awaiting on from our outside vendor.

We are currently repairing approximately 500 guns per day. It looks like we received your gun on 4/6. As of today we have started to send out the early April PPK's so your gun should be shipped out within the next week and a half. It will be shipped back to you by Fed-Ex.

I do apologize for any inconvenience this has caused."

3) Today I received a form letter from Smith and Wesson...a scan of it is attached. The letter repeatedly refers to "PPK/S" but it was obviously written to reflect all PPK type handguns (PPK, PPK/S) ...people with the PPK/S model have already been getting them back for awhile, since those did not need the additional spring replacement that the PPK model did.

Hope this helps.

July 27, 2009, 11:18 AM
I recieved an identical letter, dated the same and everything, but I just recieved it today. Guess the mail must be a little slow getting to my house.

July 27, 2009, 11:39 PM
I finally got mine back about a month ago. But not until I called again and asked to speak to a customer service manager (again). Seems the regular customer service folks have varying degrees of actual knowledge of what's going on. However, management usually has a better insight of the reality of the situation. I actually ended up leaving the manager a voicemail, and low and behold my PPK/S showed up within a week. I also had previously asked that they ante up a magazine for all the set-back and pain the but delays. The extra mag showed up about a two weeks ago. I haven't shot the 'fixed' pistol yet, but I'll just assume it won't blow up when I do. :evil:

K Chi
July 29, 2009, 02:26 PM
Had almost the same situation as walker944. My wife sent hers in and it was there for almost 3 months. It didn't come back until I called and emailed, then magically it was back that same week. It shoots fine, no problems.

I think the "squeeky wheel gets the grease" applies here.

July 30, 2009, 01:55 PM
I sent them a new PPK/S, in the box, never fired. I told them I wanted a new gun back, as I was sending them a new gun. They scratched the slide on both sides, and the right side of the trigger guard looked like it had been in an unprotected vise. Now they are sending me a new PPK/S, with the replacement parts in it. We shall see when it gets to my dealer. I had a german ss PPK/S a few years ago, and like a fool sold it. Seeing this S&W crap, I sure wish I had kept it.

July 30, 2009, 11:35 PM
Spoke to my father about his PPK/S, he got it back about a week ago.
Since .380 is scarce, he ran fifty rounds through it (assorted FMJ's and some JHP's). One failure to feed in the first magazine (FMJ), the rest went through with no issues.

August 4, 2009, 06:06 PM
The way it's worded is very specific.
which might permit a round to be discharged without the trigger being pulled. When the manual safety is disengaged, we have determined that, in certain pistols, the possibility exists that lowering the hammer may cause a chambered round to fire.
It seems like they are stating that the gun may fire if the safey is off and you are lowering the hammer by pulling the trigger. That even after you release the trigger, if the hammer were to slip off your thumb, so to speak, a round may fire. So it sounds like there's a possibility of the trigger-activated firing pin safety of malfunctioning.

I wouldn't get too worked up over this. Just use the decocker. None of the pre-series 80 1911's have a firing pin safety, and I'm sure plenty of people decock them, manually.

August 4, 2009, 06:18 PM
Engaging the safety lowers to hammer. A friend's PPK discharged when he was engaging the safety. Happened 2 times before the recall. Fortunately he practices good muzzle awareness and both times the round went down range.

August 4, 2009, 07:17 PM
At last my PPK will be back after contacting S&W for latest status, which resulted in their informing me of the FedEx tracking number.

Just for reference for those still waiting on their PPK, my PPK was:

1) Received at S&W on March 31
2) Awaiting repair at S&W on April 6
3) Sent 2-day from S&W on August 3

With arrival for August 5, this will mean the length of time was:

4 months and 6 days (-or- 18 weeks and 2 days, -or- 128 days)

August 6, 2009, 03:40 PM
Got mine back yesterday after 123 days.

Send in three emails and one letter expressing my disgust of their service and inability to copy a 78 year old German design without fault.

