I have had a concealed carry permit for more than 20 years, and for most of that time I have favored two carry guns: my very first, a Walther PPK/S in .380 ACP and an early 9mm Walther P99, the same model introduced in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Was it the Bond influence, as far back as 1962’s Dr. No, and the image of Sean Connery carrying a Walther PPK that influenced my choice in carry guns? To some extent yes, I grew up in that era and the Bond films made Walther a household name. But in reality I knew a number of law enforcement officers over the years and most of them carried Walther PPKs as on- and off-duty backup guns. A Walther, regardless of model, is a handgun designed with a heritage built on concealed carry. Scroll through the gallery below to learn more.
As a concealed-carry sidearm, the PPS ventured into territory previously occupied by smaller-caliber semi-autos. Introduced in 2008, the PPS with its 3.2-inch barrel can almost hide behind a PPK/S, yet it fires the more powerful 9mm round. The standard magazine holds seven rounds, the same as a .380-caliber PPK/S. The PPS measures just 0.9 inches in width and the overall length is 6.3 inches with a compact height of 4.4 inches. The PPS employs a variety of P99-based technology, including a polymer frame, an ambidextrous magazine release built into the triggerguard and interchangeable backstraps. Also a striker-fired design, the PPS uses a blade trigger safety like the P99QA and PPQ M2, with an average trigger pull of 6.8 pounds. The PPS is as compact and as well-designed as any Walther pistol ever produced.
Walther PPK & PPK/S
With few disruptions in manufacturing over the last eight decades, the PPK and later PPK/S (developed to meet U.S. importation requirements implemented in 1968) have remained among the most successful small-caliber handguns in history. Weighing only 22.4 and 24 ounces, the PPK and PPK/S models in .380 ACP have 3.3-inch barrels and capacities of 6+1 and 7+1, respectively. Featuring a fixed barrel and a low bore center, both models use traditional blowback actions and offer excellent balance, ease of handling, accuracy and reliability. While striker-fired pistols are more popular than ever and offer numerous advantages, there is something to be said for “tried and true” technology, especially when it comes from the gun that set the original standard back in 1929.
The original Walther P99 was a groundbreaking design. Developed in the mid 1990s, the P99 remains one of the most advanced striker-fired semi-autos built today, though many of its “advanced” features can actually be traced back to the original Walther P.38. Built for police and military use as well as commercial sales, the Walther P99 incorporates handling and operational attributes that set it apart from most contemporary semi-automatic pistols. It was the first pistol with an internal striker firing action that combined the advantages of a DA/SA handgun with the ease of operation that only a hammerless pistol can offer. Thanks to the DA trigger and the omission of a manual safety, the P99 is always ready to be fired when loaded. The P99 can also be decocked and carried loaded without the need of a manual safety, because four automatic safety systems are continuously engaged to prevent discharge unless the trigger is pulled. In addition, with the cocked and loaded chamber indicators, it is possible to both see and feel whether there is a round chambered and if the gun is cocked. The gun uses an ambidextrous design with the magazine releases incorporated into both sides of the triggerguard for easy operation.
Walther PPQ M2
The PPQ M2 is the very latest of Walther’s polymer-framed, P99-based semi-autos with its easy-to-operate, elongated, ambidextrous slide releases, its adjustable white-dot target sights and its large, round, button-style magazine release, which replaced the ambidextrous triggerguard release introduced with the P99. The other principal difference between previous Walther DA/SA system (like the P99) and the first PPQ series is the use of an SAO trigger incorporating a blade-type safety. Walther calls it the Quick Defense trigger system, which was first seen on the P99QA. Walther’s implementation of the Quick Defense trigger also does away with the P99’s decocking system.
In 2001, Walther took the P99 design principle and applied it to a .22 LR semi-automatic, the P22, now one of the most popular .22-caliber autoloaders in the world. The PK380 is a slightly scaled-up version of the .22-caliber model with virtually the same feel, balance and operating features. Longer at 6.5 inches, taller at 5.2 inches and with a 1.2-inch width, the PK380 offers a slightly deeper grip and more pronounced finger grooves. The larger grip design allows the gun to comfortably fit most hands. The PK380’s general layout duplicates the P22. This includes an ambidextrous manual safety (and decocker), an ambidextrous magazine release (at the rear of triggerguard), a knurled hammer, DA/SA operation, a steel slide over a polymer frame, an integral Picatinny accessory rail, and standard white-dot sights. The PK380 also has a loaded-chamber indicator slot above the extractor, which reveals the rear edge of a chambered round as an added visual check.
The Walther CCP is what you might call a “timeless” design that offers compact dimensions for ease of carry while combining Walther technology dating back to 1929 with the latest polymer-framed construction and a gas piston recoil system. The striker-fired 9mm has an average trigger pull of 5.5 pounds, an interchangeable white-dot front sight, an adjustable rear sight, and a reversible magazine release for left- or right-handed operation. The CCP also has a very slim manual thumb safety that’s easy to operate on the draw and an internal firing pin block. While larger than some subcompacts, it has very concealable dimensions, including an overall length of 6.41 inches with a 3.54-inch barrel, a width of 1.18 inches and a leggy 5.12-inch height, which allows for an eight-round magazine, giving the CCP an impressive 8+1 capacity and a carry weight of only 22.24 ounces.