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I guess to be fair, similar things could be said of Smith J frame airweights. Owned by many, carried by many (at least fifteen years ago) but shot by few.

These days there are many more options in highly concealable pistols of course. This is might be the golden age of such guns, not in form but perhaps in function.
 

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Concur, Jimmo. ^^^. There are simply better alternatives to the PPK in .380, and its picky eating habits and rappy recoil make most of us less than enthusiastic about that combination.
At least the alloy Smiths work all the time, aren't too bad with modest loads, and the Centennial iteration lets you hold higher on the gun. The 340SC, 11oz .357, is a test of manhood. Mine rarely sees magnum loads, but it's a great hiking companion.
Moon
 

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Concur, Jimmo. ^^^. There are simply better alternatives to the PPK in .380, and its picky eating habits and rappy recoil make most of us less than enthusiastic about that combination.
At least the alloy Smiths work all the time, aren't too bad with modest loads, and the Centennial iteration lets you hold higher on the gun. The 340SC, 11oz .357, is a test of manhood. Mine rarely sees magnum loads, but it's a great hiking companion.
Moon
I agree on those scandium 357 models. With 357 loads, probably the hardest kicking guns I've ever shot. I can get through a cylinder full before the practical part of my brain kicks in and tells my I risk damage to myself by shooting the thing.
 

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Concur, Jimmo. ^^^. There are simply better alternatives to the PPK in .380, and its picky eating habits and rappy recoil make most of us less than enthusiastic about that combination.
At least the alloy Smiths work all the time, aren't too bad with modest loads, and the Centennial iteration lets you hold higher on the gun. The 340SC, 11oz .357, is a test of manhood. Mine rarely sees magnum loads, but it's a great hiking companion.
Moon
I guess what I meant to say is very few people wanted to go through the pain, yes actual pain, involved in getting good with the airweight. The long DA pull, sharp recoil and vestigial sights make it far from a fun range gun.

The PPK is in some ways similar. It takes a certain kind of person to deal with it's idiosyncrasies and get good enough with it to justify carrying it.

As there are so many easier options today, there are probably fewer such people than in the past.

I think that is what we see in this forum sometimes. Somebody buys one because it still looks damm good. Like a vintage roadster. When they shoot it though they are surprised its not as forgiving as a Glock, P320, PPQ, ...

It's still a classy gun but takes commitment. So much easier nowadays with a Glock42 lol.
 

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Goes for all the old school handguns. You actually need to learn how to shoot them, like using a manual transmission as opposed to the six speed auto with adaptive cruise control that does it all for you, ie Glock and P99s and PPQs... 😉
 

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I love my (S&W) PPK .380 - of course I've also had it professionally tuned. It works great and is a delight to shoot (unless you let it cut up the web of your thumb - that's a little annoying).
 

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I must be a masochist cause my PPK/S in .380 is my favorite pistol to shoot. Everyone else's favorite, the CZ-75, rarely finds itself in the range bag since buying the PPK/S. I don't have much experience with .380 overall, but I did rent a RIA Baby Rock to compare side by side. It's a miniaturized 1911 clone and also an all steel design (I think). It wasn't any less snappy and was very clearly less comfortable to shoot (something was digging into me). Admittedly the 1911 isn't exactly a new design but an all steel tilt barrel is the best case scenario for recoil if going by popular opinion.

In terms of staying on target, I find the PPK/S fairly easy. It's a lot easier than the CZ-75 for me. The reasons are the PPK/S has less overall recoil even if a bit sharper and it's mostly straight back. The biggest difficulty is relearning how to shoot with a small gun. The standard grip I and most others use with a full sized gun simply doesn't work with a pocket rocket. I find the PPK/S works best one handed, which is likely heresy on most forums.
 

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I must be a masochist cause my PPK/S in .380 is my favorite pistol to shoot. Everyone else's favorite, the CZ-75, rarely finds itself in the range bag since buying the PPK/S. I don't have much experience with .380 overall, but I did rent a RIA Baby Rock to compare side by side. It's a miniaturized 1911 clone and also an all steel design (I think). It wasn't any less snappy and was very clearly less comfortable to shoot (something was digging into me). Admittedly the 1911 isn't exactly a new design but an all steel tilt barrel is the best case scenario for recoil if going by popular opinion.

In terms of staying on target, I find the PPK/S fairly easy. It's a lot easier than the CZ-75 for me. The reasons are the PPK/S has less overall recoil even if a bit sharper and it's mostly straight back. The biggest difficulty is relearning how to shoot with a small gun. The standard grip I and most others use with a full sized gun simply doesn't work with a pocket rocket. I find the PPK/S works best one handed, which is likely heresy on most forums.
The gun was almost
certainly designed to be shot one handed.

If you can hit like that quickly and consistently like that there is nothing wrong with it.
 

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Yes, I agree the PPK works beautifully one handed. It's also by far the most accurate gun I've shot.
 

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I've got a couple of .380s in the PP frame, yet I see a lot (well, maybe not a LOT, but some informed posters) dismissing the .380. Why is this? Mine shoot any type of ammo I've tried flawlessly...they're Interarms, back from a while ago. The last one I bought is SS a very accurate pistol...more so than my .32 Ulm.


And the recoil? Not bad. So why no love for this pretty good pocket cartridge?

90% of the .380 hate I see comes from knuckleheads who recommend a 1911 instead and frankly, there's no reason to take such nonsense seriously. But the PPK honestly is a bit obsolete as a carry weapon even if the .380 caliber isn't. It's iconic and sexy but it's also heavy and a bit large. The only reason I see to carry .380 is if you're getting into the LCP size range. For something as large and heavy as the PPK, it's hard to see the benefit over modern subcompact 9mm pistols including the PPS but especially the Sig P365 and Springfield Hellcat with their crazy ammo capacity.



tldr: .380 is absolutely viable as a mouse-gun round in very small pistols but once you get to the size and weight of the PPK, it makes a lot more sense to get a full 9mm subcompact instead.
 

