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Unfortunately, I have the misfortune to live in what very nearly became (and some people claim still is) the occupied territory of a far western Chicago suburb. While many would be amazed that I have any need for self defense in this glorious socialist paradise, the reality of my job is that a support engineer is the nearest one will come to a consulting detective outside a Holmes novel. Often times, you are called to go to very shady places at very shady times of the day to fix a multi-million dollar machine that somebody managed to make not work . . .

This being the Democratic People’s Republik of Chiraq, these sorts of industrial facilities tend to not be in shall we say… “Prime Neighborhoods” and a short pasty guy in business clothes walking out of a facility at 6 AM before the morning shift comes in tends to attract all sorts of interest.

Unfortunately, up until very recently, the People’s Commissariat had decreed that there was no need for any member of the proletariat to carry any form of self defense tools in our glorious People’s Republic and any comments to the contrary were to be considered “racist”, “sexist”, or “anti-progressive”.

Thankfully, in my first five years with my company, the issue of a group of friendly local party representatives relieving me of the burden of carrying my equipment had never come up. (I guess hocking a $20,000 measurement system is beyond the economic capabilities of your average local resident.)

That being said, when almost two years ago my local gun store started signing people up for their first ever Illinois Concealed Carry courses, I made sure that my name was one of the first on the list.

Which brings us to the contents of my, very professional looking, pants. The piece-de-la-resistance of this particular frisk search is a late 2000s Walther PPK/S which I had owned for many yeas prior to the glorious decision of the People’s Commissariat to allow me to carry it for personal defense.

While many would question the political affiliations of someone carrying a filthy capitalist designed pistol in our Glorious Republik, I have found that it is far more subtle than the commissariat approved TT-33, PM, or “Glock 9”. The latter being approved only for carry by the oppressed proletariat of Chiraq and their valiant protectors.

Given that I have to crawl around inside industrial equipment all day (or more likely sit on my steadily expanding bourgeois backside while a stalwart member of the people’s Union comes back from their “break”) so that I can access critical components, a small pistol that is difficult to shift is critical.

While I would have preferred a PPK to the larger PPK/S (which uses a Walther PP frame with a PPK slide), years before my birth, the people’s commissariat had decreed that such “Saturday Night Specials” would no longer be approved for import into our glorious socialist worker’s paradise.

Fortunately, the PPK/S does an excellent job of delivering the performance level that I want and would reasonably need. 7+1 rounds of .380 ACP gives me plenty of confidence that I will be able to see off any “anti-progressive” ruffians with a minimum of fuss. Many have described the PPK/S and the 1911 of concealed carry micro pistols and I find that to be an apt description.

The gun has a reassuring weight to it that makes recoil relatively easy to control, but is still small enough to easily disappear into Galco IWB holster smaller than my hand. The sights are basic, but functional, and don’t leave any room for adjustment or other mucking about.

Some of my acquaintances with less “party friendly” leanings tend to question my choice of a “mouse gun” or “James Bond Special” as my sole means of personal defense. My response to them is rather succinct. “Elementary, my dear comrades, a small gun that I always carry is infinitely preferable to a large gun I left at home.”

In faithful service to our glorious Party,

(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why posts with photo to [email protected] with WICAW in the subject line.)

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  1. I did the field tech thing for a few years in Chicago and the burbs; My hack guess is you’re running fiber as your day job or terminating or something similar. Good gig, but as you said not the best areas at the best times. Always cool to go see some of these places. I really did prefer my time in the burbs overall the chances of getting raked over the coals on parking are a lot less too!

  2. Carried a PPK/S as a backup (ankle holster) for many years before I retired. Great little gun, if terribly heavy by today’s micro-gun standards.

    Did eat the web of the thumb every time I shot it though. 😀

    • It’s not really all that heavy when you consider the huge benefit the extra mass gains you in controlling recoil. I find this really critical for .380 platforms as getting followup shots with a polymer mouse gun is… problematic. (Not to mention the cycling problems a light gun can develop if you have anything other than a Kung-fu grip on it.) I only wish that there was a way to convert the PPK to a decocker only option like you get on Berettas. Even after years of working it, the safety is still very stiff and difficult to disengage under stress.

      • Unlike a bunch of the “nanos” it actually goes bang every time you depress the trigger – don’t need a cast-iron grip, don’t need a special angle, it just works. Every. Time.

  3. My exact EDC. Have carried it everywhere for about three decades. It fits, it stays put, it goes bang everytime. I usually have something bigger nearby but this PPK/s is always at hand.

  4. I have used this pistol for a long time now and it has yet to fail on any rounds I shoot. I keep it well maintained and it is the most reliable pistol I own, the kind you want to protect yourself with.

