Walther’s first .45–the PPQ M2–Review

Check out the specs at Walther: http://www.waltherarms.com/ppq-m2-45-acp/

Buy a PPQ on GunsAmerica: /PPQ M2

Walther is a German company. Their American headquarters are here in my home town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, and I’m not-so-patiently waiting for them to begin making guns here. Until then, I’ve had to be content with the imports from Deutschland. And the latest has been worth the wait. Fans of the very American .45 ACP now have another option for a Euro style polymer pistol.

The lines of the .45 are similar to the lines of the 9mm, but the gun is marginally larger.

The lines of the .45 are similar to the lines of the 9mm, but the gun is marginally larger.

The Appeal of the PPQ M2

Let’s go back in time a couple of years. I still vividly remember running my first 9mm PPQ M2. I shoot a lot of polymer framed guns, and some of them are barely worth mentioning. But the PPQ M2 fit almost perfectly in my hand. It had none of the boxy lines common to some of the industry leaders.

The grooves slide helps cut the glare.

The grooves slide helps cut the glare.

Because of these lines, the gun pointed naturally. After working it out on paper, I ran through some steel challenge courses. I’m no speed demon, but I was faster with the PPQ M2 than I was with any other gun I owned (and that was early in my evaluation of it).

The speed, for me at least, comes from the fact that I can point shoot with it very easily. I had no difficulty ringing steel. And the gun was just as rewarding when I slowed down.

The other factor for me were the safeties. The PPQ has two drop safeties, and a firing pin block, but no external safety. Once you hit the trigger, you’re good-to-go. While this may make some people cringe, I consider it a must for a daily carry pistol. Yes, you have to be more cautious, but you should be cautious–always.

The .45 ACP

That same feel is now available in a bigger, fatter caliber. The .45 ACP has a legion of fans. Most are die-hard single action fanatics. But there are others who lean toward the polymer pistols. Springfield Armory and GLOCK have both had great success with their .45s, so why not Walther?

The .45 ACP PPQ M2 will be available in October.

The .45 ACP PPQ M2 will be available in October.

And I’m not looking at it as a band-wagon thing, either. It was inevitable. Look at the shape of the grip, and the texture of the PPQ M2’s grip. You won’t have to look far in Germany or America for others that are borrowing from Walther’s design. But whatever. Mimicry is a sincere form of flattery, sometimes.

I don’t know that I’d prefer the .45 ACP to the 9mm. But caliber wars are contentious, and there are as many who hate the 9mm as there are who question the slow speeds of the .45 ACP. The round is a bit lethargic for my tastes. We shot some SIG and Remington Golden Saber through the old chronograph. The XX grain SIG ran at 960 FPS. The Golden Saber was a bit slower–840 FPS. That’s not bad for the fat projectile.

I'm a fan of the 9mm PPQ M2. It is one of the most user-friendly polymer pistols. The .45 is shaping up to be just as good.

I’m a fan of the 9mm PPQ M2. It is one of the most user-friendly polymer pistols. The .45 is shaping up to be just as good.

Recoil

But how does the PPQ M2 handle the strain of the .45 ACP? It is snappy. Recoil is easy enough to control, but the pistol isn’t as easy to control (for me or any of the others there at the range).

The 9mm has less muzzle rise. The polymer framed pistol also has a bit more snap than steel framed 5″ single-actions. All of this is to say that the gun has what I would characterize as a modest kick.

That said, the pistol is still easy enough to control. While my split times may not be as fast, I’m not complaining. The double-stack magazine offers excellent capacity. 12 rounds of .45 ACP is not bad.

Accuracy

There’s nothing to thumb your nose at here, either. The .45 ACP lived up to my expectations. When I consider a gun for defensive purposes, all I really want is the ability to dump lead on a target. Reliability is crucial. Ergonomics help. Pin-point, bulls-eye accuracy is a bonus.

Accuracy is great. Fast shots are easily controllable.

Accuracy is great. Fast shots are easily controllable.

