The iconic German handgun — cemented in pop culture by the James Bond films — the Walther PPK will once again be available for purchase in the U.S. Walther USA marketing manager Cody Osborn explained the reasoning behind the move was simple. “It hasn’t been available and everybody wants one,” he said.
“That’s been our most asked for gun over the past four or five years — where’s the PPK at?” Osborn said and explained it has taken that long to organize the logistics to bring the guns stateside. Of course, the immediate challenge was getting paperwork in order because “you can’t import pocket guns,” Osborn added.
While the PPK had been available before when Smith & Wesson owned Walther, they separated almost six years ago and Walther opened its own facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas, so, in a way, the company had to start from scratch. “Smith & Wesson did the importing for it before — importing and manufacturing — but we cut ties with them and built our own facilities in 2012,” Osborn said.
Walther’s senior digital marketing specialist Vince Mann explained the other challenge was ensuring quality control. “Germany is not going to relinquish manufacturing to any one of their products unless they’re confident it’s going to live up to the reputation of the 137-year-old company,” he said, referring to Walther’s headquarters in Ulm, Germany.
Manufacturing for the PPK will be a mixed bag. The Ulm facility will produce the slides and then export them to the U.S. where the Fort Smith plant will make everything else. Setting things up in the factory only added to the time. “We had to get everything in place at our facilities in Fort Smith to manufacture them, produce them and get them out to the market,” Osborn said. “It just took a while to get all that stuff set in place.”
Walther showcased the PPK, the abbreviation for Polizeipistole Kriminalmodell, which means detective police pistol, during SHOT Show 2019 in Las Vegas. The company proudly dedicated an entire section of its booth to the all-metal .380 pistol and spoke about it with a sense of accomplishment.
“Setting up production on the PPK is not so easy. Usually you don’t get a fun prize for it,” said Bernhard Knoebel, Walther’s chief executive officer, who traveled to the show from Ulm. “It is a steel frame product, of course, so setting up those quality standards was certainly a challenge, but we met it and the output is really good. The outcome, we’re really happy with it.”
New Walther PPK pistols, offered in both stainless steel and black, will be available in stores within the next few weeks. Retail price will fall around the $700 range.
“Words cannot describe what that product means for the Walther brand,” Knoebel said. “If you ask 10 people what the most iconic pistol is in the world usually they’ll all give you the same answer: the 1911, the Luger, and the Walther PPK.”