Sunday, July 17, 2011

Walther PK380

I handled a Walther PK380 at the Charlotte NRA convention and thought "Y'know, I kinda wanta one of these guns" Before you say "what?!" and chastize me I'll say that I understand the desire is bereft of all logic. There's simply no compelling reason for me to actually buy one of these guns.
Are there things about the Walther PK380 that I find appealing? Sure, otherwise I wouldn't want one. Still, Walther turned what should have been a slam dunk in the .380 market into something that leaves you scratching your head.  It's small, ergonomic, fits the hand well, and would work well as a CCW piece, and is priced right, but they totally fubared what could've been a good thing.  It is also probably the easiest gun to rack the slide on of any gun I've ever handled, a huge plus for people with limited grip/hand strength.

Seriously.  To design a DA/SA gun without any kind of Decock function is just absurd IMO.  In order to decock the PK380 you have to load the gun, flip the safety on, then pull the trigger on a loaded gun!  The PK380 safety is nothing more than a hammer block which rolls forward when the thumb safety is in the "on" position, physically blocking the hammer from striking the firing pin. It does not disengage the trigger mechanism like the safety on say, a Bersa Thunder. Well the hammer block and the safety lever are made of MIM, and folks are snapping them into pieces.

Now, what happens when someone does this and the safety block breaks but it is not readily apparent (I.E. a bunch of broken pieces don't fall out of the gun)  Now the next time an owner decocks the gun the hammer strikes the firing pin and the gun fires.  Still, it just dumbfounds me that you would design a gun which is DA/SA, presumably meant to be carried hammer down on a loaded chamber, yet design it without a decocker.

I won't even get into the fact that you need a proprietary key in order to field strip the gun.  Sigh.


North said...

I have one of these. Wouldn't use it as a carry gun, personally.

Slide is VERY easy to rack, so that is a big plus if you have difficulties.

It is a 380 version of the Walther P22 as far as I am concerned. Both guns are a lot of fun.

Weer'd Beard said...

Both the P22 and the PK380 are guns I have ZERO love for. They're guns designed by lawyers that quickly drop into "neither-fish-nor-fowl" territory. The P22 has the added distinction of being made of Zamak and having its slide serrations cut in such a way that the slide is well known for cracking.

I just don't see how the company that makes the PPS and the P99 would suddenly turn to their twisted little fail-child the P22 when it comes to making a .380 gun.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I think Walther rested on its laurels way too long. First Sig came out with their excellent pistols in the '70s, then Glock in the '80s, and H+K had their big military contracts with their rifles. Today, Walther has teamed with S+W to use modified Sigmas with their Logo on them, and their own designs for the modern era are just Butt Ugly. Wouldn't be surprised if they get bought out soon, just so the competition has the right's to the Classic PP.

Weer'd Beard said...

"just so the competition has the right's to the Classic PP."

Les, have you missed all the PP and PPK clones on the market?

Well at least many are as cloned as the 1911 has been. Parts are different, but overall its the same PP or PPK

Joat said...

I don't see the lack of a decocker lever as bad thing. I carry a gun that is DA/SA with no decocker, I decock it by holing the hammer, pulling the trigger and letting the hammer down slowly. I have never fire the gun doing this and if I do it will not be a big issue because I always bick a safe backstop when I load and decock the gun. When I had a Sig I did the same thing with the decock lever instead of the trigger. I don't trust a lever that drops the hammer to never fire the gun.

Now a safety thet is known to break that's a problem.

Nathan said...

I own a PK380. It's a great gun. Shoots fantastic. I don't stretch it beyond about 25 feet, but at 25 feet if I do my part I can shoot from the hand into a 2" group. When I do my part, it does its part

I don't know what it is, but the gun fits the hand fantastically. Just perfectly.

I think the gun is a bit picky with ammo. I have had 100% reliable feeding with 88 grain Remington JHPs. I also have had good luck with cast hand loads.

Everyone gets so hung up on the takedown key. My god. It's not a military pistol that needs field stripping in a trench. Yes, it has a key needed for takedown. Yes, you can lose this key. But at some point there is an element of responsibility. If you are responsible enough to own a weapon capable of killing someone, you should be able to keep tabs on the little key.

Certain range brass does not work worth a dang in this gun. I believe it has to do with certain 380s, perhaps those with an unsupported chamber, causing a bulge in range brass that cannot be full length sized out with out the lee FCD -- which I don't own. That brass bulge causes an FTE for reasons I don't know.

Anonymous said...

I have one. I know it doesn't have a decocker, but as someone who's ignorant of DA/SA trigger guns (I own a Glock), I can de-cock my wife's Walther PK380 by grabbing the trigger with my thumb, pulling the trigger, and riding the hammer down, whether the safety is on or not, whether there is a mag or not. Just FYI.

Rich said...

I put the safety on *and* ride the hammer down but really, it's an accident waiting to happen so I do it as infrequently as possible. I need to get another P99.