Walther is an old and well respected name in the firearms world. The German company has produced many innovative and often imitated designs from the P38 to the P99 to the PPQ, but arguably none of Walther’s guns are as famous or copied as greatly as the PPK, the scaled down variant of the Walther PP. One of the first successful DA/SA pistols in history, the PP-series found service with militaries and police agencies around the globe and gained quite the following on the civilian market that continues to this day.
The PPK/S is arguably the most popular variant of the PP-series in the United States, but Walther never originally intended for the PPK/S to be produced. When the (in my opinion, unconstitutional) Gun Control Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Johnson in October of that year, the PPK was deemed too short to be imported overseas as it stood less than four inches tall. Walther remedied this dilemma by slapping the slide and barrel of a PPK on the frame/grip of a PP, and the PPK/S was born. This also permitted a seventh round in the magazine which is why I prefer the PPK/S over the 6-shot PPK, despite the extended grip making it marginally more difficult to conceal.
The Walther PPK/S has historically been a popular gun, though in the 21st Century it’s undeniably been eclipsed by modern polymer framed guns that are lighter, simpler, and that offer more firepower. Most see the PPK today as a nostalgia firearm that’s better suited for the gun safe and an occasional fun range visit rather than for serious duty or EDC use.
Concealed carry applications?
The arguments to support this position are perfectly valid. While the fit and finish on the PPK/S is top notch, the edges are still quite sharp. This is a gun where cutting yourself on the hand/fingers is quite possible when operating the controls or racking the slide if you’re not careful. Slide bite is also a notorious issue on the PPK when firing if the web of your hand is not kept low enough. Finally, the .380 ACP round is notably weaker in comparison to the 9mm when it comes to penetration and expansion, making it a less than desirable option for self-defense.
But for all its flaws, I still believe the Walther PPK/S holds its own as a viable concealed carry/backup weapon even in the 21st Century. Beyond the fact that it’s one of the coolest looking guns in history, here are five perfectly valid reasons why the PPK/S’s time isn’t up quite yet:
The blowback design makes the PPK/S an incredibly accurate pistol for its size. I found this to be perfectly true during the time I spent with the gun. Yes, the double action trigger pull is exceptionally long and heavy. But even at a distance of twenty yards with .380 ACP 95 grain FMJ ammo, I was consistently putting rounds on paper, many times close to the bull’s eye. In fact, I was almost as accurate with the PPK/S as I was with the 1911 I shot right after it on that day.
The PPK has been a popular design primarily for its appearance, small size, and the fact that it’s iconic, but I’m surprised that balance hasn’t been one of the more noted reasons for why this gun is as popular as it is. The PPK/S feels solid and well balanced in the hand even when it’s not being shot. There’s not too much weight forward or back and any user can appreciate this upon picking up the weapon.
Yes, it is heavy, but the balance of it is still very desirable and the weight supports accuracy. Both in a shoulder holster and in an IWB holster, the PPK/S is a very comfortable gun to carry. When you draw to fire, the excellent balance becomes even more noticeable, and makes the gun actually more enjoyable (and easier) to shoot.
The all-steel frame is a drawback to some since it makes the PPK/S a tank in comparison to modern day carry options. But on the flip side, it still adds a lot of durability to the gun much like the all steel construction of a 1911, which speaks directly to a large demographic of pistol shooters.
4. Light Recoil
Take my word for it: if you take any polymer pocket rocket .380 today up against the PPK/S, you’ll find the latter to be the much more desirable to shoot in terms of recoil. When shooting the Ruger LCP, for instance, up against the PPK/S, there was no denying that the PPK/S was far less snappy and infinitely more pleasurable for me. In a self-defense situation, this translates to slightly faster follow up shots, which could mean the difference between life and death.
If you ever find yourself in a situation that’s life or death, worrying about disengaging the safety is the last thing that needs to be on your mind. At the same time, it makes sense that your gun be safe if it’s the one you’re going to be carrying around. This why it makes a lot of sense to use a double action pistol in your EDC, since the naturally long trigger pull acts like a safety. It will be nearly impossible for you to accidentally pull the double action trigger of the PPK/S in a normal scenario. My suggestion would be to carry the PPK/S in double action mode with the safety off. It’s still an incredibly safe gun to carry in this manner with a proper holster.
I do admit, the reverential Walther PPK/S is far from the perfect carry gun for the reasons I’ve explained at the top. It’s not my first choice for a concealed carry or a backup piece for those same reasons. But if you train with the PPK/S and use it as a part of your EDC, and someone tries to talk you out of it, these are five valid points you can bring up in defense of not putting this legendary firearm out to pasture.