Gun Review: Walther PPQ Sub-Compact 9mm

Walther PPQ SC (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Walther Polizei Pistole Quick Defense (PPQ) has gotten plenty of love from the TTAG staff. Several of our writers have reviewed different calibers of the pistol and each one of them has come away with the same, highly positive impression.

Walther PPQ SC right side (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

And it’s no surprise that all the things we’ve liked so much in the PPQ are present in the PPQ Sub Compact model. It’s just a little smaller.

First and foremost, the outstanding PPQ trigger is still…well…outstanding. The PPQ remains the best striker-fired factory trigger on the market. Bar none. I was thinking the new GLOCK Gen 5 came close, and then I shot them back to back.

Walther PPQ SC trigger (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

No contest. The PPQ is clearly the better lever. Just like its big brothers, the Sub-Compact’s trigger pulls cleanly, with very little stack at the front. It then breaks at 5.1lbs. according to my Lyman scale. Oddly enough, the trigger is advertised as heavier, at 5.6lbs. None of the pulls I tried got that high.

It’s not just the pull that sets this gun apart, there’s also the reset. Walther advertises it’s at just 1/10th of an inch. That appears to be correct. It’s ridiculously short, sharp, and easy to feel.

One of the reasons the trigger feels so much better, and so different, is that all it’s really doing is releasing the striker. Unlike many other striker-fired pistols, you aren’t also cocking it when you pull the trigger.

Walther PPQ SC ambi release (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The overall ergonomics of the PPQ are another big selling point. The PPQ SC is no different. Everything is ambidextrous, or at least able to be moved to either side. Walther is kind enough to include a right side magazine release for all of you lefties afflicted with that unfortunate birth defect.

Like several other modern pistols, the PPQ SC gets down to that subcompact(ish) size by shortening the handle. But they also include a sleeved, extended magazine that brings the handle back to full size if you so choose. It’s a great way to provide the shooter with options, and I can’t find any real difference in the experience of shooting the sleeved extended magazine or a full-sized handle.

Walther PPQ SC magazine (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

You’ll find this SC magazines are marked on the bottom. Unfortunately, no, the full sized PPQ magazines are not interchangeable with this one.

Walther PPQ SC dissasembled (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Dissasembly remains the same as other PPQ models. You’ll have to pull the trigger, but the large disassembly release lever on each side of the frame couldn’t be simpler.

Walther PPQ SC slide (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I wouldn’t say the Sub-Compact is particulary easy on the eyes. All those lines and swells and swoops don’t really fit together in any coherent theme. For some reason the stubby look of the SC model reminds me of Hank Hill’s shinless father, Cotton. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The Tennifer coating is great for its ability to withstand salt and wear (especially handy if you IWB in Texas), but don’t expect any kind of deep gloss or shine.

Walther PPQ SC release (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The tri-topped slide brings the eye right to the sights, and it’s textured with large serrations front and back. Again, useful, just not pretty.

I definitely dig the trigger guard. I’ve become a fan of a flat bottom trigger guard, purely for the ability to rest it on things in slow fire.

Walther PPQ SC trigger well (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Walther PPQ SC sports the same large trigger well that allows me to manipulate the trigger quickly and safely even with winter gloves on. It’s also textured for those of you who like to put your support hand index finger in front of the trigger guard.

Walther PPQ SC sights (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The stock sights are good for a self defense pistol. The traditional three-dot sights have a fairly large gap on either side of the front sight when viewed from the rear. I definatley appreciate being able to see my target on either side of the front sight.

Of course, that means you’re going to give up a bit of horizontal precision, but Walther continues to strike a good balance here. Quality self-illuminating night sights are available from the factory.

Walther PPQ SC comparison (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Like the “sub compact” HK VP9, I think calling this version a sub compact is a bit of a stretch. It’s every bit as big as my STI DVC Carry, and far larger than something like Kahr PM9 or a GLOCK 43.

The barrel is only half an inch shorter than the original PPQ. The width is the same and so is the height with the “extended” magazine inserted.

