Three Variations of Party Leader PPK Pistols


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at Legacy Collectibles taking a look at “party leader” PPKs. This is an example of the Walther PPK, a sub-variant of the PPK, that is in tremendous demand by collectors and very highly valued and very easily faked. So I have the opportunity today through Legacy to show you legitimate, proper, correct examples of all three types, and also of some of the fakes. So that you
can get an idea for what’s right and what’s wrong. Now, before we go into this, I want
to touch on briefly what is the history, like, what are these things to begin with? Because what a lot of people see is,
“Oh, it’s a PPK with a swastika on it.” Well in some ways it is. The specific
history of these is the initial batch of about 30,000 of these guns was
manufactured in 1934 and 1935. And it was something that was available
at a special discounted price only to, not necessarily leaders, but employees,
active members of the Nazi Party. So, … a lot of people in Germany were
members of the Nazi Party because a lot of professions required party membership
once the party came into power. But for those people who held, say,
government jobs actively working for the party, … politicians, bureaucrats, local town
mayors, provincial governors, the Gauleiter, as well as, you know, all sorts of other
functionaries within the Nazi Party. One of the perks of being a party member was you
got access to this nice status symbol of a PPK pistol. So, the initial batch, as I said, were made in ’34 and ’35,
… and those actually don’t have a swastika on them at all. Those are the “RZM” type, which
we’ll take a look at in a moment. They then changed things around, and
in 1938 they decided to offer them again, but this time it would be a standard gun
that had a nice special Nazi Party grip on it. And so … you know, there are some new party
members by that point who hadn’t been involved in ’35. Some of those people bought new
guns, and then some people also had the option to just buy a grip and put the
fancy new grip on the gun that they already had. This continued for a little while, and then by
late in World War Two, the small sort of trickle of party leader guns that were still being offered
and sold, started being made with a black grip. So those are our three main variations. The RZM,
the red grip (or brown grip), and the black grip. Now, let’s take a close look at these one at a time. Alright, we’ll go ahead and start with the RZM version. This is the earliest, there were about 30,000 of
these made in 1934 and 1935. And they’re called RZM because they have this round RZM marking on
the slide. That stands for “Reichs Zeugmeisterei”, which is basically the the party quartermaster
company or party supply authority. This was the organisation that was set up to
purchase stuff of all sorts, uniforms, weapons, all sorts of just equipment for the
Nazi Party, the NSDAP organisation itself. So when they decided that Nazi Party officials
ought to be able to get this nice badge of rank sort of pistol at a special price, that
contract was all run through the RZM. In addition to the marking on the slide, these
can be identified roughly by serial number. They’ll run from about 820,000 to about 844,000. Although … unfortunately, there are some
examples outside of that serial number range as well, because there were about 30,000, and
that [range] covers about 26,000 guns. Now in 1938 they went back and looked at this,
and decided to make the gun a little bit fancier. Because if it’s supposed to be a badge of special rank and authority,
and, you know, your position in the governing body of the country, well, it ought to look the part. More than
just having a special price tag for you. So, they introduced a party leader gun that
had this fancy swastika and eagle grip on it. On both sides of the grip in fact.
And so this came out in 1938. However, you could also just buy the grip. So there are
some guys who had maybe already bought an RZM gun because they were an official in the party back in ’35. They could just buy this grip and put it on
their pre-existing gun to make it look better. This makes sense from the time period, but it also
significantly complicates authenticating these guns. That’s the biggest issue with these is
trying to figure out if they’re real or not real. Because there are a lot of reproduction versions of these grips. … A reproduction grip is maybe a couple hundred dollars, and an
authentic party leader gun is maybe just shy of 10,000 dollars. So there’s a … huge difference in price that comes
from putting an authentic grip on an authentic gun. Now one tool we have at our disposal to
help authenticate is the serial numbers. We know that the party leader grip was introduced in 1938, and
most of these guns were made in 1938, or were sold in 1938. So a 1938 serial number range would be
174,000 to about 250,000 with a “K” suffix for PPK. That of course doesn’t mean that every
gun made in 1938 was sold as a party leader, but it does mean that if you are presented
with one of these guns and the serial number falls outside of that range, well,
you should be a little sceptical. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fake, because as I said, you
could buy just the grip and put it on a pre-existing gun. You could also have gotten one
of these and decided to, you know, maybe your gun gets damaged and you take
the grip off and put it on a later production gun. Both of these things are perfectly plausible,
and they make authenticating really difficult. Now when you bought this gun, this was
by the way something you had to purchase, just because you’re in the party and, you
know, an official town mayor or something, they’re not gonna give you a pistol, but they will
