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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a Walther PPK-S 380 by S&W.

I find the single action trigger pull to be reasonable, but the first shot double action trigger pull is terribly heavy compared to my Bersa Firestorm. It is so bad that I think the first shot, double action, may scare a bad guy, but likely won't hit him.

If I have to defend myself with this PPK-S I will need a ton of luck. First get the pistol out of concealment then take the safety off and try to get a well aimed shot off using double action trigger pull. Good luck.

Maybe if there is a round in the chamber, I could take the safety off and ask the bad guy to wait while I thumb cock the gun so the first shot can be fired single action, if I am still standing.

Sorry, just ranting a bit. Seriously, is there any chance of reducing the double action trigger pull of this Walther PPK-S 380 to a decent trigger pull, or should I be considering carrying my Bersa instead, even if it is a bit larger than the PPK-S and a bit harder to carry conceal.
 

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I don't have a problem with the DA pull on my PP-series pistols. I can keep on target at standard self-defense ranges. But, then, I've been practicing DA first shots with a variety of weapons, including many PP-series pistols, for well over 35 years now.

As for lightening the pull in DA, any change in spring weight can lead to potential light strikes, so if you go that route make sure you thoroughly test the gun for reliability afterward.
 

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Assuming the Firestorm is reliable, I would be inclined to carry it instead of the PPK/S. Since you like the Bersa trigger better and since the Bersa has much better sights, it seems to be the logical choice.

I've been shooting the PP series pistols for about 45 years and I have become accustomed to the trigger pull.
 

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Muscle memory is the key safety off hammer back as it comes out of the holster ,been doing it that way for years . That harder trigger pull first shot is a safety device for the crazies who carry safety off ,in their pocket . You must understand that when these pistoles were developed clothes were much looser fitting and pockets were generally deeper and of better quality fabric than is commonly found in today's pants . Ayb
 

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The PP design was one of the first, if not the first, double/single action pistol designs; between that and the tight dimensions of the design, the trigger is heavy.
Modern, striker fired pistols have a consistent, moderately heavy, trigger that remains the same for all shots.
Moon
 

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Then of course you could have a round chambered, leave the safety off then while raising the pistol to shoot pull the hammer back.
 

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Do a search, but knowledgeable folks here are of the opinion that the PPK is not completely safe when carried with the chamber loaded and the safety off.
Moon
 
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Do a search, but knowledgeable folks here are of the opinion that the PPK is not completely safe when carried with the chamber loaded and the safety off.
Moon
This would be another reason for the OP to go with the Bersa. It has a firing pin safety which blocks the firing pin until the trigger is pulled.
 

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The PP dates to 1929 and the PPK to 1931 (and the PPK/S is just a PPK slide on the slightly larger PP frame to get around import restrictions in the Gun Control Act of 1968). As such it's an old design, but also a ground breaking design in double action pocket pistols.

That's the long lead in to saying the heavy DA trigger is an artifact of the geometry of the pistol and it's parts and it's not something that can be fixed. As noted in a previous post, changing the hammer spring to a lighter weight spring produces the potential problem of light strikes. Also, given that it is a blow back design, both the recoil spring and hammer spring play important roles in retarding the motion of the slide, so a lighter hammer spring requires a heavier re-coil spring to avoid the slide coming back before the chamber pressure is low enough.

That said, if you practice with a PP series pistol long enough the heavy DA pull ceases to be a problem - any every other DA trigger you have will seem really easy in comparison, except for an 1895 Nagant as that DA trigger is just plain horrible.

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I agree a PP series pistol carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber with isn't completely drop safe, since the firing pin block is incorporated with the safety/de-cocking lever - if the safety/de-cocking lever is in the fire position the inertial firing pin can impact the primer.

However for that to happen the pistol will need to be dropped on it's muzzle on a hard surface, such as concrete or a ceramic tile floor, from a fairly significant height. The odds of that happening are extremely low, and if it did happen it would mean the bullet would be fired into the hard surface the pistol just landed on. The bullet probably isn't going to do much damage to anything other than the floor in that circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My thanks to all of you. You have made many good points for me to consider.

My Bersa Firestorm is trouble free with just about any ammo. If I decided to use it as a carry gun, it would be with the ammo that never fails.

The other option is of coarse to practice double action firing with the PPK-S until I am comfortable with it. This would be a great excuse to do more shooting.

Thanks
 

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...

I agree a PP series pistol carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber with isn't completely drop safe, since the firing pin block is incorporated with the safety/de-cocking lever - if the safety/de-cocking lever is in the fire position the inertial firing pin can impact the primer.

However for that to happen the pistol will need to be dropped on it's muzzle on a hard surface...
I am not trying to be contentious, but others may be misled.