The PPQ M2 is capable. As I wrote earlier, I can look through the pistol and confidently riddle a torso target. I can point shoot from low ready, and with the barrel just clear of the holster, and make respectable hits. And if I slow down and use the sights, I can put all 12 rounds into a 2″ circle from 7 yards.

After the first day on the range, and a steady diet of ball, and random hollow-points, I was just as comfortable with this version of the PPQ as I am with the 9mm.

One of the best features on the new gun is the trigger. I don’t often say that about Walthers, but this gun’s trigger is superb. It breaks right above five pounds. Even better, the reset is almost too short to measure. Double taps are fast and easy. In fact, if you were to look at all of the targets we’d shot during this initial session, you’d see a lot of first-hits, and then some random holes about two inches high. The reset is so short that I’d have the second shot off before I’d gotten the muzzle down sufficiently.

So what are the negatives?

I’m not sure I have a good answer to this yet. There are some elements of Walther’s design that I’m not fond of, though most are common to the entire pantheon of polymer pistols. The tip up barrel is a time-tested design, but it gives up some accuracy to the fixed barrel options. I don’t have a real estimate for the life-span of some of the polymer parts on this gun. They will eventually break–that’s a given. Yet everything breaks eventually. And a polymer guide rod should be a cheap fix when needed.

The PPQ M2 has an ergonomic and comfortable grip.

The PPQ M2 has an ergonomic and comfortable grip.

Fans of custom mods don’t have a lot to work with here. Not that the PPQ needs it. Most who stipple or grind away polymer do so in an attempt to reach the point where this gun begins. It fits so damn well in the hand that I like holding it, even when I’m off the range. And while that kind of familiarity helps build useful muscle memory, it makes my wife look at me funny.

If I had to point to anything about the design that I question, it would be the width. This pistol is wide. Check out the rail underneath the muzzle for a bit of perspective. The slide has a trapezoidal shape. The side of the slide slopes down which allows for a wide base on the rails. This makes the gun stable. But it also makes it wide.

Is that width a show stopper? For some it will be. There are those who will sacrifice capacity for a slim pistol. Whatever. My old man, may he rest in peace, only ever offered one piece of advice to me. He had seen me eyeing a rail thin woman, once, and he took me aside and said, “get yourself a woman built for comfort, not for speed.” I know the metaphor will challenge some of you, but I see the lesson here, too. The PPQ isn’t the thinnest pistol. But it will be able to do things that those anemic framed pistols can only dream of.

The front edge of the rear sight has a reasonable ledge for one hand manipulation.

The sights have been de-horned for snag-free carry.

Will it sell?

I expect the PPQ M2 in .45 ACP will end up selling around $650 when the dust settles. There will be the rush to buy when they hit the market, and then the guns will start stacking up. When that happens, the price settles down. There are PPQs in 9mm and .40 for sale in that range, and for less when you can find deals. And at that price, it should compete well enough.

I think the Walther will occupy a unique niche. There are full-sized, duty minded guns in .45 ACP that cost a lot more. There are few others in this price range. And if you want to swim outside of the mainstream, the options are even more scant. And that may win some converts for Walther. And that’s exactly what they need. The brand is defined, still, by the PPK. But Walther’s making some of the most functional guns around.

Check out the specs at Walther: http://www.waltherarms.com/ppq-m2-45-acp/

Buy a PPQ on GunsAmerica: /PPQ M2

The controls of the PPQ are larger than most.

The controls of the PPQ are larger than most.

The PPQ M2 in .45 is wide. As far as concealed carry pistols go, I'd prefer to carry it with a jacket.

The PPQ M2 in .45 is wide. As far as concealed carry pistols go, I’d prefer to carry it with a jacket.

The trigger breaks at 5 pounds.

The trigger breaks at 5 pounds.

The magazine base-plates are polymer and easy yo grab from a mag pouch.

The magazine base-plates are polymer and easy yo grab from a mag pouch.

The controls are ambidextrous.

The controls are ambidextrous.

