Gun Review: Walther PPQ Q4 TAC in 9X19mm

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

It seems that everyone at TTAG loves the PPQ line. Multiple writers have now completed multiple reviews on several different models. They are all highly positive. That’s because the PPQ is an outstanding firearm in its class. The new Walther PPQ Q4 TAC continues the trend.

Walther PPQ Qr Tac comes with everything you see here (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

“Tactical” didn’t always have a real meaning with firearms, but now it does. Just like “carry” or “target,” the use of the word “tactical” in any handgun’s model description denotes a few specific characteristics. Or at least it should.

Usually, it means it’s a full framed pistol with a large or increased magazine capacity, an accessory rail, low light sights, and a matte finish. In the last couple of years, it has also come to mean the barrel is threaded, includes tall sights, and more and more, that the slide is cut for a red-dot optic.

The new Walther PPQ Q4 TAC includes almost all of those features. There are no big changes to the Q4 TAC. If you hate the PPQ (does anybody?) you’ll hate the Q4 TAC. If you loved the PPQ, well now you can love it a little more quietly.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac right side (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Q4 TAC includes a full length grip. Like the other PPQ models, it also comes with multiple backstrap inserts that slightly alter the shape of the grip, as well as adjust the length of pull. It also includes three magazines standard, two of which have extended base pads.

The high performance Tenifer coating is the same as on the other PPQs, as are the ambidextrous controls, the accessory rail…really it’s all of the same basics that make this entire line a great performer. Like all of the other PPQs, I still hit the slide release with my support hand every time, so it won’t lock back on an empty magazine. If this were my go-to pistol, I could train myself out of that pretty quickly.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac trigger and mag release (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The trigger on the Q4 TAC is no different than the other models. That means it’s exceptional. The PPQ is still the gold standard for a striker fired pistol. It has the same great feel, and the same super short reset.

Do note, however, that although this pistol is billed as “double action” I’m not really sure that’s the case. After all, unlike the GLOCK, you aren’t cocking the striker further when you pull the trigger on the PPQ, you are releasing it. That sounds more like single action to me.

The trigger weight on this model measured an average of 5.4lbs on my Lyman scale, which follows the trend of every single one of these guns measuring lower than advertised. Because of the exceptional trigger of the PPQ line, a rigid holster that completely covers the trigger is a must, as it is with any pistol.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac optic cut and plate (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Unlike other models, the PPQ Q4 TAC’s slide is pre-cut for different mounting plates for red dot optics. Included standard are the mounts for a Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point Pro and Docter optics. I’m still getting used to the optic mounted handgun, and so far I’m no faster or more accurate with optics than I am with irons.

There’s a pretty big exception to that. Even with firearms that include tritium night sights, I’m much faster with a red-dot optic in low light or at night. I enjoy wild hog hunting with a handgun and most of those hunts happen at night. The red dot really shines when it’s hard to see since there’s no time looking for my irons.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac front sight (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The iron sights themselves are the same ones as on other PPQ models. This includes a bright, easy to see fiber optic front sight and a fully adjustable rear.

Whereas the red-dot mounts are appreciated, the PPQ standard irons on this Q4 TAC are a misstep. First, the rear sight is great for competition, but not for a combat handgun. The long ramp of the rear sight slips right off a pocket or belt, meaning that it can’t be used to rack the slide single-handed.

The other issue is that great front sight. It’s small and bright, ideal on any gun without a suppressor. But it’s low. It’s just barely too low to clear even my fairly narrow first generation Advanced Armament Corp silencer.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac front sight too short (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Of course, if you run it with an optic, both of those issue go away. Since the red dot is typically zeroed on the target, not below it, you’ll certainly clear the silencer. You’ll also have that big fin sticking off the top of the gun to easily manipulate the slide.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac muzzle (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

This model also includes a 4.6″ 1/2″ x 28 threaded barrel to quickly and easily attach a 9mm suppressor. Shooting the Q4 TAC suppressed was giggly fun. Using the Freedom Munitions 165gr Hush round, the pistol is almost “movie quiet.” The round striking the steel target is louder than the report of the gun. It really seems like what you’re hearing from the gun is the slide reciprocating, more than the report itself.

Of course, like any weight hung off the end of the muzzle, the already light recoil becomes almost nonexistent. Even a loose, single-handed grip will keep the muzzle down, as well as cycle the gun. The Mozambique drill with this gun makes Hollywood fantasy shooting a reality. It’s super fast, and so quiet I could carry on a conversation during shot strings without shouting. Neat!

