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