The barrel tips up.

The barrel tips up.

The ejection port is wide enough to throw the empty cases free.

The ejection port is wide enough to throw the empty cases free.

The PPQ M2 is made in Germany.

The PPQ M2 is made in Germany.

The mag-well is easy to find. Though it doesn't have a huge flared entrance, the hole is wide enough for fast loads.

The mag-well is easy to find. Though it doesn’t have a huge flared entrance, the hole is wide enough for fast loads.

The serrations on the slide are wide and deep enough for good traction.

The front edge of the rear sight has a reasonable ledge for one hand manipulation.

The 3 dot sight picture is easy to pick up.

The 3 dot sight picture is easy to pick up.

The PPQ M2 has a solid section of rail for lights and lasers.

The PPQ M2 has a solid section of rail for lights and lasers.

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • John Stitch October 29, 2016, 1:21 am

    In today’s world you need a gun that goes bang every time you pull the trigger. I just got the Walter ppq 45,what a pistol,I took it the range and it’s one of the best 45 that I ever shot,I have a few 45 s 1911 sig love it , the new mp shield 45 nice size,good carry. Pistol goes.bang ever time ,but , I must say after over 500 rounds fired from my ppq Walter 45 it never missed a beat.out of the box 7 yards it would blow holes in the bulls eye, Even one hand shooting. it was on target.there are a lot of Good 45 pistol out there, you just got to find the one you love. So good hunting. I army vet ,got cancer , shot a lot of pistol s, you can’t go wrong with that ppq Walter 45. Life’s to short enjoy it. Hope we can keep the Wright to bear arms.God bless America.

  • Malcolm Anderson February 17, 2016, 11:53 pm

    After being on the outer edge of innovation with the P99, Walther has decided to venture backwards into the world of mediocrity where it believes it needs to be in order to compete with the big boys. They got rid of the rear striker indicator, the paddle mag release and the 1st Decocker on a striker fired pistol because that’s not what Glock was doing. Instead of taking a near perfect P99 pistol and adding the trigger developed for the PPQ to make it perfect, they decided that the PPQ M2 was an acceptable downgrade for the American market and was more compatible to the lowest common denominator, Glock. Bad Marketing Decision.

    • Malcolm Anderson February 26, 2016, 10:34 pm

      I realize that even though this article was about the 45 ACP PPQ, my original comment referenced the downgrade of the first PPQ pistol which was the 9mm. My point was that the PPQ platform in general was a step backwards and that it started with the 9mm and carried over into the 45 ACP. That being said I do still think the PPQ45 is probably the best 45 pistol on the market, but imagine how much better it would be with the rear striker indicator, decocker and paddle mag release. Perhaps it’s just not cost effective.

      • WingWraith July 27, 2017, 6:23 pm

        Since the trigger is different, I am not certain that a de cocker can be applied.

  • Dean February 13, 2016, 10:11 pm

    I bought my PPQ 45 today and took it to the range. All I can say is wow! Love the ergonomics! Never had a gun so fit my hand like this one does. And the trigger is amazing! The one thing I was concerned with were comments on the kick, but honestly it is incredibly smooth. A friend shot it and said it didn’t feel like a 45. Absolutely the finest gun I have ever shot. I’ve always been a Glock guy, but my 21 is up for sale.

    If you’re not wanting to buy a new gun, don’t shoot the PPQ! If you do you will be hooked.

  • tim February 1, 2016, 5:38 pm

    1. what grain bullets were you using ?
    2. is this going to be available in the navy version ?
    3. I shot my brothers ppq m2 navy in 9mm and I loved the trigger, is it the same for the .45acp version ?

