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The Amazing Walther PPQ
The Amazing Walther PPQ


The Walther PPQ, which stands for Police Pistol Quick Defense, is a semi-automatic pistol developed by Carl Walther as a logical evolution of the Walther P99. It is available in either 9mm, or .40 S&W, and it is what every Glock wants to be when it grows up.

Without question I love my Glocks. All of them have been meticulously detail stripped, polished, undergone spring and aftermarket replacement part upgrades and have emerged as hand finished guns. Until now, I have not been able to honestly say I could find anything superior to my tuned Glocks from a confidence standpoint following my work on them. The PPQ has changed all that forever.
The PPQ isn’t a completely new design from the ground up, as it takes design features from both the Walther P99AS and the Walther P99 RAD. Because of this, the PPQ M1 maintains compatibility with both P99 sights and P99 second-generation magazines and other accessories. The biggest new departure from the P99QA and P99 RAD/AS is the redesigned, and incredibly good, Quick Defense trigger. The PPQ is already in use by many of the world’s elite military and law enforcement units, having passed their stringent testing for reliability and endurance.
In the past decade, Walther has jumped from a low profile brand with a reputation for quality products, but a nagging problem with distribution and marketing in the U.S., to bringing their extremely high value, premium quality firearms to the forefront by establishing Walther U.S.A. and taking over the importation, distribution, and marketing under their own banner. The new Walther has indeed dramatically changed what the company has been delivering with cutting edge, innovative designs. 
Walther went to a lot of trouble to develop some of the methods it uses to produce exemplary pistols. Each CNC machine operator has a full set of gauges, and the blueprints are posted on station to make the part he’s working on. He doesn’t need to wait for an inspector to tell him afterward that his parts are in spec. He knows before he sends them on to the next station.
One of the attributes of computer-controlled CNC machining is that you can make parts to exacting precision and not have to hand-fit them. Well, Walther takes that a step further. They start with a bin of slides on one side and a bin of barrels on the other. The technician will pick up a slide, grab a barrel and check for fit. If he doesn’t like the way it will pop in and out of battery, he’ll pull it out of the slide and set it on his bench. (He is careful to set barrels down ranked according to fits.) He will try another, or a barrel off the bench, until he has one fitting the way he likes. Then he’ll put that assembled slide and barrel on a frame and check striker movement with a special gauge. After adjusting things, he’ll then cycle and dry-fire it until it feels “proper.” Then, and only then, would it go into the “done” rack.
With a PPQ you get the benefits of old-school and the digital age combined—computer-machining and hand-fitting. The slide, frame and barrel are all serial-numbered. How do they build a PPQ, then? Simple: The serial number isn’t applied until after everything has been fitted and gone together. You see, the steel’s so hard, it would rapidly destroy any marking dies, so the markings all have to be laser-cut. The proof-house of Ulm is cool with that, and there’s a full-time inspector in the Walther plant to keep an eye on things. Tradition cannot be denied, however, and the polymer frame of each pistol is stamped with the appropriate proof-mark.
In addition to being inspected and proof-fired, each Walther pistol is test-fired for accuracy and zero, and each target is packed with its pistol.
I have been personally very impressed with the original PP and PPK series that have been in production since the 1930's. The PPX, P99/P99C series, PK, PPS, and the PPQ are now available in a variety of defensive calibers as well as a terrific .22LR version for training, plinking, and small game hunting. Today we are discussing the culmination of perfection of the polymer framed handgun which has manifested itself in the truly amazing PPQ. 
Two variants of the original design are offered in the U.S. The original M1 Classic and the recently introduced specifically for the American market, M2. The only difference between the M1 and M2 is the type of magazine release employed and the different magazines required by the change. The original M1 uses the superior ambidextrous trigger guard paddle release that Walther has always used on it's polymer guns, and the M2 uses an American style push button, thumb activated magazine release which can be switched from side to side for left or right handed shooters. The M2 variant is the result of a lot of us here whining about the far superior paddle style release because if was 'different,' and as we all supposedly know, anything different must be bad. It is unfortunate that these folks here in the U.S. didn't take the time to actually learn to use the very instinctive and intuitive paddle release system before condemning it. My favorite PPQ, is the M1 Classic, although I own the M2 as well, and after a day of shooting, I cannot imagine anything faster, more efficient, or easier to operate than the wonderfully designed M1 paddle release system. I wish I had it on all my guns, although I must admit, the button release on the M2 is the most intuitive and well designed button release I’ve seen of late.
I own and enjoy many handguns, and I am particularly fond of Glocks. But for the money, the off-the-shelf PPQ is simply impossible to beat, since I have to spend dozens of hours and hundred of dollars to bring a stock Glock even close to the level of the PPQ right out of the box. Comfort is probably its biggest selling point. It’s as if Walther sent me a block of clay, asked me to squeeze it, and then designed a gun using it as a model.
All controls are fully ambidextrous (M1), and both it and the M2 pistol have a MIL-SPEC 1913 Picatinny rail for attaching accessories such as a light or laser. The Magazine release on the M2 is user reversible if you’re a lefty, so all controls are easy to use for either preference.
Philosophy Of Use
The Walther PPQ isn’t a small gun, but I wouldn’t classify it as a full-sized gun either. It’s somewhere in between. My take is that it is primarily an open carry duty gun as its Police Pistol name suggests, but can also be used as a concealed carry gun. The 15 round flush fitting magazines (17 round  mags are available as well) means that it stacks up against the ever popular Glock 19/23, and is roughly the same size.
Having said that, something about the PPQ makes it feel more compact that it really is. Perhaps it’s the excellent ergonomics, or the tapered slide, or the curvature of the grip. Whatever it is, this gun carries smaller than its size, and I find myself adjusting the way I dress more and more to conceal carry this excellent pistol.
Carry Options
Since it’s relatively new, there aren’t a ton of holsters available. There are a few excellent holsters that I can recommend though, and they’re the custom neoprene/kydex IWB holster from Alien Gear, and the Kydex IWB holster from U.S. GruntGear. Fobus has a paddle holster for it, as does Viridian. The Viridian is designed to carry the PPQ with their excellent C5L, C5L-R, or X5L laser/light units with instant on, ECR technology mounted, and comes with a paddle, but a belt attachment system is available as well. Remora will make you an IWB, or OWB, or both as well, with or without room for a laser or light.

