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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.

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.

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.

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. 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 five minutes and a jeweler’s screwdriver. There is a Picatinny rail for a laser or flashlight of your choice.

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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 5 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.

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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 3 through 15 whereas the .45 shows 4, 7, then 10 and 12. It’s a mystery why they didn’t have windows for the other rounds.

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.

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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″
Safety: 3 Auto
Weight (mag empty): 28 oz
MSRP: $679 (street price $645)

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: * * * * *
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.

53 Responses to Gun Review: Walther PPQ 45

  1. Minor correction, Walther worked with S&W to make a version of the p99 in 45, I think it was called the sw45.
    If this had second strike capacity I’d own one already.

  2. Disassembly is simply a matter of clearing the gun, removing the magazine, and pulling the trigger befo…..BANG!!!

      • Indeed, the process of clearing the gun begins with removing the magazine. People have died — one on video — due to racking the slide to eject a round, assuming their gun was now cleared (whether they eject the magazine at this point or not), and then pulling the trigger, forgetting that there was a loaded magazine in the pistol during their mistaken step 1 and the next round was chambered when they ejected the first. Step 1 = remove the magazine.

    • Removing the magazine is usually the place to start 😀 Otherwise you just might load another round into the chamber.

      • Yes, it usually involves racking the slide on a semi automatic pistol…. Which if you do it with the magazine still inserted (the author listed it as step 2 or 3 in his order) just racks another round into the chamber of your “cleared” gun. That’s what the OP is pointing out above.

        • If your magazine contains a round you did not clear it. Clear means empty and devoid of brass. If you remove the magazine the slide won’t lock back like it will on an empty magazine which allows to to visually see the gun is…..clear.

        • Right, you missed the point several people are making in this thread. People are ribbing the author of the review for listing “remove magazine” at step 2 or 3 above but declaring the pistol “clear” in step one. If you remove the magazine first it doesn’t matter if there are rounds in it or not, relying on an empty magazine is a good way to shoot yourself or someone else with an “unloaded” gun.

    • Came here to say something similar to BDub. Noobs: Always remove the mag first! Then clear the gun. Otherwise BDub’s onomatopoeia might ring true.

    • I wrote a review of a metal pistol and a single shot beater shotgun since I figured the review contest would be flooded with polymer wonder guns with glowing reviews but alas, no publication yet 🙁

      Not to throw rocks at said glowing reviews, because most of them are deserving of it (especially the Walther, that is one sweet gun).

      • Hope to see it. I like metal guns and have a soft spot for single pipes. I own 3. I think. Yeah, 3. A 12 and two 20’s. The single pipes are great rabbit and foraging guns. And I like to carry them in the really rough ground. They’re lighter and more compact than the other types of smoothbores.

        • Yep I paid 90 bucks for it 7 years ago. It’s by no means perfect, but accepted for what it is it’s a great beater gun and I actually enjoy shooting skeet with it more than guns that are much more expensive

    • I guess you’re like my sister-in-law. All guns look alike to her.

      But when it comes to how they shoot, there is a world of differences among them.

      • Basically, all these plastic pistols look like one form of hi point or the other. When I was a kid you could see the profile of a gun and now what company made it. Luger, anyone?

  3. Looks OK. Really pretty good review… and why do I want this instead of a GLOCK with much more available mags and parts?

    • Better trigger. More or less that’s the reason.

      I personally think that Walther would have been better off modernizing and improving the P99 design. My first pistol was a P99AS and I only recently gave it to a buddy of mine for his birthday.

      A P99AS made by Walther in .45ACP would have been AWESOME, but alas, I would have had to give money to S&W, which I swore never to do again. Remington, S&W, and Kimber are on my personal “never buy their guns” shit list because of political / policy decisions they have made.

        • Over priced, boutique 1911s made in a state where the citizens cannot legally own them.

        • Kimber has fallen so very low in recent years. Like they fired their quality control department and experienced machinists to save money. The very first GIS of “Kimber quality” pulls up a nice montage of how bad their craftsmanship has become.

    • The Mags aren’t hard to get – because they’re MecGar mags for the Para P14. You can get them here for between $21 and $25 bucks, which is a little more expensive than Glock, but then again they are metal, and you get an extra round compared to the Glock 21.

      http://gregcotellc.com/cart/para-ordnance-mecgar-magazines-c-124/?zenid=7b84783bd73d462bab37a6c7ab705b5d

      I really wanted this gun, and since Walther didn’t initially release a package with 10 round mags, I had to figure out a solution.

