The Walther PPS M2 fits into the category known as “slim nines,” meaning it is a small, thin, easily concealed 9mm pistol. Its German roots are readily apparent in its design and manufacture. The gun has a 3.1-inch barrel and measures 6.3 inches long and 1 inch wide. With the flush six-round magazine, it measures 4.4 inches high. With the seven-round magazine, the height increases just barely to 4.9 inches. The flush-fit magazine is easier to hide, and the extended magazine is better for overall purchase. Overall weight is 21.1 ounces. Sounds familiar, right? Many slim nines have similar specs.
The Walther outshines other slim nines due to its fantastic reliability and superb accuracy. No matter what ammunition I load up, it feeds, fires and ejects every time. Getting rounds on target is easy and intuitive. A few key attributes that I love contribute to its stellar performance both on the range and in a holster. Just one part of the design leaves a bit to be desired.
Hate: Grip Texture
Let’s start with my primary gripe: the grip. Walther’s “non-slip, cross-directional grip surface” should be far rougher to help me better lock my hand around the stocks. As is, it doesn’t provide as much purchase as I like. Note, however, that my drawing and shooting has never suffered due to the grip. I have never felt the gun to be out of my total control when shooting. It just could be better. I know; it is so subjective. So, how do I manage a decent grip? I credit the ergonomics of the stocks. The finger grooves are just right, the palm swells are excellent, and the grip angle is a perfect match for the rest of the gun. Another redeeming factor is the fact that the grip surface never catches on cover garments and feels fine against your skin when carried inside the waistband.
They’re not night sights. They’re wonderful, big, bright, white dots. They are easy to see and easy to align, and they are more visible in low-light conditions than other white three-dot sights. In low light situations, with a tactical flashlight in my weak hand and the PPS M2 in my right hand, lighting up a target provides enough light to see the sights on the gun. The sights are made of metal and have never snagged on anything.
Love: Thin and Balanced
You don’t think about how thin or balanced the PPS M2 is while holding it, firing it and changing the magazines. You just enjoy the experience and marvel at how wonderful it is to shoot. While holding a thin, lightweight gun can be marked by drama or frustration due to, among other things, snappy muzzle flip, such is not the case with the PPS M2. Despite its thinness, there is plenty of space available for both hands. It is not slide-heavy like some guns are, nor is it clunky or awkward. No matter which magazine you are using, and no matter how many rounds are in it, the PPS M2 always feels balanced. Its balanced feel is due the well-designed grip ergonomics described earlier and comes in spite of the non-slip grip texture. Also, at only an inch wide, the physics work in favor of balance and maneuverability.
Love: Fit and Finish
Some slim nines feel plasticky and cheap. In guns like that, the slide may be machined a bit thin, or the frame may be molded from a harder, brittler plastic. Moreover, the internal mechanisms may lack precision or polishing. Slides may go into battery with harsher metallic sounds instead of a symphony of engineering. (You know what I’m talking about.) Magazines and their releases may function with a bit more effort needed than you thought, or they may result in a sound or feel that just does not instill confidence. None of those things are true with the Walther PPS M2. Every bit of the gun feels robust, functions with precision and makes all the right sounds.
In other places, I have described some really excellent guns as the right kind of boring. Pick them up, load them up, fire the rounds downrange, reload and repeat. Everything works every time. That’s the Walther PPS M2. It is also the right kind of boring when it comes to carrying it concealed. It will do great IWB at 1 o’clock or 4 o’clock, OWB at 5 o’clock or in a pocket. When you show the gun to your buddies at the range, they’ll say, “Nice gun,” and then be on to the next gun.
If you’re looking for a slim nine as a concealed carry gun, don’t hesitate to consider the Walther PPS M2 just because of what I said about the grip. I still carry it regularly as is, and yet there are a few ways to mitigate my concerns. One is to add a rubber sleeve or stick-on grip panels (such as those created by Talon Grips). The other is to get a custom stippling job on the stocks or do the job yourself (at your own risk).
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