The Walther PPK/S 22LR is a very close replication of its 380 Auto predecessor. Walther closely maintains the size and weight of the original PPK while introducing a few changes on the original design. For all but the most devout PPK enthusiast, the PPK/S 22LR would appear to be an exactly copy of the 380 Auto PPK.
Walther uses a drift adjustable rear sight and a pinned plastic front sight atop the glare reducing wave cut top rail. The front and rear sights are entirely black, but do provide a clear sight picture. Taller and shorter front sights are included with the PPK/S so the shooter can fine tune the point of impact by swapping out the front sight for the taller or shorter sight. The sights worked very well for me, but I will probably slide the rear sight a smidgen to the right to compensate for my tendency to shoot left with this specific PPK/S. The medium height front sight seems to be working well for me so no change is necessary.
The PPK design is unique in its use of an articulated trigger guard to lock the slide to the frame. Pulling down on the trigger guard allows the slide to retract fully and be lifted from the rear of the frame. With the trigger guard in its normal locked location, the upper most portion of the trigger guard functions as both a recoil lug and buffer. In the picture to the left you can see the top of the trigger guard has a small cylindrical polymer recoil buffer installed. I believe this buffer absorbs the shock when the slide contacts the recoil lug and hopefully eliminates slide and frame battering. Several thousand more rounds will be needed to verify if the system works to protect the diecast zinc frame and slide from cracking.
The slide mounted safety lever is easily manipulated with the thumb of a right-handed shooter. The safety also acts as a decocking lever. Activating the safety lowers the hammer if it's cocked. Cocked and locked carry is not an option with this pistol. The magazine release is located high on the frame, but was easy operated after training myself to reach up higher than normal to activate it. The PPK/S design uses an internal slide lock that is activated by the magazine follower. Removing the magazine allows the operator to close the slide. Closing the slide with the safety activated also returns the hammer to the lowered position.
The PPK/S 22 barrel is steel from breech face to muzzle. The barrel is fixed to the frame and should not be removed for normal cleaning and maintenance. The tiny feed ramp has been highly polished to aid in feeding rounds from the stainless steel magazines. In another departure from the PPK 380, the barrel is threaded to accommodate a variety of muzzle attached devices if the owner chooses to do so. A thread protector is factory installed on the pistol. Walther provides a correctly sized wrench to remove the thread protector from the barrel.
On the range, the PPK/S 22LR was a joy to shoot. I experienced zero malfunctions with feeding, firing, and extraction across several hundred rounds of slow and fast fire. I tried limited quantities of many different bullet weights and velocities, but ended up using Remington 36 grain HP Golden Bullet bulk pack ammunition for most of my range time because this PPK/S ran so well with that specific load. Recoil and muzzle rise were very tame which facilitated fast and accurate shooting with just a minimum time investment in practicing with the handgun.
Shooting from a bench and rested position, I tested the PPK/S with several loads for 10 yard accuracy and velocity measured 10 feet from the muzzle. The pistol showed a preference for match grade standard velocity ammunition which delivered the smallest groups. High velocity and bulk pack ammunition opened the groups up a bit, but the pistol delivered groups ranging from .72 to 2.14 inches with the seven tested loads. Over half the groups were less than 1.5 inches. Velocity was what I expected it would be with the 3.3 inch barrel.
The video below summarizes my range experiences.
Direct Link to Video On YouTube
I found the PPK/S to be a really fun gun to shoot. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with it on the range. Sure I would like it better if the double action trigger pull wasn't 17.5 pounds and the frame and slide were aluminum or steel, but I'm willing to roll the dice with Walther and their Legendary Limited Lifetime Warranty. If it breaks, Walther has my back.
One more thing to consider before I wrap up the review. Tipping the scales at 24.4 ounces fully loaded, the PPK/S 22LR makes a handy travel companion. While significantly larger, I would consider the PPK/S as an alternative to the Beretta Bobcat or similar sized semi-autos chambered for 22LR.