It’s not the smallest concealed carry gun in the world for sure, but I really don’t have any trouble carrying my Walther PPQ in any of the holsters mentioned above. The fit is great, and at the 4-5 o’clock, or appendix carry position. The PPQ really hugs the curvature of your back (when it’s carried there), meaning it conceals nicely with a simple over garment.

Shooting Impressions
As I mentioned, the PPQ trigger is simply fantastic. The trigger is crisp and predictable with an extremely short reset, making follow-up shots incredibly fast. The three dot sights are good, and with the excellent ergonomics, recoil, at least in my 9mm is mild. Steel after market night sights are available from both Trijicon, XS, and Meprolight, with the Trijicon HD’s getting the nod from me. There is no gun on the planet with sights that are easier to change than the P99/PPQ series from Walther.
Changing the included back straps is also easy, as is disassembly. The back straps not only change the shape and size of the frame, they have a slot at the back. Combined with the retention pin, the slot acts as a lanyard loop, so you can attach your sidearm to your person, if you wish (usually a European police requirement).
Takedown is simple: The ridged block above the trigger guard opening is the key. Unload, dry fire, pull the block down (ala Glock), and the barrel, slide and recoil-spring assembly come off the front in one piece. The recoil spring is a self-contained, captured unit used in the PPQ, P99, and MR9, and the barrel is a cam-lug Browning drop-tilt design. And such barrels!
The PPQ barrel is so well made, I really wish there were some way to fit it to other pistols. Walther starts with a bar of high quality steel, then machines it to a precise cylinder. It gets drilled, reamed, honed, then button-rifled. Once rifled, it goes into a CNC profiler that carves the exterior to barrel shape. Then the hood is induction hardened, the barrels are bead-blasted clean, and it gets hardened again in a nitride process that gives it an inside-and-out super-hard and corrosion-resistant finish. This means the surface is hard, and the load-bearing portions of it are heat-treated to withstand incredible round counts. I was gratified to study the labor that went into it and more than a bit jealous that I couldn’t have something like that on my other pistols.
So far I have put several hundred rounds through the PPQ. The gun has run flawlessly without a single hiccup, using various factory loads, both full metal jacket and hollow point. I expect reliability to be flawless until either me, or the gun is dead.
Beyond the sublime fit, the gun points both naturally, and perfectly. An old fitment trick for pistoleers is to pick a point, such as a light switch, close your eyes, lower your arm, and then point at that object with your finger. Nine times out of ten your index finger will be pointing at the fixed point as you open your eyes. A pistol which fits you perfectly will do the same, but with the sights perfectly aligned as you open your eyes. The PPQ provides this level of fit for me and thus is extremely fast on target for me. Glocks, Kahrs, and a few others can do this for me with the addition of grip sleeves, or other modifications, but the PPQ does it right out of the box.
Functionally, the PPQ operates exactly like any Glock, which is to say that it is void of any external safeties. All the safeties are internal, which is exactly the way I like my pistols. In my opinion the last thing you need is a safety to worry about disengaging in a stressful situation. Just like any revolver, I want to just concentrate on pulling the trigger and hearing a bang every time that I do. What impressed me to no end was racking the slide. Unlike Glocks, whether new, or well used, they all sound like nails on a chalkboard when the slide is reciprocated. The PPQ sounds and feels like it's riding on ball bearings. The difference is both startling and impressive. A great testament to its design, hand fitted production, and amazing quality control.


