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Discussion Starter #1
Years ago my dad told me never to be embarrassed about seeking advise on subjects you are not an expert in; that's how you learn. Well, holding to dad's good advice I am asking the "experts" on this forum for their advise. I have read a lot about the PPK/S and the original PPK. (both in .380) From what I can gather they are both top-notch firearms that operate flawlessly. Furthermore, the only difference I can see is the "S" can hold one more round in the magazine and offers a magazine with an extension to rest your finger on. Also, I understand the history about the PPK being too light to import into the U.S. years ago. That's really all I can see. Like with all firearms, there are idiosyncrasies which may or may not be published about them. And that's what I'm asking of the experts here. Can one definitively say which firearm is the "better" of the two? Perhaps not. But that's what I am trying to find out. Thanks in advance for your help and expertise.
 

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Which is better is a personal choice. To help you decide just remember this. The PPK is the Bond gun. The PPK/S is not the Bond gun.
 

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The PPK/S has a longer grip on it to make it importable under the 68 GCA. Both come with a magazine with the pinky finger mag extension so there's enough to hold on to, for me, with either. The /S is a little heavier, not a whole lot, though. As for Bond's gun, he in the books went from a .25 Beretta to a .32 PPK, but in the last Bond movie I saw (Craig as Bond) he was chasing a bad guy and said he had a PPK/S, so there's that.

Which is best? No one can answer that but you. PPK has a smaller grip and is theoretically more concealable, the PPK/S has more to hold on to for the recoil of the .380 which is a bit snappy.

I got my PPK/S back in the early 80s as a Christmas gift from my wife, now deceased, and it's reliable with hardball. Accurate? I haven't benched it, but it shot very well on a silhouette target last time I tried it. Haven't shot it again in years, It's in my safe. The 1968 .32 PPK I have is pleasant to shoot and again accurate enough. My other PPK stainless I did bench and it's very accurate in .380.

I carry mine sometimes, but there are more powerful 9mms the same size as the PPK/S guns for self defense out there. I carry mine because I like carrying a Walther, not because it's an optimal fighting gun.

Either PPK or PPK/S you're golden. The S&W made pistols aren't held in high regard, but the Ft. Smith ones seemingly are.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate the response and advise. Yes, I also heard that one should avoid the S&W PPKs. I am not a big Bond fan so what he used is of no interest to me. I am simply interested in quality and reliability and it would appear that the reviews are correct: both are great quality firearms and all it boils down to is personal preference. I think I'll be fine with a stainless PPK/S (Ft. Smith).
 

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If I was looking for a stainless .380 PPK or PPK/S I would pass on the Ft. Smith. There are too many Interarms made guns available in mint condition for substantially less money.
 

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I would opt for used Interarms used as well. I don't know about substantially less money; don't know the market. I'd hate to think my two "used" Interarms pistol are worth substantially less than a used Ft. Smith pistol.

The Ft. Smithones have that damned extended beavertail, which some like because it protects from slide bite, but aesthetically I don't like. I think it's in the same category as the locking hole on newer S&W revolvers; maybe with a little more use to the beaver tail than the lawyer-inspired locking hole. Having said that, I don't get slide bite for some reason. Also, from reading on this forum, they apparently have the rear sight milled into the slide? If so, I don't like that, either. And the third common criticism heard here is the sharp edges on the rear of the frame...easily fixed by the shooter, I guess, but the shooter shouldn't have to.

On here, the Ft. Smith guns have gotten pretty good reviews, actually, and that's good. My Walther buying days are over unless I run up on a great deal on a used PPK, like I did on mine.
 

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Can one definitively say which firearm is the "better" of the two?
For my taste the PP and PPK models are well-balanced and classical. The PPK/S, on the other hand, is not beautiful, but practical. It is actually only admired where it came onto the market as a stopgap solution.
 

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The question is to place the small finger correctly. I (but it's me) would prefer a 'real' PPK.
 
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JSG, with older Walthers, you're better served with ball. Reputedly the Ft. Smith guns (and the Smith & Walthers) will run hollowpoints; the Ft. Smiths have a better rep on that score, at least from posters here. The Ft. Smith guns are current production; God forbid it's stolen or ends up in an evidence locker, you can get another one.
'\s' or 'no s'? How big are your hands?
Now, unless you're really wedded to the idea of a Walther, you're better served with a Glock .380...;)
Best,
Moon
 

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I like all the PP pistols, my least favorite is the PP. As for ammo, I always shoot ball. My pistols might feed HPs just fine, don't know because the only HPs I've ever shot were Silvertips and only then because it was SOP in my department.

