The Walther PPK/s .22 and SilencerCo Switchback 22

The Walther PPK/s .22 and SilencerCo Switchback 22

Will Dabbs


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Most of us won’t ever HALO into the Hindu Kush to rescue the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders from the nefarious clutches of some evil ISIS psychopath. However, that’s not to say we can’t look the part. The Walther PPK/s 22 and the SilencerCo Switchback 22 suppressor are the sorts of toys to keep James Bond occupied when all he’s got to kill is a lazy Saturday afternoon.

What 007 Does for Fun

James Bond unlocked the door to his austere London flat and entered without turning on the lights. He had not been so exhausted since SAS selection. The events of the previous 10 days were but a foul blur.

There had been the obligatory HALO drop into some rathole. SPECTRE never seemed to be based anyplace pleasant these days. His contact was a former Miss Estonia and quite the looker. However, if Bond had to listen to any more vapid drivel about how she imagined herself on the cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue, he’d have garroted her himself. Not really, but the thought crossed his mind.

The op had gone flawlessly, though his longsuffering quartermaster Q might beg to differ. Bond’s spanking new Aston Martin DB10 was shot full of holes, per usual. However, they’d be holding the wake for Rasmus Artjom Semjonov next Tuesday. Semjonov had up until recently been the mastermind behind SPECTRE’s illicit weapons and human trafficking enterprise across Eastern Europe and had not died well. Bond briefly considered attending the service, but that seemed in poor taste.

Were he 10 years younger, 007 would have made a phone call and spent the next two weeks on a beach in Anse Source d’Argent with the actual cover of the “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue. Nowadays, however, the booze, the irregular hours, and the relentless stress took a toll. Bond knew he’d never find sleep, so he snatched up a black nylon satchel, locked the door behind him and headed back to MI6 HQ.

After passing through a series of optical scanners, Bond found himself alone on the MI6 underground shooting range. When the most lethal secret agent in the world needed to unwind he typically just did what came naturally. He burned bullets.

In its most compact configuration, the SilencerCo Switchback 22 is absolutely ti-ny. This miniature state of the art sound suppressor facilitates communication without adding a significant penalty in weight or bulk.

Bond ran a paper target out to 30 meters and retrieved his nickel Walther PPK/s 22 from his go bag. He then threaded the matching SilencerCo Switchback 22 suppressor in place and gave the face of his standard silhouette target a quick, quiet .22-caliber nose. Ten rounds later, he had printed a group he could cover with a juice can lid. Bond smiled to himself as he felt the tension melt away.

Bond’s Guns

James Bond. Women want him. Men want to be him. Through 14 original books, nine short stories, and 25 canonical films, Ian Fleming’s iconic secret agent has saved the world, gotten the girl and barely escaped time and again. Ian Fleming penned 007 from life. During WW2, Ian Fleming was a spy.

Bond’s first pistol was actually a fairly absurd Beretta 418 in .25ACP. He carried the weapon “skeletonized” with the grips removed for extra stealth. Realistically, that sounds like a great way to accumulate errant pocket lint to me.

A British firearms author named Geoffrey Boothroyd wrote to Fleming and suggested Bond pack a manlier weapon. The two men became friends and settled on the iconic Walther PPK. By way of thanks, Fleming wrote Boothroyd into the narrative as Bond’s brilliant but put-upon quartermaster Q. Per the backstory, Q’s real name is Major Boothroyd.

When configured in its long variation and fed subsonic ammo like this, superb M22 subsonic fodder from Winchester the SilencerCo Switchback 22 is movie-grade quiet.

The Walther PPK

The Walther PPK has been in continuous production since 1931. Originally contrived for undercover law enforcement officers, the name means “Polizeipistole Kriminal” or “Police Pistol Criminal.” The PPK is an evolutionary development of the slightly larger Walther PP, launched in 1929.

The PP family of guns operates via rather uninspired unlocked blowback. However, there were aspects of the design that changed the way the world made guns. The slide locks back on the last round fired. To drop the slide over a fresh magazine, simply give it a little snatch to the rear. What was truly revolutionary, however, was the trigger.

The Walther PP was one of the first autoloading pistols to feature a single action/double action trigger. This design was subsequently incorporated into such proven classics as the Walther P38, Beretta M9 and SIG P220-series pistols. The slide-mounted safety lever disengages the firing pin and safely drops the hammer.