Beyond the allure of Bond, and its appearance recently in several TV series and movies, the PPQ delivers a lot of custom features including a light rail, front and rear cocking serrations, two drop safeties plus a firing pin safety, low profile three dot sights, and a Tenifer finished stainless steel slide. Unlike my Glocks, Walther departed from the traditional blocky, brick like (hey! nice 2x4) square design with a fully, and to my eye, beautifully contoured frame and slide. All these elements come together to increase the concealment and in the holster comfort of the pistol in addition to it looking absolutely beautiful.
After the Quick Defense Trigger, the next best selling feature of the Walther PPQ in my opinion is the overall ergonomics of the pistol. I have always thought that Walther has gotten ergonomics right on their pistols, and the PPQ is the best yet. It simply fits your hand like a well worn glove. Included with the pistol are small, medium and large interchangeable back straps for different size hands. The PPQ also features other innovative ergonomics that work, with the hog leg bend at the base of the grip and a comfortable yet aggressive grip pattern as well as front finger guard grip. The angled hog leg grip is important for me for several reasons, including comfort and concealment while carrying. 
The magazine release on the M2 is large and well designed, and is easier to find and operate than most, as well as being reversible and easy to reach for small hands with a minimum hand reposition during the reload in order to find it (although the M1's paddle release using the trigger finger requires no reposition whatsoever, and is far faster and more efficient, therefore being far superior to the American style thumb button release). We are truly a nation of idiots. The slide stop is fully ambidextrous as well.
Quick Defense Trigger
The trigger. Oh my God, the trigger... The PPQ’s trigger is absolutely ball bearing smooth. It’s so smooth that it makes the trigger weight feel much lighter than it really is. There has not been a shooter I know who has not been shocked at the short crisp trigger of the PPQ. The new Quick Defense trigger on the Walther PPQ is simply amazing. The PPQ has a pre-cocked striker fired action. The trigger pull is a butter smooth 5.5  lbs (-5 lbs. actual), with a glass rod clean break after just .4 inches of travel/takeup. This part is fantastic, it really is, but even better is the trigger reset. It’s just .1 inches (that's 1/10th of an inch!). Put together, this is the best trigger I’ve ever used on a factory pistol that wasn’t a custom built single-action 1911. Honestly, it is every bit as good, and in my opinion, better than the VERY expensive Salient and ZEV competition match triggers for Glocks. The trigger also allows the match grade barrel to stack rounds on target with boring regularity. 
Despite the full sized look of the PPQ, it is actually roughly the same size as your standard benchmark Glock 19. Yes, I know its a bit of an optical illusion like one of those 3D pictures you have to stare at for a while. It was a bit of a magical moment when I placed the PPQ on my Glock 19 and witnessed that they were for all intent and purpose, the same basic size, give or take about 3/16th’s of an inch). The compact size would explain why I enjoy carrying the gun so much. It’s that great carryable size with a full sized handgun feel.
The M2 variant is offered in the U.S. in three variations (the M1 is offered in these same models everywhere else on the planet but here, since the voices of the unenlightened clods have driven them to marketing the M2 with its American style magazine release here instead). There is the standard M2, the Navy model which has an additional drain hole, underwater striker spring cups, and a slightly longer threaded barrel for harsh environment deployment, and the 5 inch barreled long slide, competition/target model.

