What I’m Carrying Now: A Walther PK380 and a Fountain Pen

walther pk380

Courtesy Robert C.

[This post is part of our series, What I’m Carrying Now. If you’d like to submit a photo and description of the gun, holster and gear you’re carrying in the new world in which we live, send it to us at [email protected] with WICN in the subject field.]

Robert C. writes . . .

Walther PK380, I have no problems with the .380.  I like the DA/SA action, I tried a GLOCK 42 and didn’t like it.

I also like the paddle release. I have some arthritis in my thumb and the paddle is significantly easier to use. I first became aware that I like the DA/SA and paddle release on my HK P30, but I didn’t like the size and weight of the HK.

The holster and magazine pouch are from Kramer Holsters. I have several of his holsters and I find that I like them.

The pen is a Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen. The small light is normally in my pocket, the larger Klarus light is carried at night. The watch is a Casio MR-G-7100.


  1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    As Walther’s go, the PPS for the size, purpose and limited recoil is a better choice based upon my experience.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      If someone is concerned about recoil the increase from a .380 to 9mm is significant.

  2. avatar jwm says:

    There’s nothing wrong with .380. Ammo selection might be a little thin, but it works.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      Buffalo Bore has potent hard-cast loads and does mail order sales :


      1. avatar jwm says:

        Not to CA.

        1. avatar strych9 says:

          God CA sucks. I feel bad for you folks that are trapped there.

      2. avatar enuf says:

        I tried the .380+P 100gr Hard Cast Flat Nose Lead in my KelTec P3AT:

        I found it rather snappy compared to all other FMJ and HP loads I tried. It cycled the gun alright, but when I inspected the cases and saw the deformation around the heads, I stopped shooting it.

      3. avatar Hannibal says:

        I totally get why someone might want a .380 over a 9mm (recoil for the size of the gun) but I’m less sure of why one would buy a .380 and then put the hottest ammo they can find in it, given the price increase…

    2. avatar possum says:

      Couldn’t you just shoot 9 Luger in a snow bank and save the bullets? Then pull out the bullets off the 380 and shove the fancy 9 lugger in the three eighty’s case? Over pressure is a myth.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        I get the sarcasm.

        Let me just say that the hollow points generally need to be moving at a certain speed to mushroom out. A 9mm kurz is unlikely to move a luger bullet fast enough, even if over pressured. FMJ is a different story, we’ll have to hand grenade a different time.

    3. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      If you reload for the .380 here’s a steal.


      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        PS – They aren’t mine.

  3. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Definitely one of them easier-to-rack pistols out there.

    Dont care for the safety function, but pretty easy to hit with.

    A confident man carries a fountain pen…….

    1. avatar possum says:

      My girlfiend doesn’t like the safety. on her pa63 either, So she dont use it, the safety that is.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        That’ll work.

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        it decocks. loong first pull…

  4. avatar John Pax says:

    The Bersa Thunder 380 CC would be even a better choice. Just as reliable as any of the Walthers, with all the features, an 8-round magazine capacity, and small enough to eaisly fit in a pants pocket. Besides, they are inexpensive enough to allow you to buy two for the price of a Walther, one for carry and one for your bedstand. I know of what I speak, having owned three of these pistols for over 10 years without any trouble in any of them.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      When my daughters moved out of the house I offered each of them a gun. Oldest girl took a S&W .38. Couple of years later she bought a Bersa .380 to go with it. I can find no fault in it and I’ve owned a Walther pp.

      My favorite version of the Walther pp family is the Makarov PM.

      1. I have retired both of my .380’s (Walther PPK and an AMT Back Up) in favor of a German Mak and a Polish P64. Go hot or go not!

        1. avatar jwm says:

          9×18. It’s a .380+P.

      2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        All good choices!
        I gave my daughter a Mak when she moved out. After some range sessions, she liked it over my g-26 and the g19.
        Yup, that 9×18 is quite snappy.

