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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted earlier that I was very happy with my new PPK/S-1 but found I wanted to change a number of things from the way it came from the factory. Many thanks to Beretta92 and many others from this forum who led the way. The notes describe some of the surgery I performed on my new PPK/S and are not recommendations.


The frame tail was reshaped using a Dremel bench belt sander, files, and sandpaper. The frames seem to come in three tail flavors. The original frame had a minimal tail. Somewhere during the production run, a larger tail appeared, and disappeared, as far as I can tell from the illustrations in Hoffschmidt’s book. Then S&W made a big tail for the PPK/S-1. Encouraged by the examples of C&S and Beretta92 from this forum, I trimmed mine to a shape between the medium Walther of S/Ns 334520-356608K or so and the S&W PPK/S-1. The C&S 1911 type beavertail looks very nice, but it seems like it could poke a hole in somebody’s side. I’m happy with my medium approach, it works fine, it is comfortable, and the rounded edges do not poke into my skin. Someday I will do some more reshaping of the tail.

Lightly polished the frame ramp to remove some machining marks. It is purely cosmetic in an area I don't see. Don't ask why.

Rounded and polished the magazine well edges and inside the frame along the magazine well. This area was roughly finished. Magazines now eject clear with minimal scratches.

The barrel trunion was machined somewhat unevenly. I used some sandpaper and scotchbrite strips to even out the part that is visible from the ejection port.

The butt of the backstap was not completely finished. It is hard to explain, but about 80% of the curved edge at the backstrap was right and sharp, the rest was not finished. Some careful filing and scothbrite later and the edge is defined from one side of the gun to the other.


Ordered the Nill WA107 (Walther PP/PPK-S/Interarms PPK-S stippled with thumb rest), directly from their website. Received it a couple of weeks later from the Nills-Grip Logistics Center in VT. They arrived carefully packaged and well padded with no shipping damage and included a replacement screw, necessary because the grips are slightly thicker than the plastic originals (34mm vs. 29mm). The outside is a pleasant combination of well sanded smooth contours and distinctly stippled surface with an oil finish. The inside is precisely machined providing the critical clearance necessary for the trigger bar and sear motion.

I was curious to see how they would fit the S&W modified PPK/S-1 frame and was pleasantly surprised at how easily they can be made to fit the new frame.

The S&W PPK/S-1 frame has three new grip positioning tabs and a slightly different screw flange. I used a small sharp knife to modify the grips to fit the new frame. Cut three notches for the positioning tabs and trimmed slightly the area around the screw flange on the inside of the grips as shown in picture “grip_cuts.gif” The notches are around 2mm x 10mm and can be cut carefully in a matter of minutes. With the notches, the grips fit flat and securely in the frame. The extra length screw threads on the left grip, instead of on the right grip on the S&W grips. The grips fill the hand much better and the firearm feels secure. The S&W grips start about 4mm from the front edge of the frame, the Nills start about 1mm back, giving the front of the frame a more rounded and, to me, a more comfortable grip. I like the thumb rest too. Note that this adds some thickness to the grip. If you want the minimum thickness for CCW you may not want the thumb rest grips.

With the grips in the frame, some careful sanding with very fine sandpaper (220) was required to match and blend the grip contours of the frame. The picture “ppks.jpg
” gives you an idea of how well they fit. Some fine sandpaper wrapped around a pencil helped open up the cut around the magazine release button. The grip's front edge is a uniform 1mm from the edge of the frame.

I have reshaped the tail area of the frame, so please do not use this part of the illustration as an example. The PPK/S-1 frame has a very large tail, which I filed down and blended. Otherwise you would see the parallel gap between the rear edge of the grip and the rear edge of the frame extended more uniformly at the top. I plan to file the frame some more to round the edges and match the grip contours at a later date. For now, a minimal sanding provided an acceptable shape blending.

The rear edge of the grip at the bottom needed a small section sanded to blend it to the butt of the frame. It sanded nicely; there is sufficient room between the reshaped edge and the contour of the stippled area to provide a uniform edge.

