Why are some short Barrel pistols accurate

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May 15, 2009
..and others are not. In the past 3 days I've put 600 rounds through my nearly new Walther ppk/s. This pistol, by a wide margin, is the most accurate pistol I own. I have a few which come close: my CZ75b, my PT-92, but even those don't have the pinpoint accuracy of the PPK.

When you take the hood off, it resembles my CZ52 and Makarov - fixed barrel. The Makarov is very accurate also, but from a rest, the PPK is single hole accurate at 30 feet.

I probably should chalk it up to good design, such as with the Beretta 92 and some of the other incredibly accurate pistols I've shot. But this PPK is more accurate than my Ruger MK III with 6-7/8in barrel (not by much though).

Someone explain how a little short barrelled pistol like this gets it's accuracy.

Attached is my hand after 350 rounds. Now, this isn't slide bite. it's just friction rub. Not pretty, but really entertaining!


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There is no reason a short-barrelled gun can't be as accurate as a longer barrel. The limiting factor is the sight radius -- guns with short sight radiuses make aiming difficult. A tiny, unnoticeable error in sight alignment can cause a much larger error at the target.
You got lucky and got a good one.
Not all Walther PPK/s's are one-holers.
(And 30 ft or 10 yards is pretty darn close for judging intrinsic pistol accuracy.)

Not to say the large majority don't shoot pretty good, but they are by no means target pistols.

If you got one that the slide always returns to the exact same position, that means your sights did too.
But not all of them do that every time.

The last one I had could be zeroed, or not, depending on which way you put the recoil spring kink on the barrel.

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I will say I got a good one. I can't wait until my hand heals up. The sight radius on this little Walther appears to be a bit longer than some larger barrelled models. The sights are very good. All narrow and I can really pin down what I want to hit. The gun just 'points' really well. I know others have had horrid experiences with them, but if you 've got a good one, I believe you've got something special.
I've shot the gun at much farther than 10 yards and it's highly accurate. I believe I could do it at quite a bit farther. For my purposes which is practicing at 50 to 30 feet, i thought 30 would be a good starting place.

My bleeding hand kept me from shooting that particular pistol more. I'd have moved my targets set back a bit but I hurt:)

I've also found most PPs and PPKs to be accurate unless there was particularly something wrong with them. But as a breed accurate. The fixed barrel helps of course.

On the slide bite, this is a pretty well known problem with Walthers for some shooters, particularly those with larger or meatier hands. Some shooters it never effected. On mine I'd take a swiss file and some stones and remove any sharp edges and radius the bottom of the slide. Helped quite a bit. You may notice that once Walther and S&W partnered up S&W lengthened the tang on the grip in an effort to prevent the slide slicing folks hands. Worked for many people.

Some guns are just right. It could be a combination of quality manufacture, tolerances, materials (steel), design (fixed barrel, sights, rifling twist), etc. My German post war PPK .32 is also as accurate as I can hold and sight. I can do "head" shots at 50 yards if I do everything right (and the head doesn't bob around) with that PPK. I have seen many other short barreled guns, revolvers AND autos, do better than anyone would give them credit to do. Maybe the bullet gets out of the barrel before the shooter can screw up the shot?
Thanks for the informative posts. I figured the fixed barrel might have something to do with it.

My hand wound is not slide bite. It's friction rub from me holding the gun too tightly against the webbing of my hand. It just rubbed 2 pieces of skin off my hand. It took about 200 shots before it started bleeding.

The pistol amazes me with it's accuracy. It's quite the reliable pistol so far too, even though the Smith made models seem to have problems. I find the little gun perfectly weighted too. I believe the design was originally well thought-out and executed.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why so many of these pistols malfunction for their owners.
I have five short barreled handguns that are very accurate. Three are Springfield XD-SC 9x19 pistols. One is a blue S&W Model 19, with 2 1/5" barrel, and one is a S&W Model 66, with 2 1/5" barrel. With the Model 66, I once got a coyote at 97 paces with the first shot. I've also won a few bets with that little revolver.

It all depends on the individual handgun, and how it fits your hand. The sights and triggers also have a lot to do with it, as well as the shooter. Some shooters can't hit the broad side of a barn at 10 yards with a Buntline Special, while others can write their names on a target at 50 yards with a short barreled handgun.

Hope this helps.