  4. I’ve never understood why people want the ability to second strike a round. It pretty much limits you to traditional DA guns for no real benefit.

    I’ve had a small number of rounds fail to fire, but almost all are reloads with primers not seated to the bottom of the pocket. One memorable 9mm dud was factory UMC that had no flash hole in the case. The primer went off just fine, but no amount of trigger pulling was going to make the round fire.

    A simple failure drill is guaranteed to clear the problem & is a better use of your time than pulling the trigger again, which may not.

    • It’s an issue sometimes with hard military primers. The biggest advantage of a SA/DA gun is the ability to carry with one in the pipe without worrying about a sneeze setting off a light trigger or forgetting to disengage a manual safety. Just look at the drastic increases in NDs for police departments that witched to striker fired guns. While I practice safe gun handling, an extra layer of security between myself and possible stupidity is always welcome.

      Don’t forget that a SA/DA gun can also give you the best of both worlds, a DA revolver trigger for safety and a light SA trigger for speed an precision.

      • Police department have negligent discharges because they don’t train them to keep their damn finger off the trigger. Revolver have 10-12 lb trigger pulls so they use to be able to get away with it. I love it when the suspect has their hands up and the cops still have their fingers on the triggers. Dock them a week pay ever time they do that and your negligent discharges will stop real quick.

        • Yeah… That’s one solution, or you can just use a gun that doesn’t make NDs infinitely easier by having a 4.5lb trigger and no manual safety. People will always find a way to do stupid things, using tech to help mitigate that is not a bad idea.

        • “Revolvers have 10-12 lb trigger pulls so they use to be able to get away with it.” Not always. Back when the cops in my city carried S&W model 10s, a cop put a hole in his leg during a foot pursuit. He was running with his finger on the trigger and stumbled.

        • Hence the “New York trigger” for their Glocks that adds a 10lb. pull to a striker pistol. I don’t think it solved NDs but it definitely hurt their accuracy (they land 1:10 for every round fired).

        • This is actually a reply to pwrserge, but there’s no link to reply directly, so….

          >Yeah… That’s one solution, or you can just use a gun that doesn’t make NDs infinitely easier by having a 4.5lb >trigger and no manual safety. People will always find a way to do stupid things, using tech to help mitigate that is not >a bad idea.

          That’s what NYPD does with their Glocks, and we see the results of that line of thought: cops who only fire their sidearms during their annual qualifications who are more apt to shoot a bystander than their actual intended target due to artificially high trigger pull weight.

          I do agree, violations of safety discipline should be punished: start off with verbal warnings, then written warnings that go into your paperwork and are considered at review time, then suspension, then termination from employment.

          Of course, the question remains of how to actually report said violations of safety regs, since most officers will turn a blind eye, and ordinary citizen complaints will be viewed with extreme skepticism.

    • I get what you are saying and under other circumstances I would agree entirely. I am legally blind so any shooting I do would be at contact distances—probably near grappling. Anything farther away and I wouldn’t be able to easily justify the shoot in court. When you have a bad guy right on top of you it is difficult to do the old tap-rack-bang drill—or at least the other guy is not likely to give you the chance. Second strike is an inferior alternative but is better than nothing.

      • IMHO you need a short barreled revolver. In your exact set of circumstances it sounds like the way to go. Grappling with a semi auto opens you up to out of battery problems and tap, rack and hopefully bang is a problem if you’re fighting with one hand.

        • Agreed. In this case I just prefer picking my semi-autos with an eye toward self-defense in case the need arises. In general I prefer my pump shotgun or Smith and Wesson Governor for hd for all the reasons we have discussed.

  5. I have the 9 mm version and I love it! The gun is just more accurate for me than the G19. I also needed to move the mag release to the right side of the pistol because when shooting with right hand only as you might do when shooting while holding a flashlight I would frequently inadvertently drop the mag. Gotten to where I prefer it on that side, just like my AR.

    • I like having my finger off the trigger for a magazine change as well. It’s also possible to drop the mag by pressing your knuckle against the release while pushing with your thumb on the left.

  6. I’ve fired the 9mm PPQ & it is a great gun. It didn’t feel right in my hands, but the owner really liked it.

    The trigger is really good, you would not want a lighter trigger on a carry gun. The fit and finish was also as good as it gets on a polymer gun.