Also complained about the sharp edges outside the trigger guard which were polished by S&W.

Some scratches on the slide, which I don't think were there before...

August 7, 2009, 01:41 PM
Well I got my PPK back yesterday after 114 days. Note in box said they fixed the safety issue as well as polished the feed ramp (typical as noted here before). As the gun was obviously fired and not cleaned (as I would expect) I could not tell what the feed ramp looked like. Will have to clean it and check tonight. The gun was externally clean without any obvious changes other then the punch mark behind the hammer. The safety felt a little stiffer then I remember probably due to the new parts (I just got the old safety working smoothly). Will try and take it out for a test fire this weekend.

I was really starting to miss my PPK.


August 14, 2009, 04:22 PM
My wife got her PPk back today. It was sent to S&W April 6. The "polish feed ramp" noted on packing slip must refer to the new gouges ground in to the side of the feed ramp. Looks like they used a grinding wheel to cut 4-5 slices into it. S&W must be staffed by total buffoons.

Will get to the range later and see if it affects the feed.

August 14, 2009, 11:52 PM
Wife put about 100 rounds thru the PPK this afternoon. Seems to feed and shoot okay. However, we noticed that the read sight has been knocked way out of alignment, and is now all the to the left as far as it will go.

Shows the total unconcern and carelessness of S&W. I don't have the experience to know how to adjust those sights, so the guns going to be off again to gunsmith I guess.

August 16, 2009, 01:23 AM
I got my PPKs back from S&W a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to come and leave my review for a while now. The gun came back a little dirty, but I would've taken it apart anyways to clean and lube it even if it had come back sparkling. The work order stated that they changed the firing pin block and had polished the feed ramp. The punch mark was left on the grip tang, just like all the others. I was surprised that the punch mark wasn't as deep and nasty as I feared it would. The decocker seems a little stiffer than it was before. I'll have to keep working at it to loosen it up. I can't see any difference in the feedramp though since I had already paid a gunsmith to polish the feedramp for easier feeding. I went to the range more than a few times and emptied many magazines through it. Gun worked great, and super accurate. The wait was very long, but it was worth it. A little annoying, but I didn't lose any money in the process. Just hang in there, those of you still waiting for yours back.

August 16, 2009, 08:09 AM
I bought a new Sig P238 to keep me company while my PPK/s was visiting Maine. Have it back, and now the P238 has been recalled. Can't win!

August 16, 2009, 08:15 AM
hhb, My wife bought a bersa thunder to tide her over while PPK was being man-handled by S&W. The disconnecter spring in that Argentinean POC has broken twice in since April, and the grips fell off on another range trip. Well less than 1000 rounds thru it

I'm trying to convince her to avoid the .380 family. Period.

george d dennis
August 18, 2009, 09:20 PM
sending my ppk/s back the second time. wont chamber a round. tried two types of
ammo. i brought it new and fired only 20 rounds through it. brand new clips(2),
the pistol is worse than when i sent it in for the recall. i just hope it doesnt take another 3 1/2 months to get back like the recall did. really disgusted with smith and wesson.
its not the same as pistols i brought in the 70s and 80s.

August 18, 2009, 10:10 PM
Got my PPK back from the recall yesterday. Sent it off 5/14. It functioned flawlessly before, hoping it remains reliable. They also replaced the grips which had been discolored due to a gun cleaner solvent mishap. Haven't had a chance to fire it yet.

August 27, 2009, 11:34 AM
i have one and i was told 6-8 weeks i believe and it was 11 weeks from the time they received it. I sent a few emails of my thoughts of how it was my wifes carry gun and how she should fill purse with rocks but that did nothing.

just wanted to advise people my wifes took 11 weeks

August 27, 2009, 12:05 PM
Does this recall apply to the Walthers Police Pistol Slim?

