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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone else think it's time Walther upgrades or introduces a successor to the PK380? I have been helping a student who has some physical limitations with regard to hand strength, etc. She has tried a number of pistols, and at the end of the day it came down to the PK380 and the S&W Shield 380 EZ.

In this contest, I think the PK380 really was showing its age. While the student appreciated how easy the slide is to rack, and how it handles, she, IMO, correctly identified three key features that are lacking on this handgun when compared to the Shield 380.

1) No slide stop/slide release. This frustrated her having no way to lock it open without an empty magazine. Sure, it's just like a PPK but that doesn't sell it
2) No decocker. The idea of having to "thumb down" the hammer wasn't appealing, and she struggled to do it efficiently.
3) Take down tool. She did not find it easy to manipulate the field strip/reassembly of the pistol.

All three of these things are something S&W seems to have engineered into the design (simple take down, slide release included) or isn't an issue (No decocker but no exposed hammer to decock, either).

The Shield 380 is definitely marketed to certain niche, and I think it does that very well. If the LGS staff is to be believed, they have been selling very well. The PK380 is still a pretty easy to manipulate pistol but I think with some upgrades/redesign it could be a worthy competitor to the Smith. I can't think of anything else out there that even comes close. As it stands, the PK almost made the cut but got beat out by a gun with better features and roughly the same price point.
 

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Walther looks to be coming out with a 380acp version of the CCP soon. If it's like the 9mm version, it will have a slide lock and a "convential" button magazine release.
 

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And, unfortunately it will probably prove to be as unreliable as the 9mm. We will see. The EZ Shield does have a very easy to retract slide but it is a bit larger than a 9mm Shield as I recall. 1/2" longer barrel??? A lot of folks around here still have various .38 spl revolvers....mostly S&W. Those hit pretty hard. 1917
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I hadn't heard of the .380 CCP, but I too am a little concerned about its reliability. For some reason I am less concerned about the PK380, though I don't necessarily have evidence to support that.

I agree there's nothing wrong .38 special revolvers, and have recommended them as well. For this particular student, heavy trigger pulls or having to cock a hammer every time for a SA trigger pull wasn't appealing either.

All things considered, despite being a bit larger than the 9mm Shield, the 380 Shield was very attractive to this particular user and it won out over the PK380.
 

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My wife has been shooting the PK380 for a few years now but I have always felt like she would feel more comfortable with a simpler platform, ie non exposed hammer. So when the EZ shield came out I picked on up for her. To my surprise she prefers her PK380 and likes it even more now that she had something similar to compare it to. When I say similar I am referring directly to the light slide pull.

One of the poster above mentioned that the lack a of decocker was an issue but with the safety engaged you can drop the hammer with the trigger. The safety blocks the firing pin.

The EZ was stove piping a lot. I tried 3 different types of ammo. My guess is it just needs to get broken in but at this point there is no need since she is sticking with the walther.
 

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Bear River Ammo I agree with your wife. I like the PK380 as well. I bought one used several years ago and sold it after about 6 months. I have since bought two new PK’s. I know that they get some bad press but mine have been very reliable with 650 rounds through one and about 800 through the other. I must say that I shoot better groups with my other Walther’s....I think it’s the sights! No I’m sure it’s the sights! I’ve learned a few tricks for reinstalling the guide rod and the tool doesn’t bother me.
 

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You raise some of the shortcomings of the PK380, the Slide release, decocker, and take down tool. I am actually pretty indifferent toward the take down tool.

My concerns about an update include: the concern that the replacement might be blowback, that would be a huge step in the wrong direction. I am also concerned that a replacement might abandon the paddle release for the magazine. With arthritis, the paddle release is much easier to use.

What I would like, the same basic form; but, first put in a double stack magazine. I can not look at the magazine well and not feel that the pistol was first designed as a double stack, then late in the development someone decided to lower the capacity and fill the empty space with those supports. Then to include those concerns you named, add a decocker and a slide release.

The fact that hobbyist managed to add a slide release shows that the is room in the design for one. A decocker might require a bit more work, but would be a great addition. The same with adding a captive recoil spring, there is on on the market, proving that it can be done.

Yes, I would look at a new one if it got a bit of a facelift.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You raise some of the shortcomings of the PK380, the Slide release, decocker, and take down tool. I am actually pretty indifferent toward the take down tool.

My concerns about an update include: the concern that the replacement might be blowback, that would be a huge step in the wrong direction. I am also concerned that a replacement might abandon the paddle release for the magazine. With arthritis, the paddle release is much easier to use.

What I would like, the same basic form; but, first put in a double stack magazine. I can not look at the magazine well and not feel that the pistol was first designed as a double stack, then late in the development someone decided to lower the capacity and fill the empty space with those supports. Then to include those concerns you named, add a decocker and a slide release.

The fact that hobbyist managed to add a slide release shows that the is room in the design for one. A decocker might require a bit more work, but would be a great addition. The same with adding a captive recoil spring, there is on on the market, proving that it can be done.

Yes, I would look at a new one if it got a bit of a facelift.
Absolutely, a blowback operated .380 would have a fairly stiff recoil spring (Like the Beretta 80-series pistols, which are great little pistols, IMO, but not so good for those who need an easy to rack pistol!). I think with the 380EZ on the market they probably wouldn't do this. But I agree the "PK380 M2" would probably have a button magazine release. I prefer the paddles, too but the American market doesn't for some reason. And its chief competition, the S&W 380EZ has a button as well.

It shouldn't be too hard to update this pistol some. I'm in no rush to buy another .380 pistol, but I really liked shooting the Shield 380. I'm happy to hang on and see what the other manufacturers introduce (or re-introduce?) as a response.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One of the poster above mentioned that the lack a of decocker was an issue but with the safety engaged you can drop the hammer with the trigger. The safety blocks the firing pin.
You're correct, and I should have been clearer in the original post. You can drop the hammer with the trigger (like on the P22). I think (and I believe most new shooters) it is better to not have a design that requires you to pull the trigger for anything other than firing the pistol when there could be a round in the chamber.

Pulling the trigger on some firearms for disassembly purposes is another discussion entirely, but that occurs on an empty chamber.
 
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