The big difference is that last inch or so taken off the grip of the pistol. For those of you who are concerned about concealment, but carry in an outside-the-waistband holster, the shorter grip with the flush fit magazine will make a significant difference.

But let’s see how she shoots.

Walther PPQ SC short grip(photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

With the flush-fit magazine inserted, the pequeno PPQ gets a strictly two-finger grip. I have a few guns like this, from the Bond Arms Derringer, to my Berretta Pico, to a string of Airweight J Frames. They all feel better and more controllable than this gun with the flush fit magazine installed. That’s because, with the PPQ SC, there’s comparatively a large amount of weight on a long lever above and in front of the grip.

To offset a bit of that, the wide grip helps, as does the aforementioned great trigger. Some guns have a little bit of difference between the full length grips and shorty versions. But with other guns, that grip makes a big difference in performance. Considering how it felt in my hand, I thought this would be one of those guns.

Walther PPQ SC backstraps (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I was interested in quantifying the difference in speed between shooting with the full-size grip or the shorty grip. I stood back 25 yards from a full-size silhouette and set the timer while at the low ready. I fired three rounds, and recorded the split times using the full size grip and with the flush fit grip. Any hit on the silhouette counted. I averaged four rounds of shooting with each grip.

It felt like there was a big difference, but the timer told a different story. With the full-size grip, my split time average was .58 second. With flush fit grip, it was .69 second. Sure, percentage wise, that’s significant. But in the real scheme of things, .11 second isn’t much of a concern in a DGU situation (By the way, the average with my EDC, an STI DVC Carry, was .56.)

Walther PPQ SC mag release (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

For those of you with large hands, or just fat paws in general, shooting with the flush fit magazine takes a little training. Because the flush-fit magazine ends well above my palm, just hitting the magazine release with my thumb and loosening my grip a bit isn’t enough. I had to purposefully release more of my hand on the gun than I normally would with a full grip.

If that sounds like an issue, it’s not. It’s something I’m pretty used to with my Kahr PM9, and really just takes 10 minutes of concerted practice to get used to. You will also likely find that you don’t have to release your hand as much with the larger, factory-supplied, backstrap installed.

Walther PPQ SC malfunction (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I had two first round failures to feed with the PPQ SC using the IWI 115gr Die Cut rounds. In both cases, the nose of the round simply hung on the feed ramp, and would not go forward until I racked the slide back and released it again.

I shot 500 rounds through this pistol, with 100 of them being this round. It’s the only round that showed any problems. This is my first failure to feed with the IWI round in any pistol. That said, it’s shaped differently than most rounds on the market.

I also shot FMJs from Winchester, Remington’s HTP hollow point, and flat nosed as well as HP rounds from Freedom Munitions without a hitch (use coupon code “TTAG” for 5% off). I’d stay away from the IWI round on this gun, but feel confident with it running anything else that meets SAAMI specs.

As always, I lubed the gun prior to starting the review, and then never again throughout the entire process. For this review, I used EEZOX Gun Care solvent and lube that I’ve been using on the last few guns. Full review on that product is pending.

Walther PPQ SC factory groups (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Some folks are getting outstanding groups from this gun. Mine were mostly pretty good. When the PPQ SC shipped from the factory, it included a target sheet from Walther that proved the pistol will shoot what measured to be a two-inch group at 15 yards. I assume they all do, and that this is the minimum standard for the pistol.

All of the groups I shot, with any ammunition, shot better than that. I shot multiple different brands, bullet types, and weights off bags at 25 yards. I shot four rounds of five shots each and then averaged the rounds. Every round, including the 115gr Remington HTP, the Freedom Munitions 115gr FMJ, the Freedom Munitions 115gr HP, the Winchester PDX1 124gr +P scored right between 1.60 and 2.1″, with the Winchester round scoring the best in that group.

Every round save one. The Freedom Munitions 124gr +P XDEF round scored 1.25-inch, extremely consistent groups. This is now the third sub four-inch barreled pistol I’ve shot with this round in which it has been the top performer.