The left grip has a cut on the underside at the front to provide clearance for the magazine stiffening rib. It is the correct depth, but is somewhat narrow and should be extended towards the rear of the grip another 5mm or so. This will eliminate any friction with the modern magazines. I extended the cut with a sharp knife and finished with a file.

That is all. A rag with some acetone blended the oil finish nicely. Ended up using Cetol to fill in and finish the wood.

Took more time to write this than to fit the grips. Nill emailed me that they are examining the new S&W frame and reassessing their grips as the modifications described are considered more than just making an adjustment within tolerances for a customer with a steady hand and skill. Scoot down to part 3 to see a picture of the finished product. They are very nice and feel great.

Image shows the reshaped frame tail. Rear is also rounded in the vertical plane.

Image shows the four notches that adapt the Nill PP/PPK-S grips to the S&W PPK/S-1.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·


Barrel was recrowned by Garret at Northern Virginia Gun Works (NVGW). He is a master gunsmith and did a great job. The barrel had to be pressed out of the gun and then turned in a lathe. He compensated for the bore being off-center. A poster at the Gl*ckTalk Walther forum (warmrain) also noticed the same thing:

"However I did put an micrometer on the bore and barrel and found that from top to bottom the land to barrel OD is about .010 off-center. I'm not sure this is an issue though the pistol does shoot a little high and to the right. Interestingly the muzzle crown cut is about .030 off-center and just opposite the POA/POI direction..."


Reshaped and polished the trigger smooth using curved files, sandpaper, and polishing wheel. The edges are curved to prevent the finger from grabbing when squeezing on DA.

The top to bottom radius of curvature was increased to remove the little bump at the tip which was felt as the finger slides down the trigger as it is pulled back. The side to side curvature was increased but it appears to be less than the C&S trigger, which curves from edge to edge, with no flat metal on the side. My finger does not feel the edge so it is adequate. This is the third time I reshaped the trigger, each time increasing the side to side curvature. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll end up with C&S shape.

The trigger and the hammer polish smooth and bright on a wheel. I found compound made for stainless superior to jeweler's rouge. The parts are fine with the rouge, but they look dazzling bright with the stainless compound.

Installed a trigger overtravel stop on the trigger guard made with PC-7 epoxy. The stop was made oversize and trimmed to the general shape. Final tuning was made with a small strip of sandpaper held between the back of the trigger and the stop, with some careful sanding until the action worked reliably. This mod is not recommended for CCW or home defense use.


Polished the trigger bar and internal rubbing parts. Did not remove the sear from the frame so I have to live with those.

Fixed a slight metallic snap felt when pulling the trigger. Bend the trigger spring so the hook would pull the trigger bar and seat it towards the frame. Before, it was pushing the bar against the slide and causing the end of the bar with the hook by the sear to snap when pulled.

Replaced hammer spring with a 16 lb spring from Wolff for lighter double action trigger. Test with your ammo to see if it works reliably and be prepared to replace the spring more often.

Polished the hammer sides and softened the knurled edges. Filed off the (MIM?) cast line in the back and refinished using 3M Scotchbrite pad to match the rest of the back of the slide and reduce reflections at the range. Purely cosmetic but very satisfying.

Relieved edges of the ejector/slide stop where they rubbed the slide.

Noted that the firing pin does not hit the center of the primer. It appears to be one firing pin radius off. Don’t believe it would cause a hit in accuracy on a small cartridge as the .380 but I sure wish it were centered.


Lapped slide and frame, broke the edges with files and crocus cloth. Removed machining marks from the bottom of the slide. Noted that the edges of the slide were not flat and parallel, but somewhat canted.

Filed smooth the firing pin housing rails edges where they cut into the hammer face on recoil. If you do this, be careful not to disturb the bottom edge of the breechface.

Polished the safety detent pin and sanded and polished the safety between the two pin stops. Safety action feels secure and smooth. Do not overdo this or the safety might engage during firing.

Softened the laser cut S&W marking on the right hand side. Careful not to overdo it. 1500 grit wet dry sandpaper on glass and I still did it, so be warned.