Accuracy and Function
The Walther PPQ features a hand fitted, match grade barrel and chamber with outstanding out of the box accuracy. Every brand of ammo used delivered some impressive groups at the 25-yard line including the less expensive Winchester and Federal FMJ rounds. I started out with the pistol at 7 yards, and then moved to 10, 15 and 25 yards. No break in period is required, this gun ran like a Swiss watch from shot one on, and I suspect it will do so forever.
I had zero functional issues with any of the hundreds of rounds of ammo fed through the gun from reloads, and the steel cased Russian crap to the premium rounds tested from Hornady, Federal, and Winchester. As an aside, the magazines for the M1 and M2 variants are NOT interchangeable due to differences in the magazine release designs that required the repositioning of the magazine release engagement cutout on the magazine body, so the “But, I want a button,” crowd have to buy the more expensive M2 only magazines.

 Why the PPQ May Not Be For You

The PPQ is by design, a single action handgun not unlike the Glock in function, but with a shorter, lighter, smoother trigger. There is no manual safety for those who are uncomfortable without one. The trigger is so much lighter than the standard Glock trigger that an untrained operator could easily make a mistake if they allowed their finger to stray inside the trigger guard unintentionally (think 1911 with the manual safety disengaged). This is not to say the gun is unsafe, for it most certainly is not, but neither is it the ideal firearm
for a new shooter who is not willing to learn its manual of arms, get some professional training, and religiously follow the rules of safe gun handling. The PPQ MUST be carried in a holster that fully covers and protects the trigger guard and trigger. 
Owning and using both, I would suggest those who are smitten with the PPQ, but are uncomfortable with the consistently light, single action trigger, look at either the P99AS (anti-stress), or the Magnum Research MR9 (they are the same gun with identical internals, but different slides, the MR9 being uncoated matte stainless steel). They are a double action/single action (DA/SA) design. In single action mode, their triggers feel and operate exactly like the PPQ, including the incredibly short reset. However, they can be decocked to double action mode by simply pressing the decocker integrated into the top of the slide. The eight pound double action pull on the first shot which has been engaged by the decocker is as effective a safety as one could possibly find, and has the added bonus of not needing a switch or lever which can be missed, or forgotten in a high stress encounter. A long, heavier revolver like, but extremely smooth double action first shot pull is all that is required and will help put minds at ease and provide a level of safety that many new shooters and law enforcement agencies will appreciate. Should the gun not fire on the first pull, both of these fine guns will reset to double action providing a second strike capability, something that should not be underestimated or overlooked. It’s the reason most federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. issue single/double action handguns with decockers, and no manual safeties. Most European police departments have chosen the P99AS for precisely these reasons. The PPQ is in use in their highly trained tactical response units where the operators are training to a much higher level of excellence. Either can be carried like the PPQ in single action mode as well if they are not decocked (AS mode) after chambering a round. The P99AS/MR9 also incorporate a visible red tipped cocked striker indicator at the rear of the slide, so the status of the gun can be instantly ascertained.
If I had to use the P99AS/MR9 instead of the PPQ (and I do), I wouldn’t skip a beat. I think they are all outstanding designs manufactured to the same remarkable standards of quality and performance. Given the choice, I would always recommend the P99AS/MR9 starting in double action mode to a new shooter, or anyone unsure of their abilities under stress.
The only complaint I have is that the magazines run in the $40-$45 range on the street (M2), which seems high when many other comparable firearm magazines are in the $30 range. The magazines for the PPQ M1 are the same as those of the P99AS. Hey, they’re reliable, capacious and durable, and there are plenty of them to be had, so why go reinventing the wheel? Happily, I found that the Magnum Research MR9’s are exactly the same magazines (for the M1), from exactly the same company (Mec-gar) for $27 to $35 each. The only difference is the name on the baseplate. (The Magnum Research MR9 is a Walther P99AS frame/lower purchased from Walther and fitted with an American made Stainless Steel slide and barrel.) An outstanding gun in its own right, as is the P99AS. I would REALLY like to see the PPQ offered with a natural stainless steel slide.

