Walther MP-PP Prototype at James D Julia

During the late 1920s, it looked like the German Army was going to replace the P08 Luger with a less expensive sidearm, and several major German companies developed prototype guns to meet this anticipated need. The replacement ended up being postponed for nearly a decade (the P38 would be the eventual result), and this led to most of the prototype ideas being dropped. The Walther company had designed a scaled-up version of its very popular PP, which was to be called the MP. Only a small number were made – Fritz Walther himself carried one in 9x19mm, and this example was made in 9x23mm Steyr in hopes of attracting interest from the Chilean military. It is a simple blowback action, quite literally an enlarged PP. In my opinion, it feels fantastic in the hand – it is curious to consider what it would have felt like to shoot.


  1. Well if anyone actually wants a single stack 9mm as over the years I have read there’s some sort of demand for, there you are the Walther Mp.

  2. Having once owned a PPK and having shot a friend’s PPK recently, I find the recoil somewhat “stiff” in a .380acp. I find, at least for me, that the locked breech actions offer less recoil in .380acp that blow-back models. I imagine a blowback 9mm would also recoil more.
    Maybe I’m just a whimp but for me my lightweight, Commander sized, 1911 is more comfortable to shoot that a PPK. I doubt I would enjoy a blowback 9mm.

    • The FeG PA-63 and R-61, PP and PPK clones respectively, are in 9 x 18mm Makarov. I used to own one of each, and found the bigger PA noticeably more comfortable to shoot than the diminutive R, which had a sharp recoil reminiscent of a Beretta M1934 9mm “Corto” fired with modern .380 defense ammunition. (A friend of mine dubbed it the “Noisy Cricket”, as in “Men in Black”.)

      I rather suspect the blowback MP in 9x19mm or more emphatic chamberings would be a real handful to shoot. To say nothing of its expected service life due to frame cracking, slide galling, peening, etc.



      • I suppose the sharpness of the recoil ultimately depends largely on the weight of the gun and the durability from the weight (mass) of the slide. I have no references which would give the weight of the Walther MP (the pistol in question, not the SMG), let alone the slide. The gun looks slender and relatively lightweight for its size, but looks can be deceiving. It has a 5″ barrel and the slide extends all the way to the end of the barrel, which indicates that it might be fairly massive.

  3. The Julia auctions have a lot of interesting pieces. I hope you put out a summary of the results for the pieces you highlighted, a lot of the estimates are way above what I thought these guns might bring.

  4. The first thing that should be considered when evaluating the Walther MP-PP prototype is the genesis time frame of 1928. Contemporary handguns were largely revolvers such as the Smith & Wesson or Webley and semi-automatics such as the Luger or the 1911 Colt. At that time the Thompsons were still open bolt and likewise blowback making it problematic in some environments. The Luger, which is a fantastic example of engineering, was outrageously expensive due to the complexity and machining requirements. In this context this pistol was quite advanced as a military/police weapon. It was simple to operate, the field stripping was idiot-proof simple and comparatively speaking it was more that adequately powerful for the intended job. As for recoil, when in combat this is the least of one’s concerns and it probably was less than some of the Webley and comparable handguns’ then in use. Certainly it was preferable to the .38s in Colt models as a combat weapon. The fact that it was single/double-action is astounding at this date in a production combat military/police handgun. And the date is amazing as well; this was 11 years before I was born and I am closing in on my 76th year. All in all, I would love to have it and even today would not hesitate to carry one into combat … if I were still able to participate in such foolishness at my age. Like Ian, I would like to be able to shoot one if for no other reason than to add it to my still-growing list.

  5. I suspect it would be rather like shooting the somewhat similar blowback 9×19 Detonics Pocket 9 from the 80’s – decidedly unpleasant. I very briefly owned one of those disasters…

  6. The Astra 400 and 600 are both 9mm parabellum power level (9largo and 9para) and yes they are a bit stiff on recoil.

    I had not known that the PP was chambered in 9×23 learn something new every day 🙂

  7. Point of order; I thought the Steyr was a 9×22.7mm. And isn’t supposed to be interchangeable with the 9x23mms, like the Bergmann-Bayard Long. Or did Walther set this one up to use any or all of the above?

    Personally, I suspect that they’d “exchange” perfectly well. Three-tenths of a millimeter is within the margin of error for a batch of ammunition or the chamber spec of a pistol barrel chamber even today, let along in the 1920s.



  8. The way of takedown of Walther PP limits using practical buffers for dampening the vioent impact of powerfull rounds like 9mm Para. It needs some space behind the upper lug of triger guard used for key piece for dismounting. But trigger engagements begins at very little distance from that section. In fact, using longer rounds than .32″ ACP,
    it naturally occurs some usable spaces in front of the trigger location under the breech and it can be used to mount some buffers like fiber discs behind the upper lug of trigger guard. If it were made, the chance of Model MP would be more to replace with P08. Breech locks, heavy recoil springs, mechanical delay systems work as recoil dampener at the same time. Simple blowback MP has no such facility, but could be equipped with simple impact softeners with lenghtening the frame at breech section to forward.

    • HK VP70 has very similar take down with Walther PP but, Alex Seidel, the inventor, by light of past experiments including MP, provided very efective and sophisticated shock absorbers in this pistol. The device is a multi staged spring supported mechanical cushion mounted below the chamber section of barrel. It has a tip protruding forward to counter strike the recoiling slide and during the take down process, it is drawn downward into its recess in the plastic receiver giving no clue that there is such a recoil reducer within the pistol. The layout of VP70 enables to mount this kind of a device but MP has not a chance for it. The slide weight and recoil spring force of VP70 are not very different than standart values but mentioned recoil absorber greatly reduces the felt recoil and prevents wear and tear on the handgun.

  9. I’m totally okay with stiff recoil.

    And if someone started making reproductions, I would buy one in a heartbeat. Incredibly sexy gun.

  10. I remember seeing pictures of these in 9×19 in Ezell’s book some time back and thinking of how nice looking it was. Part of me would love to have a modern example (made by Walther) as I have a couple of PPs and PPKs. On the downside, I think anything in an unlocked blowback design firing the 9×19 Parabellum and longer 9mms is the question of spring tension vs. frame wear/cracking after moderate to prolonged use. I think this would be easily resolved with frequent spring changes and decent metallurgy. On the whole, I think it would make a fine carry piece, but as I am typing this I can see the scar on the web of my right hand where one of my wartime PPKs “bit” me with its slide. As I was wiping up the blood, my shooting partner started laughing and called it “revenge from a dead Nazi.” One of his bit him later on, so I guess I got a bit of that revenge myself.

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