It might be worthwhile to check Lucky Gunner's web page. He's done ballistics on a lot of ammo but I've only watched the .32 and .380 videos. He got expansion in denim-covered gel with some of the .380 HPs, but not all. His goal was to get 12" penetration, which he says is an FBI researched test. Bullet expansion limits penetration, so there is a law of diminishing returns here. IIRC, only one round got penetration + expansion. These were fired out of pocket pistols, BTW. Ball over-penetrated, all but one HP IIRC under-penetrated. Expansion in a couple of cases was pretty impressive. I'd always thought a .380 lacked the velocity to open up a HP, and in most cases this is true.

So I choose to-deep penetration over too-shallow penetration and expansion. Plus, ball is a LOT cheaper. Walthers were designed when I don't think HP pistol ammo had been invented.
 

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The Walther PP series was ahead of its time in the 1930s through the 1980s and still looks quite modern and rakish, but its time has passed. I carried a 380 PPK/S in college because it packed the biggest punch in the smallest package at that time. I later sold it, but have since acquired several early and late variants of the PP, PPK, and PPK/L in 32 and 380. Today you can get eqully small and lighter pistols in 9mm and even 40 and 45, so there is no logical reason to use the PP or PPK. Nostalgia is great, but it does not impress the maniac with the upturned knife.
 

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There is always a "better" handgun caliber and so I gave that up that unicorn hunt a long time ago. The reality of running up on a maniac with an upturned knife while remotely possible, running up on a maniac who endures getting shot to continue his assault is even more remote. It has happened. I guess, but it's so rare hardly anyone can cite an instance of it happening.

Yes, you can get a 9 mm that's the same size as a PPK and holds more rounds, I have one....soooo? If you expect to go into a combat zone, you'd be better off with a long gun.

The 98 Mauser rifle in its final form goes back 122 years but as a sporting rifle, many would say it's not been surpassed. There are lighter, more modern-looking rifles, most of which are modifications of the 98 Mauser. They are cheaper and when loaded down synthetic stocks, maybe more accurate. But the fact is they're more accurate than they need to be for hunting. And most of them look cheap and unattractive. Looks are important to me, and I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of more-than-needed accuracy in exchange for looks. But that's just me; I'm old and old fashioned.

If I run up on a maniac with an upturned knife and I've got my PPK in hand I'm confident I'm going to win that fight.
 

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I would counter Paladin's question by counter-asking Why would you hunt deer with a ,308 when you could use a .458?

As for weight, I didn't see how, either, the PPK and PPK/S could weigh the same but it piqued my curiosity so I did a comparison by weighing mine, Both are Ranger pistols in .380, the PPK in SS, the PPK /S in blue, if that matters. The guns were empty w/out the mags.

The PPK came in at 19.1 oz., the PPK/S at 21.4 oz. So as I suspected, there is a difference of 2.3 oz. That's a 28.2% increase, not insignificant. Loaded would add some more difference. These are not Ft. Smith pistols, of course, so they might have come up with something new, or Walther may be guilty of a typo.
 

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I checked the specs on Walther's website and there is no difference in weight or length between the PPK and PPK/s , the only difference being the height for the PPK at 3.8″ and the PPK/s at 4.3″ (curious how they could both weigh the same?) so unless you were going to go with a flush fitting magazine and use the PPK as a pocket gun there is no good reason to go with the PPK over the PPK/s.
To check the specs on Walther's American website is a very good idea and a very bad idea at the same time. The website will give you for instance a height of 4.9" for the PPK/S .22 which shows that measuring has always been very relative. The biggest deviation we find is the value of the trigger travel in DA mode though, where Walther is off by an incredible factor of 10... It's hardly impossible to talk about specs anymore. :oops:
 

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To check the specs on Walther's American website is a very good idea and a very bad idea at the same time. The website will give you for instance a height of 4.9" for the PPK/S .22 which shows that measuring has always been very relative. The biggest deviation we find is the value of the trigger travel in DA mode though, where Walther is off by an incredible factor of 10... It's hardly impossible to talk about specs anymore. :oops:
...
 

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I would not use a 458 on deer for very sensible reasons. It will do far too much damage to the meat, it is heavy recoiling, very expensive to shoot, and lacks the ballistic trajectory for even medium range shots. Just as we choose the most practical rifle or shotgun based on the type of hunting we will be doing, we should select defensive weapons based on our situtation. In the home a shotgun is king, but if a person cannot handle a shotgun, then a handgun may be preferable. If so, pick one that maximizes hit probability, capacity, and an energy level that you can handle. The Walther PP series have terrible DA trigger pulls, awkward safeties, weak cartridges, and minimal magazine capacities. There are better choices even if all you can comfortably shoot is a .22 or a .32. If in public, where discreet carry is preferred, the PP series is still inferior to other options that are available these days. One can certainly do worse, but one can also do better.
 
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