The PP-series pistols do not have a "firing pin block". They have a hammer block, which has nothing to do with the manual safety/decocking lever. Nothing* is locking or blocking the firing pin. The danger, unless the safety is "ON", is not from dropping and landing on the muzzle, but on the hammer. That has been known to cause an AD.

M
 

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Enter into a high stress situation and you won't even notice the heavy trigger pull. Or..... just mess around with the new Umarex PPK/S for a little bit and suddenly the older PPK and PPK/S trigger pulls won't feel so bad ;)
 

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Muscle memory is what will take over under stress. If the trigger is hernia-inducing, it will be a problem no matter when you pull it. If you doubt this, ask a rookie shooter to hit something double action with a revolver. It isn't a skill easily acquired, and a heavy trigger makes everything worse.
Moon
 

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I am not trying to be contentious, but others may be misled.

The PP-series pistols do not have a "firing pin block". They have a hammer block, which has nothing to do with the manual safety/decocking lever. Nothing* is locking or blocking the firing pin. The danger, unless the safety is "ON", is not from dropping and landing on the muzzle, but on the hammer. That has been known to cause an AD.

M
We're arguing about semantics.

Yes, if you drop a PP series pistol on its hammer AND the sear and half cock notches shear, it can impact the firing pin hard enough to cause a negligent discharge if the safety/de-cocking lever is in the "fire" position. That applies to just about any pistol that does not have a trigger or grip safety de-activated firing pin safety.

What I am talking about is the presence or absence of a firing pin safety that prevents the pistol from firing when the safety/de-cocking lever is in the "safe" position, due to being dropped on its muzzle on a hard surface (usually from a height of 3 ft or greater).

There is indeed a firing pin safety on the PP series pistols. It's in play any time the safety/de-cocking lever is in the safe position. When in the safe position, the cylinder on the de-cocking lever engages the firing pin and prevents any forward movement of the firing pin. It is not a trigger or grip safety de-activated firing pin safety, but it is indeed a safety that not only blocks the hammer, but also locks the firing pin in place.

How this is done has changed over the years and it's maybe worth noting that Walther wasn't the last word in PP series pistol and PP clone evolution. Bottom to top we have a Manurhin made PP, a Ranger licensed copy of the PPK/S, and an FEG APK9S - an unlicensed FEG derivative of the PPK/S:



The initial approach, as seen in the 1960ish Manurhin PP below, used a tab on the side of the firing pin that engaged the de-cocking lever cylinder when the pistol was on "safe". The 1980ish Ranger PPK/S in the center shows the later use of a ball shaped feature on the firing pin that was engaged by the safety/de-cocking lever. Both approaches effectively make the inertial firing pin drop safe when the safety/de-cocking lever is engaged.

However, when the lever is in the "fire" position, nothing impedes the forward movement of the firing pin, and it is possible for a negligent discharge under the very narrow range of conditions I described above.

FEG also used a protrusion on the firing pin to make the pistol drop safe. When the de-cocking lever is engaged, the lever prevents any forward movement of the firing pin. However, FEG also went one step further and re-designed the firing pin so that it was pressed downward by a spring so that is engages a recess in the slide. It's lifted up out of the recess by a trigger activated plunger. This made the FEG pistol drop safe even when the cocking lever was in the "fire" position.

Unfortunately, their is no free lunch as trigger activated and grip activated pistols come with some increased complexity and some additional, but very remote possibilities for failure, if something occurs that prevents the firing pin from moving up not the "fire" position.

Here, left to right, are the FEG APK9S, the Ranger PPK and Manurhin PP slides with the levers in the "fire" position.

You can't see the square tab on the PP firing pin, but you can see the ball shaped mass on the firing pin inside the de-cocking lever's cylinder.

You can also see the square tab on the FEG's firing pin resting in the frame recess, which makes the FEG drop safe even in the ready to fire condition.



In this picture, the de-cocking levers are in the "safe" position. The hammer block is very obvious on the Ranger and Manurhin pistols, and less obvious on the FEG with it's more open design. In this condition, the PP and Ranger pistols' firing pins are blocked and they are drop safe in this condition.

The FEG is "extra" drop safe as, while not visible, the de-cocking cylinder has a ledge that extends below the slide recess and effectively blocks the forward movement of the firing pin even if the firing pin was someone pushed or propelled up out of the recess in the slide.



FEG also took an additional step to address potential issue with dropping the pistol on its hammer by extending the tang. In order for the hammer to have it's sear and half cock notches sheared, it has to have a fairly direct blow to the hammer along it's initial line of motion. If the hammer is hit more on the top than on the back, it just gets pressed against the frame and nothing is going to break.