  5. NICE.

    Love when people carry a “fire-source” as EDC too. That’s old-school, and says “No better friend, no worse enemy” to me. Rock on pwrserge.

    If you ever need emergency evac [from your domicile city] post here (with head count) and get to the lake. We will have a zodiac, ~ hot coffee, and a black rifle waiting for you.

    • here’s hoping you own a building on eastlake terrace. otherwise you’ll have a pretty crappy vantage point to be handing out rifles from.
      because michigan!

    • Yeah, the lighter is the result of me being raised by an uncle who spend a lot of time “working” in the mountains of Afghanistan in the 80s. If you asked him what his most important piece of equipment was, he would not talk about his AK, or his boots… He’d take out an old lighter he’d been carrying around since he was a teenager.

      A good source of fire is one of the most underrated survival tools in existence. People take warmth and light for granted. A good zippo will burn for almost an hour when full. That’s a lot of time with a readily available flame.

      As for exfil… Yeah, I’ve got that part covered. Thankfully, I live outside of Crook County these days and have a more than ample kit and supply base for a 30 day emergency. I might not live in style, but even in the coldest January, I’d be able to survive long enough for either the problem to be resolved and for me to come up with an alternate strategy.

  6. J.R. Shooting Sports has the worst customer service. If you never have been, please goto Megasports in Plainfield. No Cook County tax, and more gun people behind the counter. J.R. just has his kids (an his wife) working the store, and the only business sense they have is how to run a cash register.

    Western suburbs of Sh!tcago have a fair amount of drugs an gangs…just doesn’t have the clout of all the honor students of “the city”.

  7. +1 on that Streamlight, I have had the exact same light in my left pocket for many, many years. Unlike my pistol, I use it nearly every single day.

  8. Fun post. I’m also in IL, specifically in Chicago. I’ve got a SIG P238, which is also a nice small .380. I’ve fired the Walter, and it’s very nice, but I like the feel of the SIG and found I was more accurate with that. It also matches the same manual safety setup I’ve got on my full sized 1911, so there’s no confusion switching between the two.
    Carry on.

  9. I guess I am the voice of dissent-the far western suburbs are hardly a hell-hole.Are you talking Naperville or what? I do not recommend Mega-Sports-total azzwholes after the post-Newtown debacle. I bought my 1st semi-auto pistol from them so yeah I’ve been there… Your carry is fine-but Illinois is far better than many other states. Lighten up(or move to Indiana). Oh yeah Avid-I’ve been on Sheridan hundreds of times back & forth from Direct Auction. And going to City News in Evanston(print media-it died)…

        • Oh no, by no means am I in Elgin. (That would be silly, especially as part of it is in Cook County.) But it is in my general area. The collar counties are a mixed bag. You have some that are absurdly nice, some that are more or less normal, and then you have some that could be used to film the sequel to Deliverance.

      • Forgive me oh Serge-yes Elgin sucks. I consider it more NW suburbs. Getting very Spanglish gangy. Not too far from GAT guns and Cabelas/Schaumburg( I worked in Elk Grove Village for years)…

    • Walker, I recommend the breakfast biscuits at Hoosier Mama, Chicago and Kedzie. The pies aren’t bad either.

      And oh, yeah, about Elgin-it was turning into a hole when I was last there almost 10 years ago.

        • It’s just south of Evanston Main CTA on Chicago. Worth stopping by if you’re in Evanston. Unless you plan on filling up at Cross Rhodes, of course. Lucky Platter is a little too ironic for me.

  10. After handling a Bersa and handling a Walther I stick with Bersa every time. Walther needs to do something about their awful triggers.

  11. Nice article.

    Typo towards end:

    “Many have described the PPK/S and the 1911 of concealed carry micro pistols and I find that to be an apt description.”

    Think you meant “as the 1911 of concealed…”

  12. I recall seeing a comparison of .380 mouse guns (it may have been a ballistics table) and the PPK/S had the best accuracy and also the highest velocities of the bunch. The ergonomics favor those with smaller hands (NOT James Bond, who was 6′ 2″) so hand bite is a probability if care is not exercised. And it looks way cool. The extra heft helps in every way in actual use, and it can also be used as a club, unlike a plastic fantastic.

    I had a job where I had to visit folk in less than salubrious residences, in suburbs that had been fogotten by the city. There were many interesting times, but only once did the entire neighborhood gather to see me off. No gun has enough rounds for that situation. I was only armed with my wit and charm, and luckily that was enough to let me survive to write these words. Life among the po’ folk can be fun too. Just treat them like you would want to be treated, and dangers are few, unless you have visible valuables about your person.


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