Walther PPK/S opinions

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Jul 17, 2005
Los Angeles County, CA
More recently, I have been seriously considering buying a new stainless Walther PPK/S in .380acp or .32 . Please let me know your opinions on:

1) reliability (mechanics, feed issues, component failure)
2) quality (work out of the box? Tweaking required?)
3) customer support by Walther in the US (lifetime warranty and repair?)
4) ease of takedown / cleaning (hammer required?)
5) accuracy (defensive ranges)
6) ergonomics (PPK vs PPK/S, sights, availability of rubber grips, etc.)
7) choice of caliber (ballistics, cost, availability, reliability)

The gun is meant for target practice, self-defense, and fun.

Many thanks in advance.
I like my PPK/S a lot as a fun gun to shoot every once in a while at the range, but it's not the best range or SD run. Particularly since there are so many fine sub-compacts on the market, and Walther is coming out with the PPS later this year.
I've got one of the new PPKs. Mine has been reliable thus far and is suprisingly accurate. It is certainly easier to shoot well than my 642 snubbie. The edges of the slide are ridiculously sharp, and the new longer tang prevents slide bite, but does dig into the web of my hand after a few magazines. If you have hands any bigger than mine, and mine are on the small medium side of things, the grip of the PPK will be cramped. The gun does fit well into the front pocket of a pair of loose fit jeans. I love my PPK, but wouldn't recomend it to anyone as a primary carry gun. If it is just for fun, range trips, and backup to another gun than its well worth picking up. Sadly, the purchase price does not include a tux, a buxom blonde, and a Aston Martin that fires missiles.
I'm with PPGMD, if I bought a 380 it would be the ppk. Look at a Kahr K40 same size, lot more bang for SD.
I had one for a month................the sharp edges of the back strap cut two grooves into my skin due to the harsh recoil. Every other mag or so I would pull the trigger and hear a click, S&W said maybe the firing pin was too short.
I think these PPK/s pistols are absolutely beautiful and the workmanship is very nice, but I sold it because the recoil discouraged practice and I didn't trust it.
I have a Kahr CW9 this is more powerful, lighter, and is a much softer shooting gun that is stone reliable. So why carry a .380? Plus .380 ammo costs more.

So by your requirements:
Reliability-mine wasn't
Customer support-S&W is fabulous
Accuracy-pretty good
Ergonomics-for me, bad
Caliber-I'd rather a .38 or 9mm
Tgt. practice-not fun
Self defense-see above
Fun-see above

They are pretty, but so are some movie stars, you wouldn't want to live with them!
In order:

1) reliability (mechanics, feed issues, component failure)
Reliability seems to vary depending on who you talk to.
Some will tell you the Interarms American made guns were junk, others will tell you the current S&W are junk.
I've owned two USA made guns and both were 100% reliable. Others will tell you about horrible reliability.
This tells you nothing about how a gun YOU buy will work.
Many owners never give the gun a fair chance to get broken in, or refuse to really experiment with ammo to find one that's reliable.
Walther's are also magazine picky. They like genuine Walther made magazines, and they seem to like to be run a little wetter with lube than other guns.

2) quality (work out of the box? Tweaking required?)
I've seen VERY few Walther's that had quality problems. The usual complaint is about reliability, not quality of workmanship.

3) customer support by Walther in the US (lifetime warranty and repair?)
Excellent. S&W now holds the license and works on them. S&W work is great.
For older European made Walther's Earl's Walther Service provides service.

4) ease of takedown / cleaning (hammer required?)
The Walther PP series is possibly the easiest pistol made to disassemble. It requires NO tools, and can literally be disassembled faster than you can describe it. With a little practice, you can field strip it in less than 15 seconds.

5) accuracy (defensive ranges)
The Walther PP series guns have always been noted for their accuracy.
Accuracy IS dependent on ammunition. Not all guns "like" all ammo. You may need to experiment with ammo to find a brand that's accurate, AND reliable.
Note that the gun is NOT a target gun and it's chambered in .380 auto.

6) ergonomics (PPK vs PPK/S, sights, availability of rubber grips, etc.)
Ergos on the Walther are very good.
The difference between the PPK and the PPK/s is strictly personal preference.
The longer grip of the PPK/s does offer a better grip, and one more round.
If you use flat base magazines, the PPK/s is about the same length as the PPK with the extended base magazine.
The PPK/s "usually" shoots better for most people, but NOT all.
The sights are small but some of the best ever used on a pocket auto.
Pachmayr makes an excellent rubber grip, BUT it may not fit the new S&W made guns.
I would assume Pachmayr will offer one that does soon.
Another choice is one of the rubber "sock" type grip enhancers as made by Pachmayr and Hogue. These slip over the factory grips and frame.
Some people complain about the older guns cutting their hands when the slide operates.
The new S&W has an extended grip tang that should eliminate this.
Walther's do tend to have sharp edges, and can benefit from some light carry bevel work. With stainless, this is not a problem since there's no need to refinish the gun after.

