Made in the USA: Walther PPK

Few firearms become stars in their own right, but the Walther PPK is one of those objects that has become a pop-culture icon, like a Zero Halliburton attache case, or Persol sunglasses the Walther PPK (and PPK/S) is a timeless piece of engineering that has endured for nearly 100 years. 

Most famously the PPK has been the service weapon of Agent 007, James Bond, but the PPK might just be Hollywood's favorite gun, with the Walther making appearances in Captian America: The First Avenger, Doctor Who, The X-Files, Archer, and over 200 other films and television shows. Celebrities also have owned famous PPKs like Elvis Presley's silver Walther with the inscription "TCB"(Taking Care of Business) on the slide, or actor Jack Lord's gold plated PPK with ivory handgrips.

So when I learned that the new PPK was being made by Walther USA, the American branch of the German gunmaker, I reached out and planned a trip to see where the new PPK is being made and what makes it the best PPK yet.

Located in Fort Smith Arkansas, Walther USA shares space with Umarex USA, the largest manufacturer of air guns in the world, producing air guns under license from Beretta, Browning, Colt, Hammerli, HK, Makarov, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, UZI, Walther, and Glock. Umarex acquired Carl Walther GmbH in 1993 and operates both companies in the USA and Germany.

This new PPK isn't the first time that the Walther pistols have been produced in the USA, after the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA68), Walther and many overseas gun manufacturers had to scramble to set up factories in the US or redesign guns that fit the new guidelines. The GCA68 banned the importation of pistols and revolvers that didn't meet certain requirements of length, weight, and other features. Walther addressed this in two ways, first by modifying the PPK to create a PPK/S which was slightly heavier by a few ounces which allowed it to qualify for importation and second by licensing the original PPK to be made in the US. In 1983 Interarms/Ranger what the first to produce the PPK in the USA under license, and in 1998 Smith & Wesson started producing their version of the PPK under license. But since 2014, the PPK and PPK/S have been out of production in the USA.

With the US market being the largest in the world for firearms and with the GCA68 still in effect Walther took the unprecedented step of producing an in-house PPK in the USA. The process took several months to set up and refine, but today the PPK is in full production and already shipping to dealers across the USA. Greg Cornett, director of manufacturing for Walther took us through the assembly area where a small team hand assembles the new PPK by hand.

The assembly station is designed to allow a single gunmaker to produce around 35 pistols a day, taking each PPK through the production process from start to test firing. Greg and the team have focused on streamlining the process making it so simple that a new employee can be trained and on the production line in just three days. Unlike past licensed PPKs that were made using castings, the new PPK is machined from billet stainless steel.  

According to Cody Osborn, Walther's director of marketing, the PPK and PPK/S will be the first pistols to be manufactured in Arkansas, but there are plans to produce other Walther models in the USA as their capacity grows. Walther's next step will be adding a new CNC machine shop which will allow them to bring even more of the production process under their direct control.

Walther's USA made PPK and PPK/S are available chambered in .380 ACP and offered in stainless steel or blue. The PPK's magazine holds six rounds while the PPK/S holds seven. Both are shipped with two magazines, a lock, and a case. The MSRP on the new PPK is $749.

For more information or to find a Walther dealer near you visit

First Look:

Below is a first look at the limited edition Walther PPK Forth Smith Edition offered in stainless steel and featuring special engraving and wooden grips. These limited editions will be auctioned off for collectors sometime in the next few months. According to Cody Osborn, the will be auctioned on