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S&W PPK/s mini-review

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FJC, Jul 20, 2003.

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  1. FJC

    FJC Member

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    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!


    [​IMG]
     
  2. George Hill

    George Hill Member

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    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.
     
  3. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Is this listed under S&W's web site or Walther's? Thanks, Byron
     
  4. dev_null

    dev_null Member

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    Schweet! I love my SIG P232, but if I'd known this was in the works I might have waited.

    -0-
     
  5. FJC

    FJC Member

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    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:

    [​IMG]

    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. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2003
  6. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Member

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    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.
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    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
     
  9. FJC

    FJC Member

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    I paid $479 for it from a local dealer. I've seen them on the internet seller sites for $439.
     
  10. Ali

    Ali Member

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    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 .
     
  11. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    Definitely on my "would like to have but really don't need" list too! Nice little report on her too
     
  12. gbelleh

    gbelleh Member

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    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!
     
  13. FJC

    FJC Member

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    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.
     
  14. George Hill

    George Hill Member

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    "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.
     
  15. clubsoda22

    clubsoda22 member

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    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.
     
  16. zeke

    zeke Member

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    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.
     
  17. FJC

    FJC Member

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    I may just try that magic-marker trick, I think it would really help with the sight picture.

    Thanks for the tip. :)
     
  18. zeke

    zeke Member

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    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.
     
  19. Byron

    Byron Member

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    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
     
  20. FJC

    FJC Member

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    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. :)
     
  21. clubsoda22

    clubsoda22 member

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    my favorite .380 personal defence ammo is the triton quik shok (+P)

    OUCH! Click picture to link to the websight.
    [​IMG]
    Flight Ballistics match the CorBon, though termanal balistics, as you can see, are quite a different story.
     
  22. tlhelmer

    tlhelmer Member

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    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.
     
  23. FJC

    FJC Member

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    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...
     
  24. ArmyNavyGame

    ArmyNavyGame Member

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    My PPK/S

    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.
     
  25. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    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.
     
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