7) choice of caliber (ballistics, cost, availability, reliability)
There are three choices, depending on which version.
The PP series has been available in .22LR, .32ACP, and the most popular, the .380ACP.
The most effective, easy to find, and the widest choice in modern defense ammo is the .380.
Choices in the .32 are few and far between.
I bought an old Interarms stainless PPK/S .380 for my Dads birthday and I've shot it quite a few times.

1:reliability It seems to jam when you limp wrist other than that it’s been reliable.
2:quality I would say very good quality.
3:customer support I don't really know...
4:ease of takedown Very easy, at least it is for me no tools required.
5:accuracy At 20 yds it hits the target almost every time.
6:ergonomics It feels very balanced, the slide on the old models bites a little but I think they fixed that with the new ones. I don't know about grips but I think they would be easy to find for the PPK/S. The sights are small but adequate for a small pistol.
7:choice of caliber I would get .380 its available almost everywhere in this country and the rest of the world.
Terrific gun in all departments EXCEPT ONE.....it NOT 9mm.

Would that be a wonderful little pistol or what?

Until they make one I shall be conent with my S&W Compact M&P which is as small, carries a handful of pellets and rides sweetly on the hip. :evil:
dfariswheel has said it best.
Myself I will only buy Interarms They have always worked and a lot cheaper than the S&W tang gun . I like my PPK/S and for years was my carry IWB or Pocket. A PPK/S loaded with Corbon DPX is a good SD pistol.
1) reliability (mechanics, feed issues, component failure)
2) quality (work out of the box? Tweaking required?)
Good, sometimes depending on ammo.
3) customer support by Walther in the US (lifetime warranty and repair?)
Don't know
4) ease of takedown / cleaning (hammer required?)
5) accuracy (defensive ranges)
Close up... no problem, for 'serious use' have better sites added.
6) ergonomics (PPK vs PPK/S, sights, availability of rubber grips, etc.)
Ok, the safety is backwards and hard to hit quickly under stress.

7) choice of caliber (ballistics, cost, availability, reliability)
Finickey with various ammo. Find what works and stick with it.
380 is often cheaper than .32 :confused:
ammo is easy to find

I LIKE PP's PPK's, and PPKS's. I've got a couple. They are fun range guns, and are GREAT for getting new shooters into it.
"Wanta shoot James Bond's gun?"

But I WOULD NOT carry it for defense.
the Kel Tec's offer the same ammo... at MUCH less weight.

for the size/weight... 9mm or .38/357
I've got a new S&W PPK and I love it. For its size the accuracy is amazing, and its been 100% reliable. I can easily recommend one for range or carry. One thing you do need to remember about all of these tupperware pistols that are being recommended instead of the walther is that these are straight blowback guns. Thus, the lighter the pistol the more felt recoil you are going to have. The heft of the walther goes a long way in making it a very shootable pistol not for just initial accuracy but for follow up shots as well
I have had 2 PPK/S

1) reliability (mechanics, feed issues, component failure)
One is used and have not had any issues as of yet.
The one I bought new is not even broken in. I have used
a mix of Winchester and Remington, HP and FMJ, standard
and +P or HV types with 1 issue (IIRC) in 300+ rnds and I
think it was my fault.

2) quality (work out of the box? Tweaking required?)
Good to go out of the box.

3) customer support by Walther in the US (lifetime warranty and repair?)
I have not had to call them as of yet.

4) ease of takedown / cleaning (hammer required?)
Easy to take down... a little odd but easy.

**** If you are going to take it completely apart be prepared to spend
**** some real time getting the trigger guard back on, that spring is
**** strong. I had to make some wooden chalks to hold it in place
**** and use my drill press with a punch in place of a bit to press the
**** retaining pin back in. Also be careful of the little spring clip on
**** the side. It was a minor PITA.

5) accuracy (defensive ranges)
Not bad depending on your hand size and grips used.

6) ergonomics (PPK vs PPK/S, sights, availability of rubber grips, etc.)
Factory grips are not good for me (too small). They do make some
nice fatter wooden grips that I really like.

7) choice of caliber (ballistics, cost, availability, reliability)
I don't like anything other than a .380 in a small semi.

I also like the weight.
I've owned two, a German and a pre S&W US gun. The German gun was flawless, the US gun was a PITA, and was sent in for repairs a number of times.

If your interested in a .32/.380 in this sized pistol, I'd check out the SIG P230/232's. They are really much nicer than the Walthers all around. The SIG's are lighter, more comfortable in your hand and dont bite, and have very nice DA triggers, something I have yet to see on any of the Walthers, German or US.
HAD a Walther PPK/S (American) liked the "feel" but it was problematic.

