August 15, 2017
By James Tarr
Walther is one of those companies that seems to alternate between hibernation and hyperactivity when it comes to designing firearms. The number of new pistol designs introduced by Walther between the P38 (1938) and the P99 (1996) can be counted on one hand. On the other hand, we seem to be in one of those eras of Walther hyperactivity, as in just the past five years it has introduced the PPQ, PPX and the CCP—not to mention Americanized variations of the PPQ and PPS. Its latest brand-new pistol is the Creed. I think it will get a huge amount of attention—and rightfully so.
The PPX was successful, reliable and economically priced, but few people liked its looks. A lot of people thought the PPX looked like a cross between a Walther PPQ and a Hi-Point. Think of the Creed as a PPX 2.0—only with better looks, a much better trigger and an amazingly low price.
How low? Suggested retail of the Walther Creed is just $399. That's not a typo. And street price will probably be about $350—for a brand-new, German-built Walther.
The Creed appears to be a cross between the PPX and Walther's successful PPQ M2. It bears all the styling cues modern Walther pistols are known for while being a little bulkier in the slide than the 9mm PPQ.
In fact, I had on hand a Walther PPQ in .45 ACP, and you'd be hard-pressed to tell it apart from the Creed at first glance. The biggest difference is in the trigger guard: The PPQ has a squared trigger guard with a serrated face, whereas the Creed has a smooth, rounded trigger guard.
This is a full-size double-action-only pistol, but the Creed's DAO trigger pull is unlike any other you've tried. More on that in a bit. The Creed has a polymer frame and a four-inch barrel and is currently chambered only in 9mm. It is fed by a 16-round magazine (also available with 10-round mags in restrictive states), and two magazines are provided with the pistol.
Overall the pistol is 7.3 inches long by 5.6 inches tall by 1.3 inches thick. Weight with an empty magazine in place is 26.6 ounces. The slide sports the same aggressive flat-bottomed slide serrations front and rear that can be seen on the PPQ series.
The Creed has the large steel American-style magazine release of the PPQ M2, but it does not feature the interchangeable backstraps of that gun because the Creed is designed to be economically priced. But economical does not mean cheap. All metal components are treated with corrosion- and abrasion-resistant matte black Tenifer coating.
The magazine release is easily reversible, but it is not ambidextrous. The slide stop lever is on the left side, and while it's long it's also low profile. The same could be said of the takedown lever. The grip shape with its shallow finger grooves and distinctive texturing is similar to the frame on the PPQ. At the base of the grip on either side you'll see the "CREED" name, which is also on the left side of the slide. The frame has a two-slot Picatinny rail for mounting lights or lasers. There is a spot on the butt of the pistol where you can attach a lanyard if you desire.
The Creed's barrel is actually constructed of three separate pieces for ease/economy of manufacturing. It has a nicely polished feed ramp. There is a small notch cut into the barrel hood to be used as a loaded-chamber indicator. The barrel's locking block and hammer are metal-injection-molded parts, another way the company was able to keep costs down.
The barrel features traditional rifling, so you can fire lead bullets through it. The recoil spring is flat wire and captured. The internal extractor on the Creed is massive.
This pistol was built to be economical, but Walther didn't shortchange its customers. The three-dot sights are steel, and the white dots are sizable. The rear sight is dovetailed into place, and the front is secured with a screw through the underside of the slide. The trigger is steel, with a wide flat face that has minimal serrations.
There is no safety lever on the trigger's face, as you see with most striker-fired pistols such as the PPQ, but the pistol features an internal safety system that automatically blocks the firing pin via a pair of plungers. One safety plunger blocks the forward travel of the firing pin if the trigger is not pulled; when the trigger is pulled, the safety plunger moves out of the way, allowing the gun to fire, and then moves back into its initial position when the trigger resets. A second safety plunger prevents the firing pin from reaching the primer if the gun is dropped.
The hammer is a stubby little thing that protrudes from the back of the slide as you start to pull the trigger. Walther calls it a bobbed hammer, but I'm pretty sure for the term "bobbed" to be accurate the hammer needs to be a reduced-size version of a larger hammer. Interestingly, the rear of the firing pin is not round but rather a wide flat rectangle.
Now let's talk about the trigger pull on the Creed. Whenever I hear the term "DAO trigger" I usually shudder, because, as a rule, double-action-only trigger pulls are long, heavy and horrible. The Walther Creed is now the exception to that rule.
