Mark Camoccio reviews the Umarex replica of the Walther PPKS pistol - a licensed look-alike of the iconic James Bond weapon in a Co2 powered air pistol

On test, I have one of the most iconic guns ever to be produced. Made by Umarex, the German masters of licensed look-alike CO2-powered models, this Walther PPKS is a faithful reproduction, save for the base of the grip, where an angular protrusion would normally sit on the magazine lip on the original. The Walther PPKS is the famous side-arm of our man James Bond, in the Ian Fleming stories, and speaking as a huge fan, I can’t deny I was excited to get to play with this timeless classic.

credit: Archant

Classic specifications
Take it out of the box, sit in your hand, and it’s clear that Umarex have got the weight and feel spot-on. The grip sides are precise plastic mouldings, and with everything else formed from cast or machined steel, weight is satisfyingly realistic. It’s a fairly simple format on offer – in keeping with its live counterpart – with totally fixed open sights being a simple notch and post, but that said, the sight picture afforded is pretty good.

This model is made in .177 calibre only, and is designed to shoot 4.5mm steel BBs, so yes, the emphasis is on pure fun and fast-fire action.

credit: Archant

Getting started with the PPKS
Power comes from one 12g CO2 capsule, and this is concealed within the grip. Get a fingernail under the bottom edge of the left grip, and gently ease it off and free. The CO2 chamber is now exposed. Now take the small Allen head-socket tool provided, and unscrew the keeper screw in the base of the grip. Insert a new CO2 capsule into the slot, and use the tool to tighten the bolt gently, just until you feel pressure and maybe hear a small amount of gas escape. The capsule is now pierced and releasing CO2 into the action as required. Replace the grip panel.

To fill the stick magazine with BBs, press the mag’ release catch on the left side of the action, and the magazine can be withdrawn. The mechanism is a classic design, and needs the BBs to be individually fed into the tube from the top left hole, at the same time pulling back the spring-loaded feed catch. Up to 15 BBs can be chambered – push it back into the action, and you’re ready for action.

credit: Archant

PPKS blow-back system
The PPKS uses a blow-back system, and the idea is that some of the spent gases are utilised to help cock and cycle the action. In use, as the pistol fires, the top section of chassis slides back and forth, and with the whole pistol kicking up at the same time, the sensation on firing adds a really realistic edge to the firing cycle. Simply pull the trigger, and the hammer stays back after the first shot.

Those pre-loaded 15 shots can be blatted away just as fast as you can pull the trigger, and when the last shot is taken, the top carriage of the action flies back, and stays back, preventing the pistol from being fired – so you know when to refill the mag’. Pulling the broad trigger blade is also a pleasant experience, with only modest effort required.

To refill, just press the magazine release button on the left side, just behind the trigger, and the mag’ can be withdrawn. There is a manual safety catch fitted, but it is a bit crude, to be honest. My advice is, it’s safer to take the shot in any case!

credit: Archant

Is the PPKS accurate?
Conventional chronograph tests become largely academic where fun shooting is concerned, but shot count is always of interest. So, for the record, I averaged around 45 shots (three magazine sticks) per 12g CO2 capsule. As for accuracy, shooting firstly ‘fast fire’, I managed 10 shots in quick succession within a 4.5-inch circle at 10 yards, shot from a rest.

With all that movement from the blow-back action, I came to the conclusion that I was more accurate when shooting free-style, allowing the pistol to kick gently and unrestrained. Most shots could be kept within two inches shooting like this, but a few flyers are inevitable, inherent in the system. However, find a safe venue, set up the tin-can alley, and it’s difficult not to get generally carried away.

credit: Archant

A great piece of useable firearms history then, with all the feel and quality synonymous with the Umarex brand, so a whole lot of fun. As for my final verdict, I could say I was shaken, and stirred; but that would be rather predictable. Two final words of advice though; firstly, remember BBs will often cause ricochets, so prepare for those, and ALWAYS wear safety glasses. Secondly, if you feel the urge for a Sean Connery impersonation whilst indulging yourself with this pistol, don’t fight it! 

Technical Data
Walther PPKS        
Manufacturer: Umarex, Germany                        
 CO2-powered pistol            
Power Source: 12g CO2 cartridge        
Calibre: .177 only            
Shot Count: On test, 45 shots per  CO2 cartridge                                 
Sights: Fixed front and rear        
Magazine Capacity: 15-shot steel BB only        
Weight: 20oz                
Length: 6.1”            
Barrel Length:
Velocity: 294fps rough guide
Trigger:  Two-stage        
RRP: £115 guide price
          12g CO2 capsules 80p-£1 each    
Contact:  John Rothery Wholesale - Trade enquiries only