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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I've been reading here for awhile, just registered. I hope you can help. I've been a fan of the PPK for most of my life. My Dad has one from the early 70's, an Interarms version. He's still healthy and it's his primary home defense pistol, so I won't be inheriting that one for awhile, God willing. Anyway, I am in the market for one for myself, but all of the different variants sort of haze things for me. I know S&W took over in '99 or so and the general consensus is those are the absolute worst. Then recently I'm hearing that the very latest models from S&W seem to have all the issues resolved and are very reliable, maybe more so than the older versions. I know the Interarms versions have a better reputation overall, but also may be pretty finicky with ammo. Older German versions, I have no clue. I have no preference to finish, but workmanship, fit & finish, and reliability are of utmost importance (for a PPK, I mean). I plan to CCW this one on occasion, put a lot of rounds through it on the range, so I want one that I can rely on. I don't mind dropping some coin on it, either. Be it at gunbroker for the best model I can find, and/or sending it to Cylinder and Slide for a full spa treatment. If you had the money to spend and had to have the best USER PPK or PPK/s possible, which route would you take? I should also add I have SIGs, Kahrs, etc and I am very happy with them, but I want a PPK to add to the rotation. If I'm going to get one, I want to do it right and hopefully avoid the common pitfalls, gripes, and complaints I have read about so many times. Sorry this was long winded, thanks in advance for any advice you may have...

Jeff
 

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You have just about covered all the ground yourself with your roundup here of thoughts and ideas and gleanings about the three versions of the PPK.

For what it's worth, the S&W model is far better than you will read/hear/find online. S&W makes quality firearms, has for decades, and they did not slip in the production of the PPK. (Remember, too, that S&W has the finest customer service department in the industry, bar none.) Some folks don't like the extended beavertail on the S&W model; others who shoot their gun often tend to love it, as it cuts down on hand-bite (sometimes a problem for folks with large mitts).

The Interarms version is true to the Walther design, though some of them can be finicky eaters; then again, that can be true with all of the models. Look around, check around, scout around and you'll find those who worship at the Interarms altar and those who curse its (former) existence. Many consider it to be the next-best thing.

The Walther version is, of course, the Real McCoy. If money is no object, get one of those; you will have no reason to regret the choice, today ... and well into the future.

Then again, if money is truly no object, get one of each and call it a collection/investment. That will really put a smile on your face. Heck, it makes me smile just thinking about it. :)
 

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If you want OPTIMAL --which is to say in materials, fit, finish, quality control and performance-- there really is not a second choice.

It will say on it: "Made in W. Germany".

M
 

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If you want OPTIMAL --which is to say in materials, fit, finish, quality control and performance-- there really is not a second choice.

It will say on it: "Made in W. Germany".

M
My vote also, if money is no object. But there are only so many German ppk's out there and someday service and parts may be a problem in years to come, where as S&W will be around long in the future for service and repair. But, if I could have two German ppk's, I would safe queen one and carry the other. I would also recommend a soft suede holster to diminish holster wear on that beautiful German blueing.
 

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One of these days S&W will figure out that it's cheaper to build guns right to begin with than to repair them for free.

There are probably far more German-made PPKs in the United States than S&W has yet to produce. If and when they need service, that's what gunsmiths are for.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
THANK YOU for the quick responses. All good advice. I was talking to my Dad this morning, the one he has says "Made in W. Germany", etc etc on one side, but nothing about "under license" and on the other side "Interarms Alexandria, VA". Does this mean it was completely finished in Germany and imported by Interarms? The s/n is 155804 if that helps. He says he's had it 30-40 years, and I can attest to that (I'm 42). All through my childhood I admired that thing, he let me shoot it now and then and whenever he cleaned it I seemed to be watching nearby. If it were an Interarms version made in Gadsden, AL, wouldn't it say "under license...." or something of the sort? Anyway, back to the modern S&W versions for a minute. If I do buy a S&W model, is it true that later is better? I don't have a problem with owning one of these to shoot and carry, as long as I can trust it. And, I'll inherit my Dad's eventually. I didn't mean to come off in my original post like I wipe my a$$ with twenty dollar bills, money is always a factor. BUT, I have admired these for so long that I would pay (within reason) what it takes to get one I could trust end enjoy. The last thing I want is to be forced over to the "other side" by a lemon. I'd rather not have one at all than have my life-long infatuation with the model crushed in a few months on the range. I don't want to drop $3g on the thing, but $12-1500 is do-able. I know I can get a S&W PPKs for around $3-400 locally then send it off to the spa, but then I'm approaching the other ball parks at that point. More digging to do I suppose. Keep the thoughts coming, and thanks again.