give you the opportunity to pay some money for it. And this is what it’s going to look like when you get it. … The label changed a bit, but in this case it’s a green label.
Our serial number here is 223,000, so this again is 1938 production. Inside we’ve got a cleaning rod, we’ve got our original manual that comes with the gun.
And then you’re gonna get a pistol and a couple of accessories. So the gun came with one magazine with the
finger extension, and with one magazine without. These magazines are not serial numbered. There
are actually some serial numbered … magazines, those are for special contracts outside of the
norm. So that’s a subject for another video. Then you also got this little aluminium tin. The early
ones had a picture of the Walther factory on top, later they would go to just a big Walther banner. And inside we have some horsehair for cleaning the
gun with, and what’s called a little “milk crate” for oil. So that is what your brand new, in the
box, party leader pistol would look like. (Put that back the right way.) And maybe counter-intuitively, a lot of surviving
party leader guns are actually in beautiful condition. Maybe not quite as good as this one, but a lot
of them are in basically unfired mint condition. And that’s because these
guns virtually never saw combat. This was often a gun for a bureaucrat, or a functionary,
or a politician. These didn’t go to the Eastern Front, they oftentimes sat in their box, just
like this, in a desk drawer or in a closet. As, you know, “I bought this because it was
the thing to do as a party member but, you know, I don’t actually carry it, it just sits there.” And then when the
war ends, it gets found and ends up in the hands of a US GI. Alright. Now the biggest thing is how do
you identify a fake grip from a real grip? So I have a real party leader grip, worth, I don’t know, 7,000
dollars? And a fake party leader grip worth 200 dollars. Part of what makes this difficult is the
colour patterning on these grips is unique, these are like fingerprints. Every single one of them is a little
different. There’s varying amounts of black that goes into this. So this is real, this is also real. These are all of course regular,
you know, standard production grips, not party leader grips. But these were all made in the same process, … not quite
the same mould because they had to add the decorative bits, but the same materials went into all of these grips,
whether they were standard guns or party leaders. This is a particularly early one, before they
had nearly as much black in the mixture, but there’s no special pattern
to these, they’re all different. But all is not lost. There are a couple of features that you can
look at to at least get a good start on authenticating one of these. So, this is our real one, this is our fake one. First thing you’ll notice is that the real ones have a
piece of … thin sheet metal in the bottom of the grip. And that’s to reinforce it so that
this doesn’t bend closed and crack. You can actually see a little bit of a bump
right there, where the metal’s inside the plastic. Now, the earliest of the fake grips didn’t have that
metal reinforcing, so that’s a pretty good giveaway. … The second batch, once they
realised that they needed to improve that, went to a very bright shiny piece of metal, when in
real ones this is kind of matt and dulled in colour, so. This one however is past those two, this
one … is from the point where they’ve actually started getting the right sort of metal insert
into the grip. So that’s not going to help us here. One of the best tell-tales that’s still there is
this little cutout lip on the left side of the grip. That’s cut down because that’s where
the safety lever comes down over the grip, and so it has to be a little thinner. And on
the fakes it’s thicker than it is on the real ones. You’ll notice this is, right here, this is really
thin. In fact, it’s actually kind of bowed in because it’s thin enough that
it’s gotten deformed over time. That looks like a problem, but that is
actually an indication that it’s original. If we go through and look at our non-party leader
authentic grips. Again, look at this little section right there, very thin, a little bit bowed in. This one again, very thin, and that
one’s definitely got some bow to it. This one isn’t bowed, but again you can see it’s
much thinner than the fake one is right up in here. If you just look at the eagle and
swastika, they did really good job. The workmanship, the detail is just a tiny bit
better on the authentic ones, but they’re really close. And if you don’t have two side by side to compare,
it would be really difficult to spot the difference. You can see a few little things like, if you
look at the chest feathers on the eagle. They’re a little bit different, they’re nicer here,
they’re a little more 3-dimensional on the real one. If we look at the front, you can see that the
workmanship is a little bit better on the original. Look at these locking tabs compared to these. You can’t always count on that, because it’s easy for an original
to have gotten worn a bit and look a little less professional. And by the way, you can’t count on the amount of
plastic covering that metal insert to be indicative, because that varies widely among real ones. You can also see just a little bit of difference
in the thickness of the the side panels. So this guy on the left is our fake, this one on the right
is an authentic party leader and compare this to that. You can see that the one on
the left is just a little bit thicker. This, by the way, is one of the best fakes out
there that Tom at Legacy has found yet. So if you can see the differences between these two,
