Walther PK380 Review

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Walther PK380 Review

Post by roOism » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:32 pm

Picked up a Walther PK380 last Saturday. I called 3-4 local gun shops before I found one in stock. I paid about $369 & tax. So looks like I paid full retail which I wasn't super happy about, but oh well.

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The pistol comes with one 8rd magazine plus a funny looking little key. The key has two purposes. On the right side of the gun is a small lock. Stick in the key and turn the lock and you can't fire the pistol. I do and I don't like this feature. Extra safety features are always nice, but I'd hate to lose that small little key and be locked out of my gun, though I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to get that open without the key.
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The left side of the pistol has a similar lock for field stripping. You insert the key and unlock it, then pull down on the little latch just behind it to release the slide. Nifty little feature but again if the key gets lost field stripping becomes a pain.


A few features of the PK380
- Ambidextrous safety mounted towards the rear of the slide. I've heard comments about disliking slide mounted safeties, but for me the location of the safety was very comfortable and easy to get to with my thumb. (Push up to fire, down for safety)

- Ambidextrous magazine release. The mag release is built into the bottom of the trigger guard. It's a little awkward getting to it with my thumb, but I can hit it comfortably with either my middle or index finger or my offhand thumb. Not sold on the location of the release but I'll get used to it.

- Rear sight adjustable for windage.

- Accessory rail for lights/lasers.

-DA/SA firing.



Took it to the range with my father (27 year LEO) for an initial test. We put 50 rounds through it.
- Out of the fifty fired one round didn't cycle properly.

- At 25 feet I was hitting about 6" under where I was aiming. I attributed most of that to my inexperience at shooting handguns. My dad fired off 8 rounds and confirmed that it shot a little low, though only about 3-4" inches for him. He compensated and was right on the money. I followed suit and was able to get most of my shots in the center of the target (about 5" x 8") my groupings weren't great but again I haven't done much pistol shooting aside from plugging pop bottles in the desert.

-One interesting thing I noticed was that when the safety was engaged, instead of preventing the trigger from being pulled, when you pulled the trigger a little mechanism would come up and prevent the hammer from hitting the firing pin. The theory behind this as the gun salesmen explained it to me was that you could engage the safety with the gun cocked and loaded, pull the trigger and it would de-cock the gun without firing. Never seen this type of safety before, will take some getting used to.

- The pistol is very light so there is a moderate amount of muzzle climb. I gave myself some breathing room between shots so didn't have a chance to evaluate how well I could keep on target with any rapid fire/double taps.


In conclusion while there are a few little areas where I'm not 100% happy (mag release, unfamiliar safety function, 1 round jamming) overall I'm very please with my new purchase. The gun feels very comfortable even in my big paws, the cost was definitely a plus. Due to how new the gun is I'm having a hard time finding extra magazines for it, plus the ones I've seen go for around $30-$40 dollars which seems really steep.

On a small side note, there was an elderly gentleman in the next lane over firing a larger caliber pistol. Judging from the sound and pressure from the shots being fired I'd guess a .44 mag. Every time he fired a shot he'd have to take a few breahts and steady himself, his hands were shaking, and he was all over the target. Made me just a tad nervous.

Edit for spelling.
Last edited by roOism on Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by Fausto » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:38 pm

Thanks for the review. I have a P22, which has basically the same manual of arms. You do get used to it. I also have a PPS in 9MM. Mags are hell to find for either one. I don't like to buy over the net, but I might have to, to get Walther mags.

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by Hoot Harrington » Thu Oct 08, 2009 7:41 pm

That's a neat little pistol, although I don't think I could ever see myself buying a Walther in .380 that is not a PPK. Gad you like your new gun! :D
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by K0ZZZ » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:33 pm

I'm not sure if it's just the pictures, but is the giant WALTHER PK380 on the slide really that bright and obnoxious looking? Having all that free advertising is really annoying on most guns now. I've not bought guns before because they splash their logos all over the place like NASCAR. Are guns getting as bad as tshirts for teenage "rebels?"
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by roOism » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:08 pm

K0ZZZ wrote:I'm not sure if it's just the pictures, but is the giant WALTHER PK380 on the slide really that bright and obnoxious looking? Having all that free advertising is really annoying on most guns now. I've not bought guns before because they splash their logos all over the place like NASCAR. Are guns getting as bad as tshirts for teenage "rebels?"
The camera flash makes it brighter than it really is. It's still very visible, but more of a grey color than the white in the picture.