Walther PPQ SC groups (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I’ve switched to it as my EDC load. I’m using the coupon code “TTAG” code on the Freedom Munitions website to get 5% off on my future orders. Apparently, we’ve had this coupon code for some time, it’s available to any reader, and I just didn’t know it. Thanks for nothing, Jeremy.

The Walther PPQ is an outstanding gun, in every size. I really don’t understand why this gun isn’t more popular. It has the best trigger in its class, great ergonomics, good sights, and ambidextrous controls. It also costs about the same as many other pistols in this market, only costing about $50 more than a new Glock 19.

Walther PPQ SC full (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

What Walther lacks, beyond the rabid fan base of GLOCK and Smith & Wesson, is the massive aftermarket support both of those companies have. It’s pretty easy to trick out your G26 or M&P9c with dozens of companies offering services for them. That’s just not there with the PPQ. Then again, maybe that’s because there doesn’t need to be.

Specifications: Walther PPQ SC

Model: 2815249
Caliber: 9mm
Barrel Length: 3.5”
Trigger Pull: 5.6lbs (tested at 5.1lbs)
Trigger Travel: 0.4”
Capacity: 10 w/flush magazine 15 with full length
Overall Length: 6.6”
Height: 4.4”
Width: 1.3”
Weight: 21.2oz empty
MSRP: $649

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * *
The PPQ SC is all business. It has a quality, smooth, and even finish throughout. There are no chatter or obvious tool marks on the gun. As with many Teutonic guns, there are proof mark and stamps everywhere. It’s built to be a duty gun (of sorts) and it looks the part.

Customization * * *
You can get new sights. You can hang something off the rail and you can swap out the backstraps. Nothing else seems to come from the factory and there isn’t much of an aftermarket.

Reliability * * * * 1/2
It failed to feed a round within SAAMI Spec a couple of times, but only that one IWI 115gr Die Cut round. And that one is a little different than all the others. Everything else I ran through the PPQ SC — multiple hollow point types as well as FMJs — went smoothly.

Accuracy * * * *
With any round, it shoots well. With the right round, it shoots great.

Overall * * * *
Once again, the PPQ platform proves it has more to offer than the other pistols in its class. The Sub-Compact version gives you everything the PPQ did, just in a slightly smaller package.

Freedom Munitions TTAG Banner

Ammo for this review provided by Freedom Munitions. Visit www.FreedomMunitions.com and use coupon code “TTAG” for 5% off site-wide on dozens of brands of ammunition, accessories, parts, optics, and more.

comments

  1. avatar Flinch says:

    Seems odd they would advertise a higher trigger pull than reality. Must be a lawyer thing.

  2. avatar Texican says:

    No magazine interchangeability with its big brother!? In a gun that looks just like it!? That is the height of nonsensical! (That’s the nicest way I could say that!) Another win for Glock! Make the gun better and lower priced then people might consider moving from Glock. You’d also probably have to come out with a whole line of guns and not just intro one gun at a time to see if it will sell. That’s why Glock keeps on winning. They’ll probably get too full of themselves at some point but they are still keeping up with trends however slowly these days.

  3. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I came so close to buying this gun last week. But I could not even find a PPQ anything to feel the grip texture. So I bought the FNC 9c instead.

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      Own a FNS-9c and love it. Also has a very good trigger, though not quite as good as the PPQ.

      1. avatar Jay in Florida says:

        Yes the trigger is s bit different as I come from the 1911 world. But I more then happy with the 9C. 12+1 or 18. What’s not to like…….I can IWB it all day long too.

      2. avatar Rick says:

        I have an fns 9c too, and I wish Icould praise to the way you do yours. The trigger is not that good, it had to back the factory the first week I had it because it jammed every other shot, and you needed two men and a boy to work the slide. Even after “repair” it’s still ammo sensitive, and has a stiff trigger. Inexpensive ammo jams.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      You bought a good gun.

  4. avatar Slim says:

    I’m a big fan of the PPQ and I’m sure the compact version is fantastic. For me the PPQ has the best trigger and ergonomics of all the striker fired polymers.

