In 2011 Walther introduced the PPQ (Polizei Pistole Quick Defense). An update of the P99, the Walther PPQ featured a redesigned grip and trigger guard, as well as changes to slide serrations. But the most important changes were to the trigger and the magazine release.
In the case of the former, the Quick Defense trigger was a departure from previous Walther pistols. Pulling the trigger does not partially load the striker spring as with many other striker-fired pistol designs, and the trigger pull is entirely due to the trigger and disconnector springs. The PPQ’s trigger has a travel of approximately 0.4 inch and a reset of only 0.1 inch.
And while the Walther PPQ originally came with the paddle-style release found on the P99, in 2013 the company changed it to a reversible, American-style button behind the trigger guard.
In early 2014 Walther introduced yet another version of the PPQ: the M2 5-inch. As you may have already ascertained by its name, it features a five-inch barrel—as opposed to the standard model’s four-inch tube—and a correspondingly longer slide.
The five-inch barrel obviously provides a longer sight radius, which can help in the accuracy department. Then there is the additional weight (1.6 ounces greater than the standard model) up front where it does the best job at moderating muzzle flip in addition to reducing recoil. Last, the longer barrel allows the 9mm and .40 S&W cartridges to reach their ballistic potential.
While the Walther PPQ M2 5-inch is perfectly suitable for home/personal defense and police service, today just about every manufacturer of polymer-frame pistols offers one or more models intended for action-shooting competition, and this new gun is Walther’s attempt to fill that gap in its lineup. The pistol I received for evaluation exhibited first-rate quality of materials and fit and finish. Six ports machined into the front of the slide really stood out. While this was done to reduce the weight of the slide for reliable operation with lighter 9mm loads, it also gives what is already a sexy-looking pistol a super-cool appearance.
Atop the slide are a windage-adjustable rear sight and a front sight that is easily switched for fine-tuning elevation. The dual grasping grooves and markings enhance the slide’s appearance in a subtle but attractive manner. The slide reciprocates on four steel rails: two in the locking block located midway along the frame and another pair in the metal sear/ejector housing at the rear of the frame.
The polymer frame on the Walther PPQ sports a Picatinny rail for mounting tactical lights or lasers. The pistol features interchangeable backstraps; the test pistol came with the medium backstrap installed. After trying all three, I found the large size fit my hand best. The trigger guard is curved, which is a feature I don’t care for.
The trigger had a short amount of take-up and then a crisp, almost single-action-feeling let-off. According to my RCBS trigger scale, pull weight was 5.3 pounds, a bit less than advertised. It was definitely one of the best trigger pulls I’ve felt on a striker-fired pistol as it came from the factory.
All the controls—especially the ambi slide releases—were well positioned and positive in operation. While the magazine well was large, it had square-cut edges that could be problematic when performing speed reloads, and I think Walther should bevel the well’s edges.
I test-fired the Walther PPQ from a rest at 25 yards with three common types of action-pistol ammo and one of my match reloads, and I got impressive results. Like many of the 9mm handguns I’ve tested, the pistol showed a preference for heavier bullets at moderate velocities.
After a bit of trial and error, I discovered the Walther PPQ fit nicely in an Uncle Mike’s Kydex belt holster intended for a different gun, and I ran the pistol through a number of drills at seven, 10 and 15 yards. Thanks to the large, easy-to-see sights and the excellent trigger, only one of the 45 rounds I fired during drills ended outside the nine ring of the target; the majority chewed up the 10 ring.
Overall handling and recoil proved above average, controls were easy to manipulate, and magazines fell free reliably. Unlike many high-capacity pistols, I did not have to resort to the magazine loading tool until I reached cartridge number 13. And the reloaders among us will be pleased to hear that fired cases formed a neat pile about six feet to my right.
I plan to use the Walther PPQ M2 5-inch to compete in Production division at an upcoming USPSA match. If my experience with it so far is anything to go by, I think the Walther/Scarlata team will acquit themselves very well.