Walther PPK: The Iconic German Subcompact

posted on July 10, 2021
Walther PPK

There’s no shortage of James Bond fans and the vast majority of them are equally enamored of the Walther PPK he first carried onto the silver screen in 1962’s “Dr. No.” The fabled secret agent has his handgun retired in 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies,” although the fictional MI6 operative has it back by 2008’s “Quantum of Solace.” It was replaced by a Walther PPK/S four years later.  

The PPK’s journey into thriller novels and ultimately onto the silver screen is an interesting one covered by American Rifleman in 2019. The semi-automatic pistol, which can run double or single action, was first produced by Walther in 1930. The Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell , or PPK, was a smaller, more concealable, version of the Polizeipistole, or PP, that the company introduced in 1929.

Walther Arms explains, “At  the time of its invention over 80 years ago, the PPK inspired an entirely new category in the firearm industry, now widely known as the concealed carry pistol. To fill the need for performance in a concealable package, Walther broke the mold of pocket pistols and full-size military pistols to bring undercover officers a more-practical and reliable option…”

The firearm was a huge success, both in real life and on the silver screen. Models were imported for a number of years, sales were brisk and in 1998 Smith & Wesson entered into an agreement to manufacture, assemble and distribute PPKs stateside.

Things changed in 2012, when Walther Arms secured the rights. At its operations in Fort Smith, Ark., it faithfully remains true to the original design, while dutifully harnessing today’s improved CNC manufacturing tolerances and improved metallurgy.

Barrel length is 3.3" and it measures 6.1" overall. Weight empty comes in at an all-day-carry comfortable 19 ozs. Width is 1 inch and height is 3.8". It’s chambered in .380 ACP and the single-stack magazine’s capacity is six cartridges. This blowback-operated, double- and single-action pistol has a manual safety and fixed sights. Two versions are available today—stainless and black. Both have an $849 MSRP.  


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