you should be pretty well equipped to go out there and properly identify one that you find anywhere else. There is one more version that we need to take
a look at, and that is the black coloured version. These were introduced relatively late in the war
and the grips transitioned from this cool mottled reddish-brown to a solid black on all of the
standard production guns late in the war as well. Now there’s a little bit of debate about
the authenticity of the black grip guns. However, there are a couple that have absolutely been
verified as coming back with veterans from the war, and there are some out there.
However, there are clearly not very many. There’s certainly a lot fewer of these than
there are of the red-brown style of party leader. … Well, let me start by saying that these will … have
to have late-war features, so relatively late production. You can see that the finish on this gun is much
cruder than on the early production pre-war guns. You know the general fit and and polish of the gun is
going to be commensurate with a late-war example. Identifying a legitimate grip however is tricky, because
without the some of the colouring to be a guide, it’s a lot harder to differentiate
this fake one from this real one. And, in fact on this one you can see that sidewall
… that I was just telling you is a good indicator, you can’t really, like that’s a thin
side wall, that looks authentic. On the black one here there’s not much difference
in wall thickness, this gets really, really difficult. Because this is about a 200
dollar reproduction fake grip. So, how are you supposed to figure out which ones are real?
Well, this is a situation where it really comes down to provenance and other circumstances, do you trust
the person who has it? Is there a viable, rational explanation for where it came from,
how it got into this person’s possession? You know, we’re getting to the point where the original veterans
who brought these guns back, very few of them remain alive today. And so 20, 30 years ago the solution would have
been find the guy who actually brought the gun back, and buy it from a veteran if you want to be really sure that
it’s a real thing. Today you really don’t have that option, so it comes down to, do you have
documentation? Do you have provenance? Do you trust the seller? And I think for a lot of people
this is the sort of gun that can very easily become I want one, but I’m just not gonna buy one because I’m not
confident that I can properly authenticate it as being real. And it’s a tremendous amount of money to spend
on something that might be indistinguishably fake. Alright, that is a lot of little fine detail to go over.
But we have one more element of the party leader PPK to take a look at before we are complete,
and that is the holster that went with them. Because, naturally, this was a political
party that put a lot of emphasis on iconography and symbolism and
decoration and looking really smart. And so naturally they embellished
the holsters to go along with the guns. Now the very first batch, the RZM party leaders,
just used standard holsters made by AKAH, A-k-a-h, without really any distinguishing features. When they brought out the fancy swastika eagle grip,
they went ahead and embellished the holster to match. So, you’ll get a holster like this that has
the same eagle and swastika stamped on it. It is otherwise a standard PPK holster.
You’ve got a space for a spare magazine. Now inside here you would usually have an ink stamp of “PPK”, and
you can just barely make out the remnants of that on this one. Then you have a couple little
markings here on the cover flap. D.R.G.M. indicates [German registered design],
and then this little symbol below it is a pair of crossed rifles,
that is the AKAH company logo. So all of AKAH’s holsters have the symbol,
only the party leaders are marked D.R.G.M. [?]. And lastly the little locking tab here is
cut square at the top and stitched down. Standard holsters have a longer rounded tab. Well, that is simply unacceptable on a party leader
holster, because it would obscure the swastika. So for just these they cut that down. In fact,
you can see where that had been rounded, they cut it off, folded it over, and stitched it so that
it doesn’t obstruct your nice party iconography. The belt buckle, of course was the
same thing, eagle and swastika logo on it. And this was another accessory
that was sold only to party officials through a little catalogue, along with
the pistols and the grips and the holsters. In fact, kind of interesting, while the party
leader guns by 1938 were not marked with RZM, RZM as an organisation remained in existence until 1943,
continuing to handle procurement for the Nazi Party. And quite a lot of various goods
will have an RZM stamp on them, including the back of this belt buckle,
which has a little RZM moulded into it. So hopefully you guys enjoyed this video.
This is a subject that I have been loath to cover, for fear of not having legitimate authentic examples.
And so I really appreciate that Legacy has unassailably correct versions of these,
because they are so easy to fake. So if you are actually looking to
get one of these, if you find one … Tom at Legacy is happy to do an
authentication on it as best he can over the internet. If you send him some pictures to [email protected]
collectibles.com, he’s happy to assess it as best he can. This is one of those things that if it’s fake it’s often something that
he can spot as fake and tell you, “No, that’s definitely a fake one.” Proving that something is authentic, especially from
pictures, is a little more difficult, but for free of charge he’s happy to do that as a service to the
collector community. Which is really cool. So, if you’re interested, definitely check out Legacy. And thanks for watching.