As with the other PPQs that TTAG has reviewed, accuracy with the Q4 TAC ranged from better than average to outstanding. Although not particularly consistent, the cheap Remington 115gr FMJ UMC round averaged 1.5″ five-round groups for four shot strings off bags at 25 yards. (As an aside, every other round I shot had more vertical dispersion than horizontal. The Remington’s dispersion was almost entirely horizontal, and the photo included is indicative of the groups shot by this round. Weird.)

No round I shot averaged greater than 2.1″ at the same distance, and that was the 165gr Hush round. Every other round I tried shot under 2″ at 25 yards. All groups were shot without the use of an optic or the suppressor attached.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac group (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Like the other PPQ pistols we’ve reviewed, the Q4 TAC was extremely reliable. Like most of my handgun reviews, I put 500 rounds through this gun without issue. Two hundred of those rounds were with the silencer attached.

I ran everything from 90gr frangible bullets to the Freedom Munitions 165gr Hush FMJ through the gun, both with and without the silencer attached. I also ran a box of the IMI 115gr Die Cut rounds through the gun, which had two failures to feed on the PPQ sub-compact I reviewed.

I had no issues with reliability, in any way, with any round on this gun, including the IWI round. I lubed it with Rogue American Apparel’s Gun Oil prior to shooting, and never again during the entire process.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac magazine base (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

I also made a mistake. Shocking, I know, but it happens every damn day. I forgot to use the silencer-specific spring Walther includes with the gun. The manual says to use this spring whenever using a silencer, but to remove it in order to ensure proper function without the suppressor.

I totally forgot, and never even took it out of the case during the shoot. Despite that, the gun ran great without it. Perhaps with long-term use, shooting the gun with the silencer but without the added spring would lead to increase wear and tear on the gun, but I didn’t notice any.

Like every other PPQ I’ve shot, or apparently any writer at TTAG has shot, the PPQ Q4 TAC is a great pistol. It’s small and light enough to OWB carry all day with ease. It’s perfectly reliable with any round, and more accurate than its peers. It’s that great trigger and instinctive ergonomics that put this gun well ahead of its competition.

Walther PPQ Q4 Tac right side supressed (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Of the PPQ line, this is certainly my favorite. The Q4 TAC gives me all the options I want in how to set up and use the gun, and at a very reasonable price. Walther did good with the PPQ. They did even better with the Q4 TAC.

Specifications: Walther PPQ Q4 TAC

Model: 2825929
Caliber: 9mm
Barrel Length: 4.6″ – – Threaded: 1/2″ x 28TPI
Trigger Pull: 5.6lbs (advertised)
Trigger Travel: .4″
Capacity: 15+1
Overall Length: 7.8″
Height: 5.3″
Safety: 3 AUTO (advertised) no external safety
Width: 1.3″
Weight Empty: 25oz
Stock: Black Polymer With Mil-Std 1913 Picatinny Rail
Sights: Front: Fiber Optic Rear: Adjustable For Wind & Elevation
MSRP: $749

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * * *
The full frame with the extended magazine base pad and suppressor somehow turn what was an OK looking firearm into an even better one. The finish is the same good quality as on the other PPQs. There are ALL the proof marks on the gun, but no tool marks or chattering, either inside or out.

Customization * * * * *
Unlike some of the other PPQ models, this one gives you lots of options right out of the box.

Reliability * * * * *
Zero issues with any round tested, silenced or not, and even without even using the proper (included) spring.

Accuracy * * * *
No round made it to the 1″ mark on a full framed gun, so no five stars. Still, every round shot well, almost all shooting under the 2″ mark, and a few inexpensive rounds shot better than that.

Overall * * * * 
The PPQ Q4 Tac is at the absolute top of its product class.  When it comes to the polymer, striker fired pistols, this is what I judge all others against. The lack of tall sights on a firearm billed as “suppressor ready” and not hitting the 1″ mark for precision kept this gun just out of the 5 star category. I’m still surprised it ran so reliably silenced with so many different rounds, even though I didn’t use the “suppressor” spring. With the exception of tall sights, this gun has all of the options I’d want, and still maintains all of the fundamentals I liked about the PPQ line.

comments

  1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

    I can see vertical dispersion shot placement being caused by inconsistent powder loads interacting with the bore axis, but what the Hell causes horizontal dispersion?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Operator error is all I can come up with.

    2. avatar Bcb says:

      Inconsistent trigger pull by the operator is most always the cause of horizontal dispersion. Maybe inconsistent finger placement in particular? Maybe he needed a different back strap on the grip?

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        “Inconsistent trigger pull by the operator is most always the cause of horizontal dispersion.”

