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(This is a reader-submitted review as part of our gun review contest. See details here.)

By GS650G

The Walther PPQ series of pistols are polymer-framed striker-fired semi-automatic pistols featuring high capacity magazines, reversible magazine release buttons and exchangeable back straps. Walther recently released their first ever pistol in .45 ACP and appropriately named it the PPQ 45.

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Walther has a storied and long history as one of Germany’s premier arms manufacturers. The PPQ stands for Police Pistol Quick and it has one of the quickest trigger resets available. The pistol is used by German police, military and law enforcement worldwide.

The gun is finished in a coating called Tenifer which is a trade name for ferric nitrocarburising, a hardening process used to provide scuffing and corrosion resistance with little surface distortion. It’s quite impervious to handing and holster abuse. The PPQ45 ships in a foam lined case including a second magazine, optional large back strap, and right side magazine button. In addition to the usual documentation is a target showing five shots at 15 meters.

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Disassembly is simply a matter of clearing the gun, removing the magazine, and pulling the trigger before sliding the small button ahead of the trigger down while pushing the slide ¼” to the rear and removing the upper slide.

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From the rear we see the three dot adjustable sights. The front sights are adjustable and it’s a good thing they are because the gun is sighted in directly above the impact point. I prefer a sight picture with the center slightly above the three dots. Walther offers several sight options as well. The front sight is adjusted by loosening the set screw and moving the assembly with a driver.

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I use the large back strap on both my PPQ M2 9mm and the PPQ 45. The PPQ 45 only comes with a medium and large swell which fits my mitt perfectly. Shooters with small hands may find the gun a bit large due to it’s double stack width. I found myself inadvertently releasing the magazine because my thumb rested directly over the button. Relocating to the right side with the included button took all of 5 minutes and a jeweler’s screwdriver. There is a  Picatinny rail for a laser or flashlight of your choice.

The real star of this gun is the trigger and it does not disappoint. Pull is right about 5.5 lbs and the reset is only about .1” allowing rapid follow up shots. Capacity is 12 + 1 and a mag dump happens so fast you forget you just spent 10 dollars with your trigger finger. The trigger on my 9mm PPQ M2 is similar and in fact both guns feel nearly identical except for the slightly heavier PPQ 45. Compared to the long slide 9mm the PPQ45 looks smaller. As a carry gun the PPQ45 is a good choice and a variety of holsters will accommodate.

Shooting the PPQ 45 at the range was impressive. I used Winchester white box 230g FMJ to break in the gun and get a feel for operation. Not a single problem or malfunction after 250 straight shots. Accuracy was spot on. I ran five-shot groups with Armscor 230g JHP and Black Hills 230g JHP with spreads of 1.0”and .75” respectively. This was at a distance of 20 feet. With a Ransom Rest I’ve no doubt the PPQ 45 could do even better. An entire magazine of Winchester cheapo ammo left a hole only 1.5” across and I wasn’t locked onto the bench.  This is a seriously accurate gun.

The PPQ 45 has two features differentiating it from other PPQ pistols. One is the polygonal rifling of the barrel as opposed to groove and land rifling used in smaller calibers and the magazine has round indicators for some bullets but not all. With a 9mm magazine you see rounds three through 15 whereas the .45 shows four, seven, then 10 and 12. It’s a mystery why they didn’t have windows for the other rounds.

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The left side of the pistol shows the relocated magazine release button. Spent cartridges are ejected rather high instead of to the right. A slide release is found on the right side as well for left hand shooters.

I offered the PPQ 45 to a woman taking a handgun class at the range. She shot a better group with the PPQ 45 than the polymer 9mm pistol she rented from the range. She was impressed with how balanced the gun felt compared to other guns she used. The recoil is quite manageable despite the gun’s light weight. Switching to the PPQ M2 she also found to identical to the PPQ 45 except for the greater recoil.

In a crowded market of polymer pistols it’s hard to stand out unless you really hit the marks and the PPQ 45 does. The fit and finish are first rate, my only squabble is the slide has a bit of play on the frame however the barrel is firmly held by the slide. Accuracy is clearly unaffected by any lateral movement on the frame. I don’t have thousands of rounds through the gun yet since I’ve only owned it a short time but my experience with the PPQ M2 led me to buy the big brother.

If you’re looking for a big bore semi-automatic pistol with a beautiful trigger and excellent ergonomics look no farther than the PPQ 45.

Specifications: Walther PPQ 45

Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 12 +1
Materials: Polymer, steel
Barrel Length: 4.25″
Trigger Pull: 5.6 lbs
Trigger Travel: 0.4″
Overall Length: 7.4″
Height: 5.8″
Width: 1.3″
Weight: (mag empty): 28 oz
MSRP: 679.00 (street price 645.00)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
The PPQ 45 delivers pinpoint accuracy right out of the box.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The controls are in the right places and the choice of back strap and magazine release button make it customizable for larger hands.

Reliability: * * * * *
No malfunctions of any kind.

Customization: * * * *
Walther offers a variety of sights and holsters and you can mount what you need on the rail. Apex makes a trigger for it but the PPQ 45 trigger is so good, why would you change it?  Aftermarket barrels are available for the PPQ M2 line but not yet for the PPQ 45.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
The PPQ 45 comes in at a reasonable price point with all the features and performance you’d expect in a high quality pistol. Walther engineered a trigger system that can’t be beat and teamed it with a balanced pistol that delivers superb performance.

22 Responses to Gun Review: Walther PPQ 45

  1. Does this gun actually have hi-cap magazines available, or are we just giving in to the idea that standard capacity magazines are “high capacity” if they fit more rounds than ?