Some folks shoot some guns better than they shoot others, regardless of the length of the barrel or the configuration of the trigger or ... whatever variables you want to enter into the equation. The bottom line is that some guns fit your hand and eye better than others, and you are going to shoot those guns better than you will shoot the guns that don't. I'm with you on the PPK; I generally shoot it better than most any other pistol I own (other than a P5). Of course, 35-plus years of practice doesn't hurt, either.
Many short barrelled hadnguns, like your PPK/S, work on the simple blowback system. Simple blowback guns are generally more accurate than guns with swinging links and such because the barrel is fixed. That's why people often marvel at the accuracy of Makarovs and Hi-Points.
Yeah, I have a .380acp PPK/s that is extremely reliable and accurate. I have a scar on the web of my thumb and index finger from shooting it so much.

I took some stones and rounded the edges on the tang. So much better. The gun just points so naturally for me, and I love the weight and balance of it. At the indoor range, at 7yds, I can draw and fire all 7 rounds without sights and put all 7 in the X ring. This is why it's my CCW.
TheNev: It really is a great pointing pistol. I shoot it better than any other pistol I own. My Kahrs E9 and PM9 are very nice as well. The bigger PT92 and CZ 75 are really easy to aim as well. But the way the little PPK fits the hand is wonderful. It WILL rub you raw however. I've learned to grip it without touching my hand webbing and do well that way as well. Even with the rubbing, this pistol is the easiest shooting 380 I own.
I can't say my PPK/s is the BEST shooting pistol I have. My P-01 takes that title, but the Walther is nipping right at the CZ's heels. It's very close.
One other thing...some pistols "fit" certain people better than others...

For me...I do not shoot the Springfield XD series and Glocks well at all. I do not feel like I ever get a solid grip on those models. Now, put a 1911 in my hands...LOOKOUT!

I think PPK's are great. I have found that different rounds can vary widely in accuracy. I shoot Hydrashoks better than anything, and WWB are among the least accurate. If you don't mind my asking, what do you use?
My 230/232 Sigs are decent shooters.
I had a PPK. Well constructed. Accurate. My next line is: sorry I sold it.
Man / Method / Machine.

Each part of the equation uniquely effects the other. What works for you works for you because of the unique interactions between each of the components of the equation.

Maybe it's just that simple... (?)

as les said, man/method/machine. since you are a good shooter to begin with, as long as you are consistent, then we need to look at your method of shooting. and since you do seem to be consistent with every gun you shoot, i would say your method works for you. so we get down to the machine. good sights, proper machine work, especially with the barrel, and no tolerance stack generally adds up to an accurate weapon. there are many things that can affect accuracy, if the barrel is fractionally larger than it should be, but with in spec so it isnt rejected by QC, will allow the bullet to move around ever so slightly which means you get the accuracy of an old muzzle loader. poor ammunition also affects accuracy. and even a top specimen like your gun will lose accuracy if you run 100 rounds through the weapon with out letting it cool a bit.
Little known factoid: with most handguns, the bullet fully takes to the rifling in the first half inch or less of travel down the barrel. Beyond that, the mechanical accuracy is unchanged. The extra barrel length simply increases the sight radius (greater practical accuracy), muzzle velocity, and in the case of revolvers, a full length ejector rod once you get past 3" (most models). I actually read one theory which proposed that some specific handguns with multiple barrel length options may be more mechanically accurate with shorter barrels because of superior harmonics to that given model - a shorter barrel may well flex/twist less than a longer one, again at least on some guns.

I've got a 2" S&W Model 15 38 Special that is fully capable of one hole groups in DA fire at 30 feet when I do my part. I'm sure in the hands of an expert shot, it could make nice clover leaf groups at 25 yards. Many a shooter at the range has been quite stunned to learn that the little 'ole 38 snubby is plenty up to the task of pinpoint shooting, it's just not the primary intent of such a gun to hit grapefruit sized targets at 50 yards. But it can do it.

How the gun fits to your hand has more to do with how accurate it will be than anything else. Most shooters aren't good enough, me included, to extract the full potential of 95%+ of the handguns out there anyway. That little snub Model 15 feels perfect in my hands, the balance is spot on, so it shoots closer to where I point it than just about anything else; I've got a 4" 15 that I shoot equally as well. It is my most frequently carried gun for that reason.
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MN Swede: Right now i'm using a variety of ammunition to see if it's going to shoot it. Mostly hard nosed, but i've shot some hollow points through it and it processed them perfectly. I've not settled upon a carry ammo. Ive shot pmc, prvi, remmington, pretty much anything I can get.
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