The PP was one of the first commercially successful double action pistols, with an exposed hammer, a single column magazine and a fixed barrel, which acts as the guide rod for the recoil spring. First issued to European Police and sport shooters, they became popular for both concealability and accuracy. During WWII, Walther produced many PP series pistols for the Wehrmacht (the uniformed armed forces of Germany during 1939 to 1945). It also became a popular sidearm for high ranking Nazi officers and party leaders (collectors will find some embellished and marked to denote the party or ministry and even the title of the person).
The PP's were part of a series that included the Walter PP, PPK (appearing in 1931), PPK/S and later, PPK.E. The PPK, with it's shorter grip and barrel is much more well known to people who aren't necessarily firearm collectors, being the pistol (a 7.65mm/.32 ACP) that was James Bond's signature guns in many of the films based on novels of Ian Fleming, who created the fictional character. That choice of a weapon had an effect on not only its popularity, but its recognition
The newer series are manufactured in Germany or the US, but this pistol is of decided German origin, 1945, and chambered in .32, the original chamber of the piece. Before ending up in the safe at the Range, it belonged to a long retired Midwest Police Officer. How he ended up with it, I did not know, as his family had little history, but many Walthers were brought back as trophies by returning GI's after WWII.
Handling. It's pretty much the same as most conventional DA/SA semiautomatic pistols, with a slide-mounted decocking system that's been emulated on many other pistols. The only other firearm in the series I've handled is the .380, which is more common. I think the sights on the .32 are a little bit better regulated for point of aim equals point of impact than the .380 and the double action was a bit smoother. But outside of that and barrel length I didn't see much cosmetic difference.
The .32 also was also a little less "snappy" which any of you who've fired smaller firearms know what I mean.
Sights - fixed, about as simple as it gets, plain black front sight with the "U" notch in the rear.
After clearing your firearm, you can use a pencil between the trigger guard and the frame (the equivalent of a slide catch on a sig) which takes the block out of the way so the slide can then be moved forward ("Gunsmithing with the No. 2 Pencil"- Firearm Bestseller - FAIL).
The grips come off easily to access the internals and overall cleaning is pretty standard. If you've field stripped any other PP model or most Sig's it's very intuitive.
Concealed carry. It is small, the barrel a bit less than 4 inches and slender so it's easy to conceal. That being said, I'd certainly want something more than .32 if meeting up with someone intent on my serious harm or death. But in the pocket, while in the garage, it would make a nice back up gun, chambered in something such as PMC 71-gr FMJ or Hornady 60-gr XTP. The FMJ does have decent penetration but some folks prefer a more expanding bullet, which would result in a wider wound channel. Personally, I'd use the XTP. Even if it's not as aggressive in its expansion, it would likely give you better "bad guy penetration" than the FMJ and it's a load that's been reliable for me.
But don't be fooled by light and pretty. This gun has sharp pointy teeth. The slide is mounted low enough that it is VERY easy to get your shooty hand bitten by the edge of the slide. My hands, as far as palm size and finger length, are about the same as most guys my height. Once when the moon was full and I was bitten by the first of the small pocket pistols, I was cursed with continually getting my hands nipped, even adjusting the way I held on to it. The Walther PP is no exception.You may go unscathed, but if you have big hands, considered your self forewarned. Keep off the moors, stick to the roads.