        Yup, that I could see…

        1. avatar TexTed says:

          I’ve put semi-autos in Ransom rests and gotten 4″-5″ groups out of them at 25 yards. Why so much variance? Because the slide doesn’t lock firmly on the rails, it can vary a little. So even if the gun frame is absolutely immobile, the slide can wiggle some, and any variation in that will result in the barrel moving. Try it on a Glock or something similar, hold the frame and try to shift the slide side to side and you’ll see it.

          You can actually shoot better with a semi-auto by hand, than you can in a Ransom (or other machine rest), because by hand you can compensate for the slide alignment issues, because the sights are mounted on the slide, so if the slide moves out of alignment, you can turn the gun so that the sights are still aligned, which will line the barrel up with the target. In a machine rest, there is no variation allowed, so what works great for a fixed-barrel gun (specifically a revolver) doesn’t necessarily work so well for a gun without a fixed/locked barrel.

          1911s can be tuned to be precise, but the more precise you tune them, the less reliable they become. The flexibility of the polymer pistols lets them be a lot more reliable, but impacts ultimate accuracy.

        2. avatar TexTed says:

          added: when I say 4″ to 6″ groups, I mean 4″ to 6″ WIDE. The height is usually within an inch or so, but the group is straggled horizontally. And that’s not due to trigger manipulation, because the Ransom Rest uses a mechanical trigger release mechanism. It’s strictly due to barrel movement.

          The group will vary vertically because of the velocity of the individual bullets, but the horizontal variation is due to the barrel movement. You won’t see that in rifles or revolvers, with fixed barrels.

        3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          “1911s can be tuned to be precise, but the more precise you tune them, the less reliable they become.”

          Oh, yeah.

          Saw an example of that here in TTAG a few years back, when a company called Cabot decided to make a 1911.

          Cabot had full chops to machine metal, their main business is precision aerospace contracting. So they decided to ‘improve’ a 1911 by drastically tightening up the clearances. They made a *beautiful* gun that was a wonder to hold and work in your hands.

          Until you actually shot it. It constantly jammed and hung up on itself.

          Really disappointing. The metalwork made you weak in the knees, it was that gorgeous.

          But it wasn’t reliable…

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Geoff, you failed to mention that they fixed it, it was just as beautiful, just as accurate, and ran 600 rounds of mixed ammunition with zero failures.

  2. avatar dph says:

    I really like my HK VP-9 with the paddle mag release, Walther has that on the original PPQ, I think they should offer that as an option to the button release on the rest of the PPQ line.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Totally agree. I have the PPQ M1 and once I got used to the paddle I’d rather stick with it.

    2. avatar TommyJay says:

      I think the push button release is one of the rare examples of the marketplace getting it wrong. The paddle release is so much easier.

    3. avatar Old Man says:

      T H E F U T U R E I S N O W
      P A D D L E S A R E D E A D

  3. avatar Gunr says:

    What is the item at the far right, in the box? At first I thought it was another mag.
    Would love to have one of these.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      It’s a device to help with loading mags. It pushes down the loaded rounds to help with sliding in the next one.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        Thanks for the reply Tom, I had thought of that, but the size of it, plus the lips on the bottom, made me think elsewhere. I guess I’m just used to the small gizmos you slip over the top of the mag.

  4. avatar Bryce says:

    Only real complaint is the fact that the rear sight has to be removed in order to use a red dot…. I just don’t understand the thinking there.

    1. avatar WadeJ says:

      Agree. A red dot would be the most likely part to fail due to dead battery or breakage. With a failed red dot, there isn’t a backup sight. Seams that it would be better for those that prefer ‘iron sights’ and those that prefer a red dot, to have tall iron sights that aren’t removed and can be co-witnessed with a red dot. Walther is always working on the next M2. But until they fix this, I’m happy with the PPQ Navy.

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    If my backwards state allowed NFA items I would get this. Alas I’ll have to move first.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      What’s NFA here other than the suppressor?

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        I don’t see a reason to get a piece wit a threaded barrel unless you are using a can.
        I have three PPQ guns already so I enjoy the other features now.

  6. avatar Evey259 says:

    I’m surprised you made no mention of the (I believe,) fact that the rear sight has to be removed for optics use. Which is a pretty damn big deal for any sort of serious use.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Yes, the rear sight does have to be removed. There’s no way round that given the slide geometry. I don’t consider it a big deal at all. I also find back-up iron sights on a stateside gun worthless.

