Gratuitous Gun Pic: Walther PD380 (.380 ACP)

I’m trying to be even-handed about Walther’s new little handgun (Cliff Notes:  “unrivaled ease of use, carefully engineered to ensure an experience like no other, with minimal recoil and an effortless-to-rack slide”from their blurb.)  And it looks pretty much the same as the usual Plastic Fantastic:

Okay, I can see this gun’s application for people who have a problem with racking a slide — age-related, carpal tunnel etc. — but I have to say that the “PD” (personal defense) is going to be tricky with that underpowered Europellet.  Even if it was developed by John Moses Browning, PBUH.

The PD380 weighs almost nothing (26oz loaded — note to gun manufacturers:  I’m not interested in an unloaded gun’s weight because that ain’t reality).  So that’s also a good thing.

For we the people who care about practical self defense, I’m thinking that maybe this would be a decent backup piece? but I’m unconvinced.

But whatever:  let me not quibble about yet another means of putting bullets into a criminal (you know that’s what “self defense” ultimately means, don’t you?), but I can’t help but think that there might be some better options out there.

Your comments are welcome, as always.


  1. I agree with you, of course. However, I have a sister who cannot rack a 9mm slide to save her life, so what can you do? There are exactly two (and only two that I know of) rounds that may make this into an effective SD weapon if one trains with it. A lot.

    The Sig Sauer 90 gr V-crown

    The Hornady 90 gr FTX Critical Defense

    If you need to carry that, don’t cheap out on ammo. There are many more effective rounds in 9mm and a plethora of them for the venerable .45, but choices are narrow, indeed, for the .380.

  2. I’ve never understood the “my wrist hurts” argument. When the time comes that you need to use your tool, you’ll be operating with enough adrenaline that you won’t even notice your carpal tunnel issues. Practicing your basic marksmanship skills is another thing, but for defensive carry, hurting my wrist is my last damned consideration.
    On a recent road trip through questionable territory my car gun was a Ruger Alaskan in .44 magnum … suitable for all North American predators, especially around the gas pumps.

    1. I suspect you’ve never suffered a severe case of one of several conditions that can cause such pain. Unless you have, you’ve no idea. As someone who has suffered such, I have to strenuously disagree. For one thing, if it hurts enough that you can’t manage it without adrenaline, how do you practice? Have someone do it for you? And may I point out, until you have an adrenaline rush and try to work the slide, how do you know you really can? To say I think that’s an unwarranted assumption that could go disastrously wrong when push comes to shove.

      1. Working the slide? Are you carrying with the chamber empty? Don’t do that. Can’t operate the slide for a malfunction? Use a revolver. Can’t practice 100’s of rounds per month without crippling yourself? Don’t do that. Use a smaller gun if you can’t operate a bigger one, but be realistic, a .45 can be less snappy, less painful, and more controllable than many little 9’s and .380’s. Sure there are folks who can’t manage, I’ll grant you, but there are a lot of whiny folks, too. Perhaps some folks simply should not carry … or drive … or fly planes … or …

        1. Of course I carry with a round in the chamber. But you DO have to work the slide to get to that point! Or to clear a malf. And I fucking hate revolvers unless shooting them single action. While I was suffering, I carried a Sig P238. When it improved, I went back to my Sig P365XL, and the P238 went to my wife (who’s got arthritis and had started having trouble with the slide on her P365). Getting old sucks.

    2. I suspect you’ve never suffered a severe case of one of several conditions that can cause such pain. Unless you have, you’ve no idea. As someone who has suffered such, I have to strenuously disagree. For one thing, if it hurts enough that you can’t manage it without adrenaline, how do you practice? Have someone do it for you? And may I point out, until you have an adrenaline rush and try to work the slide, how do you know you actually can? I think that’s an unwarranted assumption that could go disastrously wrong when push comes to shove. Why play with your life hoping you can perform when the time comes? You’re far better off knowing you can do it. “A man’s got to know [emphasis on know] his limitations.” — Harry Callahan

    3. Kim, I’m sorry for the stupid doublepost that sometimes happens when I comment here. Please delete the first one if you want.

  3. I’ve reached a point where all the new guns look alike – yet another plastic fantastic is my general response. Not saying they’re necessarily bad, just there’s no reason to buy a second one after I’ve bought the first. I’ll buy a third, or fifth, or 13th revolver just because, but after one plastic fantastic there’s just not enough wow factor to need a second.

    My wife carries the baby Glock .380 under the logic of better something rather than nothing. I don’t see it as a negative, for many years people relied on low powered pistols for protection. It’s only in the modern era that we have guns that can blow a person’s lung clean out of their body, according to our president.

  4. Same as above for my wife. I had her try and rack all the semi auto euro pellet pistols i own and it didn’t go well. I originally bought it as a conceal carry for myself, but it just doesn’t leave me with the comfort of a fully loaded 9mm, so it became “her” pistol.
    Not that I can get her to carry…grrrrrr.

    A few things I don’t like about it:
    1) The mag release is part of the trigger housing, which feels odd if you’re used to a thumb release, but it is ambidextrous and you get used to it. But me no like.
    2) Unfortunately it’s not comfortable to drop the mag when upright and it feels better if you lay it sideways to release it. Potato potahto.
    3) Perhaps it’s because I have bigger (fat?) fingers but the mag release catches the lower part of my trigger finger when I fire it unless I’m on the trigger “just so”.
    Which reminds me of the sadly too sharp pointy trigger on my Italian (Mauser) HSc Super .380.
    4) if you have bigger hands the grip feels a little crampy.
    5) Special tool needed to take down..

