Walther PPKS: A Review

April 1, 2023
Commander James Bond offers his insights into the issued handgun, the Walther PPK/S.

Byline: James Bond

In today’s world, the idea of using a .380ACP caliber weapon for self-defense is often scoffed at, especially in the United States. But in Europe, where I am employed, the 9mm parabellum, or 9x19, is prohibited for use by anyone except the military. Due to that, the .380ACP, or 9mm Kurtz (9x17) is far more common. Further, due to its smaller overall dimensions and lower power generation, the cartridge allows for smaller and more easily concealed weapons. During my time on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, such concealment has been often required.

The Walther PPK/S, which I review here, is a variation of the Walther PP combined with the Walther PPK. The original Walther PP is the largest variant with a 3.9” barrel and a height of 4.3”. The PPK is slightly smaller in all dimensions, the barrel measuring about 3.25” and the height being reduced to about 4”. Of course, to reduce the height, the capacity of the magazine had to be reduced to just six shots. The PPK/S combined the capacity of the PP and the shorter barrel/slide length of the PPK resulting in a weapon with a 3.25” barrel but a 4.3” overall height and a seven round magazine capacity.

The complaint most often heard about this weapon from American shooters is that it doesn’t have a slide stop. That’s an incorrect observation. The slide stop – that mechanical device that locks the slide to the rear when the magazine is empty – is completely internal. We European professionals in the intelligence service don’t see the need for an external slide stop which you Americans all too often call a slide release. When we load the weapon, we put in a full magazine and pull the slide back, releasing it to load the first round. We can ‘top off’ the magazine if necessary but the weapon is loaded and ready. If we shoot the weapon to empty, the slide locks back, we reload with a full magazine and pull the slide back to release it, using the full energy of the spring to chamber the first round – as should be done.

The weapon’s safety, when engaged, also decocks the weapon, rendering it safe to carry. That means we train to disengage that safety upon drawing the weapon from whatever holster is being used.

The Walther PP was first manufactured and put into use in 1935. It features an exposed hammer, a single stack magazine and the barrel is fixed to the frame. The recoil spring wraps around the barrel, increasing efficiency in both accuracy and weapon function / recoil. The trigger guard is pinned and held in place by a spring. To field strip this weapon you make sure it’s empty, pulled the trigger guard down, push the slide fully to the rear and lift the back end up, then pushing the entire slide forward and off the end of the barrel. The recoil spring can then be removed from around the barrel completing the field stripping process.

My most recently issued PPK/S was manufactured by the Interarms company in Virginia under license from Walther. I was surprised to find the fit and finish equal to that of PPK/S weapons manufactured in Germany. I fed it our issued Federal 99g JHP Hydra-Shok ammo, filling the three 7-round magazines I was issued.

Range testing proved that the weapon was reliable, extraction and ejection of spent shells was authoritative, and the sights - while small by today’s standards - were adequate. I was able to shoot sub-2” groups regularly at fifteen yards, unsupported. At 25 yards, supported, with a concentrated slow trigger pull, I could keep that same sub-2” grouping with each magazine.

All in all I deem the weapon reliable and sufficiently accurate for the work I do. It conceals well in a shoulder holster, on the belt or inside the waist band - which has become so popular these days. I carry two spare magazines and feel that 22 rounds should be enough for most work I do. For the large majority of self-defense purposes, 22 rounds ought to be more than enough. If it’s not, you need to go back to the range to train, or your avoidance tactics need work.

This document is unclassified/uncontrolled/available for public dissemination.

Commander James Bond, MI6

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: All rights to James Bond are owned by EON Productions Limited. This article is a parody published purely for April Fool’s Day – although the observations about the Walther PPKS are accurate.

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