|The Walther PP (police pistol) series pistols are blowback-operated semi-automatic pistols.
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They feature an exposed hammer, a traditional double-action trigger mechanism, a single-column magazine, and a fixed barrel which also acts as the guide rod for the recoil spring. The series includes the Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S, and PPK/E.
The various PP series are manufactured in either Germany or the United States. Since 2002, the PPK variant is solely manufactured by Smith & Wesson in Houlton, Maine, United States, under license from Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen. In the past, this particular model has been manufactured by Carl Walther in its own factory in Germany, as well as under licenses by Manurhin in Alsace, France, and by Interarms in Alexandria, Virginia.
Originally built in 1929, the Walther PPK remains a popular pistol used today for concealed carry, V.I.P. protection, MI5, European and American Police.
Overview 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; Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself with his PPK (a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) in the FŘhrerbunker in Berlin. Moreover, the Walther PPK (also a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) 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. Kriminal refers to the police detective (criminal) division. 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 Swiss SIG P230, the German Mauser HSc, the Spanish Astra Constable, the American Jennings J-22 and Iver Johnson TP-22, and the Czech CZ50.
In 1978, Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S; this version was distributed by Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia. This license was eventually canceled. Starting in 2002, Smith & Wesson (S&W) began manufacturing the PPK and PPK/S under license. In February 2009, S&W issued a recall for PPKs it manufactured for a defect in the hammer block safety.
Walther has indicated that, with the exception of the PP and the new PPK/E model, S&W is the current sole source for new PPK-type pistols.
PPK versus PPK/S
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 United States. The PPK failed the "Import Points" test of the GCA68 by a single point. (See image of ATF Form 4590 for the complete list of qualifying points.) 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.
Because United States law allowed domestic production (as opposed to importation) of the PPK, manufacture began under license in the U.S. in 1978; this version was distributed by Interarms. The version currently manufactured by Smith & Wesson has been modified by incorporating a longer grip tang (S&W calls it "extended beaver tail"), better protecting the shooter from slide bite, i.e. the rearward-traveling slide`s pinching the web between the index finger and thumb of the firing hand, which could be a problem with the original design for people with larger hands or an improper grip, especially when using "hotter" cartridge loads.
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).
Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen, Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden - Alabama, Smith & Wesson
Double Action, Straight blowback
9x17mm Short/.380 ACP, 7.65x17mm Browning SR/.32 ACP, .22 LR
590 g (21 oz) (PPK 9x17mm Short/.380 ACP), 590 g (21 oz) (PPK 7.65x17mm Browning SR/.32 ACP), 560 g (20 oz) (PPK .22 LR)
155 mm (6.1 in)
83 mm (3.3 in)
8+1 (.22 LR), 7+1 (.32 ACP) 6+1 (.380).
Fixed iron sights, rear notch and front blade
244 m/s (800.5 ft/s) 9x17mm Short/.380 ACP, 308 m/s (1,010.5 ft/s) 7.65x17mm Browning SR/.32 ACP, 280 m/s (918.6 ft/s) .22 LR