  • James Gober December 9, 2015, 11:59 am

    Good basic review from someone who has at least SHOT the pistol lol. Didn’t really follow your negative remarks about the slower speeds of a .45 round vs 9mm or that the PPQ 45 is extra wide somehow? I disagree about the recoil, but I guess if one were used to shooting only 9mm, then yes the PPQ 45 would seem to have a lot of recoil lol. It never ceases to amaze me when people write their own “reviews” or authoritative sounding statements pointing out negative (or even positive) aspects of a gun, then when you finally get to the end, the person may (or may not) mention that they’ve never even held the gun, much less shot it! LOL
    Regardless, I’d been waiting for this pistol for a long time. Ever since I first shot my PPQ M2 9mm in fact.
    Finally got the PPQ 45 two weeks ago. Really didn’t expect much (how could they possibly even come close to meeting the excellence of the PPQ 9mm, which I still say has the best out of the box trigger of any polymer pistol). Of course the trigger was the first thing I checked out of the box and sure enough just as good as my PPQ 9. At the range, first 3 shots all touching center bull, with no sight adjustments required. Shot 200 rounds of various ammo with no problems of any kind. Yes recoil was more than my PPQ 9mm, but effects were negligible and accurate follow up shots quite natural and easy. Was comparing against my HK45 (luckily I don’t HAVE to choose one over the other cause I’m keeping both! Lol). If I had to though, the PPQ 45 might get the slight edge for capacity (12-rd vs 10-rd), ergonomics/point & shoot (love the high grip of PPQ), and concealability. Sure am glad I don’t have to choose only one though, but for those who might, you would be wise to check out the PPQ 45 before making your decision. And that goes for ANY other pistol in it’s class. I have or have had about all of them.

  • DaveGinOly December 8, 2015, 1:15 am

    The rail is a standard width, and the same on all guns with a rail, so it can’t contribute to the PPQ being overly-wide – every other gun with a rail is at least as wide.

  • Dave514 December 7, 2015, 7:37 am

    This technically is Walther’s first venture into a 45. However, S&W made one under license from Walther based on the P99.

  • Shane November 29, 2015, 4:15 pm

    I\’m really happy that walther has stepped into the .45 caliber market. I\’m very sad to see them drop the original trigger guard mag release. I prefer that system to the button style and now I have to switch back after training and becoming comfortable with my P99. Not a deal breaker but something I\’ve come to really enjoy about walther firearms. I also wish they would have kept the AS trigger system with decocker like my P99. It\’s an amazing setup and set them apart from all the other manufacturers. Just my $.02

  • madmax September 1, 2015, 11:39 pm

    Your comment”The round is a bit lethargic” is absolutely ridiculous and holds no weight.First of all I don’t consider any firearm round to be lethargic and shot placement is everything! A heart shot from a .22lr at close range will kill someone just as efficiently as a larger caliber round! To prove my point, are you willing to take one in the chest to prove the .45 or any other caliber for that matter is lethargic???

  • wade September 1, 2015, 10:33 am

    How does this gun compare to the H&K 45 ACP? With the exception of the mag release they sure look similar.

  • robert August 31, 2015, 9:11 pm

    Why does Walther now design their latest guns to look like Hi-Points? I notice HK seems to be taking design cues from Hi-Point as well. Why can’t they come up with innovative AND beautiful guns like they used to make such as the Walther PPK, Walther P5 and HK P7M9?

    • Jay September 1, 2015, 2:00 pm

      Because we all bitch when anyone tries to sell a firearm for more than $600. And we also bitch when something looks different than a glock AND when something looks similar to a glock. We really bitch when something looks like a design in a totally new direction, lord knows CZ & Beretta keeps trying with their weird looking guns that never seem to hit critical mass despite being well regarded. We are the bitchiest customers anywhere, it’s a wonder that manufacturers dont pull their hair out but they suffer us because we have $$$. Poor Walther capitulated to the US market and have even dumped the usage of the best of the best magazine releases anywhere, just to placate this markets grumpy whining for that third rate button mag release.

      Apparently, the mass produced beautiful guns are a risky endeavor to a market demographic defined by it’s penchant for conservatism.

  • Fake Arnold Schwarzenegger August 31, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Seriously, the other day I was wondering, why doesn’t Walther have a handgun chambered in .45 ACP. And, viola! Here it is. Based on the PPQ? What? Massive fail.

