First Look! Walther Q5 Match 9mm

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The new Q5 Match 9mm from Walther delivers a match-winning platform ready to accept the red dot optic of your choice—all right out of the box. Note the distinctive lightening cuts in the forward portion of the slide.

The new Q5 Match 9mm from Walther delivers a match-winning platform ready to accept the red dot optic of your choice—all right out of the box. Note the distinctive lightening cuts in the forward portion of the slide.

Over the last several years Walther has been introducing new guns, updates to existing guns, and line extensions. The latest addition to their line of 5-inch pistols is the Q5 Match. The Q5 is seeking a home in the competition arena, first and foremost, and you can tell that it was designed to accommodate the needs of competitive shooters. Three (three!) 15-round magazines are waiting inside the box to greet you. Multiple plates to mount your favorite optic ( like those from Trijicon, Leupold and Docter) to the slide of the gun are included as well. There’s even a bag of Allen wrenches and screws to mount everything up!

Specs

Model: Walther Q5 Match 9mm
Chambering: 9mm
Barrel: 5 inches
OA Length: 8.1 inches
Weight: 26 ounces
Grips: Integral polymer; three interchangeable backstraps
Sights: Fiber optic front, adjustable rear
Action: Striker-fired
Finish: Tennifer
Capacity: 15+1
MSRP: $849

Let’s Talk: Red Dot on a Handgun

Over the last few years, we have seen most of the large handgun companies bringing out pistols that were specifically designed to accept a red dot optic. This design choice, coupled with several of the optic manufacturers making mounts that can be attached to a properly milled slide, has resulted in a stampede of red dot-equipped handguns. Like it or not, this is certainly the trend.

For this article, I elected to install a Trijicon RMR red dot sight, which was one of the three optic mounts that were included with the Q5. To do so, I first removed two screws from the installed plate that was equipped with the adjustable rear sight on the gun. Next, I installed the mounting plate that was labeled for the RMR, using the two included screws that were also labeled as such. Finally, I attached the RMR to the gun with two mounting screws. This entire operation took maybe six minutes. Not bad.

The author easily fitted out the Q5 Match with a Trijicon RMR red dot for testing.

The author easily fitted out the Q5 Match with a Trijicon RMR red dot for testing.

Note that with the red dot installed on the Q5 Match, the rear sight is removed.

Note that when a red dot optic is installed on the Q5 Match the rear sight is removed.

Walther has taken a unique direction when it comes to the mechanics of mounting plates for optics to attach to; they have actually incorporated a half dovetail into the slide and plate. As a result, rather than the screws holding the optic down and taking the shearing force of the slide, the screws merrily keep the plate snug in the dovetail.

The Q5 Match’s mounting plate system features a half dovetail cut in the slide that interfaces with those in the plates. This reduces stress on the mounting screws.

The Q5 Match’s mounting plate system features a half dovetail cut in the slide that interfaces with those in the plates. This reduces stress on the mounting screws.

One of the most noticeable differences you’ll encounter when installing an optic on the Q5 Match is that the gun has no rear sights once you swap in the optic plate. I’ve run several handguns with optics and rear sights simultaneously, and I have yet to find a pair of sights that work with an optic installed, due to the height difference between the sight and the optic. Some manufacturers offer an integrated mounting plate that features a tall rear sight. After going to the trouble and expense to install these types of fixes, I’ve never found a setup that will truly co-witnesses like a long gun. My best advice is to rely on either the red dot or your iron sights, because trying to make the handgun work like a carbine is going to end up being a fool’s errand. I am quite sure that people will try to make this out to be some type of failure on the part of Walther, but I see it as an acceptance of the realities that are created by installing an optic.

More Than Just Fancy Optics: It’s in the Details

The Q5 Match comes standard with three 15-round magazines. Note the included interchangeable backstraps for customizing the grip.

The Q5 Match comes standard with three 15-round magazines. Note the included interchangeable backstraps for customizing the grip.

Before we go any further, I would like to make something clear: The Q5 Match is a lot more than just a 5-inch PPQ with a red dot. Walther really thought this gun through and brought together lots of details that make the Q5 Match special. As I mentioned above, they even included three magazines, which should allow you to carry enough ammunition to shoot almost any stage.

The second most obvious standout is the blue trigger, which I just had to ask the folks at Walther about. The distinctive blue trigger is part of the company’s “Quick Defense Trigger” system. The advertised pull weight is 5.6 pounds (although my testing produced an average pull weight of 4 lbs. 13 oz.). The trigger only travels 0.4 inches, with a quick reset of about 0.1 inches. And then there’s the new super-secret blue coating also on the transfer bar and other internal pieces, designed to provide a smoother trigger pull. The Walther PPQ series has always been known for its excellent trigger pull, and this sample represented one of the best I have ever felt.

