Walther's original factory was located in Zella-Mehlis in the " Land " (state) of Thuringia . As that part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union following World War II, Walther fled to West Germany , where they established a new factory in Ulm . For several years following the war, the Allied powers forbade any manufacture of weapons in Germany. As a result, in 1952, Walther licensed production of the PP series pistols to a French company, Manufacture de Machines du Haut-Rhin , also known as Manurhin . The French company continued to manufacture the PP series until 1986.
The Walther PP is blowback-operated pistol with a fixed barrel,
usually of all-steel construction. A few
aluminum-framed PP pistols were built in Germany before the war, and
stainless steel versions are manufactured in the USA under Walther’s
licence since the mid-1980s. The trigger is double-action, with an
exposed hammer and a frame-mounted manual safety/decocker; the lockwork
is somewhat complicated in a typical German manner and has many small
parts and pins. Sights are fixed, with the rear sight blade dovetailed
into the slide. Magazines are single-stack; the magazine release button
is usually located at the left side of the frame, just below the slide
and in front of the grip panel. However, at least some PP pistols were
both before and after the war with so called “European-style” magazine
release, located at the heel of the grip. Walther PP and PPK pistols
are fitted with a loaded chamber indicator, made in the form of a small
pin that protrudes from the rear of the slide (above the hammer) when a
cartridge is in the chamber.
This indicator is not present on .22LR models.
It must be noted that most of PP and PPK pistols were made in 7,65mm (.32ACP) caliber, with 9mm Kurz (9x17, .380ACP) running distant second. The .22LR version was made in some numbers, and so far most rare is the 6,35mm / .25ACP version, with very few guns made early in production history of both pistols.