Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Carry Gun: Walther PPK or S&W .38 Snub

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Thain, Jan 12, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Thain

    Thain Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    Lansing, Michigan
    Like I said in the title, I'm going to eventually need a fulltime carry gun, and am torn between the Walther PPK or a Smith & Wesson .38 Special J-Frame (Probably a 642).

    But, I'm a newbie, and Ifigured I stir up the hornets nest by asking for advice from the folks here at THR. (Hey, at least I didn't ask about 9mm vs. .45 cal!)
     
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    6,121
    Some years ago one of the better gun magazines did a writeup on just this question, and had a "shoot-out" to find out the answer.

    Questions about "stopping power" and capacity aside, the Walther proved to be a much more "shoot-able" gun, and was bother faster and more accurate in drills.

    The Walther was all-around easier to shoot faster and more accurately than the S&W snubby, and they concluded that for getting bullets on target, the Walther was a better choice.

    Again, this is power of the cartridge aside.
     
  3. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    If you look at the numbers for a .38 Special from a 1 7/8" barrel, you'll find that they're not all that impressive. With a +P you might get 270 ft-lb. and recoil that makes followup shots more difficult. With a standard-pressure round, below 200 ft-lb.

    If a .380 is insufficient, then so is that.:)
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,928
    Location:
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    I suppose that's what worked for the author of that article. Might work for me, might not.

    The only advice I could give is that you should use the one that you shoot more precisely. And only you can determine that - not a bunch of us out here in internetland. :)

    With either of these small, not-very-powerful guns, precise targeting of vital structures within an assailant's body is going to be necessary to guarantee stops. Frankly, neither of these guns would be reliably good for someone who was not quite a good shot. I'd advise you buy a copy of Gray's Anatomy to go along with whichever you choose, and study how to hit the heart/aorta, brain, and upper spine from various angles - those are your targets.
     
  5. m0ntels

    m0ntels Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Perkasie, PA
    Both are fine guns, but shoot the PPK before you buy it. I tried one once and I still have the scar from the slide on my hand. I put 100 rounds through it and I musta gouged myself about 5 times. My 642 giving my hand a bit of whip is much more comfy than getting cut every time I pull the trigger!

    Randy
     
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    Note that the new PPK's from S&W have a longer beavertail than the original versions. This is a well-known problem with the design -- probably the only problem.

    However, if you have big hands, I don't doubt it would still be a problem!
     
  7. m0ntels

    m0ntels Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    Perkasie, PA
    The one I shot was a PPK/S. I forget how much it weighs in at, but it was a solid and definetly pretty gun. If you like it, dont forget to look at the little Bersa/Firestorm guns. It may fit you a bit better, looks 90% as good, and is about half the price. I almost bought one, but went to the slightly larger 9mm Thunder model.

    The 642 doesnt have any real cons to it if you accept the caliber and DAO pull without much griping. It is well-built, light, handy, and will do all a gun for someone not in a war zone will need it to do. Price puts it in the area of the Bersa 380. I eventually settled on getting the 642 due to the weight and shape of the gun, plus the fact I already load for the 38 Special.

    Randy
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    Here's a comparison of the old and the new. If you shot a German-made PPK/S, I think that it was the old beavertail.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Messages:
    2,672
    Location:
    Planet Earth
    I have them both. I prefer the Walther (S&W version). Slimmer, holds 1 more round, faster reload.

    Kevin
     
  10. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    14,651
    Location:
    Centennial, CO
    According to Q... either is a fine choice.

    (What this wasn't a James Bond question?)

    The PPk might need a feed ramp job to handle hollow points. I think the PPk is easier to conceal.

    The J-frame can shoot much heavier bullets, and you can get one +p rated. Best to buy a .357 rated j-frame and load it with 38+p.
     
  11. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,069
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    Except the .38 does it with much heavier, longer bullets which mean it has better penetration along with a bit more energy.

    The cartridges are close, though, slight edge to the .38 for the above reason. I wanna see the PPK that can out-shoot a good 3" snub. With a 2" or under, well, it's pretty equal I reckon and I'm sure a good PPK could probably out group a lesser 2" snubby. The extra inch of a 3" barrel really does help the sight radius of a snubby that much along with giving it a little more umph. If pocket carry is desirable, I reckon the 2" gun is better, though, probably even better than the diminutive PPK. It's a pretty close race, but being a revolver guy, I think the snub would be my choice. The PPK has slightly more capacity and is flatter, but I carry a snub all the time and it's not difficult to hide.

    To me, if you're a revolver type, get the revolver. If you prefer autos, get the PPK. Or, get both and flip a coin in the morning when you're getting dressed. :D
     
  12. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,171
    I am a revolver guy. But there's something about old-design Walthers.