Polished the tip and bottom edges of the extractor to reduce any friction with the slide slot. Did a minimal polish on the bottom edge radius like on 1911s.

Someday I’ll remove the rear sight, drill a couple of dimples to paint some beads on the front of the sight, and install it backwards.


Noticed the fit of the stock left grip was a little loose on the frame towards the back, allowing the hammer pin stop to work loose and rub against the slide. Fixed with a paste of Devcon 5-min epoxy and graphite (for color).

Used a Hogue rubber slip and liked it a lot. Ruined it when I removed it to play with the action. If I were to use the black grips, I would use a trimmed Hogue slip.

Used translucent grip tape on the front strap as a substitute for stippling. Used black grip tape on the front part of the magazine finger rest to even out the height for the little finger.

This shot shows the reshaped trigger and the trigger stop.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·


Not recommended for the non-mechanically inclined. Get a diagram. Numrich has some online. Search the Internet for notes and advice on disassembly. You do not want to ruin your firearm, lose parts, or reassemble in an unsafe manner.

A punch and two flat blade screwdrivers was all I needed to perform a semi-complete disassembly. Semi-complete disassembly was not difficult. The following items were not disassembled:
Barrel - it is pressed and pinned in place
Hammer - has two levers and associated spring and pins. No need to disassemble to clean.
Sear - Pins are pressed in place on the frame. No need to remove to clean.
Frame disconnect safety - Plunger and spring look sufficiently exposed there is no need to disassemble to clean.

When removing or installing the ejector/slide stop, perform the operation with the frame and your hands inside a plastic bag or the spring will fly out and you will lose it. S&W can supply you with a replacement one but your firearm will not be reliable until you fix it.

Assemble the trigger, bar, spring, and pin at the same time. Move the trigger guard down to give yourself some room. You can push the trigger pin out any way you want, but it goes in with the spring groove on the left to engage the spring.

No easy way to assemble the trigger guard/mag release. Having a second person may help. Note that there is a chamfer on one side of the frame for the pin.

To remove the safety, push it to off, push the firing pin out of the way, then slide the safety halfway between on and off to disengage the detent. You can now wiggle it out. The detent spring also secures the extractor claw. If you are not careful you can see some parts fly across the room. May not be a bad idea to do this inside a plastic bag too.


I was intrigued by Beretta92's experience with the PPK/S-1, so like his, my magazine and firearm parts were finished with Militec-1, on the oven at warm for one hour. Do not expose the PC-7 trigger stop to the heat. If you want to use grip tape on the front strap, cover that part with tape before oiling.

The final product. You can see the Nill grips, NVGW barrel crown, shaped trigger, trigger stop, polished hamer, stipple tape, and reshaped tail.

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4,588 Posts
From the outcome it looks like the work was well worth it....
I love those stippled Nills......
I got stippeled ones on my P5 and got a set on my way for the P7M8

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Thanks for the extensive and informative post. It looks like you have one beautifully customised ppk/s. I haven't seen the stippled tape you used for the front grip strap before. That's a nice touch. Do you have a supplier name or source?

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the comments, guys!

MLB, I'm afraid I do not have a current supplier for the tape. It is a clear non-abrasive nonskid tape I bought many years ago when I was preparing a competition motorcycle, but I can't remember who I got it from. Our local HW store carries grey, black, or white now. I know McMaster Carr sells the same in black and grey and it looks to be Incom's Softexxx resilient textured PVC tape, but I can't tell for sure if the texture is the same. They may be able to send you a free sample:


If you can't find a local distributor, PM me, I have a little bit left.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A couple more things:

You can make a tighter fitting trigger pin with the shank of a #31 drill bit. Chuck it on a drill press and use a Dremel cutoff wheel to make the groove for the spring and to cut to lenght. This reduces some of the side to side play on the trigger and improves the feel of the gun.

My gun naturally shot high. I epoxied a thin aluminum strip to the top of the front sight and it now hits dead on at 25 feet.

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Sorry to dig up such an old thread.

I would love to see the pics of this gun. I have been carrying my PPKS up front and the hammer is tearing me up. I softened many of the edges but would like to go full tilt on this gun.

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