    The PPQ design is marginal, even for 9mm. (I am crazy about Walther, but the PPQ really isn’t that good a weapon for anything other than shooting cans or targets. I definitely wouldn’t count on it for self-defense.) Walther has made one handgun that is all purpose and modern enough for me–the P99 chambered in .40S&W; the rest are just for show. The P99 is the pistol they should have built up for the .45 ACP, while retaining all the innovations that make a P99 what it is. I would buy a .45 ACP P99 in a minute.

    That whole double stack thing in Polymer pistols? I used to use a Glock 21, I finally figured out why I wasn’t scoring very well in IPSC with it–my average size hand wouldn’t go around the grip. I had to actually change positions to hit the slide release. So, out the door went the Glock 21. I’ll buy a double stack Para (which my hand will fit around) if I need more capacity. Other than that a 8 round Kimber or Springfield Armory 1911 A1 will do just fine when I need a .45ACP.

    • Ed October 10, 2015, 6:24 am

      There are a lot of idiots that comment on these articles. I see your one of them.

    • Earl June 18, 2016, 10:52 am

      Sorry about your tiny hands, Donald.

  • Mikial August 31, 2015, 5:55 pm

    I’m actually excited about this gun. We own a PPX in 9mm. I own and regularly carry and shoot Glock and XDs (all in .45ACP), and nothing I have ever picked up and shot has fit more naturally and perfectly that that PPX. Not Glock, not an XD, not a Beretta. To have this now in a .45 is exciting, and I will be looking for a good place to get a good deal on one.

  • David D August 31, 2015, 5:47 pm

    Will it be possible to replace the stock sights with tritium night sights? If it is I might not be able to walk past it in my LGS without reaching for my wallet.

  • Larry August 31, 2015, 11:53 am

    Will Walther ultimately be producing this gun in their Arkansas plant? If so, my old Ruger 45 will suffice & I can wait to buy one for when I can support local Arkansas economy.
    That said, what a wonderful sounding 45. Thanks for the article.

  • David Cottrell August 31, 2015, 9:52 am

    The only other thing I would have liked to see is something about the take-down of the pistol. I have a CCP, which is a great carry gun with a fixed barrel. And I think it is the fixed barrel that is where the problem begins. The take-down requires a special tool to unlock the slide, which can be annoying at times. Looking at the rear of the slide on this gun it looks like there may be a similar system. Can you say anything about that?

    • P.J. August 31, 2015, 10:44 am

      Unless the .45 uses a completely different recoil system from the other PPQs, the takedown is like most every other polymer pistol. No tools needed.

    • Wes Jamison August 31, 2015, 11:11 am

      Take down is one of the easiest pistols. See the section just forward of the slide release, after making the gun safe, you just pull the trigger, take a little tension off the slide, grip this section with two fingers and pull down just a little and the slide comes right off. Similar to a glock but a lot easer.

  • Mark Tercsak August 31, 2015, 9:17 am

    I d a far more have owned a few 45 Autos that are of the plastic variety, They all functioned with out question, how ever recoil effects were a different matter, The Smith & Wesson M&P was one of the worst, it is far more comfortable shooting heavy loaded 480 Rugers than the Smith & Wesson M&P 45, I also once owned a Smith & Wesson 99 in 45 Auto, the decocker in my opinion was in a bad position , the grip handle was too light and pistol bounced around to much and i had a very good grip on it, I will say this the Smith&Wesson M&P 45 had a far more sturdy grip handle, almost like a real pistol, but i feel for the 45 pistol the handle was poorly contoured , it should have been more 1911 like where its flat, when i shot this pistol the first time it was like some one drove a rail road spike through my hand, The problem with these pistols is they were scaled up from pistols of smaller cartridges, They should have started off with a pistol in 45 and scaled them downwards, the 45 might not be a velocity king but compared to the 9mm it is the momentum king, quite frankly the best plastic hand gun in my book is the Heckler&KOCH series of pistols, esp in 45 ACP they are very accurate , they are comfortable to shoot, easy to maintain, but i like the looks of the HK, esp the 9mm, this brings me to one last subject A few years ago I purchased A Steyr C9-A1 in 9×19 mm Parabellium, it has the trap sites as opposed to the three dot sights, quite frankly I have found at least for me the Trap Sites are superior they align very quickly , I think its a very good pistol, but I think they should all have some sort of manual safety, like a decocker .