    • As I have pointed out before, the 14 round MecGar mags from a Sarsilmaz SAR K2 will fit in the PPQ if one is willing to ignore the slight gap twixt the grip and mag floorplate.

      Disclaimer: I am not a gunsmith nor have I actually SHOT the PPQ with the SAR K2 mags but snap-caps fed fine IIRC.

    • Still hung up on that?
      Well 1911s hold 7 or 8 and 10 is pretty much the norm. 13 seems higher and 14 higher yet.
      Do you have a 30 rounder in your gat?

    • The MecGar mags for the Para P14 work fine. The baseplate doesn’t provide a perfectly flush fit, however.

  2. Nice review. 12+1 isn’t hi-cap? OK…selling for LOTS less on GB right now(400bucks with 2days to go at Sportsman Supply). And lots more cheaper than 645…

    • Handled both, but only fired the PPQ. PPQ fit, finish, and overall quality is higher. Mag capacity of the PPQ is 12; Ruger is 10. Trigger is the best you can get outside of a good single action. Ruger mags are probably cheaper, and msrp is probably less, so that makes more room for ammo. Ruger has increased overall quality with the American series (over the p345), so it’s a solid pistol. I’d probably go PPQ for the trigger alone.

      • Agreed. The Walther’s grip feels great – the Ruger feels VERY blocky at the web between my thumb & forefinger. That alone disqualifies the Ruger for me.

  3. Walther makes quality pistols, but having to pull the trigger to clean the gun is a design defect and an accident waiting to happen.

    Yes, I know that it’s the responsibility of the person handling the gun to clear it. But a firearms design should facilitate safety, and this one (like Glock) doesn’t.

    If S&W and other manufacturers can design a pistol that does not require pulling the trigger for routine cleaning, than so can everybody else.

    • If you’re too stupid to clear the chamber and check it after removing the magazine, then I’m all out of sympathy. It may also be time to find a new hobby, one that doesn’t involve combustion, fast moving objects, metal, chemicals, or leaving the house with out a helmet on.

      • This.

        I get so tired of reading articles where it states, “so and so was cleaning the gun, and it went off.”

        No, it did not “go off.” Someone pulled the trigger with a round in the chamber.

      • Pulling the trigger on a chamber you haven’t checked and double checked shows a design flaw in between your ears. I agree; I have no qualms at all cleaning my Glock even though most of my guns break down differently. If you’re not going to be careful with your weapons you’ll have issues regardless…

  4. Ralph,
    You are 100% right that it is a design flaw to require pulling the trigger to field strip a striker fired pistol
    Othe companies have made striker pistols that do not require a trigger pull for routine disassembly
    People like Vitsaus can say things like ” your brain is the safety”
    They are wrong
    We in anesthesia have been bedeviled by this problem of providers looking at something and “seeing” that they expect to see
    Not what is really there
    And we are talking about trained professionals trying to save lives
    Fatigue, unfamiliar equipment, complacency have all led to deaths from not seeing reality
    We have turned to engineering solutions that wil not let you make this kind of error
    Gun makers should do this as well
    It would be no problem for them to have a lever to release the striker, not a trigger pull
    This would not affect drawing and using the gun for self defense
    I blame Glock for making people think pulling the trigger to clean a gun is normal
    It is a major design flaw and does not need to be there

    • “I blame Glock for making people think pulling the trigger to clean a gun is normal
      It is a major design flaw and does not need to be there”

      ^ This.

      I’ve carried Glocks. Its a invitation to a catastrophe, especially if you use different gun platforms.

      (One slip, and down the hole we fall…)

      • At least one company — a smaller one I think like Jennings or some other cheap junker brand — has been successfully sued for it. Judge and jury agreed it was a design flaw and was a totally unnecessary risk/additional danger when it’s so very easily engineered out. Only a matter of time before it hits one of the big boys.

        Stupid, negligent accident or not, it happens a lot. Engineers know darn well that there should be only ONE way to assemble a product — the correct way — and it should be designed to that any other assembly is impossible. This was one of the big problems with the original Remington R51 and plagues Kimber Solo owners to this day (same thing, actually, where if you install the slide stop either under or over a spring when it’s supposed to be the other way around, the slide locks back after every shot). That’s a bit of a digression, but it’s very similar to making disassembly safer or, yes, even “idiot proof.” It’s so very easy to engineer a striker drop button that forcing the user to pull the trigger to field strip is unnecessary and absolutely not “idiot proof.” Which is proven by the surprising number of idiots who ND their GLOCKS and other striker guns. Cops, competitive shooters, hobbyists, and others who know better. It happens and it doesn’t need to.

      • “. . . It seems to take no time at all
        A momentary lapse of reason
        That binds a life for life
        A small regret, you won’t forget,
        There’ll be no sleep in here tonight. . .”

    • Walther DOES make guns that you dont have to pull the trigger to field stirp if its that is such a big deal, its the Walther PPX series. Not sure why clearing the gun before disassembly is such a big deal, but Walther has that covered.

  5. I’ve never fired a PPQ; is the bore axis as high as it looks in pictures (as compared to Glock, VP9, M&P, etc?)

    If so, how is the muzzle flip (particularly in 9×19) as compared to those poly~strikers above?

    Thanks

    • Surprising good recoil. I had it out Monday and put another 50 through it. Even quick firing I had a 2 inch group at 21 feet. It’s so accurate I find myself saying damn! Every time.

  6. If this grip fits your hand without scraping your thumb knuckle, these Walthers are superb. Right up there with Glock, with the exception of space efficiency, these are big bulky guns. I think the PPX line for less than 300.00 bucks is the best deal around right now. These PPQs have a different trigger but similar grips and feel. If you can get one for the same price as a Glock and it fits your hand, you wont regret it.

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