Sometimes fame comes calling from the oddest directions. For the Walther PPK, fame arrived in the form of a letter to author Ian Fleming, praising his swashbuckling character James Bond. But, suggesting to Fleming’s choice of firearm for his hero, the Beretta 418, was utterly useless, as well as being a “lady’s gun.” Enter James Bond’s new handgun, the Walther PPK. By the time James Bond holstered his PPK in the 1958 novel, Dr. No, it was already a hugely successful firearm. The PPK, Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell, or police pistol detective model, had been used extensively in World War II, and was in use across Europe as a preeminent law enforcement handgun.
During World War II, PPKs were issued to the German police, the Luftwaffe, and ranking members of the Nazi Party. German Führer, Adolf Hitler, committed suicide with a PPK on April 30, 1945, as Russian troops poured into Berlin.
Post-war PPs were manufactured by Manurhin in France, and later in the United States. The PPK failed to meet the import standards of the 1968 Gun Control Act, and so, Walther matched the shorter PPK slide to the longer PP frame, creating a PPK/S to meet U.S. standards.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Walther PP and PPK can feel extremely flattered. They are among the most copied handguns in the world, including the Soviet Makarov, The Mauser HSc, the Argentinian Bersa Thunder, the Spanish Astra Constable, the SIG SAUER P230, and the Czech Cz-50 and Cz-70.
The modern Walther PPK is manufactured in the U.S., and available in various calibers. And, it’s still a gun that makes a man of the world want to put on a shoulder holster, dress in a tuxedo, and order a martini.