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I don't hate it at all. In fact, when I find a decent holster, I will probably carry it on occasion. Once I deep cleaned it, I had no issues.



I already carry HK's (USPc and P30), and they are not light pistols by any measure.
 

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One carries a PPK because it's a PPK, not because it's the best pistol in that size or caliber. (The same can be said of many other legacy pistols.) The PPK's most glaring shortcoming is its lack of an external slide lock.

I still feel well armed with a PPK.
 

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Can't agree with SP.

Let's take it as given that FBI-spec penetration and expansion is the gold standard. Within that its authors are clear that the point of that spec is that, if the shot is well placed, it'll be effective; and if not, then the performance of the round is almost irrelevant.

I'm now 258 rounds into my data collection (woot) and while some of these are partial data (FPS but not penetration) I'm about ready to throw it into the machine learning grinder and derive a model for expected penetration and expansion by round and FPS, and if that goes at all well then likely a decision tree of factors that provide a "good" result.

Even from just a visual (descriptive) analysis I can already see some commonalities. The obvious one first; nearly any FMJ or a JHP round that doesn't expand at all will pass 12", probably pass 18", and keep going.

Some rounds are designed to (or maybe it's more accurate to say their design results in) yield penetration first, and it won't shock anyone if I say that those, in the true micro barrels (say < 3"), will be 'good' per FBI spec that says lack of penetration will get you killed. In fact there seem to be a few that, in small barrels, overpenetrate; but expand if pushed faster out of a longer barrel.

Others expand quickly and are just not going to hit 12" out of a small barrel, but their penetration increases with barrel length.

Lastly there are some superexpanders which (again, if FBI spec is your thing) are just not a good fit for .380.

I certainly didn't enter 200+ 9mm round tests into my models and don't plan to, but if (with slightly more than a pocket pistol) a .380 gets into the 12"-18" range with expansion and so does a 9mm, it's going to be a rarity that the intended target will be smiling about the 30gr difference. The difference is going to be obvious when there's a barrier as in the more duty-oriented parts of the FBI test. Thanks to ballistics engineers, you can even get there with the true pocket pistols now, but with some diligence.

So 9mm in tiny guns gets you capacity (until some bright boy figures out that you could replicate the double/single stack trick in .380) and some barrier blindness (although I think that's micro *or* barrier blindness probably).

Lastly, I'm drawing 3" as some sort of delineation because there's a big gap between a pile of 2.5-2.8" arms and then another group that runs 3.25-3.68". Also, data is fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
I find the recoil sharp,yes, but kinda expected with a more powerful round with a heavier bullet. Not unpleasant but noticeable. Like any other small handguns without a pinky-grip. As I've said before, compared to a 442 S&W, it's a teddy bear. Your mileage will vary. Compared to a .32, yes it's attention gathering, but compared to other only other .380 small gun I've owned (which, was S&W .380 Bodyguard, a cruel and unusual punishment) it's not that bad.



Got to chose between carryability and concealibity. Sometimes, there's a happy median: performance/concealibility. For me,it's the Sig 365, which I own, but don't always carry...why, I don't know, it's superior in every way to my PPKs. Performance may not always be the motive for carrying a pistol. Quite sure there are other equally valid reasons for carrying armed in a caliber less than optimal. Whatever that is. Some of them for carry are not based on ballistic charts. But they worked quite well back when.
 

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PPKS in .380 is sharp but I tend to agree with some that the aesthetics of the pistol itself is the justification of owning it for me. I bought many, sold a few to keep the several best and the feeling is more like owning artwork. I found, for carry, the PPS just makes more sense, if not only for the larger 9mm caliber, at the end of any kind of SD act, it would really pain me to drop a PPKs to pavement or have it returned to me later marked up from the evidence locker.

If I absolutely wanted to carry one, I'd opt for one of the PPs in .32. Fun range gun, can be shot all day long, and easier on the hands and just as easy to conceal IWB.
 

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The feel of the damned things is what got me into centerfire iterations; a buddy showed up with a blued Interarms version in .380...I had owned a .22 some years before (purchased new for $75, for perspective), but hadn't held one in awhile.
The thing just felt soooooo good in the hand; got a stainless version, and set out run reloads for them.

That ended badly; never did find a load that would run 100 straight, and I went back to my J-frame Smith.
Unhappily, it's left me with a jaundiced view of the .380.
Moon
 

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Goes for all the old school handguns. You actually need to learn how to shoot them, like using a manual transmission as opposed to the six speed auto with adaptive cruise control that does it all for you, ie Glock and P99s and PPQs... 😉
Kar 98 your implication that the Old school guns are outdated is really far off the mark. it’s just like you actually need to learn how to shoot a 2 inch J frame S&W 38 Special, with a +p load. Which is one of the hardest revolver’s to master, but the shooter who puts in the trigger time, and is committed to mastering the weapon, will be able to deliver 5 rounds center mast. No mater how updated the weapon, IE Glock,P99, or PPQ, it’s no good without a highly trained shooter.
 

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Mr. Bond, your remark on the light J frames is well taken; we used to recommend them to rookie shooters due to their simplicity (a bang switch is the only control on a Centennial).
But they are hard to get good with; better grips and a trigger job are a help, and the steel versions are easier on the shooter.
But this isn't really about the vintage of the design per se; as Mike noted, there are now simply lighter, more powerful pistols of the same size, that aren't rappy to shoot.
When I was first into shooting, the only choices in viable carry guns were J-frames and the PPK. Not so now.
Moon
 
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