About the author

Comments

  1. In 70 years: The authentic MAGA 1911 Kimber pistols will feature the full jowly nature of the Trump's face. You can see on the fake here, that he actually looks more like a real human.

  2. holsters? i had mine hand made by local leather works took 5 weeks. length for exterior belt plus 6 inches in uniform brown stain. fold over top looked great. later got the bond holster!

  3. You can tell if you look closely. The real moldings are definitely crisper than the fakes in all of them. It should look unnaturally sharp for a molded piece.

  4. «DRGM» doesn't indicates anything in connection with the Nazi Party.
    It just means « Deutsches Reichsgebrauchsmuster » (German Reich Utility Model) and marks a kind of copyright for the design.
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gebrauchsmuster?wprov=sfla1

  5. The one good thing about UK gun laws is none of us will never have to agonise about handing over $10K for one of these 😂

  6. The cleaning material isn't horse hair, it's tow (flax fiber) goes back to the muzzle loader days for swabbing the bore out.

  7. I have a 1935 PPK, but it’s not a party leader, just a standard PPK. It had the original bakelite grip, but sadly it was cracked. I still have it, but now the gun has a wood grip

  8. I was literally sitting on the toilet , wearing my shoulder holster with my ppks in it , when this video came up. I love Walther ppks.

  9. I was always wondering why James Bond would choose a PPK has his weapon of choice…
    Could you maybe make a video on the history of James Bond guns?
    Would be quite interesting, I think.

  10. Yes I like seeing the old guns in action and I'm finding the pocket type quite interesting. It's really amazing how good some of these old guns were and still are. Yes I know there were some bad ones, but you could say that about some of the stuff being made today as well.

  11. Weren't a lot of those guns got destroyed at the end of the second world war? Because a lot of former nazi members didn't want to get problems after Germany was defeated so to better mingle in to the new system, so the Communist Party in Eastern Germany and the Conservative Party in West Germany you had to destroy all your valuable Nazi Party items, so they destroyed not only such a gun, but also things like the Mother's Cross or the book "Mein Kampf".
    And problably the only moment those guns were used was when some regional Nazi leader shoot himself at the end of the war.

  12. The Walther PPK is a german abbreviation meaning "Polizei Pistole Kurz" (Police pistol short)
    The Walther PP means "Polizei Pistole" and has a somewhat longer barrel than the PPK.
    The shorter PPK Version was meant as Pocket Pistol.