    The factory trigger pull is okay, and I really like the sights.
    But I guess a more hefty steel frame pistol feels ‘right’ to me and this feels like, well, plastic.
    That’s my 2 cents.

  5. “…with minimal recoil and an effortless-to-rack slide”.

    Yup. Getting old sucks. Choices diminish. Forgive me for piling on, but that is exactly why I got my wife a S&W Shield EZ 380, and a Ruger LCP .22 to practice with. I am most grateful that at my age, I can still shoot 45ACP effectively.

    1. And while we’re on the topic(s), my wife subscribes to “” and forwared to me this comment about the parade in Arlington for the Texas Rangers–

      “live in Arlington. The biggest complaint from those staying home and watching, the parade ( local residents on arlington social media) was about all 4 main TV stations broadcasting it, and the anchors kept talking and talking and talking ad nauseum. , thus missing the local bands playing in their entirety, MISSED out on several dignitaries in the parade INCLUDING players ,and never mentioned them due to the stations “TMZ” “gabathon” instead of letting just the visual and the sounds of the parade show it as if they were there. The worst according to complaints was Fox4 & Ch.5 . The other two were NOT that much better. A lesson to be learned handed down over the decades in broadcasting-“LESS IS MORE”. Over all the parade was a cluster f***. listening to the scanner,several arrests : public intoxication, throwing beer bottles at cars, climbing to the roof of AT&T stadium, 2 made it, one drunk. climbing on top of porta potties and tipping them over,plus crushing in the roofs,. 9 kids lost 2 still missing ( as of 330pm) all below age 7- 2 with special needs, people climbing over the gates at globe life field, climbing over barricades, several large fights breaking out in 3 lots. Dump trucks were used to blockade streets and several were climbing on the hoods plus the dumpster section. one women jumped off the hood breaking her leg and finger. There was reported gun fire 2 blocks away, it turned out to be a person at work who went to the bathroom and when unbuckling his belt, a gun fell out and he shot himself in the thigh. Upon further identification of the individual ,it turns out he was a convicted felon, who was was barred from having a gun on his person. A fight boke out in a stadium lot . one car tried to back out but was blocked by another. Occupants about 4-5 apiece , came out ,started fight , one fired a gun in the air, police arrived and discover the person shooting the gun was a convicted felon and was not suppose to have a gun- a felony. The person in the other car had outstanding warrants. Both are in city jail.Fights also erupted as post parade crowds swarmed the entrance of Texas Live. Naturally NONE of the stations reported on that, just chamber of commerce stuff,what a wonderful time for all.”

      Mind your S.A. out there.

  6. ” the “PD” (personal defense) is going to be tricky with that underpowered Europellet.”

    I don’t really get this. Essentially all the data from in-the-field defensive gun use indicates that caliber choice is all but irrelevant. Heck, even self defense use against *bear* attacks shows minimal correlation to caliber – yes there are even cases where a .380 was used to defend against bear attack with good outcomes. Saying it is counterintuitive is a major understatement, but there it is.

    Carry what you can afford, what you can shoot well, and what you *will* have with you when you need it.

  7. When younger, I used to get involved in the Internet “caliber wars”, but I don’t have the energy any more. Nor do I GAF what others carry.

    But when I saw Larry Vickers had moved to the 9mm, and after studying the matter for a looooong time I came to the conclusion that while it may matter a little, it matters way less than most people think. One shot stop is not what you should be looking for. Place 2-3-4 in a hand sized group (4-6) in the HVAC and that’s likely to stop.

    Larry’s comment was that with modern hollowpoints, the 9mm CAN be as effective as the .45. But that’s if it expands. I bought some IMI military 9mm HP once then found out at LuckyGunner Labs it almost NEVER expands. Total crap. Hence the genius of the Hornady Critical Defense with the polymer insert in the HP, it ALWAYS expands. I still carry my .45, but usually it’s a Glock 26 9mm loaded with Critical Defense. I hit the range to keep tuned up, keep my mind right, and I feel fine. Really don’t GAF what others carry or why, most of those debates are mental masturbation. But, big but, check out resources like LuckyGunner labs and see what the defense rounds will do.

    That said, I would not carry a .380, but regardless of what others think of it, my sister does, and she can neither rack the slide reliably on a 9mm, nor will she practice unless I force her to a range once a year, and then only under protest. As long as she’s using one of the two specific rounds I mentioned above, I don’t think she needs to worry too much about the round’s “effectiveness”.

    While she’s not likely to be too accurate with it, when her adrenaline dumps she’s likely to empty the whole magazine into the perp and keep pulling the trigger until the cops show up, lol. Bottom line, carry the best that works FOR YOU, be intelligent in your PD ammo choices, and practice regularly. Then, don’t worry, be happy.

  8. Hi Kim,

    I would be more than glad if I could buy this pistol or any other kind of firearm without the insane restrictions our rulers have placed upon us in Germany (and Europe).
    You Americans may think yourselves lucky that you still can engage in discussions about calibers, steel or ‘plastic fantastic’, and prices of guns and ammo. Here in Germany it has become nearly impossible to acquire a firearm by legal means and within a reasonable timespan (currently: one year minimum).
    Of course, this is only an unfortunate coincidence when the islamic mobs are roaming the streets in violent demonstrations, demanding the abolition of democracy and the introduction of the Greater Caliphate.
    Beware! Pay attention to the words and deeds of your politicians … and take the disarmed state of Germany as a warning example!

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