    I think of my P1 as the revolver of semis.:p

    WRT the caliber and effectiveness thing... My point is just that people who think a .380 is a useless mouse gun, a 9mm is an ineffective "Europellet", but that a .38 Special is a perfectly adequate defense round in a snubbie, haven't taken a 5-second look at an ammo catalog.:)
     
  13. Marshall

    Marshall Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    5,569
    Location:
    Oklahoma, Green Country
    The .38 Special. Most all reasons are already mentioned. I'll add or mention again, SIMPLICITY & RELIABILTIY.;)
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    25,069
    Location:
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    Oh, yeah, I totally agree with that! Heck, I carry a .380 when I want a pocket gun, smaller than my smallest 9 or .38. .380 is about my minimum that I feel comfortable relying on if things go sour. Some folks like the .32 and the platform for some of 'em is quite handy, but the KT and Guardian in .380 are quite pocketable, so why go smaller? As you say, the .380 is the equal of the standard pressure .38 special for energy out of a small gun. My little pocket gun puts up just under 200 ft lbs and while it ain't a match grade gun, it'll put most of 'em in the 8 ring on a silhouette with careful aim at 25 yards. A gun fight ain't gonna happen at 25 yards, anyway.
     
  15. el44vaquero

    el44vaquero Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Messages:
    616
    Location:
    NE Oklahoma
    Here's one I carry.

    pix337389188.jpg
    pix337389235.jpg
    pix337389141.jpg
     
  16. kjeff50cal

    kjeff50cal Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    How's about a Polish PPK with attitude, P-64.


    [​IMG]

    kjeff50cal
     
  17. Stevel

    Stevel Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    SE PA
    six of one 1/2 dozen of the other. Last summer i was going through the same sort of debate. I wound up with the Bersa .380 mainly for financial reasons. While I was looking though, the small Kahrs in 9mm looked real good. Used pricing was below the Walther.
     
  18. P. Plainsman

    P. Plainsman Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,125
    Location:
    Red America
    Given that matchup, I wouldn't hesitate to choose a S&W 642. It's much lighter than a PPK, hits harder, and is likely to be more reliable. Those are significant advantages.

    The PPK has an established reputation as a problem child; slide bite, jamming. Beautiful lines, but I'd insist on a fully modern design for a CCW semi-auto pocket gun.

    On the snubby side, you should bear in mind that there's some very well-designed .38 Special +P defensive ammo out there. The .380 ACP typically uses 85-90 grain bullets, with 100 grains marking the top end. In contrast, most seasoned shooters who carry .38 Special snubs load them with far heavier bullets. Either 158 grain lead semi-wadcutter hollowpoints (the venerable "FBI load") or the new, specially designed 135 grain Speer JHP with an extra-wide hollowpoint design to facilitate expansion.

    Personally, I'd rather have five rounds of one of those bullets on tap, in a highly reliable design like the J-frame revolver, than seven of virtually anything in .380. The one load that may bring the .380 pistol close to parity with the snub is Cor-Bon's hot .380 JHP, which some say is hard on guns. I'd still take the 642.

    Here's a side-by-side evaluation from Gun Week that came down firmly in favor of the .38 snub over the .380 pistol.

    http://www.gunweek.com/2005/feature0620.html

    Now, one advantage of a 3" DA/SA .380 pistol over a 2" DAO snubby is shootability. One has to train harder to master the small revolver. Some people are allergic to wheelguns. Unless you fall in that minority, the snubby's lighter weight, ballistic superiority, and other advantages make it the default choice.

    PS: The quality small 9mms coming on the market -- those are a different story. I would have a tough time convincing someone that he made a mistake in choosing, say, a Kahr MK9 or PM9 over a .38 snub. But you asked about .380s, and even from a strictly "tactical" standpoint I think the snub is a superior carry weapon to a .380 PPK.

    PPS: For the same weight as a PPK, you could actually get a steel J-frame S&W or a Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum -- dramatically more powerful than a .380 ACP. These guns are very shootable with .38+P.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2006
  19. 420Stainless

    420Stainless Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,212
    Location:
    MS
    Neither. I love my Interarms PPK/S: Carry it often, shoot it well, find it very reliable, it doesn't bother my hand, and I deeply appreciate its beauty.

    It is, however, very heavy for its size. If I wasn't so comfortable with her, I'd be checking out a PM9, P11, or P3AT.
     
  20. bubbygator

    bubbygator Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Messages:
    486
    Location:
    Sarasota
    Best choice is J-frame, because.......


    you can add a Crimson Trace lasergrip!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  21. jrc7sbcglobal

