Walther PD380

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

As a crew we’ve come to respect Walther’s lineup of handguns because every model we’ve shot has impressed us in terms of accuracy, reliability and overall quality. Sure, everyone likes the PPK models—even if they are chambered in substandard rounds like .380 and .22LR—due to their history and class. But in terms of pure, high-capacity fighting pistols, its PDP series is tough to beat. So I didn’t really understand why Walther would launch a polymer, single-stack pistol chambered in .380 ACP when the company damn-well knows the extent to which 9mm currently dominates the EDC market.  

So why’d they do it? It’s easy to cock. 

Walther designed the PD380, using an external hammer rather than a striker, to require approximately 1/2 of the force required to rack the slide of an average striker-fired 9mm. Its single-stack 9-round magazine is thin, thereby allowing the gun’s grip to be accordingly thin and easy to handle. As such it may be the perfect carry gun for anyone with small, weak or arthritic hands. 

Here’s another byproduct of this gun’s hammer: It allows the gun to be a double-action that can be carried uncocked but fired with a long pull of the trigger. When cocked and used in single-action mode, its trigger is simply superior to a striker-fired gun. The overall result is a handgun that, at 20-ounces unloaded, is ideal for concealed carry, impressively accurate and very fun to shoot thanks to the mild recoil of the .380 ACP round. 

Am I going to carry it? Not now, because I have plenty of 9mms of similar dimensions that I can, as of now, cock just fine. But at this rate—one that begins plenty of mornings with a handful of ibuprofen, nothing’s off the table for the future. 

MSRP: $450     

Pros: requires very little force to rack the slide; perfect EDC size, great trigger, Walther quality

Cons: only holds 10 rounds 

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