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Meet the Walther PK380: The Ultimate Self Defense Gun?

Walther PK380
Image: Creative Commons.

Meet the Walther PK380, a 3 Minute Review: The Walther PK380 debuted in 2009, a German pistol chambered in .380 ACP. This small caliber is less powerful and built for amateur and novice shooters. Based on the classic Walther P22, the PK380 is a small gun for the less physically-abled firearm users, though is it worth your money? Read further on to find out more about Walther’s still-produced pistol.


As far as accuracy is concerned, the Walther PK380 is a sure shot. This is almost a given considering how easy it is to control due to the low recoil and the small caliber and size of the pistol, but let’s go over the specifics. At a range of twenty-five yards I managed to shoot consistent 2½ inch groupings, easily. This isn’t the best in the business, but I’d say it does good in regards to accuracy in a self-defense situation. Part of the reason it’s so accurate is the aforementioned low recoil, which is mostly because of the tiny caliber. You can even put sights on it if you fancy and still stay in the concealed carry size range.


I’d have to give the PK380 a solid A- on this front, as the only problems I have with it are hypothetical ones. I have owned a Walther PK380 for a year now and have yet to have a malfunction, though I don’t shoot it nearly as much as my other guns. It’s relatively easy to take apart, besides the strange decision of a plastic takedown key which I found to be very unintuitive. The hypothetical problem I have with it is that if there is a malfunction, racking the slide back to fix it can easily switch the safety back on, which can make for an annoying situation on the range and a dangerous situation during real self-defense.


The Walther PK380 handles about as well as can be expected. It’s the perfect gun for those who aren’t prepared to handle a bigger caliber of pistol; I found it incredibly easy to pull out, it’s lightweight, it’s comfortable to conceal carry, and it shoots well. If you have small hands it’s easy to use, though those with larger hands might want to look out, as the grip may seem a bit too small. Those with larger hands could get a similar, but more effective firearm.


The trigger might be my favorite part of the PK380. It can switch between double-action and single, with the double featuring an incredibly smooth pull. The trigger weight on the double-action setting is around ten to eleven pounds from my measuring. The single-action pull is a doozy at a tiny four-pound weight. The trigger guard is small, which is expected, so gloves off while shooting it.

Magazine and Reloading

Magazine sizes are eight round magazines and that’s the highest you’re going to get. The only way to load the gun is by flicking the safety on and then inserting the magazine. The slide locks back whenever the magazine goes empty, which creates a problem: there’s no slide release or lock. This is a struggle for experienced shooters who are used to such luxuries, which is frustrating. You’re supposed to insert a mag and push the slide forward yourself while pushing the magazine inside, to force the slide forward. You can also just shove the magazine in hard enough and the slide will lock back into place, but it’s still a frustrating feature.

Length and Weight

As said before, this is a very small gun. The barrel length is 3½ inches while the total is 6½, which is easy to conceal. The total weight is 22½ ounces, or just 1½ pounds, a similar weight to the Chiappa Rhino Gun. This is an incredibly easy gun to carry, perfect for the inexperienced.

Recoil Management

Due to the small size, the Walther PK380 has little-to-no recoil. The small caliber lessens this considerably, to the point where most would hardly consider recoil a factor at all. This is nowhere near, say, a .357 pistol.


The MSRP comes in at $399, and other retailers might sell for as low as $300. This is pretty cheap and I’d mark it as a very fair price and the perfect fit for a gun like this.

My Verdict?

Though stricken with some handling and magazine problems, the Walther PK380 is overall solid. It’s nothing to really blow you out of the water but it’s a serviceable firearm perfect for those who don’t have as strong a grip or have less experience with firearms in general. Plus, it’s very affordable. Those looking for a full-size pistol will want to look elsewhere, however.

Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field. Columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.