August 27, 2009, 01:38 PM
Hokkmike: No. The recall is strictly for the PPK and PPK/S models produced by S&W and made in the USA. The PPS is a German-made gun imported by S&W and is a far different design.

Based on the problems that S&W is having with the recall demands, it's a *#*#(& good thing that the PPS is not involved.

September 1, 2009, 02:05 PM
Received one PPK and two PPK/S back from S&W today. They received them June 29. I emailed them two weeks ago and they said it would be two weeks and it was. Will strip and clean this evening, but so far they look fine. No free mags, though.

I'm just glad to have them back home.

October 4, 2009, 10:44 AM
Since receiving the gun back from S&W, is anyone having trouble with the firing pin not striking the primer hard enough for ignition. Once or twice every 50 rounds, regardless of ammo, my PPK/S is not striking the primer hard enough for ignition. This is my carry gun, so obviously, this won't do. Any ideas why this might be happening?

October 6, 2009, 01:32 AM
I took it to the range today. Ran a box thru with no troubles at all. I didn't want to shoot more than a box since .380 is still hard to find and I am down to a few boxes. I don't reload that caliber.

I am pleased with the work done.
Don't know if you've found any good places for ammo yet, but Gander Mountain seems to have a decent amount of ammo available lately. Don't know if you have one around you, but the website is http://www.gandermountain.com/

December 22, 2009, 12:10 PM
For what it's worth, the huge backlog of recalled S&W-made PPKs is pretty much over. The turnaround time seems to be in the area of two weeks, give a take a day or so on either side. It's also worth noting that the reports of damage done to some of the guns that were sent back in pristine shape and returned from Houlten with scars, gouges, marrs, or beat-up feed ramps is down to nubbins at this point. If you have been waiting for the roar to subside before sending your gun to Maine for repairs, now might be the time. Good luck.

December 22, 2009, 10:04 PM
I am now reloading .380 so there is no shortage at the Rodent's place.

April 13, 2010, 05:38 PM
Thanks for recall notice. Just called S&W and Fedex label is on the way. Byron

April 13, 2010, 10:26 PM
You'll want to keep a close and careful eye on the process that they currently are using at S&W regarding the recalled PPK and PPK/S models. We've had lots and lots of reports at the Walther Forums about pistols that came back in far worse shape than what they were like when they were sent out for the "repairs" in the first place. It's not a pretty picture in many cases.

It'll be worth your time to browse the threads in the PP and PPK sub-section -- it's a real eye-opener, in fact.


Good luck.

April 15, 2010, 12:07 AM
I got my label back when the recall first came out and still have yet to send it in. From what I gathered, the issue wasn't whether or not it went bang when you squeezed the trigger it was more an issue of it MAY go bang when you try to decock it with the safety. Am I wrong on this matter? I just figure, I hardly ever have used the decocker and I always have been careful about the direction it's pointed in when I do even before the recall came out. Is there some other flaw in the design or materials that truly requires I get this in and stop using it? I really haven't kept up with the discussion on this as I didn't think it was that much of an issue but perhaps I am wrong.

April 15, 2010, 05:36 PM
You assessment is essentially correct. Try this:

1. With the pistol on safe and the gun pointed downrange, pull the hammer back and then let it fly. If it fires, you have a problem. If it doesn't, eject the cartridge and look carefully at the primer. If the cartridge shows a indentation from the firing pin, you have a potential problem brewing.

2. With the safety off and the gun pointed safely downrange, pull the hammer back to half-cock, or even a bit less, and then let if fly. (Be wary of your thumb, in the event that the gun fires.) If the gun fires, you have a problem.

I found in running both of these tests that my S&W-made PPK/S was an accident waiting to happen. Rather than sending it back to S&W and having it buggered up, I was able to solve the problem by replacing the firing pin and the other internals in the slide with Interarms parts. Problem solved.