The original 5-inch PPQ had small reliefs cut into the top of slide, while the Q5 match has three different styles of cuts added. These additional cuts significantly lighten the long-slide gun. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and a bright fiber optic sight sits up front.

One of the other features that certainly must be touched on is the removable and interchangeable backstraps. The impressiveness of this feature lies not in the fact that this gun comes with three choices, but that the straps mount so flush that it is almost impossible to tell without close examination where the backstrap begins versus the frame of the gun. This is a perfect example of design and engineering coming together successfully.

The pistol’s “Quick Defense Trigger” features a proprietary blue coating that is designed to smooth the trigger pull. The author liked it, noting it had a sub-5-lb. pull and quick reset.

The pistol’s “Quick Defense Trigger” system features a proprietary blue coating that is designed to smooth the trigger pull. The author liked it, noting it had a sub-5-lb. pull and very quick reset.

On the Range

I knew that I was going to be at the range for five full days and that there would be approximately 160 people visiting that week to perform an annual qualification. There was a cadre of around 10 instructors, with four of us there at all times. My thought process was that, in addition to performing my usual function and accuracy testing, I would offer the gun to be shot by as many instructors and students as possible. As a plus, we experienced almost every variation of weather possible, including several substantial downpours of rain, during the five-day trials.

Some common themes quickly developed with the Q5. The gun had zero malfunctions during all testing. The accuracy from the gun equipped with the red dot optic was outstanding in all of the instances I was able to closely observe. One of the instructors, who probably shot at least 100 rounds through the Q5, was able to place four rounds in what looked like two holes from the 10-yard line. Everyone who took the time to learn the red dot easily achieved 50-yard line shots on the steel.

The trigger was another point of consistency: It was almost universally greeted with an expression of “Wow that’s light!” or “Man, that is smooth,” by folks who had just finished shooting a Glock 17 or 19.

The author also had several instructors at his local range try out the Q5 Match to get their take on it. The pistol ran flawlessly and was quite accurate for them.

The author also had several instructors at his local range try out the Q5 Match to get their take on it. The pistol ran flawlessly and was quite accurate for them.

One of the advantages of the Walther Q5 Match that I found was that accuracy was greatly extended in distance once the shooter became familiar with the sighting system. We were operating on a range that had a maximum pistol distance of 50 yards; I would put the gun in a shooter’s hands and would begin walking them back on steel plates that were 8 inches across. Almost all of the shooters were able to consistently ring the plates all the way back at 50 yards. This task was not easily accomplished when the shooters were re-equipped with their traditional iron-sighted Glock 17s.

Another advantage that I observed was increased speed without sacrificing accuracy. After an appropriate number of repetitions on the gun, shooters who were challenged to fire every round as quickly as they could saw a measurable increase in shooting speed and round placement when using the red dot sight.

Without going into one of the debates that will never end, like caliber choice or brand selection, I would like to enumerate some of the challenges that I saw when a new shooter was invited to take a turn with a red dot:

  • Turning on the dot
  • Finding the dot
  • Reconciling the dot with the front sight
  • Using the dot in heavy rain

One quite unique issue with the red dot was using it in the rain. The water did not cause any malfunctions in the electronics or LED, but the drops on the glass seemed to create multiple dots for the shooters, while also occasionally spraying some water into the shooters’ eyes.

I currently own several Walther PPQs, and I count the 5-inch gun among one of my favorites. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the holsters that I currently own would accommodate the Q5 with an optic installed!

Final Thoughts

The Q5 Match proved to be a real tackdriver on the range with the author and the other shooters.

The Q5 Match proved to be a real tackdriver on the range with the author and the other shooters.

A red dot optic on a handgun is not for everyone—it is going to require some dedication and involvement to become proficient with a red dot on your pistol. However, those who are willing to invest the effort will be rewarded with the ability to perform at a higher level of speed and accuracy than can be achieved with the same level of practice with iron sights.

Walther has done their due diligence to provide the shooter with the right set up. I predict that the Q5 Match will quickly find a home not only in the competition arena, but in the winner’s circle as well.

For more information about Walther products, visit http://www.waltherarms.com/

Shop for Walther products on GunsAmerica.com at: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=walther

{ 44 comments… add one }
  • Steve January 23, 2017, 12:04 pm

    I have a H&K VP9 and love it but wanted a pistol I could put a red dot on the receiver easily. Bought the Q5 and WOW How it shot was outstanding, the trigger pull and reseat was fantastic and it ate everything I feed it, like my Labs. I do like the VP9’s mag release better.

