The Sterling model PPL pistol is a firearm that is not encountered very often today. It is a blow back operated, semi-automatic pistol that is chambered for the .380 ACP(Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge. This pistol incorporates a blade type front sight and a V notch rear sight, both of which are not adjustable. It is fed by an 8 round detachable box magazine. On the pistol's butt there is a European style heel magazine release. The push button manual safety is located toward the front and directly above the trigger guard. In the photograph on the right, this push button safety is shown in the fire position. The plastic grip panels are secured to the frame by two hex or Allen key screws with a hexagonal socket in the head. The left grip panel will need to be removed in order to disassemble the pistol. This pistol has a one inch barrel and a total length of 5.38 inches and an unloaded weight of 22.5 ounces. This firearm does not incorporate any type of slide hold open mechanism to let the operator know when the last round has been fired. There is also no built in device to hold open the slide for general cleaning of the barrel. The barrel is built in to the receiver and is not removable.
This model PPL was manufactured by the Sterling Arms Corporation which has no ties to a company of a similar name called Sterling Revolvers.
The Sterling Arms Corporation which is out of Lockport and Gasport, New York started production in 1968. Late in 1971, the Sterling Arms Corporation, was having trouble manufacturing their products so they got in touch with the E & R Machine company. Through these negotiations, E & R Machine became the licensed manufacturer of their firearm products. Then in 1972 the E & R Machine company set up a second plant located at 4436 Prospect Street in Gasport, New York to handle the manufacture of firearms for Sterling Arms Corporation. In December of 1973, E & R purchased all of the stock of the Sterling Arms Corporation thus making Sterling a wholly owned subsidiary of E & R Machine. At the end of 1983, the Sterling Arms Corporation was closed and liquidated due to the economy, poor sales and an increase in product liability that made it impossible to be profitable.
The 22nd edition of the Blue book of gun values with a copyright date of 2001 lists the Sterling Arms Corporation as being in operation from 1978 to 1986. I believe this to be incorrect but wanted to list it here as a reference for the collector and reader.
The 20th edition of the Gun traders guide with a copyright date of 1997 lists this pistol as being manufactured only two years. They list production beginning in 1971 and ending in 1972. This source also shows numerous models of pistols that were manufactured by the Sterling Arms Corporation with the last models produced being in the year 1983.