    That being said, my PPQ only serves as a night stand gun and for fun at the range. For me the trigger is a little light for carry. I prefer heavier staple gun like triggers of the glocks and m&ps.

  5. avatar MIO says:

    Good review Thanks

  6. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

    meh. More combat tupperware. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      At least it’s not another AR.

      1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        Thank you jeebus. I’m rapidly losing my love of plastic. 🙂

  7. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Good review.

    I would suggest that the increased split time would be multiplied in a DGU and that percentage would make some difference.

    Hand shape and size make a lot of difference. I shoot my SR9c faster and better than i shoot my SR9.

    The only reason i have come up with is that the bottom, back of the grip (SR9c) is more secure in my palm than the longer backstrap of the SR9 which extends past my palm.

    All other pistols I have tried (Glock and whatnot), i shoot the larger version faster and better. Reloads are faster with SR9 as I dont have to shift my hand to drop the mag.

    YMMV

  8. avatar Keltex78 says:

    Any comments on the plastic striker housing? This was high up on my wish list until I saw how different it was from the standard PPQ. Now I’m undecided.

    For only a 1/2″ reduction in length, I would have preferred they simply chop the grip on a standard PPQ to match this SC grip length and call it done.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I didn’t detail strip it. But upon field stripping, I didn’t notice any particular wear, or any areas that looked prone to failure.

  9. avatar justin says:

    Just picked up a PPS M2 yesterday.

    1. avatar Wiregrass says:

      I’d be interested in seeing a side by side of this gun with the PPS. They seem to hit the same niche but I would think at different price points. Is the one that much different or better than the other?

      1. avatar magnumsteele says:

        the pps m2 dosent compare at all to my ppq m2 5 in. had to send it back to walther just to make it’s creepy barrell pinging trigger assembly tollerable. Got the vp9sk and theres no way i would trade it for this one. Walther jumped in too late in the game.

  10. avatar little horn says:

    i don’t see how anyone could hold onto the damn thing with the grip so tiny. and it just looks so funny with the big honking slide and the tiny little grip lol

    1. avatar Ing says:

      That thing is a new kind of ugly. It just doesn’t look right. I guess if it shoots right (as in well), that’s what really matters…but damn…

  11. avatar RObert A says:

    After the pile of junk that is the CCP, I don’t know how anyone could trust any pistol from Walther. Ever.And please spare me the fanboi “it wasn’t built in Ulm” nonsense.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I don’t really care where it is built. I trust the PPQ line because I’ve shot the crap out of them and they’ve all performed well.

      1. avatar Harold47 says:

        Exactly. I own PPQ 9, PPQ 45 and PPS M2. The 45 lives in my night stand, the 9 is cold weather carry and the PPS is warm weather in a Stealthgear IWB. On occasion I carry a 92A1 but Walther is my primary EDC. Put at least 2000 rounds through the Walthers without a failure. That’s good enough for me.

    2. avatar Chris Heuss says:

      If we stopped trusting every gun company that made a mistake we wouldn’t have many to trust.

      1. avatar Robert A says:

        Most of the other gun companies that make huge mistakes like the CCP do the right thing and buy the turd back. Or offer some type of credit towards another of their products. Not Walther.

    3. avatar Mosinfan says:

      I own a CCP and I’ve had it for about a year and a half now. I’ve used it in a causal pistol shooting league ( rapid fire/slow fire/ moving targets/ timed targets/3yd-75yd), I carry it daily, and have yet to find a pistol I like more or shoot better. I have 3,200 rounds through it so far without a single malfunction of any kind.

    4. avatar but hert says:

      youtube.com/watch?v=NjkNNDuAb9A

  12. avatar Philipp Ott says:

    The PPQ uses a single action fireing system, really. By pulling the trigger you only release the striker, like on many DA/SA or SA only guns you move or rotate a sear which then releases a hammer. On Glocks, even the Steyrs, and the new Beretta APX, and other striker fired guns, when you pull the trigger you also (some just minimally) cock the striker more before releaseing it. This are two actions and this is why they are double action system – or Safe Action, or Reset Action, or Whatever-marketing-came-up-with-actions. And cocking the striker means overcoming plus 4/5/6 lbs striker spring weight. I got a P99C AS and in SA mode it feels like a PPQ just before the shot breaks. The striker in both cases is then fully cocked and the trigger only releases it. Great.