Jeff
 

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Yes, it's made in Germany. You can find used German PPKs from 600 to 1500, depending on condition. Earl's Repair still has new in box from '68, the last year of import. That will cost you somewhere around 1500, but call him I don't know his current price. When it comes to S&W ppks, everyone has diffenent agendas. I don't like them because they elongated the frame, thus not original design, but I am sure that improved the shootability, and for about 400 you can get one of those NIB. I also think S&W ppks are ugly, but other think they are beautiful, so check one out and decide for yourself.
 

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... I was talking to my Dad this morning, the one he has says "Made in W. Germany", etc etc on one side, but nothing about "under license" and on the other side "Interarms Alexandria, VA". Does this mean it was completely finished in Germany and imported by Interarms?

Yes.

If it were an Interarms version made in Gadsden, AL, wouldn't it say "under license...." or something of the sort?

Yes.

Anyway, back to the modern S&W versions for a minute. If I do buy a S&W model, is it true that later is better?

Better than what?

BUT, I have admired these for so long that I would pay (within reason) what it takes to get one I could trust end enjoy. The last thing I want is to be forced over to the "other side" by a lemon. I'd rather not have one at all than have my life-long infatuation with the model crushed in a few months on the range. I don't want to drop $3g on the thing, but $12-1500 is do-able.

Then do it, and have no regrets.


I know I can get a S&W PPKs for around $3-400 locally then send it off to the spa...

Forget it. It will take more than a trip to a spa to turn that cow pie into the equivalent of a West German Walther PPK.



/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
More good advice! MGMike, I like the way you think, and you don't sugarcoat anything :) I'll explain what I meant by one of my questions on the S&W PPK's. I gather from my reading that the earlier ones by S&W were the worst, and after manufacturing them for several years now, they have made small improvements here and there... little things to avoid the FTF/FTE issues that plagued the early S&W versions. Meaning, a 2007 dated S&W PPK/S will be far superior to a 2000 dated one. I was just wondering if that's true. I stopped by a local gun shop today and they had several. One was a used stainless Interarms "under license" PPK/S with aftermarket rosewood grips .380, they want $475 for it. They had a few *new* S&W models in .380 for a little more, one was a PPK (not /S) and without the extended beavertail. The fit and finish appeared to be better than that of the Interarms, but then again I didn't disassemble it. The others seemed comparable. I jotted down the serial numbers of all of them, in case I found a way to date them and it would make a difference. I'd LOVE to buy the $1500 NIB German one from that fella Earl, but knowing me I couldn't get over the NIB thing it and would remain a safe queen. That would sort of defeat my whole intent with snagging a nice PPK or /S to use. I know I'm not being very reasonable here, but I sure am enjoying the research! Thanks again fellas Jeff
 

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For what it's worth, my S&W PPK/S performs flawlessly and has since I pulled it out of the box; it's also spot-on accurate. I carry the gun daily, routinely take it to the range, subject it to a wide variety of ammo and drills, and have never experienced so much as the slightest hiccup. I trust my life to the gun and highly recommend it to one and all. I have two German-made PPKs (one from 1942, one from 1971) and an Interarms/USA-made version. I love the German-made guns, admire them all, but carry the S&W without reservation or hesitation. I purchased it new in June of 2007 and have fired hundreds of rounds through it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another cool thing to note... my Dad said in the decades he's owned the W German PPK/S, he only had ONE failure. Way back, he cleaned it with WD40 and thinks the oil penetrated a couple of cartridges and ruined them. He tossed that ammo, cleaned again and re-oiled with something better suited for the purpose. Never a hiccup after that. He doesn't shoot very often, however. Maybe a range trip every couple years, and maybe once in the last 10 :(

Jeff
 

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I'm with searcher451. I own a S&W PPK in .32auto. 50 rounds of FMJ and 50 rounds of Winchester Silvertips and ALL fed and fired PERFECTLY. The S&W guns are SHOOTERS. They have been modified from the original design to feel great when shooting (improved beavertail grip) and to feed most all hollowpoints reliably (radiused feed ramp). If you are looking for a reliable Walther for daily carry, you really can't go wrong with the S&W Walthers. S&W service is just plain AWESOME. Yeah....you can take the non-S&W Walthers to a GUNSMITH to be worked on...IF you have a gunsmith in your town (I DON'T), AND IF he is competent.

Dep



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... I have no preference to finish, but workmanship, fit & finish, and reliability are of utmost importance (for a PPK, I mean)...If you had the money to spend and had to have the best USER PPK or PPK/s possible, which route would you take?

