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Old 11-09-2009, 11:54 PM   #1
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Interarms- PPK/S-Quality?

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I am looking into getting one of these and I know nothing about them. Are they any good? What is their quality, craftsmanship and reliability like? Are there brands out there that are superior? If so what are they?
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:43 AM   #2
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I've got one. It's a PPK/S in stainless. If you are going to carry the gun I recommend the stainless version over the blued. Mine is very high quality and retains the traditional look of the Walther (Manurhin) guns, unlike the newer S&W with extended tang and whatever else they did to it internally (unfortunately). Mine is a great shooter with Federal Hydrashocks. It is safe w/a round chambered slim, reliable, and has a coolness factor to it.-Scott.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payj View Post
I am looking into getting one of these and I know nothing about them. Are they any good? What is their quality, craftsmanship and reliability like? Are there brands out there that are superior? If so what are they?
Walther PP, PPK and PPK/S handguns are a time proven design. They are fixed-barrel blowback-operated semiautomatic pistols. The PPK/S has a 20-pounds of force recoil spring which returns the slide to battery after firing. 380 handguns are the largest caliber which can safely and effectively utilize the blowback design.

Because of the design, it requires more 'effort' to rack the slide of a blowback semiauto than it does for a 'locked-breech' design thus making racking more difficult for many elderly and female shooters.

P99's and the PK380 are a locked-breech design were upon firing the barrel moves slightly to the rear [app. 0.25 inch], unlocks and rotates downward on a cam. Lock-breech pistols have a 'lighter' recoil sping and are easier to rack.

Anyone desiring to purchase a PPK/S would first look for one made in Germany, then an Interarms and lastly a S&W.

There is a short overview of a PPK/S handgun from Wikipedia.

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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 U.S. The PPK failed the "Import Points" test of the GCA68 by a single point.

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.
Walther began manufacture of PPK/S handguns in Ulm, Germany. These guns were imported by Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia. US law also allowed domestic production, as opposed to importation, of the PPK/S.

Lower costs and fewer importing hassles led Interarms to reach an agreement to manufacture the PPK/S in the U.S.A. Beginning in 1978, Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S and this version was distributed by Interarms.

Interarms was the largest private firearms dealer in the world and Sam Cummings, a former CIA agent and the owner of Interarms, was a rather colorful and eccentric gentleman. Founded in 1954 and being a East coast, Washington D.C., based 'GUN IMPORTER' resulted in negative newspaper articles and books through the years which only emboldened Mr. Cummings. Mr. Cummings died in April 1998. NY Times Sam Cummings Obit

His daughter, Susan Cummings, 35, was convicted in May 1998 of voluntary manslaughter in the death of her boyfriend, Argentine polo player Roberto Villegas, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail; she was released after serving 57 days.

There was no interest within the family to continue the 'firearms importer' business.

Ranger continued very limited manufacture of PPK and PPK/S guns for approximately two more years. I do not recall who the distributor was for these handguns.

Beginning in 2001, the PPK/S was manufactured by Smith and Wesson in Houlton Maine. The original design was changed to incorporate a longer grip tang which provides better protection for the shooter from slide bite, i.e. the rearward-travelling slide's pinching the web between the index finger and thumb of the firing hand. The recent PPK/S 'hammer block' recall has raised questions as to weither S&W made other changes in the original design.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:29 PM   #4
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The recent PPK/S 'hammer block' recall has raised questions as to weither S&W made other changes in the original design.
No mystery here. S&W did, indeed, change the safety design, which is why we've got the recall issue to deal with today. And deal with .... and deal with ... and deal with ...

The Interarms guns are pretty good overall, by the way. I've got three of them and am happy to have them.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:57 PM   #5
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Owned two of them....

A PPK (currently) and a PPK/S back in the early 90's - both were pretty dang reliable and never had issues with either. Both of mine were stainless and for some reason, the PPK is more accurate than the PPK/S - but that is probably like due to the fact I have shot is a heck of a lot more so it is more "broke in" as well as more familiar to me. If you find a good deal, there is not reason not to get one.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:27 PM   #6
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Forgot to mention that some PPK/S's maybe ammo finicky.

Many problems are attributed to / related to the brand of ammo and never use steel cased ammunition, IMO.

Failure to Feed [FTF] problems are often reported when shooting some 'brands' of Jacket Hollow Point [JHP] ammunition.

It has also been reported that S&W did not always polish the top of the feed ramp very well.

Also possible for some cartridges to hang or bind in a magazine.

If possible, shoot a several magazines through the gun before purchase and then find a ammunition brand that the gun and magazine will shoot reliably.
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1978 .22 cal. IA import Ulm PPK/S
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:03 PM   #7
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FWIW - I have had zero problems with Interarms which I got about '85. Had a trigger job done then and a slight polish on the ramps....Silvertips to ball ammo...Bang!
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:43 AM   #8
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If you are going to carry the gun I recommend the stainless version over the blued.
This isn't the first time I've seen this recommendation. What do you attribute the difference to? I ask because I was leaning toward the blue version, and posts like this and others have me second guessing.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:10 AM   #9
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The stainless guns hold up better inside a holster. The blue rubs off the gun if it spends long periods of time holstered, or removed from a holster, or shoved back into a holster.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:59 PM   #10
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Understood. I thought perhaps there was something internally driving this. Holster wear on a blued gun is actually quite appealling to me so I may go this route.

One more question - regarding these older non-S&W PPK pistols.........what is it about the 7.65/.32 ACP that makes them so very difficult to find? There seem to be a fair amount of .380, but rarely a .32 under $1500. Are the .32 more collectible, or was it a matter of production (not as many .32 produced)?
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