I was looking at my friend's Interarms PPK/S yesterday. I noticed that it had a "passive" internal safety device in addition to the slide-mounted manual safety/decocker lever which locks the firing pin in place.
The passive internal hammer-block safety will not allow the hammer to fall all the way forward unless the trigger is fully depresed completely to the rear. Was this safety mechanism always a part of the PP, PPK, and PPK/S designs or was it added sometime along the way much like the series 80 parts in the 1911?
I have heard people say the PPK is not safe to carry with the manual safety off and a round chambered because a blow to the hammer could cause a discharge. With the safety system I saw in the Interarms PPK/S it would seem highly unlikely that such a discharge could occur. However, if the original German design from the 1920's did not include such a passive safety I could see how such a reputation could develop.
I understand about transferring inertia to the firing pin with a sharp blow to the hammer but with the hammer being held away from the pin it would have to be some kind of serious whap. I'm really interested in the history of the passive safety system and any information would be appreciated.
Bump hoping for a answer.
The hammer blocking safety was an integral part of the PP series pistols right from the get-go in 1929.
The original Walther PP pistol had the hammer block and this has been used ever since.
Due to the block, in order for the hammer to contact the firing pin with enough force to drive it forward, the gun would have to be dropped either from a great height, or struck with tremendous force.
It would have to be enough force not only to break the block, but also to drive it through the frame far enough to allow the hammer to move forward and still have enough force to drive the firing pin forward.
The more paranoid fear that if a PP series pistol was dropped and landed on the muzzle, there MIGHT be enough inertia to cause the firing pin to move forward and fire a cartridge.
There is one purported case of this happening, but I've heard no verification.
The chances of this happening are much more possible than a broken hammer block.
Again, tremendous force would be needed, since the firing pin is light, and the spring is strong.
I suspect that sufficient force can't be generated by dropping it from your hand, and a much greater height would be necessary.
The fact is, the Walther PP series has one of the best safety records of all time, and while there is a statistical "chance" of the firing pin moving forward and firing a round, this is right up there with being struck by a meteor.
dfariswheel.... Good post. Thanks for the info.