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Walther PPK, James Bond's Gun of Choice Walther PPK

The Walther PP series pistols include the Walther PP, PPK, PPK/S, and PPK/E. They are blowback-operated semiautomatic pistols manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Germany and under license from Walther in France and the United States. These pistols feature an exposed hammer, a double-action trigger mechanism, a single-column magazine, and a fixed barrel which also acts as the guide rod for the gun's single recoil spring.

On This Page: History | Specs | Design and Use | PPK in the USA | Links


The PPK in the Bond Series:
After Bond's Beretta misfired and nearly left 007 dead in the novel From Russia With Love, M insisted that he use a new gun. Later, in Dr No, Major Boothroyd presents Bond with his new Walther PPK shortly before he leaves for Jamaica. For 33 years, the PPK would be Bond's gun of choice until Tomorrow Never Dies when it was replaced by the Walther P99. Still, despite Bond's new gun, the PPK will forever remain an icon in Bond tradition along with the Aston Martin and the Vodka Martini.

Walther PPK, James Bond's Gun of Choice

Specifications:
Model: Walther PPK
Caliber: 9x17mm (0.32 ACP, 7.65mm Short)
Capacity: 6 round magazine
Action: straight blowback operated semi-automatic with traditional DA/SA (double-action/single-action) trigger mechanism
Construction: stainless steel slide and frame
Sights: front post with rear notch
Grips: black polymer wraparound with curved backstrap
Barrel: 3.2"(*)
Length: 6.1" (*)
Height: 3.93" (*)
Weight: 21 oz (*)
Safeties: external hammer-dropping safety on left side and internal 'automatic safety' (see text)
Misc.: pistol comes with 2 magazines, black plastic box, instruction/safety manual, test target, warranty card and black plastic cleaning rod
(*) from user's manual

PPK Design and Use:
The PPK has trim dimensions and is very flat, making it an ideal pistol for deep concealment or when something larger cannot be carried due to clothing restrictions. The PPK's finish is a uniform, polished stainless steel with no tooling marks or scratches. The frame is made of a slightly different alloy of steel than the slide to prevent galling, but the color matches the slide. A wavy pattern has been machined on the top rib of the slide to prevent glare when sighting. The rest of the slide's top surface has a matte finish to further reduce glare.

The PPK's sights are the standard Patridge type (front post with a notch rear). The front sight has an orange dot and the rear sight is colored orange in the lower part of the notch. The rear sight is drift adjustable for windage. The trigger guard is smooth and rounded. Vertical grooves on the trigger serve to improve finger friction during the double action pull. The hammer spur is round to prevent catching on clothing.

On the left rear of the slide is the PPK's hammer-dropping safety lever. When the lever is pushed down, the pistol is on 'safe' and the hammer is safely decocked. The lever is pushed up for the 'fire' position. The PPK safety lever blocks the firing pin from moving. There is no passive firing pin block. There is one other internal safety that the manual calls an 'automatic safety' - this safety is independent of the position of the safety lever and is always engaged unless the hammer is cocked or the trigger is pulled all the way back. The 'automatic safety' prevents the hammer from contacting the firing pin when the hammer is at the rest position.

If the resting hammer accidentally receives a blow from the rear, it cannot hit the firing pin and fire the pistol. If the pistol is dropped muzzle down and 'safety off', only the inertia of the firing pin against its return spring might cause it to fire.

The double action trigger pull of the PPK is quite stiff and the recoil spring spring is also quite stout since it is a blowback pistol. Some people with weaker fingers may have trouble racking the slide or pulling the double action trigger. The single action pull is very crisp and has almost no slack. Like many other straight blowback 0.380 ACP pistols, the PPK has a surprisingly snappy perceived recoil.

Walther PPK, James Bond's Gun of Choice
A World War II Walther PPK

The PPK has a 'loaded chamber' indicator in the form of small round pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide just below the rear sight when the chamber is loaded. The hammer has an ample clearance cut in it to prevent contact with the chamber loaded indicator. Of course, the user should check the pistol to verify its unloaded state and not rely solely on a mechanical indicator.

The magazine release is on the left side, and is located near the top front of the grip. The slide will lock back when the magazine is empty, but there is no external slide stop/release lever. To close the slide, a loaded magazine is inserted and the slide pulled back slightly to release the internal catch and chamber a round. Alternately, the empty magazine can be removed entirely and the slide pulled back slightly to release the slide stop to close the slide on an empty chamber.

Walther PPK, James Bond's Gun of Choice
Pierce Brosnan with his Walther PPK in GoldenEye

The PPK comes with two 6-round magazines. One has a flat metal floorplate and another has a polymer finger rest floorplate. The magazines have stainless steel bodies and followers. They can be disassembled for cleaning if needed.

There is no external takedown lever. Field stripping the PPK involves pulling the trigger guard down and pulling the slide back and lifting it off the frame. It is a simple process that is easily learned.

The PPK in the USA:
In 1978, Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S; this version was distributed by Interarms, based in Alexandria, Virginia. This license was eventually cancelled. As of 2007, Smith and Wesson is licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S. Additionally, Walther's 2008 worldwide defense product catalog indicates (although this is not explicitly stated) that, with the exception of the PP and the new PPK/E model (see below), the United States is the current sole source for new PPK-type pistols.


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