The PPK got a slight makeover, thanks to the US Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, and became the PPK/s. This version had a somewhat longer grip, carried one extra round and remained importable under the GCA, where the original PPK did not. In 2013, Walther debuted the PPK/s 22.

The PPK/s 22 is a blowback pistol firing .22LR rimfire ammunition. The magazine holds 10 rounds, and the manual of arms mimics that of the full-sized centerfire PPK/s. Curiously, while the single action trigger is a decent 6.1 pounds, the double action version is actually a whopping 16.5. The MSRP is $349.

The Walther Polizeipistole family portrait. From top to bottom starting in 1929 and running to the present we have the PP, the PPK, the PPK/s, and the PPK/s 22.

The Switchback 22

 

The SilencerCo Switchback 22 is, in my estimation, the most versatile and effective rimfire suppressor in the world. A truly modular design, the Switchback 22 is constructed of tough but lightweight titanium and stainless steel. Treat it with even a modicum of respect and the Switchback 22 should still be entertaining your grandchildren’s children.

 

In its most compact configuration, the SilencerCo Switchback 22 is absolutely ti-ny. This miniature state of the art sound suppressor facilitates communication without adding a significant penalty in weight or bulk.

The Switchback 22 consists of two different baffle stacks, a serialized mount, an endcap and a coupler to hook everything together. By mixing and matching, you can actually conjure four different configurations out of this one basic suppressor system. The smallest version is still fairly noisy, but it is a mere 2.5 inches long and weighs a paltry 3.2 ounces. The medium configuration is 3.6 inches long and weighs 4.3 ounces. This variant sports an increased internal volume and is incrementally more effective. The long version spans 5.75 inches, weighs 6.5 ounces and is indeed movie-grade quiet. By swapping the distal bit around backwards you can optimize the can for rifle applications. [Editor’s note: Read the manual. Directions are included with the can.]

Everything comes apart readily for cleaning, and the external contours look lyrically cool. I know I really shouldn’t care, but the aesthetic dissonance of that silver and black really sets off the PPK/s 22’s sultry lines. The Switchback 22 is rated for use on all .22 rimfire platforms, as well as the zippy 5.7x28mm round, even on full auto.

Lots of folks make .22 suppressors, but nobody makes .22 suppressors quite like this. Tunable for disparate applications, inimitably svelte and as discreet as a televangelist in a brothel, the Switchback 22 works as well as it looks. It will absolutely ruin you to noisy guns. The MSRP for the Switchback 22 is $499.

In its medium setup, the SilencerCo Switchback 22 adds an inch and an ounce to the smallest variant but brings enhanced performance.

How Does It Run?

The Walther PPK/s 22 with the full-sized Switchback 22 attached is more dense than it appears. It’s not cumbersome, it is simply more substantial than your typical plastic pistol. The muzzle comes from the factory with a threaded protector. A suppressor adaptor will set you back about 20 bucks online. I used a drop of blue thread locker to secure the adaptor in place. Otherwise, it frequently unscrewed with the suppressor, rather than staying on the gun.

The Walther PPK/s 22 is a rimfire version of the classic PPK/s pocket gun. The SilencerCo Switchback 22 is a modular rimfire suppressor that is inimitably versa-tile. It is shown here is its long configuration.

In my humble view, the 16.5-pound trigger pull renders the gun unusable for any precision applications in double action mode. However, the single action trigger remains fairly dreamy. There’s some trivial soft take-up followed by a nice crisp break. For a rimfire pocket pistol with a 3.3-inch barrel, my svelte little PPK/s 22 shoots plenty straight.

There are lots better defensive weapons on the market. As a physician I have seen a couple of unfortunates shuffle off their mortal coil as a result of the judicious application of .22 rimfire rounds, but there are way better tools for personal security and defense. What the Walther PPK/s 22 and SilencerCo Switchback 22 are really, really good for, however, is what Bond was doing earlier in our narrative. This gun is just plain fun.

In its smallest configuration, the Switchback 22 takes enough of the edge off of the gun’s report to facilitate communication indoors or within a vehicle. With subsonic ammo, the full-sized version is absolutely delightful. Don’t bother with muffs. You won’t need them.


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