    I used to own a PP 7,62 Cal. made by a french manufacturer (Manurhine) who made it in license of Walther after ww2
    Indeed police corpses in Europe carried it as their standard weapon for many years.

    I got rid of the thing, since i lost interest in firearms.

  13. I've seen so many of those WWII PPK mottled brown grips were over tightened and have small cracks around the screw holes. I recommend the repro grips for shooting, but I do notice that many of them fit poorly.

  14. I lived next to a ww2 veteran for many years. His family was some distance away, but I would always stop by and in my innocence as a kid would ask about WW2 he always said I’ll tell you when your older. I lost touch for a bit and I saw him walking I was in high school doing a ww2 project. I told him what I was doing and he said come by and I’ll tell you. I did and he told me things I couldn’t imagine, I recorded it obviously. Then as part of my project he asked if he could talk to the senior class. I ok’d it with the school and he gave them a sanitized version of what I got and took questions. I thanked him afterwards and he told me he was glad to do it. It had been bothering him for years. We kept in contact via email for a few years after that. When i celebrated my 21st birthday he called me and I stopped by and he showed me a war trophy he got. It was a party leader PPK, said he got it in a German governor’s office desk looking for souvenirs. He knew it was worth money but he said “ I got all I need and my grandkids are all anti gun liberals, you however” he said to me “ know a fine weapon when you see it” so I’m giving this to you” I tried to refuse and he insisted saying “ your a history person and something like this belongs with a person who will appreciate it” we went over to a local gun store and he signed it over. He typed me a letter with its story and the ww2 vintage bring back paperwork. It’s the crown jewel of my collection. I’ve only ever shot it enough to verify it operates. It’s displayed lovingly on my man cave wall in locked lexan with its original box and extras. There’s a picture there of us that day in high school. I will never part with that gun. I’ve been in financial trouble but I’ve kept it. That gun will go to someone in my family in the future, I’m proud to own it, the wonderful veteran who gave it to me passed on a few years back. I got to say a few words, I’m glad I recorded his story and that he gave me a war trophy. He turned me into a collector myself, not a cheap hobby but totally worth it

  15. My great grandfather was a Nazi soldier ,the man that adopted my grandfather was an American soldier in Germany that’s how my dads side of the family got to America that is also what kinda sparked my interest in military history from WW2 forward and my strange love for Nazi artifacts came with that lol.

    While my German great grandfather was off fighting my young grandfather got injured and broke his arm I think it got infected or something and he got very sick they were from a small country village so drs and $ weren’t really available anyway the American GI’s ended up coming through the village and the man that went on to adopt my grandfather got him medical attention and brought him back to the states to raise him as his own he was a German American I’m not sure how long his family had been in America from Germany but anyway that’s my family history,my grandfather went on to grow up and join the Air Force he was stationed right down the street from where I live at Luke Air Force base until he passed away from cancer at the age of 31,both his birth father in Germany and the American soldier that adopted and raised him survived the war and sadly outlived him.

    My mother’s side of the family came from Spain and settled in Arizona before it was sold to the United States they stayed in Arizona where I still am today,my grandmother was born in 1918 the middle child to a family of 12 other siblings she had 4 other sisters and 7 brothers every single one of her brothers obviously varying In wide ranges joined the armed services and I believe 5 of them fought over seas from WW2-Vietnam my grandmother’s baby brother the youngest of them served as a green beret in Vietnam.

    Point of me sharing all this is kinda pointless although the German part is slightly related to the video ,the point of me sharing my grandmothers side story is because even tho her family was Spanish Americans they were all very much Americans and loved this country so much that they were willing to die for it ,all of them saw serving their country as an essential part of being an American and they did it proudly ,not just by serving with the armed forces but by taking part in our democracy they all voted regularly my grandmother became the secretary to the Governor of Arizona etc etc etc .so I don’t understand the people these days that A don’t want to immigrate into our country legally and B when they get here they aren’t interested in joining our culture and participating in our great country they look to change in by brute force or illegal means and want to turn it into the places the supposedly just ran from and had to come here seeking “asylum” smh it’s ridiculous,become a citizen-pay your taxes- vote (no matter who you vote for become an informed voter)-buy a home-maybe send a couple kids to college or at least off to be decent productive members of society that’s the American way.

