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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.  


In the upper part of the photograph on the left we can see the underside of this Sterling model PPL pistol. The European style heel magazine release can be seen in this picture. In the bottom part of this picture we are able to see the grooves that are cut into the front part of the trigger. Also notice the section that has been milled away from the bottom front of the grip to ease in the removal of the magazine.

in the upper part of the photograph on the right is the top of the pistol. In this picture we can see that the sights are built in to, and actually a part of both the receiver and the slide with absolutely no provisions for any adjustments. In the bottom part of this photograph is a picture of the rear of the pistol.

The full serial number is found only on the right side of the receiver adjacent to the barrel. I found no partial serial numbers on any of the smaller parts.  

The photograph on the left is of the markings that are on the left side of this pistol. The first set of markings on the left are as follows, "E & R INC." and then underneath that is "GASPORT, N.Y." This set of markings indicate that the E & R Machine firm out of Gasport, NY was the company that manufactured this pistol. The next set of markings are as follows, "MODEL PPL" and then underneath that is ".380 AUTO". This stamping tells us the model of the firearm and the caliber.

The photograph on the right is a close up of the left grip panel. In this picture we can see the Sterling Arms Corporation logo as well as one of the hex key screws with the hexagonal socket in the head. This left grip panel will need to be removed in order to disassemble the pistol.



Sterling model PPL instruction manual

Blue Book of Gun Values by S.P. Fjestad

Gun traders guide  

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