Gun of the week #21: 1960 Interarms Walther PPK/S (updated with video)

PPK1

New to me, 1960 InterArms Walther PPK

Every week (when I publish)I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a mint condition InterArms 1960 Walther PPK/S that I bought off a local NH vendor off gunbroker.com. I have been looking for another PPK for a few years.  My first handgun was a newer PPK/s made by S&W in Maine. The gun was one of the one under a recall for a defect.  I never did get it fixed.  The gun did not shoot well and so I traded-in to a local gun store ( I think the gun barrel was out of spec and and slightly warped). I was a big James Bond fan growing up, which is why my first handgun was a PPK. So anyway, I was browsing Gunbroker last week and found one with no bids and 1 day remaining.  The price was $550, for a mint vintage InterArms PPK/s with the original box and paperwork. It was a steal and since it was over 50 years old, I used by C&R for an easy pickup from the local home based FFL dealer.  It shoots well and I now am using this as my summer concealed carry piece.  I carry the Beretta 92 in the months where we wear more clothing in New England. You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.

papers

Gun came with original box, export paperwork, original factory target , warranty card and manual.

Video of my shooting it at the range
This is the first time I shot this gun. This video was of the 3rd and 4th magazines I shot in the gun.

The PP and PPK
Walther introduced the PPK in 929 and the PPK was introduced in 1931; both were popular with European police and civilians, for being reliable and concealable. During World War II they were issued to the German military and police, the Schutzstaffel, the Luftwaffe, and Nazi Party officials; Adolf Hitler shot and killed himself with his PPK (a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) in the Führerbunker in Berlin. Moreover, the Walther PPK (also a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) pistol is famous as fictional secret agent James Bond’s signature gun in many of the films and novels: Ian Fleming’s choice of the Walther PPK directly influenced its popularity and its notoriety.

The current James Bond holding a PPK

The current James Bond holding a PPK

History
The most common variant is the Walther PPK, the Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell (Police Pistol Detective Model), indicating it was more concealable than the original PP and hence better suited to plainclothes or undercover work. Kriminal refers to the police detective (criminal) division.Sometimes, the name Polizeipistole Kurz (Short Police Pistol) is used; however, the accuracy of that interpretation is unclear. The PPK is a smaller version of the PP (Polizeipistole) with a shorter grip and barrel and reduced magazine capacity. The PP and the PPK were among the world’s first successful double action semi-automatic pistols that were widely copied, but still made by Walther. The design inspired other pistols, among them the Soviet Makarov, the Hungarian FEG PA-63, the Argentinian Bersa Thunder 380, the Swiss SIG P230, the German Mauser HSc, the Spanish Astra Constable, the American Jennings J-22 and Iver Johnson TP-22, and the Czech CZ50.

Post War
Walther’s original factory was located in Zella-Mehlis in the state (Land) of Thuringia. As that part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union following World War II, Walther was forced to flee to West Germany, where they established a new factory in Ulm. However, for several years following the war, the Allied powers forbade any manufacture of weapons in Germany. As a result, in 1952, Walther licensed production of the PP series pistols to a French company, Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin, also known as Manurhin. The French company continued to manufacture the PP series until 1986. In fact, all postwar European-made PP series pistols manufactured until 1986 were manufactured by Manurhin, even though the pistol slide may bear the markings of the Walther factory in Ulm, since German law lets manufacturers use the final assembly point as the place of origin.

US Manufacture
Ranger Manufacturing of Gadsden, Alabama was licensed to manufacture the PPK and PPK/S; this version was distributed by Interarms . This license was eventually canceled. Starting in 2002,Smith & Wesson (S&W) began manufacturing the PPK and PPK/S under license. In February 2009, S&W issued a recall for PPKs it manufactured for a defect in the hammer block safety.

Walther has indicated that, with the exception of the PP and the new PPK/E model, S&W is the current sole source for new PPK-type pistols.

1972_Walther_PP

Difference between PP and PPK
The PPK/S was developed following the enactment of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68) in the United States, the pistol’s largest market (Hogg 1945:164). One of the provisions of GCA68 banned the importation of pistols and revolvers not meeting certain requirements of length, weight, and other “sporting” features into the United States.

The PPK failed the “Import Points” test of the GCA68 by a single point. Walther addressed this situation by combining the PP’s frame with the PPK’s barrel and slide to create a pistol that weighed slightly more than the PPK. The additional ounce or two of weight of the PPK/S compared to the PPK was sufficient to provide the extra needed import points.

Because United States law allowed domestic production (as opposed to importation) of the PPK, manufacture began under license in the U.S. The version currently manufactured by Smith & Wesson has been modified by incorporating a longer grip tang (S&W calls it “extended beaver tail”),[8] better protecting the shooter from slide bite, i.e., the rearward-traveling slide’s pinching the web between the index finger and thumb of the firing hand, which could be a problem with the original design for people with larger hands or an improper grip, especially when using “hotter” cartridge loads.

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