  16. One really apparent difference appears to be inside on the side "ribs". The originals are radius'd at the lower end. Repros are squared off.

  17. I found that british weird tank killer rifle from ww2, David niven used 1 In the movie papers tiger, thanx 2 u I recognized the gun, take a look..? You're going to love this……!

  18. “DRGM” is actually a little more complex as far as markings are concerned and is more of a patent-related stamp than a party-related stamp. You’ll find it used even before the Nazi party officially took control.

  19. at 4:18 it's a nice gun but if I owned it I'd put a different kind of eagle on it if ya know what I mean…

  20. Great presentation! I think enough time has passed to start exhibiting this stuff as HISTORICAL RELICS and not have people complaining about glorifying "icons of ideology".

  21. So…..if Ian became momentarily confused and accidentally swapped out the black grips, putting the counterfeit back onto the original gun, would that make it a fake?

  22. Haha the video I watched before this (Walther 9mm Ultra) I commented about my pet peeve of pronouncing names wrong and in this video you don't pronounce Walther as "WALTHER" (TH) but "walter" (T). Thumbs up. You're halfway there, now change that "W" to a "V" sound. VALTER! =Þ

  23. Watching this a couple weeks after it came out, I almost passed out. I recognized that box instantly as my Great-Uncle with no exaggeration gas one sitting in the bottom of his gun safe next to a Lefecheux pinafore revolver. For the longest time I just thought it was a WW2 Walther PP. I may be mistaken as the last time I saw it I was 15 or 16 but damn if that box didn't immediately set off a red flag in my head. Mind, this uncle has told me numerous times he intends to pass on the majority of his collection to me as he never had kids. Best case scenario, I have one of these extremely cool PPKs in it's box. Worst case I still have a kick ass normal PPK added to my own collection.

  24. Compared to the originals you have its easy to spot the fakes just by looking at the eagle. But I assume some of the legit ones may be worn to the degree where the details look less sharp. In these cases it was easy though.

  25. As it turns out, my brother in law's father has an early model… They found out by watching your video…

    Keep up the good work!!!

  26. I find the black grips the most interesting. These seem like something you'd buy to show loyalty to the party. Fork over some money to advance your career. By the time Walter wasn't blueing the guns nicely, the war was clearly lost. What kind of person spends their money at that point in the war on a grift like this to up their standing with the party? Only to get a gun that may well get you killed when the Russians find it as they ransack your house. Just seems odd to me. Oh well.

  27. Strange to think, when you mentioned 1934, how many people were strapped up with the 380. Third Reich admin (targets of assassins) to many of the US motorized bandits (1911s often too big to conceal in the summer) for specific examples let alone whole armies and European citizens (feel the 32 ACP may have been more prominent worldwide, but those with a choice I'm sure went 380 for more power in almost always a same size gun, something true to the end of the Saturday Night Special class and micro 32s became one of the first fads in the concealed carry explosion of the mid 90s.
    Today it's a mouse, with significant better performance and guns smaller lighter and thinner than the 25s of yesteryear. I have a feel it was thought of as enough in the 30s, carryability and autoloading convenience withstanding.
    I've read many Spetznaz in Afghanistan were dissatisfied with the more powerful 9×18, common sentiment being a frag or extra 74 mag worth more in weight than that particular standalone weapon/backup pistol in that AO

  28. meanwhile in a gun Rights state a local city council gets a fund raising idea everyone can jump the gun on………………

  29. Actually the party leader pistol was handed out for free as gifts to officers on occasion also a lot of times they would be custom engraved with designs and sometimes a name or initials

  30. Any interest in doing an episode on the pistol Hitler killed himself with? What it was, who maybe took it, where it may have ended up? Maybe what it would be worth now?

  31. D.R.G.M. stands for "Deutsches Reich Gebrauchs Muster" it was used from 1877 – 1945 and is some kind of an Utility Model.

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