Technically, the Creed is a hammer-fired DAO pistol, but from the user's perspective, you won't be able to tell the difference in trigger pull between the Creed and a striker-fired pistol. Actually, the Creed has a better trigger pull—in both weight and character—than most striker-fired guns. It is by far the best DAO trigger I have ever tried.
The trigger pull consists of what feels like a light take-up of the slack in the trigger and then a crisp break, but as you take up the slack, you'll see the hammer at the back of the frame coming back. Walther's specs for this pistol state the trigger travel is 0.3 inch, but I'm not sure where it's measuring this pivoting trigger. According to my calipers, the tip of the trigger moves about 0.4 inch during the take-up and another 1/8 inch at most for the break. That is still a fraction of the travel of most DAO trigger pulls.
While Walther's specs put the Creed's DAO trigger pull weight at 6.52 pounds, pull weight on my sample was 5.25 pounds. The pull included a 2.25-pound take-up and a 1911-quality crisp three-pound break. Yes, you read that right: a 1911-quality trigger break on a DAO semiautomatic.
The hammer—or rather its spring—is actually pre-cocked internally (like many striker-fired pistols), although Walther uses the term "preset." By taking up the slack all you're doing is moving the hammer 95 percent of the way toward its rearmost position. When the trigger breaks and the hammer falls, it falls with authority, with the force of a large coiled spring inside the frame that is pre-cocked.
What this means for the user is that technically the Creed is a hammer-fired DAO, but in trigger pull quality, weight and length, it is somewhere between a really good trigger on a striker-fired gun and a single-action trigger pull with a lot of slack at the beginning.
Because the trigger doesn't do all of the work getting the hammer ready to fall, if for some reason you pull the trigger and the round doesn't go off, you'll have to cycle the slide, as the Creed does not have a restrike capability. Again, much like a striker-fired pistol.
To reset the trigger you have to move it only about halfway toward its starting point. Interestingly, the hammer is still three-fourths of the way cocked when the Creed's trigger resets.
Walther introduced the Creed to us at a media event last summer. We shot it alongside the company's newer Q5 Match, which is a five-inch PPQ tricked out a little bit for competition.
We were mostly hammering plate racks at 10 yards and having a lot of fun. While the trigger pull weights on the two guns were similar—which is incredible enough given that the Creed is a DAO—I preferred the trigger pull on the Creed because it had a crisper break.
Due to the crisp break and short reset on the Creed, I was able to shoot it almost like a single action with a three-pound trigger. Yes, I like the looks of the Q5 more, but consider: You can buy two Creeds for the price of the Q5 match and have a little money left over for ammo.
The provided magazines are manufactured by Italy's Mec-Gar, the king of OEM magazines. The magazines have a glossy black finish and black polymer followers and base pads. The base pads flare out at the bottom, and the grip of the Creed is relieved on the side so you can grab and strip out a stuck magazine.
My sample Creed ran just as reliably as the demo guns we fired at the media event. It didn't care what I fed it. In fact, I don't have anything colorful to say here. It went bang every time I pulled the trigger whether I was shooting paper off sandbags or running plate racks.
Reliability is boring. It's only when you need your pistol to work and it doesn't that things get interesting and colorful words start flying. I didn't have that problem with this or any other Creed I've fired.
Negatives? There is a tab on the inside front of the Creed's magazine well to prevent over-insertion of magazines, and I found that when trying to reload at speed the top of the magazine would sometimes catch on this tab.
It's a small point, but if I was buying this pistol, I'd grind off that internal tab, as I think the sides of the magazine's base pad will be all that's necessary to prevent over-insertion.
That being said, while the Creed comes with Walther's lifetime warranty, the company certainly doesn't encourage taking a grinder to its gun. However, if you did grind off the tab and then had an issue unrelated to the tab, the company indicated to us it would probably take care of the problem. Still, always be aware of risks inherent in modifying any gun.
As I shoot with my left forefinger wrapped around the front of the trigger guard, I would also stipple the smooth trigger guard, but for most shooters that's a nonissue. I also think the frame at the base where the Creed logo is positioned is a bit too smooth, and I wish Walther had put more of their texturing around the name. It wouldn't look as good, but it would provide a little more grip.
However, all of my complaints are minor, especially considering the price point of the Creed. Walther says this pistol is suitable for concealed carry, home defense and competitive and target shooting. The Creed is a little bigger than what most people want in a concealed-carry gun, but it is possible to conceal a gun this big with the right choice of belt, holster and clothing.
If anyone had recommended a DAO for competition or target shooting to me prior to my handling the Creed I would have laughed in their face, but, folks, Walther ain't lying. The trigger is that good.