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Review: Walther PPQ

by James Tarr   |  April 27th, 2012 17
Walther PPQ

The iconic Walther gets an update, and an upgrade, with the PPQ—a sweet-shootin' striker-fired 9mm.

From time to time I am introduced to a new pistol design at some invitation-only, pre-production rollout event.  Quite frequently, though, I become aware of something new or interesting the old-fashioned way, and such was the case with the Walther PPQ. I walked into my local gun store to use the range, and an employee said to me, “Hey, have you checked out the new striker-fired Walther?  It has the best factory trigger of any striker-fired gun I’ve ever shot.”

 

Well, I am not so jaded that after five decades of Bond movies the name Walther doesn’t give me a little thrill.  I introduced myself to the PPQ in the display case and found out for myself that it indeed had the best trigger of any striker-fired polymer-framed handgun I’ve tested, with a crisp 4.5-lb break and a short reset.  Hello, Walther?  Please send me one to test ASAP.

Walther PPQ trigger

The trigger sports a safety lever in the center and has an excellent pull. The paddle mag release at the base of the trigger guard takes some getting used to.

 

The Walther PPQ is a full-size auto chambered in both 9mm and .40 S&W. I obtained a 9mm model, which comes with two 15-round magazines and three sizes of interchangeable backstraps, with the medium-size one installed on the gun at the factory. There is very little difference between the medium and small inserts, but the large is noticeably bigger. The grip feels small for its capacity, and I think this impression is helped by the profile of the slide, which narrows at the top.

 

With a four-inch barrel and an overall length of 7.1 inches, the Walther PPQ is roughly the size and weight (24.5 oz) of a Glock 17 but with a better trigger. Unfortunately, the engineers at Walther took a page out of the Glock design book, as the PPQ comes with polymer 3-dot sights. The rear is adjustable for windage. While the sights are very functional, I have no faith they’ll still be on the pistol if it is dropped upside down or whacked on a doorframe while walking through it (I’ve done that myself more times than I can count).

 

My test pistol had the same excellent trigger as the one I tried at the gun store. Walther calls it the Quick Defense Trigger or QDT, and it has a short, audible reset. The trigger itself has a safety lever in the center ala Glock (to prevent against accidental discharges if dropped), and the pistol has a firing pin block safety as well.

Walther PPQ grip

Walther’s Cross-Directional Textured Tactical Grip is more aggressive than it appears and did an excellent job of keeping the pistol in hand during rapid fire.

 

The PPQ’s slide features flat-bottomed serrations fore and aft that provide a very good gripping surface. The front of the square trigger guard has similar horizontal serrations, and the top of the slide is serrated to reduce glare. The front of the frame has a tactical rail for mounting a light or laser. The ambidextrous slide release is surprisingly long but not overly bulky.

 

The frame is covered with what Walther calls its Cross-Directional Textured Tactical Grip. While it does not look like much at all, it provides a better gripping surface than you’d think, and combined with the relatively mild recoil of a 9mm it was no trouble at all to hold onto the pistol during rapid fire.

 

Unlike traditional American designs, the PPQ’s magazine release is a sizable ambidextrous lever on either side of the trigger guard. Trying to figure out how to operate it efficiently was frustrating. To use your shooting hand thumb you have to turn the gun completely sideways in your hand, almost pointing the muzzle back at yourself—not good. Using your trigger finger to drop the mag, because of the angle, results in your finger pressing against the side of the trigger as well as the magazine release—very not good.

Walther PPQ sights

The author dislikes polymer sights such as those on the PPQ, but he notes that at least the rear is adjustable.

 

Well, luckily for me that gun store employee is a big Walther fan, and as an Iraq combat veteran he knows the how important it is to be able to manipulate your weapon quickly. He schooled me on the proper way to operate the Walther’s unusual magazine release by using the middle finger of my shooting hand. While this sounds awkward and slow, in actuality I found it was nearly as quick as hitting a traditional mag release with my thumb, and probably with practice it would be just as fast. It also forces you to get your finger off the trigger during mag changes, which is a good habit to get into.

 

While the PPK is still the quintessential “Bond gun,” at a recent industry event an S&W rep was asked if James Bond was ever going to be seen on screen with a Walther PPQ in hand, and his response, with a smile, was, “We’re working on it.”

