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162 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am going to buy a pk380 next week from a local gun dealer, what do I need to check? they have 2011 made "BB" ones, I just hope to get a good one hopefully avoid all those issues that have been reported here, I am new to this and this will be my first ever handgun.


384 Posts
--Bring 380 "snap caps", preferably the ones with brass bases (16-22 bucks for 5),
since they are better for extraction/fp testing. The shop might have them on the wall,
but many shops only have the aluminum caps.

--Watch the two-part video by avarmadillo to see handling and features of the pk.
--The clerk might dis 380; but (with fmj) it's a proper carry/car/home gun for many non-leo.
A common carry gun doesn't need to deliver quick death. Perps-out-of-the-fight works for me.

--Have a narrow light to briefly examine the inner parts, but mainly to check for
any obvious bore/rifling flaw that might be present. Shops don't tend to have an
inspection light handy. .Some crud in a new barrel is expected, since each
is test fired. .Don't expect to be able to remove the slide at the shop.

--Cycle several caps briskly so that they land on a rag (gun shop manners).
Then cycle them slowly to see if they are held by the extractor until ejection,
and that most caps clear the gun at ejection (hopefully onto the rag).

--With a chambered cap, try several DA trigger pulls (no cycling), and several in SA,
just in case there is some problem. (If you don't have caps with you, use your thumb
to catch the hammer.)
-- Sept 2013: With a snapcap that has a smooth brass "primer", paint the primer with a
black marker, then chamber that cap. Set safety lever to lower "safe" position, and
pull the trigger. . The painted primer should be undisturbed by the firing pin.

Misc ....
If you don't get two mags with the gun, they might have one on hand.
Buy some cheap hp/flat-nose test ammo, maybe ear/eye covers, maybe a light
holster, and cleaning supplies. (maybe Break-Free, Militec-1, bore brush, etc)
Later you will need to take it down, clean, and lube before firing.
Ask them if they have an adapter to convert the rail to a real Picatinny.
If it has the pk laser, and it's BB, the laser likely is updated (without dimples).

Revision on July 23: I said hp/flat nose in order to test feeding and magazine.
They will tend to catch in front of the feed ramp. If they catch, it's simple to polish/file
a little so they feed. .A 380 only has 200 ft-lb in standard ammo (a 9 has 300+).
I only use full jacket round nose, standard p, in a 380. My study of many sources convinced
me that a 380 hp/fp might not pass through common obstructions reliably and deliver
a lethal hit.

155 Posts
Edd, great post.

pull trigger with snap caps in DA & SA looking for "some problems" please elaborate further on "some problems". Like: gritty feel, too much slack, two stage, hammer fails to drop, etc...........Things you may have seen or not seen.


384 Posts
"... please elaborate further on "some problems".

The only issue I had was DA travel of .70" with peak load of 10.5 lb.
And the other pk's I've tried all seem similar, even those made in 2011.

The folks who need the pk the most tend to have weaker fingers.
My SA trigger was fine: .12'' takeup, 4.5 lbs peak, .07'' creep (takeup to fire).
The DA mechanism is separate; for when you can't **** the hammer.

DA was .06'' takeup; 10.5 lb peak; .70" travel (from takeup to fire); and uneven feel.
This is acceptable for a first shot, unless the user has a weak or injured finger,
and would have trouble cocking the hammer.
Cocking the pk with one hand is much easier than with my Bersa 9, which also has
a long and heavy first shot. I am unable to cause recoil malfunctions in either the
pk nor the Bersa 9, which is one reason I can recommend these two guns.

If you have some gun with an easy DA trigger, then it's likely DAO.
In the gunshop, the pk DA will seem long and heavy; just check that it works for you.
The DA mods for my wife were not easy; and they are not recommended.
picasaweb.google.com trigger stuff

------The rest here is a bit off-point -----

Last year I whined about the low trigger bar corners. Higher and smoother corners
would shorten the travel, improve smoothness, and lower peak finger stress (the
hammer spring has less windup and the finger has less travel). But the firing pin
energy must be sufficient, so the hammer energy is for the Umarex engineers to control.
Reducing my DA trigger travel was unauthorized reduction of hammer energy.