  13. avatar FlamencoD says:

    I used to think the PPQ 4″ was an attractive gun, but its grown old on me for some reason and I now don’t see it as a nice looking gun. This PPQ SC is hideous IMO. The grip looks silly on a slide that massive. I know it has a fine trigger. To me the ergos of the full size grip are matched or exceeded by the XD Mod.2 grip, which in my humble opinion is a far better looking gun than the PPQ and is $100 less street price. Yes, the trigger is not as good in the XD.

    Also, I wish Freedom loaded their rounds a little hotter. 1125 fps 124 grains is barely faster than standard pressure 9mm load. Even still, I may order a box or two of the X-Def for shtf when they have free shipping.

  14. avatar Timmer says:

    “…or all of you lefties afflicted with that unfortunate birth defect.”
    I am offended by this remark. Don’t be side-ist. It’s bad enough living in a right hand man’s (people’s) world without having to hear this!

    If you can’t guess, this is sarcasm!

    1. avatar Art out West says:

      People suffering from “right privilege”
      😀

    2. avatar billy-bob says:

      Yet another whiny ‘leftist’.

      1. avatar Timmer says:

        Yes. Yes I am!

      2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

        My brother is a whiney leftard. In our youth the old man shut him up with an Ithaca model 37.

        In the military the kind man with the large hat just shut him up.

  15. avatar Hannibal says:

    So effectively single action (possibly SA\DA if it has double-strike capability) but no mention of an applied-safety or decocker on a relatively light trigger? I’d pass, not what I consider a good manual of arms for a carry gun.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      When you say applied safety, do you mean an external manual safety? If so, no it does not have one, nor does it have a decocker.

  16. avatar ironicatbest says:

    That appears to be an outstanding firearm. I could only see three things I do not like about. Striker fired, PLASTIC, and 9mm, besides that it’s a win

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      motherphucker…….. 🙂

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    I have 3 PPQ models and might make this my fourth

  18. avatar slimjim9 says:

    Would also like to see a direct comparison to the PPS M2. This is the only “small gun that shoots like a big gun” I’ve found. I rented a PPQ and didn’t feel it was “all that” – flippier and snappier than my G19. I can’t imagine a 2-fingered grip version would work for me but I have no problem running the M2 like that.

  19. avatar Grant says:

    I like the PPS M2 enough that I bought two of them. It really isn’t in direct competition with the PPQ. It’s a much thinner gun.

    If you want a chopped double stack, then the VP9sk, PPQ compact, G26, M&P9c or FNS9c are what you are looking for. The PPS M2 is more in line with the Shield or G43.

    If you are looking at a PPS M2 I obviously like them and would recommend you get the LE model since it comes with 3 magazines and cost about the same as the base model. I think the grip is very comfortable and they are an accurate little gun. The trigger is not as good as the PPQ, but is better than a stock Shield.

  20. avatar Sam Allen says:

    Give the P99 a try, I get the simplicity of a PPQ trigger, but when I compared the two side to side I just like the P99 more. It takes a little getting used to, but I really hope Walther doesn’t discontinue it. Plus the fact that a paddle mag release is just a better design than that side button horseshit. I don’t want to lose my grip on a firearm to change mags, that’s a huge design flaw and I have no idea why it ever caught on. I think first gen PPQ’s still had a good mag release, but f**k that side button nonsense.

  21. avatar luigi38 says:

    i killed fitty men

    1. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      So few?

  22. avatar 22winmag says:

    Subcompact PPQ?

    Just get a PPS (the M1 not the hideous M2) and never look back.

  23. avatar lopaa says:

    A large portion of the other weapon organizations that commit gigantic errors like the CCP make the best choice and purchase the piece of poop back. Or then again offer some sort of credit towards another of their items.

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