Walther PP Super: A direct blowback pistol

Walther PP
Walther PP (Photo: XY)

The Walther PP (Polizei Pistole) is well-known around the world and has been the source of inspiration for a number of copyists for many years; in spite of its age, it still sets the standard for the rest and sells as fast as Walther can make it.

Introduction

It is an elegant design, reliable and accurate, and it pioneered a double-action lock that has rarely been surpassed for smoothness of operation. In the mid-1970s Walther decided to give it face-lift and a new caliber in order to keep up with the changing demands of police authorities in Europe; though not exactly new, this pistol is so little-known outside Germany that we feel it is worth bringing into sharper focus.

Walther PP: Blast From The Past
Walther PP: Blast From The Past (Photo: XY)

Design

The Walther PP Super uses the same basic mechanism as the older PP but has an entirely new frame and slide assembly and is chambered for the 9 mm Police (or 9 mm x 18 mm) cartridge, a round devised in Germany in order to obtain the maximum power from a blowback pistol, combined with good stopping power and a low risk of ricochet for use by police and special forces in urban areas.

The frame is slightly longer, the slide longer and more squared-off at its front end. The grips are carefully molded to a hand-filling shape and provided with a thumb-rest; wooden grips of a similar contour can be had as an alternative. The trigger guard has been made slightly larger and with a vertical front edge to facilitate a two-handed grip of the pistol. The front sight blade has a night-aiming luminous spot in its rear face, while the rear sight is a square notch adjustable for windage and with a central luminous patch which can be aligned with the front spot in poor light.

Walther PP Diagram
Walther PP Diagram and schematic view (Photo: XY)

The most significant change has been in the safety arrangements. In the old Walther PP, the safety catch on the slide dropped the hammer, locked the firing pin, and locked the trigger. With the pistol loaded, pressing the safety dropped the hammer and left everything locked; to fire, it was necessary to push the safety up and then pull the trigger to double-action the hammer to cock and drop.

In the Walther PP Super, the safety locking function has been omitted; the safety catch is now only a decocking lever, and once the pistol is loaded this lever is pressed down; this rotates a block in front of a shoulder on the firing pin and releases the hammer. The firing pin is capable of vertical movement and at this time is forced down in its housing by a spring, so that its end is aligned with a recess on the face of the hammer. Thus when the hammer falls, the face strikes the rear of the slide while the recess surrounds the firing pin but does not touch it.

Walther PP Super - an improved version of the old PP
Walther PP Super – an improved version of the old PP (Photo: XY)

If the trigger is now pulled, the hammer begins to rise to the cocked position, while a linkage forces the firing pin upwards in its housing, against the spring. This lifts it clear of the safety block and lines the end of the pin-up with the solid face of the hammer so that when the hammer falls, the pin goes forward to fire the cartridge. It is thus unnecessary to move the safety catch when firing in a hurry. This arrangement may sound somewhat unsafe, but it should be remembered that this is a weapon intended for use by police, special operations forces, and similar well-trained people so that some degree of short-cutting is acceptable.

Technical specifications: Walther PP Super

Manufacturer:Walther Arms GmbH, Sportwaffenfabrik, Ulm, Germany
Type:blowback, double-action, semi-automatic pistol
Caliber:9 mm Police
Barrel:3.62 in (92 mm)
Weight (empty):30 oz (850 grams)
Magazine capacity:7 rounds
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