Oh, and I forgot to mention there is no slide release, when reloading you have to pull back the slide to drop it back into place.

Edit for awful grammar. Wow.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by t0mills » Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:51 am

I realize this is an old thread, but could you update as to how the gun is doing a year later?

The PK380 will most likely be my next gun purchase.


Thanks!

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by Istvan56 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:17 am

I purchased the CZ-83 instead of the Walther PK380. They run about the same price NIB retail. The difference is steel vs. polymer frame, 12+1 rounds vs. 8+1 rounds, safeties are very different (& no blasted key!) and so is field stripping. I want to hear if there are any reasons to think that the PK380 is better. The only advantage I can see to the Wather is the weight savings, the CZ-83 is heavy for such a small caliber pistol. (Even considering the Vz-82's 9x18mm caliber it was heavy, meant for years of hard use. I want one.)

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by roOism » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:29 am

I traded it in and bought a Glock 23 back in May. The little key used to field strip it was awful, one time after a day of shooting it literally took me thirty minutes to get it to unlatch the slide. After that first time jamming I never had problems with it, so it functioned pretty well. But it always felt like it was going to fall apart, the slide felt really loose. The safety I definitely didn't care for. Whenever I holstered my weapon the safety would catch on the leather, often pushing the switch as I holstered it. Also a few friends I took shooting were confused as to which way was safety and which was fire.

It was a fun gun to shoot, but after a few months it just felt like it was more of a toy (GUNS ARE NOT TOYS!) so I decided to trade up to something with a little more beef. I don't know how it is now, but the ammo was ridiculously hard to find, and was ridiculously expensive. Saw a box of 20 rounds for $50 when other larger calibers were going for $20 for a box of 50. I like Walther, my dad has a PPK that's an excellent gun, but I think they fell short of the mark on this one.

If given the opportunity I definitely wouldn't buy one again.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by DasBoost » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:17 pm

That's a bummer to hear. I had been looking at the P99 and had an opportunity to pick up a P99 in .45ACP (LEO trade-in) and really liked the ergonomics of it. It didn't seem to have that key/keyholes in it though; is that a relatively new feature on Walthers?
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by roOism » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:32 pm

DasBoost wrote:That's a bummer to hear. I had been looking at the P99 and had an opportunity to pick up a P99 in .45ACP (LEO trade-in) and really liked the ergonomics of it. It didn't seem to have that key/keyholes in it though; is that a relatively new feature on Walthers?
I think it's unique to the PK380 and possibly the P22. I looked at images of a few other of their models and didn't see it.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by bookshop » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:39 pm

roOism wrote:
DasBoost wrote:That's a bummer to hear. I had been looking at the P99 and had an opportunity to pick up a P99 in .45ACP (LEO trade-in) and really liked the ergonomics of it. It didn't seem to have that key/keyholes in it though; is that a relatively new feature on Walthers?
I think it's unique to the PK380 and possibly the P22. I looked at images of a few other of their models and didn't see it.
P22 has a lockout key, but no key needed to field strip (though it is still a pain)
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by mk_ultra » Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:48 pm

DasBoost wrote:That's a bummer to hear. I had been looking at the P99 and had an opportunity to pick up a P99 in .45ACP (LEO trade-in) and really liked the ergonomics of it. It didn't seem to have that key/keyholes in it though; is that a relatively new feature on Walthers?

The P99 and Pk380 are completely different animals . Aside from looking similar , they have nothing in common .
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ksbsnowowl » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:38 am

mk_ultra wrote: The P99 and Pk380 are completely different animals . Aside from looking similar , they have nothing in common .
Indeed. I do wish the P99 was a DA/SA like the PK380, though. The DAO just doesn't help my groupings. I think I'll go for an XD9 instead; really like the SA trigger.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by DasBoost » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:20 pm

mk_ultra wrote:
DasBoost wrote:That's a bummer to hear. I had been looking at the P99 and had an opportunity to pick up a P99 in .45ACP (LEO trade-in) and really liked the ergonomics of it. It didn't seem to have that key/keyholes in it though; is that a relatively new feature on Walthers?

