In an interesting side-note to Hitler’s preferred weapon of choice, it should be noted that he actually carried an American revolver for many years. It was a Smith and Wesson Ladysmith model , and he was oftentimes seen carrying the sidearm. He stopped carrying that revolver the day after Franklin Roosevelt declared war on both Japan and Germany following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He was then seen with his Walther PPK. Insofar as where those particular weapons may now be located so many years after Hitler’s demise, there are no clear-cut answers. Some theorize that the Russians took possession of the PPK, although they have remained largely quiet on the subject, and it had been bantered about that the Smith and Wesson may have ended up in the hands of an American army colonel. Photographs of a PPK were released by the Kremlin some years ago with the indication that it was indeed the weapon used by Hitler, but proof of its authenticity was never made available.
The markings show this particular pistol was used both by the East German government and was later reissued by the combined Federal Republic of Germany. I purchased this pistol in the late 90’s. It was equipped with a set of thumb rest “target grips” to meet import requirements. I replaced those with the rubber Pearce Grips seen in the photo and also acquired a set of actual hard plastic East German grips later (which I couldn’t find for the photo.) In use I’ve found this pistol to be both reliable and accurate. The double-action trigger pull, while heavy, has smoothed out noticeably with use.
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.