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This is an old thread, but let's keep it going. I don't own a PPK, but I always wanted to. When I saw the price on a used one and looked at the rust on the slide, I just said, "No", and looked at a LCP. When I tried the trigger, I said, "Ugh". Then I saw the Bersa Thunder and saw that I could buy two for the price of the PPK and that it had a great trigger compared to the LCP. Well, to make a long story short, I have owned a Bersa Thunder since November 5th of 2017 and have never regretted having made that decision. I carry it all day, every day, and keep it under my pillow at night. Never had a malfunction and I have shot whatever I can find for it. Hornady Critical Defense is great. It is accurate and reliable. What else can you ask for?
 

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Well…the OP has a right to his opinion, but his observations shooting both the Bersa Thunder and PPK/S doesn’t square with my experience with them, or a number of other .380 ACP pistols.



I own a couple of Ranger made PPK/S pistols, both in .380 ACP. Both of them are 100% reliable with FMJ ammo. One of them is very reliable with either 102 gr Golden Sabers or 90 gr XTPs. The other is only about 95% reliable with hollow points.

Recoil wise, the perceived recoil of the 23.7 oz (empty) blow black operated PPK/S is on par with the 13.4 oz delayed recoil locked breech Kimber Micro. The Kimber is 10 oz lighter, but the delayed recoil system spreads it out over a bit longer period of time, and the slide velocity is less.

For comparison the FEG steel frame PP length AP9S, and the PPK/S length APK9S below the stainless PPK/S, are PP series clones both in .380 ACP built on slightly larger grip frames designed for 9mm Makarov. It adds a couple more ounces of weight compared to the PP and PPK/S and consequently they have slightly softer recoil.

The blow back operated RIA Baby Rock at the bottom weighs the same as the PPK/S and not surprisingly has almost identical recoil.

The aluminum alloy frame blow back operated 20 oz Thunder is at the top on the right. At 20 oz and with a low back operation it’s felt recoil is significantly more objectionable than the PPK/S. Below it is the aluminum alloy frame 18 oz FEG SMC, a more or less alloy frame PPK clone (and the smallest handgun to be imported since GCA 1968).

Now…I’d argue the Bersa Thunder’s grip might help mitigate the felt recoil, except in my hands it’s just as bad as the smaller gripped and lighter weight SMC.

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So why the hate for recoil on the heavier PPK/S? I suspect it may have to do with a worn recoil spring.

The trigger guard on the PP series pistols acts as a spring to prevent the slide from battering the frame. It’s hinged at the rear for disassembly purposes and the large square block at the front prevents the slide from coming back far enough to allow the slide to come off the frame. But that block also moves back slightly under recoil when it’s contacted by the slide, using the trigger guard as a spring. It normally won’t however contact the frame - unless the recoil spring is weak. When the slide does drive that block back into the frame, it results in a sharper and very metallic feeling recoil.
 

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I always considered the PPK to be the Rolls-Royce of handguns, but more on its classy appearance and association with James Bond, I guess. Not function for sure. I've long been aware of the hard recoil and slide bite reputations. I'm more of a revolver guy, anyway. I guess that's why I've never quite bought a PPK. I've come close several times.

From what I've understood, Walther hasn't made any PPKs since WW2. Mannurhin, in France, made them after the war, then Interarms in Texas, and S&W now.

Good article in Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_PP
Germany was prevented from manufacturing small arms after WWII under all but very specialized circumstances, such as a batch of P.38s for the French.

As a work around, Walther, which had moved its production facilities to Ulm in western Germany after fleeing the Russians during WWII, contacted with Manurhin in France In 1952. Their facilities were located in the Alsace region of France and was thus at the time a region of mostly Germanic people. So a case of French Germans making German pistols.

Beginning in 1952 Manurhin ma honed and finished complete PP and PPk/S pistols under license from Walther, using forgings made by Walther. That arrangement continued after West Germany was once again allowed to produce small arms. There were at that point Manurhin “made in France” pistols, as well as polished and blued frames and small parts shipped to Walther with slides that were machined, but not roll marked polished or blued. The slides were finished and marked as “Walther“ pistols. The pistols were then assembled by Walther and sold as “Walther“ pistols even though Walther did very little work on them. The most notable trait of these pistols is the often mis matched bluing on the slide compared to the frame and small parts, since the slide was blued by Walther.

That arrangement continued until 1986 when Walther cancelled the license with Manurhin and started making the entire pistols in-house. Ironically the quality dropped off as Walther had to re-learn how to make PP series pistols.

Interarms started looking for a new source of pistols in the mid 1970s as the Walther-Manurhin arrangement started to wind down and problems developed importation and distribution agreements for the US market. At the same time, Interarms started importing FEG AP and APK pistols in .380 ACP and .32 ACP as a back up plan against a possible loss of access to Manurhin made PP pistols. The end result was the availability of the Ranger made PPK/S and PPK pistols beginning in 1999 as well as the FEG AP and APK series pistols.
 

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Thank you both for the history lesson. What is available today is the S&W PPK. The Bersa is what the Walther would have been, if it had been updated to modern standards. We have come to expect last round hold open to facilitate the reload. More magazine capacity, lighter weight, etc.

Nostalgia is fine and a lot of people go there. Your choice. I myself, would like to own a good PPK, I just have trouble with the $600+. Maybe there is one in my future. I like the Mauser Hsc, too, but hard to find one
 

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Actually, Walther opened a new factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas and is now producing PPK and PPK/S pistols themselves again in the USA. They are again the high quality pistols conforming to the original design and specifications of the German made guns, very close to the post war German and Ranger made pistols.

Many people don't know that Ruger's Pine Tree Castings subsidiary made the frames for the Ranger manufactured PPK pistols. Look under the left grip and you'll see a small pine tree logo in a circle.

This shows how they are built in Arkansas:

 
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