    I was sad the PPQ 9mm didn’t feel right to me, because I had planned on buying one. If this gun fits you, I don’t think you could do better if you want a full sized gun.

  7. I have a PPX, and the trigger is simply sublime as is the accuracy. It’s a lousy CCW piece and unfortunately it’s not rated for +P loads, but other than that I like it. The looks….well, kinda grows on ya.

    I sorely want to get a Glock 19 to pair up with the Kel-Tec Sub2000 carbine but I’m not willing to trade the PPX away to get it.

    Tom

    • I bought a PPX back when Cdnn was selling them for $249. I put 1500 rounds through it with 0 problems before I sold it to a buddy. It really upped my opinion of Walther pistols.

  8. I’ve had mine since the last Texas Firearms Festival and cannot disagree with anything in this review. I seriously love this gun with the ergonomics and out of the box trigger quality being the biggest reasons why. I don’t normally gush about anything, but this is hands down my favorite non-1911 firearm to shoot (and it is almost right there with my 1911).

  9. I’ve been wanting to replace my Baby Eagle in .45 with another .45. I think I might have to check this one out. I’ve shot the XD Tactical which was nice and don’t like the price on the H&K .45. I already have a 1911 so this could very well fit the bill.

  10. These are great guns, IF the grip fits you. My thumb knuckle gets tore up shooting Walthers, something Glock doesnt do, it has to do with the radius of the back strap, and the extra width. However, if they fit your hand without scrubbing skin they have sweet triggers and are 100% reliable. Chunky and bulky means less recoil, but these are full size guns not well suited to concealed carry. Also the extra size adds to intimidation factor, these are imposing sized guns. They use nice Mec Gar mags that are priced the same as Glock. The PPX line are screaming deals, and the PPQ line are great if you can find models priced the same as Glock. Shoot one before purchase to see how your hand fits.

  11. “The Walther PPQ series of pistols are polymer framed striker fired semi-automatic pistols featuring standard capacity magazines.”

    Fixed that for ya.

  12. I bought a PPQ M2 in 9mm about three months ago, partially on the strength of the recommendation here. It’s fantastic. I have about 2500 rounds through it without a single hitch. I haven’t really tortured it, but I have shot it very hot and very dirty. The accuracy will match anything out there at a comparable price and beat most of them. The trigger is wonderful, but takes a minute to get used to. It may not fit all hands, but the backstrap options mean you have some leeway.

    Downside? The looks are a bit marmite, I think it’s ugly as sin, but don’t care. The GF thinks it’s pretty, but doesn’t like the ergonomics. It’s hard to find holsters for it.

    If the reliability holds up over time, this is a Glock-beater. And I respect Glocks hugely.

    If you want something a bit outside the Glock/XD/M&P trinity, don’t mind a lack of aftermarket stuff and love a good trigger, definitely have a look at these guns.

  13. I have one of the PPQ M1 9mm and it is my current favorite gun. More accurate than anything else I own, even my Buckmark. If the PPQ 45 had the option for the lever mag release, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  14. FYI, the 14 round magazines for the Sarsilmaz SAR K2 .45 will fit the Walther PPQ .45 but not vice versa (12 rounders are too short to engage the mag release of the SARK). This shouldn’t come as a surprise though as they are both made by Mec Gar… the mags that is. There is a bit of a gap, but if you are like me and are willing to overlook the “Hi-Point-esque” slide on the PPQ .45, you can probably overlook that as well.

  15. The need to pull the trigger to field strip a pistol is a huge design flaw
    There are other striker fired pistols like the Smith and Wesson Shield that do not require a trigger pull to take apart to clean
    We in Anesthesia are very familiar with the kind of error where a person checks and ” sees” what he expects
    Not what is really there
    We have been engineering that out of our gas machines
    It is time all gun makers had a lever to release a cocked striker instead of a trigger pull
    You can say “the only safety I need is my brain” yet these kind of negligent discharges happen all the time
    And it is a simple technical fix

  16. As with every machine read the instructions manual and know how to use it beforehand. Safety depends on you and your common sense.
    Lacking that I would recommend paintball or airsoft guns, just don’t put your eye out.

  17. Ive said it many times…..and ill say it again. The PPQ series from Walther are no doubt in my mind the best striker fired pistols ever, yes i said ever, made. Its combo of dead on accuracy, reliablity and smoothness, the crisp trigger and short audible reset and superb ergonomics and ease of use make it a 5 star gun. And i hear the 45 is everybit as good as the 9s and 40s. Great review

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