If you look at the PPK/S and APK9S below, you'll note the hammer is much less exposed on the FEG. This is in addition to the trigger activated firing pin that should prevent the firing pin from moving even if the hammer's sear and half cock notches are sheared. In essence, it's a back up to ensure the firing pin isn't also displaced out of the notch in the same fall that would have sheared the hammer notches.



One reason the S&W used the significantly longer tang is to provide additional protection to the hammer, in the event it is dropped hammer down on a hard surface. Remember, there is no trigger activated firing pin safety in the Walther PP series pistols, so protecting the hammer is even more important. Thus the obnoxiously long tang that protected the hammer from pretty much any angle of fall that might shear the sear and half cock notches. I just wish they'd done it in the same graceful, smoothly profiled, and not massively over the top fashion as FEG.

In that regard, as much as I dislike them, the S&W pistols are extremely unlikely to suffer a hammer strike that will cause a negligent discharge - and that is relevant since the OP has one of the S&W pistols. But the FEG is still a far superior choice for concealed carry with the safety off.

 

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Well don't forget about the Walam 48.

The list of pistols made by FEG that are derivatives of the PP series is quite long:

Walam 48M - a military steel frame close copy of the PP in 7.65 Browning;
RK-59 - a shorter slide, PPK/S sized aluminum frame military pistol in 9mm Mak;
BR-61 - a commercial PPK style pistol with an aluminum alloy frame in .25 ACP, .32 ACP and .380 ACP;
MR-61 - same as above but in 9mm Mak;
RL-61 - same as the BR-61, but with a steel frame;
R-61 - same as the BR-61, except in .22 LR;
PA-63 - a PP sized military pistol with an aluminum frame, chambered in 9mm Mak;
PPH - a commercial version of the PA-63 in .380 ACP;
AP66 - a commercial version of the PA-63 in 7.65 Browning made for Hege-Waffen);
AP7.65 - a shorter slide PPK/S sized commercial version of the PA-63, chambered in 7.65mm Browning;
AP9 - a shorter slide PPK/S sized commercial version of the PA-63, chambered in 9mm Kurz (.380 ACP);
PMK-380 - the KBI model number for the AP9;
SAPS - a South African police contract AP9;
SMC-380 - a PPK sized aluminum framed pistol in .380 ACP imported by KBI;
SMC-918 - an SMC chambered in 9x18mm Mak;
AP99 Mk II - an aluminum framed short slide version of the AP9 (the model number is however also applied to some later production PP length AP9 pistols);
AP-22 - a commercial PPK sized aluminum frame pistol in .22 LR;
SMC-22 - The KBI model number for the AP-22;
AP9S - a commercial PP sized, steel frame pistol chambered in both 9mm Kurz, and 9mm Mak;
AP9M - an AP9S chambered in 9mm Mak;
APK9S - a commercial PPK/S sized, steel frame pistol chambered in 9mm Kurz;
APK9M - an APK9S chambered in 9mm Mak;
AP7S - a commercial PP sized, steel frame pistol chambered in 7.65 Browning; and
APK7S - a commercial PPK/S sized, steel frame pistol chambered in 7.65 Browning.
 

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We're arguing about semantics.

Yes, if you drop a PP series pistol on its hammer AND the sear and half cock notches shear, it can impact the firing pin hard enough to cause a negligent discharge if the safety/de-cocking lever is in the "fire" position. ...
I am sorry: I misread your post #9 and mistakenly concluded that you were asserting the presence of a passive, trigger-actuated firing pin block. As you have correctly stated there is both a firing pin lock and firing pin lock but these are activated only manually, if the operator places the safety "ON". My apology.

But I don't believe we are "arguing about semantics" when nomenclature, which is to say the naming of parts, is concerned. When a part or its function is incorrectly described, it can lead to confusion about what it's for or how it works. In this regard there is no "half-cock notch" on the hammer of Walther PP-series pistols that might be sheared off; I'm not aware of any instance in which a PP-series pistol ever fired from a drop on the muzzle. As I said, the real danger from dropping a PP-series pistol with the safety "OFF" is when it's dropped on its hammer, though this was infrequent and not well known. Whether this was known to and in the minds of S&W's designers when they extended the frame tang I cannot say. I have never seen anything from S&W to suggest that it was for any reason except to eliminate slide bite.

M
 

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Wouldn't it be something to drop test each reiteration of the PP-series from onset of production to present, utilizing current test standards? Say, a rearward drop from 1 meter onto concrete with the hammer back. Start with a hand-fitted Zella Mehlis Walther all the way through the Interarms era, ending with the latest... whatever. I'm not the gambling sort, but if I were, I'd put two pence down in the old school corner.

-Pilotsteve
 
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