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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ll find this SC magazines are marked on the bottom. Unfortunately, no, the full sized PPQ magazines are not interchangeable with this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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”
Weight: 21.2oz empty
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.
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.