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I had this one until recently. it was one of the safe queens I put on consignment at my local gun store. I liked the pistol, mine was an Interarms import. very reliable and I carried it a lot years ago. then I got a Polish P-64. mechanically and in size its almost identical to the PPK/s but the Poles made it a much more pleasant shooter. after a normal range session, the PPK/s.s slide would bloody the web of my hand. the P-64 never did this in spite of shooting a slightly more powerful cartridge.
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"During the 80s and 90s the PPK was virtually the only reliable 380 on the market?" I do not recall it that way. The Beretta Cheetah was the cat's meow of 380s, 100% reliable everyone loved that gun and many carried it. The model 83, 84 and 85 were everywhere but the more desirable was the model 86, it had a tip up barrel so you could load it without racking the slide. Perfect for people with weak hands. The were sold in the US starting in 1976-2017.

Also, the Mauser HSC was also all over at least in cop circles and military intel guys in the US and they were known to be 100% reliable. My best buddy carried one and I cannot ever recall a failure to feed or jam. They were not cheap and on a cops pay I never could find one I could afford.
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The PPK has always been known to have a terrible trigger pull, Wolf springs were not and are not helpfull, if I got them to where the trigger pull was low, the design will not pop the primer. I had 2, an Interarms and one made in Arkansas. I tried the wolf springs and dumped then going back to the factory springs on both guns. Other than a J frame SW the PPK/S is my most carried second or small CCW gun. I carried one from about 1981-about 2017, and still do sometimes.

I have killed one deer, a highway one with a broken leg, one racoon, several skunks and many many snakes and other vermin. I carried it when bow hunting or other hunting hiking fishing, etc. There were not a lot of small semi auto guns back them as the author stated.

Other than the J frame it was my gun of choice that I carried as a second gun in law enforcement. I carried it often in courtrooms because it was flat and would fit a hip pocket.

I noticed this comment: Recoil is snappy, Do not think so. It is about 19 ounces empty a Glock 19 is
22Supressor.JPG
weighs 22 ounces, it cannot have recoil. I have a little Taurus 738, an LCP, a Glock 42, a Rem 380 and the PPK/S it is the least recoil of any because it is so heavy, which is it's only drawback. Many prefer the Bersa 70 now because it has a better trigger, But it is not the Bond gun, although most people would not know.

It was my favorite small semi auto gun for most of my adult life and I highly recommend it. They are not easy to shoot like many of newer guns, but once you master it you will appreciate the feel of steel in your hands. I first saw one in 1974 while in the military as an MP, but could not afford one for maybe 6 years later as I had to spend money on 1911s.

Also for anyone who might buy one, do yourself a favor and buy the 22 version as well. They are made of a light alloy but the functions are the same and you can shoot the 22 all day on the cheap. Anytime I take it out, the 22 goes as well. Picture below of my 2. The 22 is suppressed along with a GSG 1911-22. It is also fun just to walk and plink with the 22 and carry the other as backup.

Kind of like 1911s, it fills a special spot that nothing else does.
 

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Always wanted one of those Walthers but don't like the price. I picked up a FEG AP9 in .380 and it is probably my favorite pistol to shoot, accurate, little recoil and very comfortable to hold,, plus it has a 4" barrel. It does have a heavy trigger pull in DA but in SA it is perfect.
 

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Single point of failure on Walthers is the safety shaft. Part work hardens with frequent and prolonged use, as in the former German police turn-ins. Replacement used parts from Numrich of unknown history also prone to fail.

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Beretta M1934 is the simplest and most reliable .380 pistol. Roy Dunlap’s thorough description of the Beretta 1934, appears in Ordnance Went Up Front, (Stackpole, 1948), (1998 Reprint available from The Firearm Classic Library):

The average military man cannot hit … anything with a pistol. As a rule the bigger the gun, the less he hits…smaller calibers are easier … to handle. A hit with a .380 beats a miss with a .45!.


.“I like the Beretta, and regard it as, by far, the best standard sized auto loading pocket pistol in the world
…(its) rugged simplicity keeps it …running when (sand) brings…(close tolerance) double-action Walthers and Mausers grinding to a halt.”

“…The Italian Army Model 1934 9mm Corto, outnumbered all other (
war trophy) pistols (in the ETO) combined… one of the sturdiest and most reliable auto pistols ever made... The only broken part I ever saw… was a hammer, in which the gun was dropped cocked and locked onto concrete. The service stocks have steel backing plates so if the composition panels are cracked or broken…parts are held securely, so that function of the gun is not affected in any way. The magazine holds seven cartridges. The gun is very well designed and made. I have never been able to cause a malfunction in one without actually bending the steel magazine lips with pliers!…

“…Berettas…are simple to work on…having only 36 parts, none…frail or subject to easy breakage…although many GI’s needed a fixin’ job…because Standard Operating Procedure in the Italian Army, if capture was imminent, was to remove the thumb safety and drop it into the desert sand. GIs were always bringing me Berettas having ‘a hole in the middle’ and asking for me to make the part...So, I got pretty good at it.

“The manual thumb safety holds the pistol together by locking the barrel into the frame; it also acts as a stop for and receives its tension from the recoil spring guide, acting as a slide lock to hold the pistol open for inspection or takedown… The hammer may be manually cocked at any time and it is theoretically possible …to discharge accidentally with the safety on, in spite of the fact that it uses the short, inertia type firing pin requiring a full blow. Such an accident would be possible only by breaking away the sear notch in the hammer.

The depth of sear notch and angle of engagement make this unlikely… the disconnector is effective in preventing doubling as the trigger cannot move the sear until the slide is fully closed.

“The Italians believe in safe trigger pulls, safe meaning heavy. But it is simple for a skilled gunsmith to remove the hammer and in a manner similar to the M1911 work up a creep-free 4-pound trigger retaining a completely safe depth of sear engagement…”

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