  • Jonathan Hackmeyer January 13, 2017, 1:01 pm

    I own three PPQ’s. a 4″, 5″ and Q5 match. They are excellent handguns and run like a stallion on a B12 shot. My 5″ helped me to achieve a 96 score on the FBI handgun course. Rained and snowed during the course. I have a trijicon rmr on my Q5 and am still getting used to sighting it. Have owned all major handgun brands and the walthers are my favorite alongside my CZ75s and 1911s. Extremely accurate. Like better than HK’s, Glocks, M&P, XDMs. Would recommend the stainless guide rods and spring combos from DPM Systems out of Europe. The best guide rod spring combo out there. Very expensive tho..

  • David September 27, 2016, 8:00 am

    Jon, you’ve done a excellent job on this review. Best one I have read on the Q5.
    I bought one of these a couple of weeks ago and really like it. It joins two other Walther PPQs in my safe along with a bunch of other handguns. I will add a red dot sight in the coming weeks, but the sights that come with it are excellent. I own, and have owned, a lot of striker fired handguns and the PPQ are my favorites by a small margin over my VP9s.
    As far as the blue trigger goes, I would prefer it be black, but that is the only small criticism for I have for this gun. It feels great, shoots better than me and is absolutely the best looking striker fired polymer handgun I have ever seen.
    As for the comment about this gun for people who ride skinny tired bicycles, I’m proud to say I do ride my road bike 3000 to 4500 miles per year. Also pump iron, walk a lot and work on my property and in my woods. So that commenter should loosen his size 54 belt another notch, let out a big Budweiser breath, stuff another Krispy Cream past his nicotine stained teeth and reveal in his confidence that he is God’s gift to American manhood.

  • Al Simon August 13, 2016, 11:48 am

    I have a new Q5 Match is on the way back to Walther for a very, very gritty trigger, even after thorough cleaning and lubrication, I even removed the striker safety plunger and checked and lubed it. Shot several PPQ’s, none had this problem. Seems to be a combination of striker safety plunger and trigger bar rubbing the frame.

  • Jacob Taylor July 15, 2016, 2:02 am

    I went in looking to get a glock 19. Saw this and asked the guy what the deal was with the blue trigger. I grew up shooting and competing with a old, frankensteinish 1911a1. This is my first polymer pistol. I loved my friends glock 19, that’s why I went in to get one. The gun store I was at only had a glock 17 with some sweet sights i really liked, it was 200 bucks cheaper and held 2 more rounds. So I stood there comparing the two for 20 minutes and decided on the Walther. Never have fired a Walther I was unfamiliar with the ppq especially. The serial number was extremely low which I thought was cool. I knew about the history of walther and knew they know what they’re doing. Noticed the polygonal rifling too, which I’ve only seen in and experienced in a DE. Just looking at it and checking out the build quality sold me. Glock is great too, but I had a good feeling about the Q5 and got it. Shot it a bunch since then and am not disappointed. But, even though my 1911 is my baby, I kinda liked Walther’s paddle magazine release. The button is fine and that is what I’m used to, it would have been cool to have that, just for the sake of ambidextrous ease. The size of the slide release is a pro, but had to change my grip style from my 45 since my thumb would be on it. This confused me for the first few magazines I ran through because the slide wouldn’t lock open on empty. It was just me holding the slide stop down since my grip was higher. Overall, love the gun. Great deal for all that you get with the gun.

  • joseph June 16, 2016, 2:55 pm

    It looks like the type of gun that one of the people that deck-out in spandex, and ride skinny tire bicycles would have.

  • andrew June 16, 2016, 2:48 pm

    I hate the barrel guills. Walther is starting to look cheap. We saw this when they took the origional P99 and bowed out the trigger guard and taperd the frame. Its goofy looking and looks like Disney made it. Walthers designers may have all the “design degrees” and “certifications on paper” but clearly their “experts” has no artistic skill.

  • Steve June 16, 2016, 2:13 pm

    Looks like a fine pistol but cannot find one in central Pa. to hold and feel.

    • kyle smith January 30, 2017, 3:05 pm

      Gander mountain carries them. I live in york pa and just bought one

  • Wally Michaels June 6, 2016, 5:16 pm

    The world does NOT need another overpriced, striker-fired, under-powered, plastic gun with a warning label built into the frame! Real men (and ladies) use guns made of steel, of larger caliber than 9mm, and with NO stupid warning labels etched into the frame, slide, or magazine! (The P99 being the ONLY exception.) PS: Bring back the European-style paddle magazine release as well.

