If you want to shoot down a helicopter with a handgun (void where prohibited by law), carry a Walther PPK. James Bond did it in SPECTRE — despite the fact that the timelessly stylish .380 is now built in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Wait. Is it? Unlike the movie’s plot, the whole thing’s a bit of a mystery. One thing’s for sure: Walther’s U.S. division’s on a roll. Ask anyone who’s said how-do-you-do to the PPQ. Will the new Walther PPS M2 sub-compact 9mm bond with American buyers? Glad I asked . . .
Unlike the Bond girls, the Walther PPS M2 is unlikely to inspire obsessive not-to-say onanistic adoration. Despite the “new” gun’s smoothed-out snout — which removes the option of rail-mounted lights and lasers — the revised PPS is no looker. Like the first-gen Springfield XD, a blocky slide sits atop a blocky frame to create a gun so blocky it could block punts for the NFL. The PPS may not have the world’s tallest bore axis, but it sure looks like it does.
Equipped with the smaller, six-round flush magazine, Walther’s sub-compact nine belongs in one of The Chive’s FLBP photo galleries. The PPS M2’s extended seven-round baseplated mag cures the gun’s top-heavy look, but not convincingly. On the positive side, thin is in! If you want an ultra-concealable inside-the-waistband or outside-the-waistband throw-a-shirt-over-it-and-watch-it-disappear everyday carry gun, the slim PPS M2 makes the grade. Unfortunately . . .
the M2 gets an F for pocket carry. Fitted with a six-round magazine, the PPS M2 is 4.4″ tall. With a seven-round magazine gun on board it measures 4.91″ from top to bottom. Unlike the GLOCK 43 or Ruger LCP (for example), you can’t carry the Walther PPS M2 in the front pocket of standard pants. And yes I’m pleased to see you.
The Walther PPQ’s front finger grooves work beautifully; it’s one of the most comfortable handguns to have and to hold from this day forth. The PPS M2…not so much. Combined with the thin handle and shallow beavertail, the PPS’s finger slots guide me to grab the gun ever-so-slightly sideways, leading to the dreaded Ruger American Pistol thumb knuckle bruising issue. This is easily cured by practicing proper pistol placement, but I prefer a gun that naturally falls to hand in the ideal firing position.
The PPS M2’s mag release is a welcome feature. The semi-auto doesn’t just eject empty ammunition magazines, it fires them out (self-defense plan B?). The traditionally positioned mag release should, however, be ambidextrous. I reckon a right-side mag release is a necessity in a self-defense handgun, even for right-handed shooters. You never know when you’re going to have to fire your gun with your off-hand.
The PPS M2 has a cocking indicator on the gun’s rump and a chamber view slot at the top of the slide. Less good: the PPS’s magazines will partially seat; you need to drive those bad boys home. And it’s possible to insert a magazine backwards (above), where it will stay until your fix the problem. It’s funny (depending on the circumstances) but not the recommended procedure for efficient function.
Field-stripping the PPS M2 is less complicated than a SHOT Show booth babe (don’t ask me how I know). Clear the weapon, dry fire the empty gun and pull down the ambidextrous takedown lever. The slide snaps forward a quarter inch. Remove the slide, wash, rinse and reinsert. Function check and Bob’s your uncle. The right side of the polymer pistol boasts a 3/4 length steel slide rail; a good sign for long-term reliability. The left side features two smaller rail sections to keep the slide in place, which is not so good.
Out on the range, the Walther PPS M2 proved itself a completely reliable companion. I fed it 500 rounds of 115-grain mixed target ammo and a smörgåsbord of leftover hollow points. The handgun was Oliver-like in its appetite for more.
As the target above indicates (10 yards slow-fire), initial accuracy was startlingly good (for me). All hail the PPS’s trigger, one of the best out-of-box compact nine solutions money can buy. The trigger safety is blissfully unobtrusive and the 6.1 pound pull has no grit whatsoever. Completely predictable take-up leads to a brick wall breaking point. The go pedal breaks with OCD-like cleanliness and resets more positively than a Jesus freak after a religious debate. The reset is really short; I double-tapped once without meaning to. Relax; it’s a feature not a bug.
The Walther M2’s thin grooved handle and inherent snappiness takes its toll. As the range session progressed, my accuracy didn’t. Like many, if not many but not all tiny nines, the PPS is a snappy little beast that prefers lower-powered ammo and doesn’t reward extended trigger time. On the positive side, the PPS M2’s big ass three-dot white sights make point shooting a breeze; minute-of-bad guy shots are a done deal at close-quarter combat distance. And those double taps are, as mentioned, a doddle.
It’s easy to understand James Bond’s affinity for the PPK. While the PPS M2 lacks the PPK’s style, it offers mega-comfortable concealability, steadfast reliability, a phenomenal trigger and 9mm affordability. Ammo cost aside, the PPS M2 is less expensive than its predecessor (now called the “Classic”). At $469 MSRP, the new PPS is priced to compete with all the usual 9mm sub-compact single stack polymer pistols [e.g., the GLOCK G43 above]. Bottom line: if it fits, it acquits. More than that, sub-compact seeking trigger snobs need apply.
Barely Length: 3.2″
Trigger Pull: 6.1 lbs.
Capacity: 6/7 rounds
Height: 4.4″ with six-round magazine, 4.91″ with seven-round magazine
Weight: 21.1 ounces
Price: $469 MSRP
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Blocky beyond belief. No comparison to Bond’s PPK. None.
Reliability: * * * * *
All hits, no runs or errors.
Ergonomics (carry): * * * *
The PPS M2 is a scant 1″ wide, perfect for inside- or outside-the-waistband holsterage. Too tall for pocket carry.
Ergonomics (shooting): * * * *
Tough call. Wonderful trigger, but the thin grip with finger grooves will not suit all shooters. Try before you buy.
Customize This: *
Overall: * * *
The revised PPS (M2) is priced well, dead nuts reliable, plenty accurate, perfectly concealable and puts the mag release where it belongs. The gun’s looks and ergos (YMMV) let it down.