Often imitated but never duplicated. The elegant lines of the legendary WALTHER PPK have caught the imagination of the entire world for over 75 years. Developed in 1931, the WALTHER PPK continues to thrill the shooting public, and the legend lives on. The PPK/S with a longer frame for one additional cartridge, and the PPK are now produced in the USA under license by Smith & Wesson.
The PP was released in 1929 and the PPK in 1931; both were popular with European police and civilians, for being reliable and concealable. During World War II they were issued to the German military and police, the Schutzstaffel, the Luftwaffe, and Nazi Party officials (especially Nazi Party officials); Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself with his PPK (a 7.65mm/.32ACP) in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Moreover, the Walther PPK (also a 7.65mm/.32ACP) pistol is famous as fictional secret agent James Bond’s signature gun in many of the films and novels. Ian Fleming’s choice of the Walther PPK directly influenced its popularity and its notoriety.
The most common variant is the Walther PPK, the Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (Police Pistol Detective Model), indicating it was more concealable than the original PP and hence better suited to plainclothes or undercover work. Sometimes, the name Polizeipistole Kurz (Short Police Pistol) is used, however the accuracy of that interpretation is unclear. The PPK is a smaller version of the PP (Polizeipistole) with a shorter grip and barrel and reduced magazine capacity.
The PP and the PPK were among the world’s first successful double action semi-automatic pistols that were widely copied, but still made by Walther. The design inspired other pistols, among them the Soviet Makarov, the Hungarian FEG PA-63, the Argentinian Bersa Thunder 380, the Spanish Astra Constable, and the Czech CZ50. Although it was an excellent semi-automatic pistol, it had competitors in its time. The Mauser HSc pistol and the Sauer 38H pistol (a.k.a. model “H”), were successful in their own rights. Sauer pistol production ended at war’s end, but the refined SIG P230 and the P232 owe much to the Sauer 38H.
The PPK/S was developed following the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68) in the United States, the pistol’s largest market (Hogg 1979:164). One of the provisions of GCA68 banned the importation of pistols and revolvers not meeting certain requirements of length, weight, and other “sporting” features into the U.S. The PPK failed the “Import Points” test of the GCA68 by a single point. Walther addressed this situation by combining the PP’s frame with the PPK’s barrel and slide to create a pistol that weighed slightly more than the PPK. The additional ounce or two of weight of the PPK/S compared to the PPK was sufficient to provide the extra needed import points.
The PPK/S differs from the PPK as follows:
Overall height: 104 mm (4.1 in)
Weight: the PPK/S weighs 51 g (1.8 oz) more than the PPK
The PPK/S magazine holds one additional round, in both calibers.
As of 2007, the PPK/S and the PPK are offered in the following calibers: .32 ACP (with capacities of 8+1 for PPK/S and 7+1 for PPK); or .380 ACP (PPK/S: 7+1, PPK: 6+1).
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