HAVE a Bersa Thunder .380 and it is a MUCH better weapon: reliable/flawless, accurate, and a heck of a lot more inexpensive.
I like the feel of the PPK but they tend to rip the web of my thump pretty significantly if I'm not extremely careful with hand placement.

That said, I instead found a nice Mauser HsC in .380 and use it for a pocket pistol choice.

Whatever you do, at least consider a SIG P-232. In my opinion it offers a better grip, better accuracy, and is less likely to draw blood from your shooting hand.
I'd like to tag onto this thread if you don't mind. I am looking at getting my wife a PPK/S for her birthday. I have a friend who let her shoot his and she loved it. The problem I discovered yesterday after looking at a couple was that the trigger pull seemed to be alot stiffer than I would have thought. One was a used pistol and I have no knowledge on it and the other was a new S&W pistol and the trigger pull was even harder in Double Action mode. They both had nice crsip releases but I would have to estimate the trigger pull to be in the 8-9lb range. Using my S&W 686 with about a 4-6 lb pull, it was noticably heavier.
Is that normal for the Walther? I, myself, did not fire my friends PPK/s at the time, I was too busy with my new 1911A1 to be concerned with pocket pistols when he had it out.

A really heavy double action trigger is normal for the PP series, and unfortunately, there's not much that can be done about it.

The problem is less a matter of springs, and more a function of leverage.
The gun is tiny, especially when you consider all the features that Walther crammed into it in 1929.
The design simply limited the leverage that could be employed, and this makes for a heavy DA trigger pull.

Attempts to install lighter springs typically lead to reliability problems.

Happily, most Walther shooters soon grow used to the heavy pull, and after a time you no longer notice it.
The secret is practice, which will both strengthen the trigger finger, and allow the shooter to get used to it.

It's common for a new Walther owner to be seen at the range straining to pull the trigger with a shaking hand, and a few months later to see them happily banging away with it.
Walther of Germany recently announced at the recent Europeon "shot show" the release of a new "slim 9" pistol designed to replace the PPK.. It's the PPS, and it's due in the U.S. late July. It's designated the PPS. (Police Pistol Sllim).

You might want to check the new PPS out as it will probably cost around the same (or even less) than the new S&W PPK's, and it will be a 9mm..

Just another option.

Best Wish,

J. Pomeroy
I've had limited experience w/ the Walther. I originally wanted one just because. For me, the deal killer is the trigger :barf:
I have a cirica 1972 ppk/s Its a fine little accurate pistol that i carry to gatherings , and BBQS . My everyday carry is some form of Kahr P series due to thinness and weight chambering a full house round . With my Kahrs i can break clay pidgens at 20 yards , with my PPK/S i can normaly shoot shotgun hulls at the same range . For defensive carry , there are a lot of better pistols out there , for a " lodge pin " gun its hard to beat .
I bought a new S&W PPK/S-1 a couple of months ago and have taken it to the range 3 times and fired 260 rounds (250 Blazer Brass 95 gr .380 FMJ, 5 90 gr Gold Dots, 5 90 gr Hydra-Shoks:

1) reliability: No issues at all; every single round has fed, chambered, fired and extracted. Because the gun is small and thin, sometimes the slide has slipped out of my hand before I've pulled it all the way back to chamber the first round - the gun doesn't care - all rounds have chambered. Basically, this gun has a pretty robust design.
2) quality: see above. The plastic grips work, but they don't look great. I have some wood Hogues on order.
3) customer support by Walther in the US: don't know.
4) ease of takedown / cleaning: strange, but easy.
5) accuracy (defensive ranges): I had to drift the rear sight over and the gun shoots about 2.5 inches low at 20' - fine for defensive shooting.
6) ergonomics (PPK vs PPK/S, sights, availability of rubber grips, etc.): I have small/medium hands and I like the way the gun feels. The Hogue wood grips should be slightly thicker than the stock plastic, and a fuller grip will make the gun feel even better. I can get a complete grip on the PPK/S even without the finger-rest magazine. The PPK grip is very slightly shorter, so that should be fine for me as well. I've never heard anyone complain that the grip on the PPK or PPK/S was too short - it's pretty generous for a gun this size.
7) choice of caliber: .380. A .32 would be better for pure target shooting, but the ammo is a lot harder to find, more of a pain to reload.

Yes, the double-action trigger pull is about the heaviest I've ever felt, but you do get used to it. Chamber a snap cap and just practice the double-action pull. Bonus: once you get used to the PPK's trigger, every other gun feels like a tuned Olympic target pistol. And actually, I like the feel of the PPK trigger, it's just the heaviness of the DA pull that takes gettting used to.

Conclusion: The PPK/S is a solid, well-designed, reliable, good-looking semi-auto pistol that should be easy to carry.
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