    jrc7sbcglobal Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Carry Options

    First off a CCW gun as a defensive, not offensive option.
    There is a big difference between looking for trouble and protection.
    Any handgun powerfull enough to get into a firefight with is too large to carry.
    What you want is one you can have when you wear dress pants or swimming trunks. I discovered this living in Orlando. It's 90 degrees at 8am.
    I have been researching the best carry gun for about 20 years now, and all I can do for you is give you my opinion based on real life experence from having CCW's in 4 states over the last 20 years.
    1. Your best defence is surprise.
    2. The goal is to get away from the problem, not stand & shoot it out.
    3. If the threat is over 25ft away they are not a threat.
    4. If you have to wear a holster, you should carry a 45acp or 50bmg.
    5. More people have been killed with the 25acp than any other caliber.
    Given the above facts, the 380acp is hands down the best bet because the guns for it are small and flat and easy to conceal. There is very little difference in a 380 and a 38spl. Using Hydrashocks there is probably no difference.
    I have found only 2 380's that meet all the above criteria.
    I have carried 3 Colt Mustangs in different configurations and thought it was the best going. Put it in a wallet holster in you back pocket and you don't even know it's there. Only problem is Colt quit making the Pocket lite. When I found out they are selling for $1000+ I put mine in the safe. If you ever have to use it you probably will not get it back from the police.
    I now carry in a pocket holster the Keltec 3AT. It is half the size & weight of a stainless Mustang. With the keltec clip draw on it you can clip it on your swimming trunks and not know it's there. They even have a lanyard that you can wear it around your neck like a neckless. Talk about a surprise for the scum bag in the rest stop. :what:
    Now I know there is going to be hundreds of know it alls that are going to jump all over this post with their opinions of stopping power, reliability, quality, etc. to defend their idea of a carry gun, and that is OK. But when they do think about this, 7 hydrashocks, double action like a Glock, no safety, polymer frame(no rust), only 11oz fully loaded, and best of all $250.
    Let them top that. :neener:
     
  22. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    outback Kentucky
    First when will all these OLD stories about the Walter biteing stop. The new S&W has corrected that problem. Also the doesn't like HP and jams My PPK/S is around 30 years old (INTERARMS)It feeds and shoots every brand of 380 Ive tried.

    If the PPK or PPK/S were so bad they would have stopped makeing long ago.
    Now I carry my PPK/S 90% of the time I also have a S&W M-49 bodyguard I carry I don't feel unarmed with either. I do shoot the Walther better and with Corbon 90gr HP or the new DPX don't see 380 a problem at SD range I'm a civ not a cop .

    Bersa are nice but don't pocket carry well They are a little larger than the PPK/S I also have one or these.
     
  23. 461

    461 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    1,133
    Location:
    NE.
    I went through a pretty intense Walther phase a few years back and they can be extremely reliable and accurate. Worst feature of the design is the trigger pull weight- it will never be light and reliable. Great gun and if you like it you'll be well served. Given the choice, I think I'd probably opt personally for the wheely myself and it is purely a personal preference having nothing to do with reliability or stopping power. Bottom line they are both very close to equal and you need to decide which you prefer- before choosing either one I'd want at least 500 rounds without a hiccup through anything I'm betting my life on. Good luck.
     
  24. gazpacho

    gazpacho Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,166
    In general, the heavier the gun is, the less likely you will want to carry it. The PPK is 21oz, 642 is 15 oz. The ammo for both is about the same (7rds x 90gr = 630gr 380acp, 5rds x 125gr = 625gr 38spec). So you are looking at about a 6oz difference. Is that significant enough of a difference? Well, the longer you carry, the more likely you are to say YES.

    Bulk is also a considerable factor. The PPK is compact and slim. The 642 is a big lump. This give the PPK a considerable advantage in that its small size gives you more options for carry.

    KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. The more complicated the gun is, the more likely it will fail. Call it Murphy's Law if you will. The PPK is a more complicated gun than the 642. It requires that the spent cartridge be physically removed from the chamber for the next cartridge can move into position and be fired. Also, the initial DA trigger pull of the PPK is notoriously heavy. I think it is something on the order of 18# to 20# pull. You seriously need to consider the accuracy of your first shot. The 642 is very simple, point and pull the trigger, then pull the trigger again. On the other hand, reloading the 642 is a slower more complicated process than the PPK. The concealed hammer of the 642 does have one small advantage over all semi-autos and most other revolvers, in that it can be fired, repeatedly from a place of concealment, like a coat pocket or inside a purse. The working mechanisms of semi-autos in particular are likely to jam after the first shot.

    If you are recoil tollerant, I would recommend the 642 with either the Speer Gold Dot 135gr +P 38spec. That cartridge was specifically designed for snubnosed revolvers for the NYPD. On paper and in jello, it's a superb performer. Or, you can go with the 158gr +P LSWCHP of various manufacturers. It's the famous "Treasury" load, and it works REAL well. Neither is fun to shoot. If you are really recoil tollerant, try either of those cartridges with the 340PD. 3oz lighter and $300 more expensive.

    If you choose the PPK, I would recommend the Speer Gold Dot 90gr +P 380acp cartridge. It tends to function and expand well out of shorter barrels.

    My choice? I carry the 340PD with GD 135gr +P. I SUCK at clearing FTFs and FTEs with small semi-autos.
     
  25. MadMercS55

    MadMercS55 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
    Messages:
    523
    Location:
    Monroeville, Pennsylvania
    From my experience I'd go with the 642 well over the PPK. That being said, I have only had trigger time with newer-S&W PPK's. The 2 I tried had horrendous reliability issues even with FMJ ammo. Neither were mine, but were friends who found their size attractive. Total rnds fired per weapon were 300 in one and 200 in another. The problems just didn't go away with time. I do hear favorable things on older PPK's however.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page