  5. avatar tdiinva says:

    I looked at the PK380 when I was selecting a .380. I liked the size because its longer barrel should in theory give you more choices of self defense ammunition. On paper it is a good pistol but I ended up with the S&W 380 EZ because of the trigger. The PK380 trigger might have been the worst trigger I ever pulled.

  6. avatar Lance says:

    IMO, I always found med. sized .380s as a perfect first gun. Then again, I can’t convince myself to get a 9mm smaller than a 4 inch barrel.

    Also, I never understood the nagging about the lever mag release on the PK380.

  7. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Nope. .380. Everything else looks good.

    1. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:


  8. avatar strych9 says:

    That brass light is snazzy.

    1. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:

      shiny pocket clips scream “look at me”. I notice this stuff all the time on people. Black ones, not so much.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        All pocket clips are obvious to anyone paying attention. Even if they match the basic color of the pants they still stand out.

  9. avatar enuf says:

    The PPK/S would be a superior choice if it were me carrying it.

    Or, there’s the Bersa Thunder 380 Plus, double stack 15 rounds.

  10. avatar Prndll says:

    The one PK380 I had couldn’t make it through a single magazine without malfunction. Regardless of ammo or any level of lubrication. It was quite disappointing as I really wanted it. I tried multiple magazines too. If it works for you then great. Have fun.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      On my PK380, I had to polish the feed ramp to get it to feed reliably.
      I would have thought that Walther would have done that, but…

  11. avatar CentralVirginian says:

    Reading this, i hope firearm manufacturers continue the trend of making firearms like the shield 9ez. I think there’s a large market for more accessible firearms for aging shooters or other people with handicaps. One guy i was talking to at the range found midsize wheel guns much better for his arthritis than any semis.

  12. avatar Wil Golden says:

    +p Version of the Precision One XTP. 970 – 985 fps in my PPK, penetrates ~ 14 inches, expands nicely, passes the FBI test. If have a lighter pistol, they make a non +p version as well.


  13. avatar DrDKW says:

    I believe the Bersa Thunder 380s are a decent alternative to the Walther PP/PPK series.
    In a full 9mm, I find the Ruger EC9 is reasonably comfortable, accurate and compact enough, even with the optional 9-round mag.
    Any other opinions on the Ruger?

    1. avatar Larry in Oregon says:

      I had a LC9s pro, ended up selling it. Grip was too skinny, slide release was hard to actuate, and it was a bit too snappy for my taste. It was my first gun so I was trying to get the one gun to rule them all, I learned it’s better to get multiple guns so you can have the right tool for the task at hand.

    2. avatar Dude says:

      I tested one out for pocket carry. I ended up going with a smaller, lighter 380 pistol.

      1. avatar John Pax says:

        Did you try toe cc or a full-sized Thunder? I didn’t think the slight decrease in size would matter for pocket carry, but it does for me.

  14. avatar SuspiciousFisherman says:

    Did you tape it because it’s cracked? So cool.

  15. avatar possum says:

    My girlfiend carries a pa63. ,,,,also , as anyone can make one, I’m working on an ink pen .22 short. Puzzling over what type of fire control mechanism I want..

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Interesting little project. I look forward to hearing more about this.

  16. avatar William Haraway says:

    The Walther PK380 remains one of the worst handguns I have ever owned. Finicky, underpowered, low capacity, and hard to disassemble. I hated that gun and dumped it on Gunbroker for peanuts. A real POS.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      ” hard to disassemble ”

      That one I’ll grant to you. The recoil spring is not captive, and getting that sucker back in the gun can be an all-day project. For anyone who has a PK380 or is going to get one, trash that factory spring! You can buy a captured recoil spring from Galloway Precision for about $25, and it will save you a lot of frustration.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I discovered that on the p22. My clumsy digits had a hell of a time putting that thing back together. Fortunately my son likes it and I let him take it home.