The P99 and Pk380 are completely different animals . Aside from looking similar , they have nothing in common .
Thanks for the info! I don't know much on Walthers besides the P99.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by bookshop » Fri Oct 08, 2010 6:50 pm

ksbsnowowl wrote:
mk_ultra wrote: The P99 and Pk380 are completely different animals . Aside from looking similar , they have nothing in common .
Indeed. I do wish the P99 was a DA/SA like the PK380, though. The DAO just doesn't help my groupings. I think I'll go for an XD9 instead; really like the SA trigger.
I might be wrong but I thought the Walther P99 AS had a da/sa type striker... I find the whole QA/AS/DAO mucky muck hella confusing...
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ironfather83 » Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:00 pm

Hi Everyone,
I purchased a Walther PK380 this week. After reading numerous reviews, talking to current owners, and handling one on multiple occasions, it seemed like the pistol for me. I haven't had an opportunity to shoot it yet, but the firearm seems very high quality. I'm 6'5 with very large hands and if you're looking for a concealed carry gun in .380 but don't want to settle on a pocket pistol this is your pistol. It fits my hand like a glove. I'm going to the range this weekend, and will post updates on how the range time goes.
Cheers

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ShipWreck » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:25 pm

I've previously owned 3 P99s. And, I have 3 owned several HKs, with the same style mag release. Personally, I prefer this style mag release. Just use your trigger finger to activate the mag release.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by NRAJOE » Wed Nov 10, 2010 3:36 pm

That key is what has kept me from getting one...bad idea.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ChatWithaNinja » Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:04 am

I've got both a P99 (.40) and a PK380.

Similarities: they both have the same grip design which apparently has a patent or something. The grip was designed to fit your hand as naturally as possible so when you point at a target, it's supposed to be as natural as pointing your finger. I don't know of a way to test that but I do know that its really comfortable in my paws. the take down is similar is both models except that the PK380 has a key to disengage the pull down lock, while the P99 just has a spring lock.

Pros: Both are clean shooting guns. I've never has a jam or misfire and I've put 100's of rounds through the P99 and about 100 rounds through the PK380. Both have a molded rail for lights or lasers. The PK380 is LIGHT. Both are DA/SA - the 380 is a hammer and the P99 is a striker.

Cons: Magazines are expensive! And not easy to find because there are no knockoffs, only Walther magazines. the stupid key for the PK380 takedown has been covered.

Uses: The PK380 is best as a backup or CCW weapon. It's light weight makes it slightly uncomfortable for extended shooting. The P99 is a shooter. I can shoot that gun all day because of its smooth action.

I recommend the P99 for heavy use and the PK380 as a backup. I do love shooting both though.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ironfather83 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:26 pm

Hey Everyone,
Sorry for the update delay. I took the PK380 to the range and shot 170 rounds through in over about 90 minutes. When not shooting the PK380 I was shooting my XD40 or my SR9. The PK380 performed superbly. I used 3 different brands of ammo, Winchester UMC, Remington UMC, and Federal Premium Hydro-Shock reduced recoil. The weapon experienced 3 malfunctions, all with the Remington UMC and within 10 rounds of each other. The first malfunction was a failure to eject on the last round of a magazine, round #63 of the day. The slide still locked back as it should, and the only reason I know it didn't eject is because it was sitting in top of the empty mag when I checked the chamber. The next malfuction was a failure to eject, round #68, followed immediately by a failure to fire on round #69. The failure to eject was quickly cleared with the standard slap, rack, and fire. Of course as stated earlier round #69 didn't fire, so I waiting 10 seconds with the muzzle facing downrange, cleared the weapon, re-chambered the round and attempted to refire. The round DID NOT go off. I repeated the process twice more with no luck, then moved on. I had no other malfunctions with the Remington ammo, and no malfunctions at all with the Winchester or Federal. Taking this into account I believe all three malfunctions can be attributed to the ammo, not the firearm. As for the guns handling, it was awesome. I'm 6'5, with very large hands and the PK380 fits like a glove. It draws and comes on target very quickly from both a concealed in the waistband holser, and a Fobus paddle holster. The guns accuracy was excellent at ranges from 5 to 25 yards, easily keeping all 9 rounds in the head or center circle from a standing off hand shooting stance with rapid fire shots at 10 yards. The recoil was minimul with both standard and reduced recoil loads and I believe I could easily shoot this gun all day without issue. All and all I'm extremely pleased with this firearm, and will be carrying it as my concealed firearm for the forseeable future. I'll be heading to the range again on Friday, with 3 more types of ammo, including some more Remington UMC for a follow up. I hope this was informative and helpful. Cheers,