May 12, 2010, 01:34 PM
I received my PPK/s back yesterday.S&W had it 3 weeks. The pistol had a slight punch mark.The ramp was polished. No visible marks by S&W. Function was perfect and S&W made the firing pin to strike perfect. I am pleased. Byron

May 13, 2010, 04:27 PM
Congratulations, Byron. Count your blessings -- not everyone who has gone through the recall experience has been so fortunate, sad to say.

gun guy
August 4, 2010, 08:13 PM
again with the walthers, since s&w took them over their quality has gone down the drain, i bought 2 within the last year for the book im writing, a 32 and 380, they will do a hatchet job on the mainspring to repair the malfuntion, it also turns a lousy trigger pull into abominable. neither feeds well enough to trust your life to. walthers answer, put a couple thousand break in rounds thru it??? i couldn't believe my ears. thats more in ammo than the gun is worth. and really, after about 2 or 3 rounds your hand is cut and bleeding from the famous walther slide tracks and you welcome the jam. my opinion if you want something that doesnt work, buy a jennings or a raven, the're alot cheaper. sadly like colt, in my opinion, they cut quality to the bone to increase profits. all you get now is a name.

August 4, 2010, 11:03 PM
Gun Guy, S&W did a superb job on mine. The action is smother and the weapon very accurate. I am not sure how you arrived at your conclusions.

August 10, 2010, 12:06 PM
B: He may have arrived at his conclusions because not everyone who has sent their pistol back to S&W for the recall work has had the same enjoyable experience that you have had. I'll say it again: Count your blessings ... not everyone has been so lucky.

September 5, 2010, 01:19 PM
I have always admired the PPK and went to a local shop last week planning to buy a PPK/S they had in stock. As far as I know the pistol was a post-recall pistol, new gun. After handling the pistol, though, I did not buy it. The double-action trigger pull was extremely heavy and the operation of the safety/decocker was not smooth at all. My Smith 442 also has a heavy pull but it is extremely smooth, no stacking, much better than the PPK/S. My Beretta 84 works much more smoothly than the PPK/S I tried and I decided to stay with it, notwithstanding that I still admire the looks of the PPK/S.

September 7, 2010, 06:58 PM
Some of the S&W models seem to work just fine; others, not so well. It's the luck of the draw. If you truly admire the looks of the Walther PPK, then get yourself a German- or French-made pistol, or one of the Interarams models, which also stayed true to the original Walther design. Plenty of them are around, often at prices that are every bit the equal to the new S&W pistols.

October 3, 2010, 12:13 PM
I gave my PPK/S to my brother several months ago, of course, he keeps it in his office at the opposite end of the house...
don't know what good it will do there. :evil:

Sent him the "recall" serial numbers, guilty, S&W is sending the
return package or whatever. :rolleyes:
I just emailed him to take a bunch of close-up PICS just in case it's damaged when it's returned...what else can I do?!? :cool:

October 3, 2010, 09:58 PM
Folks who have contacted one of the individuals at S&W's customer service operation ahead of sending their pistols back for the recall seem to have had beter luck than those who have just sent them in.

You already have taken an excellent first step by advising him to take detailed photos of the pistol. Next, I'd advise him to contact the head of the S&W customer service operation (Kate Fredette) and let her know that the pistol is coming and that you are entrusting it to her care and are expecting to get it back in perfect working order. I also would provide the gunsmiths in Houlten with a detailed list of any issues you that have experienced with the pistol and ask them to be sure and attend to those issues ... just in case. Be sure to keep a record of that as well.

I wouldn't send in a mag or the grips, but that's just me.

Good luck.

October 4, 2010, 01:21 AM
Good idea SEARCHER......Do you mind if I copy and paste your suggestion to him? Thx!

October 5, 2010, 04:39 PM
Be my guest; if it helps in any way, then we all gain.

November 30, 2010, 10:06 PM
Is there a stamp or idetification to as which guns were repaired.
Folks buying used guns should be aware as to the condition of the weapon.

November 30, 2010, 11:31 PM
A small punch is at the top inside of the tang.

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