    • Gem Gram October 12, 2015, 8:08 am

      Decockers and safeties have no place on a pistol carried for actual use where the need for it is critical for survival. They are an anachronism that simply have no purpose on a modern designed combat handgun. I hated Glocks when they first came out, (they just felt wrong in the hand) but they always worked and there was never any doubt that when life depended on it just pulling the trigger would result in something going bang. It is inevitable that something that can go wrong certainly will go wrong under stress, and safeties and decockers fall into that category. I never trusted my life to an semi-auto until Glock. Now there are several different ones that I regularly trust my life to according to what the carry needs are and how they fit my hand and shoot. But ONLY to pistols that will go bang EVERY time that trigger is pulled,no matter what. So the Walther sounds great.

      As for sights I do prefer the Glock sights to the other standard sights. That could be from shooting about a million rounds through them but also I have found that new people in my combat pistol classes find it easier to use Glock sights than 3-dot ones. Especially women. I really am not a fan of three dot systems and do replace them when I find a weapon that I really like that is so equipped. Remember M.O.A. means nothing on a combat pistol…the critical thing is M.O.M. Moment On Man. How fast can you get shot on man without fail each and every time. If you want a target gun and real accuracy get a rifle or rifle cartridge pistil with a scope. But that is simply the opinions of an old man who is still alive after over thirty years of carrying a pistol when your life might depend on it more than once a day; and from teaching and watching a whole lot of newbies with different handguns.

      By the way, as a rule when I have had men and women couples going through a combat shooting class the women without any real experience were easier to make proficient at that M.O.M. thing than men with some shooting experience and already developed opinions. They had empty glasses, the men had glasses to full to allow much new to be poured in before you emptied a little. 🙂

  • BA August 31, 2015, 7:40 am

    An honest gripe about the handgun that I have are the sights. Firstly they are polymer and will not stand the test of time like metal sights. Secondly, the dots are not recessed and can easily scrape off over time. And lastly, the rear aperture is way too shallow and the front blade is too small. If they’d have a better sight offering from the factory they would fix the only complaint I have about this gun.

    I also think it’s unnecessary to even mention drop safeties. Most modern polymer framed handguns don’t have a manual safety and ALL of them have some sort of firing pin block or “drop safety” along with a little tab on the trigger. Not that it’s a completely null point but comparing the PPQ to its competition makes that point seem unwarranted to mention.

    But good review and I look forward to the release of this thing.

    • Charles Wilson August 31, 2015, 8:52 am

      What an incredibly, wonderfully easy to understand, to fully comprehend, article you have written! You have actually drawn so precise a word picture that in my mind as I read the “detail” of this pistol, I could almost “feel” the pistol in my hand.. I write more about your writing style, your such precise collection of just the perfect words, and intricacy absent a scintilla of prolific writing, but that would be a waste of words. I thank you, very sincerely, for what you have given to me here.. If you do not now write novels.. you should! You are a fantastic “teacher”! Very sincerely, I thank you!

    • P.J. August 31, 2015, 10:36 am

      The dots on the sights, best I can tell, are seperate plastic pieces molded inside. My front sight got beat up pretty bad and I can see the dot is visibly recessed.

      Regardless sights, particularly on imported polymer guns, are made as cheap as possible knowing the serious user will replace them. I’ve seen Glock rear sights come off before the first mag was empty. Sure it’d be nice if they came with better steel sights but that’s just extra cost, particularly for those who are gonna put their favorite night or fiber optic sights on anyway.

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