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by Benbrutal » Sat Dec 04, 2010 7:55 am

I got one last year for my wife after trying several different .380 pistols. One problem we had with most of the smaller .380s was trigger bite. After pulling the trigger it would pinch the bottom of the trigger finger as it went forward, the PK380 did not do that. I have a PPK\s in 22LR I bought in Germany in 1976 that is still functioning flawlessly, so I am sold on the Walthers.
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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by Flashpoint » Mon May 16, 2011 9:10 am

I know this thread is a little old but please allow me to resurrect it. Seems appropriate for Zombie Squad, doesn't it? This is my first post.

Two things I've read on other forums about the PK380 have yet to be touched on here. The first is that both the P22 and PK380 are not made by Walther, they are made by a West German company that I can't accurately recall the name of, but its something like Imex or Imrex. They make these models for Walther and it's one of the reasons they are priced lower compared to other Walther products. I have since been unable to verify this via Google searches, but it is what I have read and the source seemed reliable, so take it for what it is.

The other and possibly more significant thing for anyone considering the PK380 is that it is very well suited as far as semi-autos go for many women or other frail bodied people. The main reason is that it is a locked breech action. Many 380s are blowback by comparison. Blowback designs require very heavy springs to keep the round in battery until the bullet is out of the chamber. The locked breech action plus slightly larger dimensions (heavier slide) than many 380s means it can use weaker springs which make it much easier to rack the slide, which is a problem many women have with semi autos. Both of these characteristics also act to lessen recoil, and the polymer frame and excellent Walther style grip act to further lessen felt recoil. Of course a very heavy large all steel .380 pistol may recoil less, but for a lightweight handgun (which a women will more likely carry) the Walther recoils very little. I'm not trying to imply that the PK380 is only suitable for women, not at all, I would certainly consider it if it fit the criteria of what I was looking for in a carry weapon.

Another thing that just came to mind (so I guess that makes 3) is that the PK380 is a perfect migration from the P22. The pair makes for an excellent way to introduce someone into handgun shooting via the P22 and once they become proficient with sight picture, manual of arms, etc. then move them up to the identical (except for size) PK380 when it's time for them to get their CCP. The P22 remains as a fun training and plinking tool. This is the exact track I am taking with my girlfriend. She loves her P22 and I'm buying the PK380 with laser this week that I will transfer to her after she acquires her CCP. That is if I don't decide I like it too much. :) In fact Walther (or S&W) sells both of these pistols as a matched pair with matching serial numbers in the same case, if anyone is interested in doing this.

Hope this has been helpful!

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by ironfather83 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:55 pm

Fellow Zombie Slayers,
Another follow up on my PK380 review. After a few more relatively long, successful range trips with the PK380 I started to experience numerous failures to extract and eject. The pistol would successfully fire between one and two magazines of ammunition and then the pistol would fail to extract every case. I disassembled the pistol, cleaned it thoroughly, and reassembled it, attempted to fire it, same thing. Next trip to the range I experienced the exact same phenomenon. This time I disassembled it, cleaned it, and broke out a bore scope, high intensity light, and a magnifying glass. I don't know how I missed it the first time but low and behold the bottom half of the recurved portion of the extractor, the part that positively engages the case, was broken. Who knows when it happened but it definitely explains why the weapon would extract and eject when clean, but once the barrel became dirty and there was any increased resistance to extraction the pistol would malfunction. I've since called Walther and they immediately asked me to send the entire weapon in so it can be repaired, refurbished, test fired, and returned. They've paid for shipping both ways and once I receive the refurbished pistol I'll test fire it again and write a follow up. In the interim I've purchased Ruger's new LC9 9mm pistol as my concealed carry pistol of choice. It even fits in the same leather and it's awesome!

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Re: Walther PK380 Review

Post by GaryMalibou » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:46 am

My P22 hammer
pring broke really early on (2nd or 3ed range trip), that was one of the quickest fix and return I have ever experienced. Hope it goes the same for ya.

I want to say it was actullay S&W that handled my repairs though.

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