  • Robert June 6, 2016, 2:55 pm

    Sorry, but it is stupid expensive.Tired of overpriced tupperware guns.

    • FRANCISCO June 6, 2016, 5:10 pm

      Walther PPQ .45 ACP is better and this is stupid expensive.

  • Ryan C June 6, 2016, 2:08 pm

    The Q5 looks almost perfect with one exception. Not being able to cowitness iron sights is a legitimate issue, and it looks like there would be room on the slide. My M&P Core with Deltapoint and Dawson suppressor sights cowitnesses nicely. I machined a Glock 34 to do the same with an RMR, and it works great as well. Maybe a new dovetail could be cut in front of the optic cut.

    • DaveGinOly June 7, 2016, 1:30 am

      There are smiths that mill slides for optics (including those who work on PPQs) who also can mill a slot for a rear, suppressor-height iron sight. (Of course a new front sight doesn’t require milling). Unlike some slides that don’t have a lot of room on top (like the XDm and others that have a loaded chamber indicator on top), the PPQ can fit a BUIS rear sight in front of, or behind, the optic, depending on where you mount the optic. (On the Q5, because the optic is at the rear, the BUIS rear sight would have to go in front, i.e., between the optic and the ejection port.) Having a slot milled for a BUIS rear sight probably isn’t a very expensive proposition.

      • Phillip Jones August 26, 2016, 5:40 pm

        I love my S&W Pro Series 40 C.O.R.E. with RMO5G Trigicon green dot mini reflex site !

  • Reinhardt June 6, 2016, 12:54 pm

    Nice gun! Everything Walther makes is well designed and thought out. I have been a Walther fan for years. However, I detest striker fired guns, polymer or otherwise. I trisd several electronic aiming devices on pistols back in the ’80’s and don’t like those either. I actually have an aimpoint red dot sight. It is sitting on the shelf in my gun room. My choices of Walther are the Model 4, the Model 9, PP, PPK (original), P-38, and P 5. That is about where it stops.
    As for improving over the Glock or any other handgun, i qualified and competed for years with a 4″ Colt Python in a Berns-Martin speed holster. I shot master every time. My qualification course and the last stage of the police olympic courses are at 50 yards. I used the black Eliason rear and black Baughman front ramp that came with the gun. The police olympics course distances were the same for bulls eye and combat on the last stage. The answer to accuracy is training and practice. At that point in my life I shot every day, with a missed day once in a while. To this day, I can’t be bothered with do-dad sights on handguns.
    To each his own, and if that’s what you like, fine. Just don’t and try to sell some story that the sights make someone shoot better and that is the way this article comes across..

    • Lee Latham June 6, 2016, 9:11 pm

      Go rent ya a Walther PPQ or PPX sometime. The triggers are UFO-grade.

      I detest the lack of safety features on these types of guns, but they are a joy to shoot at the range.

      (the PPX is actually a hammer fired gun, but feels and acts like striker fired)

      • IIIBOOMERIII June 6, 2016, 9:59 pm

        Safety? ??? The striker is not capable of firing unless the trigger is pulled. A safety is not designed for you to rest your damn finger on the trigger. Get that in your head.

      • IIIBOOMERIII June 6, 2016, 10:04 pm

        Safety? ??? The striker is not capable of firing unless the trigger is pulled. A safety is not designed for you to rest your damn finger on the trigger. Get that in your head.

    • David Miller November 18, 2016, 4:49 am

      I don’t understand all the bashing of the 9 millimeter do you have a small penis because Germany almost over took the world with nine millimeter Luger pistols and 9 millimeter submachine guns.
      The 40 cal. Is almost extinct and will soon be

  • Shah Muhammad II of Khwarazmia (1200-1220AD) June 6, 2016, 11:08 am

    Here in the shah-dom, there shall be but one Walther pistol and it’s name shall be called P99. There will be but one caliber and it shall be cal. .40S&W. I have decreed there were will be one triggering system – DA/SA – and all pistols shall have de-cockers and lever style magazine releases…

    Otherwise, this pistol looks and sounds great. I have been looking for another Walther and this looked good until I saw the ‘safe action’ trigger and the conventional mag release. What’s with the blue trigger, anyway?

    Of course it shot better than a Glock 17. Anything shoots better in the shah-dom, than a Glock 17. (Possession of a Glock in the shah-dom is penalized by the forfeiture of five camels to the royal camel train for 90 days.)