      1. avatar Evey259 says:

        Did not expect to hear that from you, honestly.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          It was my second tour in Afghanistan where I finally gave up the idea of back up irons. I haven’t had an optic break since, oh, the 80s, including during combat in some of the most hostile places on earth.
          In-country, PCCs and PCI’s should solve the battery issue, but every once in a while, supply just says “GFY” and there’s not a whole lot of CR123s at the local bazaar, so I can justify irons OCONUS.
          At home, with modern optics that have literal years of constant on battery life, many of which are more durable than irons, it’s just not an issue. Plus, optics on a QD mount come on and off easy, so just slap on a new one if a different one breaks. Takes under 30 seconds, and they’ll hold within 1MOA on and off.
          On a bolt gun, I’d rather they come with a clean barrel and no sights anyway. On a semi auto, I’ve gotten rid of all of them.
          Then, of course, I’ve been shooting mostly irons for the last year, just because it’s fun.

        2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          @jwtaylor – interesting perspective there. A few years ago I read about one of the army’s ongoing weapon procurement projects and part of the spec was that any electronic sights / lights / whatever had to run on AAs to avoid the “CR123 in BFE” problem.

  7. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I usually sigh in exasperation at modern Cheez-Whiz pistols. They’re usally all trying to out-Glock a Glock. They don’t seem to realize that the secret to Gaston’s success isn’t just the pistol, it was also the hookers and blow used to market them.

    The Walter PPQ line is only the second I’ve observed (other than the Springfield XD line) that is trying to be polymer, but not a Glock clone.

    I laid my hands on a PPQ in the last month. I was impressed with the trigger, which is usually execrable on striker pistols. It pointed pretty naturally for me.

    I’ve also laid my hands on the new Colt Cobra, too. The one I had in my mitts locked up tight, the way Colts were known for locking up.

    Decisions, decisions…

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      I got to shoot the new Cobra quite a bit at Shot Show. They were good shooting little guns, and I applaud the decision to keep it at .38SPL+P and not to try a .357Magnum.

      That said, the Cobra only comes stainless with the Hogue over molded rubber grips. The only Colt I want is royal blue. The only grips I want on my “J Frame” are checkered wood.

      Surely I am not alone.

      1. avatar Djm says:

        You are alone, and don’t call me Shirley !

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        You’re not alone, but as I’ve stated here many times: The level of finish you want on a Colt wheelgun won’t be had on any gun under $1,000. And it won’t be had on any gun under $1,500.

        Colt is in tight financial straights, and they had to make a management decision to make a gun that wasn’t a clone of “everything else” that’s already in the market, and I think the “modern Cobra” (as I call it, because there was a Cobra Colt made years ago, and it was a little aluminum-framed snubby in .38 Special) is perhaps one of the best choices they could have made in a CCW revolver offering in this market.

  8. avatar Dude With The Green Shirt says:

    Pretty sure the included “suppressor spring” is weaker; it may be to ensure proper cycling if running a suppressor without a booster? Say this only because there was a spring included along with my threaded barrel for a P99. I’ve never used the softer spring and have had no issues

  9. avatar Retro says:

    The suppressor spring for the PPQ is actually stronger than the stock spring, maybe to reduce gas out of the ejection port? I don’t know, just an observation.

    All I want is the effin’ slide off this model. I’ve got the first gen frame with the paddle mag release, I’ve replaced the front site with a fiber optic when it took off while shooting in the desert, I bought the suppressor kit when it came out, but NOOO, you peons can’t buy the slide separate from the gun. So now I have to work around it by either getting my original slide milled, or buying this model and swapping the slide assembly onto my frame, then selling the leftovers.

  10. avatar Barry Mooney says:

    Last year I bought a Walther Creed and I love it.the trigger pull and recoil are great, better then the guns I have owned in the past. Just having hard time finding a tactical OWB right handed holster.

  11. avatar asdf says:

    I love my PPQ… and don’t comment.

  12. avatar Phillip Martin says:

    I have never shot a PPQ yet I want one. My grandson is a cop on a SWAT in Ga. He got a good deal on a slightly used 5″ PPQ and says it is far better than the Glock 17 he is issued BUT he can’t find a good holster for it. You may have the same problem with the tactical version particularly with a optical sight mounted.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Longshadow or Black Rhino Concealmetnt make great holsters for the PPQ.

  13. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    It was a tough choose between the PPQ and the Springfield XDS Mod 2 in .45 acp. For my first ever polymer pistol to be kept in my Jeep Wrangler. After testing both guns, I chose the XDS. I don’t think I made the wrong decision. Ironically though, the XDS replaces my 1994 Interarms Walther PPK that I’ve been carrying in my Jeep since I bought the Jeep new in 2006. The last few years I’ve become more and more paranoid that someone could easily steal the Walther. The XDS is easily replaceable, the Interarms Walther is irreplaceable, at least in the condition It’s in.

  14. avatar WolfSix says:

    I have the PPQ M2 Navy. It was a tough choice between that model and this one, but I ultimately don’t regret the choice.

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