Jeff
Jeff: I don't think there are any bright day-glo lines that separate the good from the bad. Early vs. late is not really a useful distinction. The earliest of anything is always the most problematic (as are the very last, just before complete collapse), but engineering department corrections are only part of the story. Far more depends on workmanship and inspection. Often, in the real world, this is inconsistent, even cyclical-- manufacturing problems are solved only to come creeping back a year or two later. I would look for a long and steady performance record, which historically is a product of strong work ethic and pride in craftsmanship. Nobody complains about the quality or functionality of W. German PP-series pistols.

If I seem unduly harsh on S&W, let me say that I own maybe a dozen S&W revolvers. The youngest of them is perhaps 40 years old; I regard them as the finest revolvers made anywhere by anybody. But they were made at Springfield MA by craftsmen who took pride in their work. I regard S&W Walthers as a corporate disgrace. The rough workmanship and haphazard quality control --especially the indifferent inspection (or utter lack thereof)--is on a par with what is found in a gun made in Egypt. (Yes, I have a Helwan too; and it usually works. But it pales in comparison to a real Beretta Brigadier.)

In the excerpts quoted above, you stated what was important to you. If you're serious about that, then your choice is a no-brainer.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have scheduled a call with Earl in the morning. We'll see what happens! Apparently I had too many questions for email, then again, that's just me I suppose. Hell, a normal person would think it's just a gun... It's more than that to me. I'll keep you posted.

Jeff
 

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I agree with what Mike has said in his posts.

I had an Interarms PPK/S and PPK, and although functioned correctly after the right ammo was found, I was never as comfortable carrying one of those as the real PPK from Germany.

Earl will talk forever if you let him, but he does know the PP series quite well. He should be able to answer any further detailed questions you might have.

The German PPK in .380 carries a premium over the 7.65mm in the U.S. Maybe a couple of hunderd more.
 

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I've owned dozens of Nazi era PP/PPK pistols and one 1980 PPK/S that I brought home from my tour in Germany (no import markings). :)

All of these were manufactured and perform better than my 2004 S&W PPK/S. The steel in the S&W is soft, it peens out at all contact points. The trigger bar wore to the point of failure after being fired in double action about fifty times. The trigger guard peened out from slide contact and refused to open, the back end of the barrel was mauled from contact with the slide, and the edges were so sharp I cut myself while dry firing. The factory did "repair" the gun for free and even buffed the sharp edges a bit.

To be fair, many of these ssues have been resolved through manufacturing changes. They also changed casting foundries...so maybe the current guns are built well and shoot fine. Regardless, my S&W is now trading material for the next Nazi PPK that crosses my path... :D

Milspec
 

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About 6 months ago at a local gun shop I examined a pair of S&W PPK/s pistols, NIB, fresh from the distributor, nearly consecutive s/ns. The owner is a friend, and he consented to my request to field strip them both; I was curious to see if they were still as raggedly machined inside as earlier ones I had previously seen. Initially we could not normally dismount the slides from either one of them. There was some dimensional interference that would not allow the slide to clear the frame rails without forcing it, which I did not want to do on a new gun that did not belong to me. After some struggle the owner managed to get one of them off. The other stubbornly resisted disassembly, and, mind you, both of us know how to do it. The innards of the one that could be field stripped were just as ragged as I remembered. Deburring apparently is an unknown process in Houten, Maine. Neither of them had what I would regard as a usable double-action.

I have no reason to think these guns are not typical of current S&W production, and it is difficult to imagine how they could have passed any competent final inspection before being shoveled out the door.

M
 

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Anyone stop to think about the COST of all that fancy de-burring workmanship that the earlier PPK and PPK/S guns had? Guess what the price of the S&W Walthers would be if they spent the time to remove every last burr that a pickyune owner would want removed? I couldn't care LESS how "raggedly finished" the inside of my S&W is. It FIRES reliably with both hollowpoint and FMJ ammo every time I pull the trigger. It's a damn GUN, not some machinst's work of art. Are criminals gonna put up a big stink when they get shot with a S&W Walther that hasn't had every last burr removed from it's internals? I can just see their tombstones...

"Shot and killed by an S&W Walther owner that didn't have all the burrs removed from his pistol. Oh the shame!!!" :rolleyes:

I would rank the deburring gripes as much ado about NOTHING. As long as the gun functions 100% every time I pull the trigger, and mine certainly DOES, deburring is about as important to me as what brand of TP I use to wipe my butt.

Dep



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