    Methinks, it’s a dressed up PPQ; albeit a very well designed and made dress up of the PPQ.

    Do or Do Not.
    There is No Try
    Yoda

  • Brad June 6, 2016, 9:04 am

    Gary, Ron, this actually fits perfectly into USPSA Carry Optics division. So maybe not just “match” marketing.

  • Sorv June 6, 2016, 8:32 am

    What is your holster that accommodates your Q5 with the Streamlight attached?

  • Griffendad June 6, 2016, 7:52 am

    I have 2 PPQ M2 in 9mm and .45, love them both! Being left handed, love those long slide releases and the ability to swap the magazine release. Simple and no BS involved. However, I’d never depend on an electrical optic solely for a rear site, only bad things can happen. Give me my FNX45 for that. The sites co-witness PERFECTLY! So what do you in the rain or other scenarios as mentioned with your red dot without this setup? Might as well go home……

  • Steve K June 6, 2016, 7:48 am

    BLUE trigger??? Cheapens an otherwise beautiful gun.

    • Allen June 6, 2016, 9:39 am

      I have to agree!

  • Ron Moore June 6, 2016, 7:43 am

    S&W Performance Center M&P 9l w/ a Burris FastFire 2 will cowittness and is fine shooter.

    • Bob V June 6, 2016, 12:27 pm

      Just a side note on the S&W, my CORE is nothing but disappointing. Trigger pull is almost .75 inches. Sent back to S&W, got a call, back saying that the trigger pull was in spec, the gritty break was in spec, the .50 inch reset, was in spec, plus a F_ _ _ off attitude, oh yeah, “Brownell has a part to fix the problems.” My new SPEC now is no more S&W

  • Ron Iden June 6, 2016, 6:43 am

    Looked at this at the NRA Convention a few weeks ago. Nice platform, but since only in 9MM, more of a Steel Challenge (minor load) gun than USPSA Open Division. Barrel & action configuration not really safe to shoot 9MM Major with exceeded SAMMI loads. Asked the Reps when 40 S&W may be coming along & not in the works yet.

    • Cody Osborn June 6, 2016, 10:16 am

      It is USPSA Production and Carry Optics legal.

  • Ed Hickey June 6, 2016, 5:33 am

    Only FN FNX-45 my Trijicon RMR and iron sights lineup and cowitness.

  • Gary Miyahara June 6, 2016, 3:51 am

    What type of competition is this intended for?? A red dot optic puts this in USPSA Open Division, but handicapped with minor 9mm and no provision for a compensator. Seems to be “match” marketing hype.

    • Derek Engelhaupt June 6, 2016, 9:15 am

      IDPA carray optics…USPSA Production optics is proposed.

      • scheirere June 6, 2016, 4:43 pm

        USPSA has a division called carry optics that this was pretty much designed for. Plus, you can take off the optics and run it in the production division.

  • Paul J June 4, 2016, 12:20 pm

    Bring back the paddle magazine release.

    • Observer June 6, 2016, 6:21 pm

      This.
      I’m using my PPQ Classic in 3-Gun matches, and it runs like a scalded cat. I’d settle for any 5″ PPQ with a paddle release.

  • Brian June 3, 2016, 9:15 pm

    I held this pistol at this year’s NRA Annual Meeting. It’s a truly a fine handgun. I own a PPQ M2 .40c and PPK .380 and love them both. The scripture “read instruction manual” merely provides more support for Walther if having to defend itself in liable lawsuits. If the old blonde bitch becomes President, all guns will be covered with similar or worse slogans.

  • PRAXEDES L. SADULE June 3, 2016, 6:25 pm

    Very very NICE… very good

  • Lajos Tresser June 3, 2016, 4:37 pm

    Nice gun. Now, if it just would be CA compliant?!

    • Aardvark June 6, 2016, 7:53 am

      How about CA becoming 2nd Amendment compliant?

    • LarryC213 June 6, 2016, 10:41 pm

      Lajos Tresser, In my opinion, I think that it is way past time that that the state of california becomes compliant.

    • LarryC213 June 6, 2016, 10:41 pm

      Lajos Tresser, In my opinion, I think that it is way past time that the state of california becomes compliant.

  • Ron Grimes June 3, 2016, 3:51 pm

    Unbelievable! What dumba$$ puts “read instruction manual” ON THE GUN??? I wouldn’t buy it just for that.

    • Ken June 6, 2016, 3:57 am

      Read Instructions are just the beginning, the ASSAULT on the 2nd Amendment could be just beginning…depending on what happens later in the year….

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