  17. avatar The Rookie says:

    The PK380 really is a soft shooter. It feels more like a .32 than your typical .380.

    That said, I *would* like to see Walther update the design to take advantage of the advances by newer “Soft .380s” like the Shield EZ and the like, and/or maybe address some of the PK’s shortcomings (cruddy trigger, etc.).

  18. avatar Spencer says:

    Love the pen, I carry the navy blue one and it’s served me well for years. Oh yeah, Walther PPS M2 too.

  19. avatar Hasaf says:

    I am sort of at a loss for why anyone would recommend a PPK or Bersa over the PK380.

    The PK380 is a delayed blowback, meaning that it fires from a locked breech, while the PPK and Bersa are straight blowbacks. With straight blowback, one gets a pistol that is much harder to manually pull the slide on, and more recoil for a very small, if any, increase in accuracy. While the PPK may have been cutting edge ninety years ago, it has been surpassed.

    The biggest problem with the PK380 is the complexity of field striping. That is somewhat reduced by switching to a captive spring guide rod (which I know for a fact, the person whos daily loadout is being shown has installed on his pistol).

    . . . of course, I also know that his PK380 went back to Walther for a service that addressed any reliability issues.

    1. avatar John Pax says:

      To answer for the Bersa cc: 8 rounds vs 7, smaller size allows pocket carry, the blow-back design allows the bore axis to be lower which increases the grip length and reduces the flip and makes what remains more controllable. Yes, it is harder to rack than a locked-breach, but I don’t have a problem with performing that function.

  20. avatar John Smith says:

    One of the guns I carry is also a .380, either a G42, P3AT, Sig 232, whether primary or as a backup depending on weather, where I’m going, what I’m wearing, etc.. As for carry ammo I would recommend using the 90g copper extreme penetrator rounds from either Underwood or Lehigh Defense. I chose the Lehigh Defense (approx 950 fps), they are slower than the Underwood rounds (cited 1,100 fps). In the tests that were on Youtube, from follks like Paul Harrell, and others the Underwood rounds penetrated too much in excess of 23″ in ballistic gel in one test. Despite no expansion, with the unique all-copper design they do create a nice wound channel. If I remember in one test the wound channel measure like .60″, with the flat nose and the side cuts it pushes tissue aside very uniquely and effectively. I’ve tested Rem Golden Sabers, Hornady, PMC, etc…all had terrible lack of expansion with hard substances, denim and other barriers put in front of the ballistics gel. With the Penetrator rounds definitely make the .380 a viable carry option. The Walther is an easy shooting pistol. Cheers and thanks for sharing.

  21. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

    I’ve never handled or fired a PK380, simply because my main CC weapon for close to 25 years was a PPK/S in. 380. Couldn’t see the point as the PPK is a better gun to begin with. The only reason it was retired, was the sights. At 60, without my special shooting glasses, I could no longer make out the sights in low light conditions. That’s why it’s a range baby and a SIG P365 took it’s place. Still, it’s one of the most accurate guns in my safe, 1″ groups at 15 yards over a rest everyday of the week. If low light sights could have been adapted to the PPK, I’d have gone that route, but extensive milling of the slide would be required, and that’s not a cost effective modification.
    I carried various rounds through the years, and luckily, I was never forced to defend myself. From Hydroshocks to Black Talons to Golden Sabres and for the last few years, the Hornady Critical Defense loads. The Hornady’s have great performance in BG. Never tried any of the Buffalo Bore or other side market ammo, so no opinion on their performance.

  22. avatar Bake says:

    I love my PK380. I just wish Umarex had spent $50 more on material, and didn’t have a trigger pull decocker. That being said, I would trade it in for a S&W 380EZ if I lived in a free state.

  23. avatar Old Senior says:

    I read all the comments and could find none on the Sig. 238. It is one fine little gun. I am an old 1911 guy and the little Sig is just one that hasn’t grown up yet. The trigger pull could be lighter but it’s manageable.

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