Fast Specs

  • Type: striker-fired semiauto
  • Caliber: 9mm (tested), .40 S&W
  • Capacity: 15+1 (9mm), with optional 17-round magazine available; 12+1 (.40 S&W), with optional 14-round magazine avail.
  • Barrel: 4.0 in.
  • Weight: 24.5 oz. (9mm), 24.9 oz (.40 S&W)
  • OAL/Width/Height: 7.1/1.3/5.3
  • Finish: matte black
  • Sights: 3-dot
  • Trigger: 4.5 lb. (as tested)
  • Price: $729
  • Manufacturer: Walther

Accuracy Results

  • Smallest avg. group: 115 gr. Black Hills FMJ—2.4 in.
  • Largest avg. group: 124 gr. Hornady TAP—3.0 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested (3 types)—2.7 in.
  • Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards from a sandbag rest.
  • Alan_T

    When my son finished his tour of duty with the Marines and was starting out and needed a duty gun ( the agency allowed him to choose at that time as long as it was a 9mm or .40 S&W ) I took him out and then steered him to the Walther 99 , which I really liked ( still do ) . If I didn't already have so many full sized duty pistols , I'd be on top of this Walther PPQ …… I still might buy one if they bring out a compact model .

    • Don

      As a very pleased owner of a PPS .40, I must agre with David. However, I must also say that I also own a Walther P22 and I have never gotten used to that mag release on either gun! I'll have to try James's suggestion – using the middle finger of my shooting hand (although I think I've tried several combinations of fingers and hands and no one finger on either hand seems easier or more effective than any other!).

      I also found it very interesting that this PPQ sounds remarkably similar to Dave Spaulding's customized PPS 9mm that he wrote up in the Guns annual buying issue (at least I think it was Guns). He had front serrrations added to the slide, a stippling finish applied to the entire gun, and a trigger job. Wonder if somone at Walther read that article …

  • David

    They do have a compact ppq; it's called a pps!! And it too is a sweet weapon!

  • Randy

    I've had the PPQ, 9mm, for about 4 months and absolutely love it. The magazine release is perfect for me as I have small hands and using the traditional magazine release on other weapons was difficult especially in a tactical reloading situation. The trigger response is phenomenal.

  • Dirty Devan

    Well, it should great gun. Should suit 007 but he had the p99 in Casino Royale. But last Bond movie & the upcoming Skyfall he using his old PPK. He should be using the P99 or PK380,PPS or this new PPQ. We remember Dirty Harry used a 44 Automatic in Sudden Impact which was Wildey manufacturer. But use the classic S&W 44magnum revolver again is his last Dead Pool in 1989. Well let hope 007 get to use this gun in his Bond 24 mission.

  • John

    This is just a F-ing sales pitch, I tired of this site is all BS info to buy the product.

    • pat

      If this is a sales pitch its the only one ive ever seen for the ppq, the gun is super under marketed… I guess all the thousands of excellent reviews of this gun on forums are all an elaborate sales pitch too… Besides if you only get your research from gun magazines and dont find out for yourself then shame on you… Every positive thing said about the ppq in thus write up is spot on… The gun is amazing and worth every ounce of praise it gets…

    • evan

      r u sum kind of crazy person? have u even held 1. i own 1 too. i researched guns like the beretta px4 storms. s&w m&p's ,glock seventeens, ruger. name 1. ive seen it. and researched it. i spent hours everyday 4 months narrowing it down watching u tube videos, reading blogs, talking 2 owners, reading articles. i would have bought an hk p30. but 3 things made the scales tip. 1) it breaks down with a little more than a flick. but could not if dropped. it can b broken down and re-assembled w/ eyes closed in 3 -5 secnds if u now your ppq. 2) the price for the quality of the ppq, outstanding. the price is nearly half as much as an hk. and its kind of a p30, p99 hybrid. 3) the trigger. crisp, audable, lite, short, resets even shorter. i can make it sound like a full auto. if you want an hkp3o, chck out the ppq 1st. if u buy 1 you'll b able 2 get 2 guns.

      • Vince B

        This review reassured me that I have made the right choice in purchasing a PPQ . Thank you for the informative comments.

  • Dirty Devan

    It would suit 007 but he using his old Walther PPk. Maybe Bond 24 he updated his walther to the PPQ

  • DarkMatter

    Walther please make a PPQ in .45acp.

  • TKBosss

    @Dirty Devan Bond updated to the P99 back when Brosnon still played Bond

  • mrnicegaius

    Can the trigger of the PPQ be installed in a P99?

  • Jim

    I have one to go with my Glocks. It is the 9mm PPQ. Honestly, it's a great shooter! It's for sure a keeper. The only issue I have is that the range officer at a USPSA match made a comment about where my finger was when I was dropping the mag because of where the release is. I've put a couple hundred rounds thru it with no issues at all. Love it!

  • Rusty

    The PPQ and P99 mag release is actually perfect for me using my trigger finger or my middle finger…as for me i have medium to large hands more towards medium but after reading this ive been trying to dry mag change with the middle finger i like both.

  • Tazzman55

    I just picked one up in 40S&W. I was planning on putting a Sprinco kit in it to reduce felt recoil I had read that this is a soft recoiling pistol, something that I took with a grain of salt, but find that it really does not punish me like other pistols in 40 have. Now I am not sure that I need the Sprinco kit. And yes the trigger is very very good.
    Well done Walther.

  • Dirty Devan

    What do you mean?

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