The Walther PPK pistol is a blowback-operated semi-automatic pistol made famous by the James Bond movies. Today, PPK pistols are manufactured by Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen in Germany or 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.
The Walther PPK is essentially a smaller version of the Walther PP, and was produced in significant numbers between 1931 and 1945 for use with the German forces. After the war, production of the PP and PPK pistols was resumed in France by Manurhin under German licence. Later on, production was returned to the re-established Walther factory in the city of Ulm ab Donau (pre-war Walther factory had been located in the city of Zella-Mehlis), and these pistols have seen widespread use by civilians and police, as well as for personal defense by many non-infantry officers in several European armies. Very close copies of the Walther PP were manufactured after the war by East Germany, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and USA. At the present time, Walther PP, PPK/S and PPK pistols are manufactured in the USA by the Smith & Wesson Company under licence from Walther.
The Walther PPK pistol is essentially similar to the larger PP pistol, except for the different design of the grip frame – the grip backstrap is integral to the frame and grip panels are two separate items (left and right) on the PP, while on the PPK the grip frame has a rectangular shape of a magazine channel and the backstrap is formed by the single-piece U-shaped grip unit, also usually made of plastic. While most PPK pistols were made with steel frames, Walther also produced some aluminum-framed PPK/L (Lightweight) pistols in the Postwar era.
There also exist a version called the Walther PPK/S, which are a cross-breed between PP and PPK. It combines the PP frame with the shorter PPK-style barrel and slide. These pistols were designed to avoid limitations imposed by the Gun Control Act of 1968. This act, in particular, limited the minimum size of a “sporting purpose” pistols that are allowed to be imported in USA, and use of the larger grip frame allowed importing these pistols instead of the smaller PPK pistols, which were banned from importation under this law.
The Walther PPK is a blowback-operated pistol with a fixed barrel, usually of all-steel construction. A few aluminum-framed PP pistols were built in Germany before the war, and stainless steel versions has been manufactured in the USA under Walther’s licence since the mid-1980s. The trigger is double-action, with an exposed hammer and a frame-mounted manual safety/decocker; Sights are fixed, with the rear sight blade dovetailed into the slide. Magazines are single-stack; the magazine release button is usually located at the left side of the frame, just below the slide and in front of the grip panel. Walther PPK pistols are fitted with a loaded chamber indicator, made in the form of a small pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide (above the hammer) when a cartridge is in the chamber. This indicator is not present on .22LR models.
It must be noted that most PPK pistols were made in 7.65mm (.32 ACP) caliber, with 9mm Kurz (9×17, .380 ACP) running a distant second. The .22 LR version was made in some numbers, and so far most rare is the 6.35mm/.25 ACP version, with very few guns made early in the production history of the pistol.