Turkish Delight?
Century Arms is importing a knock-off of the PPQ made in Turkey and called the Canik (pronounced Jan-ick) TP9SA. I don’t know if this is a licensed design, or just plain theft, but given the location of Canik, I will assume the latter until proven otherwise. It is certainly similar (it is after all, a knock-off), but it is in no way the same. I will admit, they make a pretty good imitation of the excellent PPQ trigger, both in feel and function, although in reality it’s more P99AS single action like, than PPQ like. The gun is larger, heavier, clunkier, and does not exude that quality feel you find in original Walthers (but then, neither do Glocks). At a $300 to $350 price point, coming out of the box with two 18 round magazines, a free holster (of sorts) and a few other goodies, it appears to be the bargain of the century (I can hear my Dad whispering in my ear, “You get what you pay for.”) I have had the opportunity to fire these guns and have found no serious problems with them (other than those noted herein above), along with an extremely long grip (to accommodate that 18 round magazine), save one...
Apparently someone at Canik brought a few too many hashish laced falafels to work for the gang in the design shed, since for some reason they decided to build a gun with the trigger system of the PPQ, and the decocker of the P99AS. What they were thinking may be the question of the ages, and the thought processes and conversations must have been, at the very least, mind boggling. 
If you chamber a round and press the totally unnecessary decocker, the gun becomes instantly and permanently disabled, since there is no double action/second strike capability mechanism in the trigger design like the P99AS/MR9 (happily, it is large and heavy enough to make a dandy impact weapon). To get it running again you have to cycle the slide sufficiently to reset the striker and trigger (under stress), setting yourself up for a potential extraction of the chambered round, and/or double feed, and/or failure to feed. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? 
On the plus side, it does seem to be pretty well made (read; it works),  although a little rough around the edges, and they do offer them painted in a number of spiffy colors, or combinations thereof (how long they will remain the color they were painted remains to be seen). “Hey, the paint is peeling off my new gun” are not words I ever want to utter. 
So when you’re bragging to your friends about how you bought a PPQ for $300, bear in mind, what you really bought was a Shanghai peddle taxi disguised as a BMW Z4.
They are in fact, a “Poor man’s PPQ,” and they seem to go bang with regularity as long as you don’t unintentionally press that unnecessary, pesky decocker. They have their place, they seem to be adequately reliable given the amount of use they’ll probably actually see, and they are certainly affordable. So if you’re on a tight budget, or feel your life is only worth the $300 to $350 price of admission for a Turkish knockoff, go for it, but if you add in the cost of the flying carpet you’ll need to GTF out of Dodge should you foolishly press the decocker during a Holy Crap! moment, you might as well just buy the PPQ.
However, if you’re on a budget, for about the same price as the Canik, or less, you can buy Smith & Wesson’s, made in the USA (and in some ways better than the original) version of the Glock 19 or 23, the S&W SD9VE, or SD40VE, the USA made Kahr CW9, or Walther’s entry level, but very high quality, amazingly smooth German built PPX. I would recommend all over the Canik to anyone I cared about.
Final Thoughts
So for between $500 and $600 for a PPQ, you can own a gun that will give any high end, high dollar competition gun costing much, much more a run for its money, with features that are difficult, if not impossible to match at the price point of this marvelous gun. 
I really do love the Walther PPQ. The trigger and ergonomics are amazing, the pistol is beautiful, reliable, accurate, and can be both a concealed carry/home defense gun, as well as an open carry/duty gun. 
The PPQ carries the same elegant Teutonic ambiance of precision and purpose as a Mercedes, or BMW, exuding both quality and confidence. Did I mention I like it?
What more could you want? What more could anyone want?
P.S. If you’re in the market, I have a few gorgeous, hand tuned, custom fitted, knock your socks off Glocks for sale :-)



9mm/.40 S&W


15/17+1 (9mm) - 12+1 (.40 S&W)





Overall Length







24 oz


Contoured, Textured polymer with 3 back-straps

Sight Radius



Black polymer frame, Tenifer stainless steel slide


2 – 15 round/12 round (.40), 17/9mm optional

Walther PPQ and S&W M&P9C (compact)


Walther PPQ and Glock G19


Magnum Research MR9


Walther P99AS


Turkish Canik TP9SA


Walther PPQ M1

Walther PPQ M2

(American Magazine Release)


The Viridian Lasers/Lights (C5L/X5L series - white light and/or green or red laser) with ECR technology are amazingly intuitive. The unit is turned on and holstered. Once in the holster, the unit will turn itself off. The moment the handgun is drawn from the holster, the unit automatically and instantly turns on. No buttons or switches to press or remember. These ECR equipped units are remarkable, but only work with holsters specifically designed to activate/deactivate the unit (the activation mechanism is simply a small, strong magnet installed in the holster). So, theoretically, any holster can be modified to use the ECR system if you can attach a magnet in the right place. Happily Viridian sells hard and soft holsters for most guns that fit their units. An excellent system that other makers should be pursuing.

Kahr CW9


Walther PPX




Walther PPQ M2