The DA sear slips when the trigger bar corners are cammed down to the point
where the center of the bar slips off the hammer strut. The only easy mod was
to smooth the rough (stamped) corners of the trigger bar; just the high rough spots.
But that increased trigger tip travel by .03", to .75", and the peak load was still 10.5 lb.
modified parts drawing

One fix to reduce travel and peak load would be to braze shims on the trigger bar corners;
with uncertainties. I noticed that the hammer strut had enough vertical play to make a difference.
So I made a brass shim, .015" thick, and tightly formed it through the sear housing
channel in a full loop, with the loose end trapped under the hammer spring end.

The brass shim limits vertical play of the hammer strut, causing earlier slip of the trigger
bar from the hammer strut, so the travel is now .56", and the peak DA load is 8 lb.
The ratio of sear engagement to trigger travel is very high; over 10 to 1 in this case.

My parts drawing shows the added shim, and note-9 is on trigger travel.
I can't recommend owner mods, but Umarex might consider DA trigger travel,
as long as hammer energy remains high.
my pk measurements

There have been rare cases where the barrel was not fully seated
within the chamber block for brazing. A check for this is the protrusion
of the barrel through the slide port.
The distance from barrel end to the slide should be less than 1/8" (< 3mm).

162 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I only saw A-zoom snap caps which is made by aluminum I think, where can I find snap caps made by brass?

384 Posts
That brass-type brands I know of are Tipton, TKM, and Traditions.
They are all translucent red plastic with a brass base and a spring loaded
brass "primer". They might all be rebranded from one source.

More likely found at chain shops or larger operations.
I think I got mine at a local police supply that's open to public.
If you have time to order, you will find many sources online.

The aluminum caps have a neoprene primer, and the rims are not very thick,
since they might design to clear in all guns, rather than size near ammo specs.
(If the shop has a range, or if you have a safe backstop later, maybe you can
cycle actual ammo to check the slow extraction.)

The anodized rims are hard, but they chip; then the aluminum is too soft.
My 32acp caps are chewed up, and the 380's are starting.
I want the brass base, since extraction problems seem to be the main issue
in pistols, and the brass bases are thicker (though not usually wider).
And it's the same type of rim metal as regular ammo.

162 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
thanks searcher for the sticky and all the folks posted

by the way, is there a half cock position in pk380? I read a thread here saying there is but I can't find it in manual, and what purpose does it serve?

384 Posts
If you are cocking the hammer with your thumb, and the hammer slips,
the "half-kok" step on the hammer sear keeps the hammer from hitting
the firing pin (even if the safety is set at 'fire').

One feature of the pk is that almost anyone can operate it from draw to the
last round with one hand, even if they choose to kok the hammer for the first round.
And I cannot cause a recoil jam, which is important for my weak wife.
She can't use a big Sig 9; even with firm two-hand grip, she gets cycle jams on each mag.

There is also a minor benefit to the 'half-kok' position. It's a stable position
that shortens a DA pull by 1/10", which only matters if you have large hands
that curl sharply to complete the DA pull.

rev July 26: Be reminded that de-cocking a loaded pk is another story.
The safety must be in the DOWN "safe" position (and not up at the 'S' mark).
The thumb is placed in front of the hammer, and the hammer is lowered gently
after pulling the trigger. Better yet, as soon as the trigger releases the hammer,
release the trigger so that the hammer lowers to the "halfcocked" position.
(But "halfcocked postition" is only about 1/10 of the hammer travel to cocked postion.)

BTW, I did some careful file work on the hammer 'nubs', since they
are made for easy MIM moulding and sintering, but not so much for grip.
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