Review: Walther PPQ Q4 TAC

Review: Walther PPQ Q4 TAC
About four years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Walther’s PPQ M2 with 5.0-inch barrel for Shooting Times, and the gun changed my opinion of striker-fired polymer-frame pistols altogether. I stated in that article that prior to shooting the PPQ M2, I had not been a fan of such pistols. After putting it through a thorough shooting evaluation, I concluded I was wrong. I came away with a genuine appreciation for the gun, and I can say the same thing about the new PPQ Q4 TAC. I’ll go further and say

I like it even better than the 5.0-inch-barreled PPQ. Here’s why.

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The new PPQ Q4 TAC has a Picatinny frame rail, front and rear slide serrations, and an ambidextrous oversized slide stop. It also has a 4.6-inch threaded barrel that is suppressor-ready.

Features

The PPQ Q4 TAC has all the improved features of Walther’s M2 series. Those include three interchangeable backstraps, a reversible push-button-style magazine release, a Picatinny frame rail, a “precocked” trigger, a loaded-chamber indicator, front and rear slide serrations, and an ambidextrous oversized slide stop. It also has distinctive and effective grip texturing that Walther calls “cross directional.” It’s chambered for 9mm and comes with two 15-round magazines.

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In addition, the Q4 TAC version has a 4.6-inch-long threaded barrel (1/2x28) for suppressor use, and its slide is milled to accept baseplates that allow for the installation of an electronic-dot reflex-type sight. The pistol is finished in matte black, with the slide wearing a Tenifer coating. Tenifer is a liquid ferritic nitrocarburizing process that was created to improve wear by resisting scuffing and corrosion. The slide is serrated on the top to help reduce glare.

Like other striker-fired pistols, the PPQ Q4 TAC has a safety-lever trigger. Walther calls it the “Quick Defense Trigger.” It’s similar to other safety trigger setups in that the lever in the middle of the trigger has to be depressed in order to allow the trigger to be squeezed fully to the rear.

The PPQ Q4 TAC has a short trigger reset (0.1 inch, according to Walther). And the pistol has three safeties (the trigger safety and two internal safeties). The Q4 TAC does not have a magazine disconnect safety and will fire with the magazine removed from the pistol.

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The PPQ Q4 TAC comes with three interchangeable backstraps and distinctive “cross directional” grip texturing.

Disassembly and reassembly are easy. Simply remove the magazine and clear the chamber. Double- and triple-check to make certain the chamber is clear. Dry-fire the pistol. Push down the ridged takedown block that’s located above the trigger guard. Slide the barrel/slide/recoil-spring assembly off the front of the frame as one piece. The recoil-spring assembly and the barrel can then be separated. To reassemble, slip the barrel/slide/recoil-spring assembly onto the frame and push the takedown block up into its original position. The operator’s manual urges the shooter to replace the standard recoil spring with an included lighter-weight recoil spring when shooting the pistol with a suppressor installed.

Changing backstraps also is very easy. To do so, push out the pin in the bottom part of the backstrap using a 5/32-inch (4mm) punch, switch to the desired backstrap, and replace the pin. The Q4 TAC backstraps are offered in Small, Medium, and Large sizes.

The PPQ Q4 TAC comes with a black adjustable rear sight and a red fiber-optic front sight. The rear sight is mounted on a baseplate that fits into the milled recess that is used for installing an electronic-dot reflex-type sight. It’s very ingenious and makes switching sight types easy. Regarding those baseplates, the pistol comes with three of them that fit Leupold, Trijicon, and Docter electronic-dot sights.
 
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The new pistol is chambered for 9mm Luger, and the metal magazines hold 15 rounds. Flush-fitting polymer basepads as well as thicker basepads that act as grip extensions are included, and they are easy to switch.

To install the correct sight mount baseplate, field-strip the Q4 TAC and then remove the two hex-socket screws on top of the slide. Remove the mount base from the slide. Walther instructs you to not mix the two hex-socket screws with screws that come with other sights because the hex screws that secure the mount baseplate are metric hex screws (size M3x6). Place the new mount baseplate on top of the slide with the markings facing down. Pull the mount baseplate toward its front stop (toward the muzzle end of the slide) while tightening the hex-socket screws. Tighten both hex screws with a torque of approximately 18 inch-pounds. Then install the aftermarket reflex sight. I installed a Trijicon RMR reflex sight for this report.

As Shooting Times has reported before, miniaturized red-dot/reflex sights got their start with competition pistol shooters who wanted the speed and precision of a red-dot optic but not the big, heavy tubes associated with such red-dot scopes. Not long after that, tactical operators figured out that a miniature reflex optic would allow them to use a long-range gun at short, CQB ranges in a pinch. The only catch was the early miniature reflex sights just weren’t strong enough for combat use. Trijicon developed the RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) to be capable of standing up to the rigors of battle.

The 1X Trijicon RMR weighs 1.2 ounces and has a low profile. Three models are offered: LED, which uses a battery-powered LED with an integral, self-adjusting rheostat; adjustable LED, which has easy-to-reach manual brightness adjustment buttons that provide eight brightness settings; and dual illumination, which uses fiber optics and tritium. The RMR is parallax free, waterproof to 66 feet (20 meters), and adjustable for windage and elevation. It’s made of high-quality forged aluminum.

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The fiber-optic front sight is dovetailed into the slide, and the barrel’s muzzle threads are 1/2x28. A thread protector is included.

I installed the dual-illumination model with a 12.9-MOA green triangle reticle. This sight features a tritium-phosphor lamp that illuminates the reticle in low-light conditions and fiber optics that automatically adjust the brightness level and contrast to the available light conditions.

Performance

The test target that came with our sample pistol showed a five-shot group fired at 15 meters that measured 1.50 inches, center to center. I fired the pistol for accuracy from a benchrest at 25 yards and averaged 2.95 inches for five-shot groups with eight 9mm factory loads. I was quite pleased with that level of accuracy. The accompanying chart shows the results.

I also shot the PPQ Q4 TAC offhand at swinging steel plates and bouncing ball targets at various distances, ranging from 15 feet to 10 yards. I found the pistol to be very comfortable to shoot. Like the 5.0-inch-barreled PPQ M2 I tested back in 2014, the new PPQ Q4 TAC’s grip, balance, and pointability were excellent. Trigger pull was very good with a firm, consistent take-up and crisp, clean letoff. According to my RCBS trigger pull scale, trigger pull averaged 5.0 pounds.

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NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the gun’s muzzle.

The PPQ Q4 TAC carries Walther’s Legendary Lifetime Warranty. The warranty also covers Walther centerfire and rimfire firearms produced after 1993 and provides “unwavering” support that continues for the lifetime of the firearm. The warranty is good whether or not you are the original purchaser, but it does not apply to antique, limited-edition, or custom firearms. If your Walther firearm has a defect in materials or workmanship, contact the company at Walther Arms Inc., 7700 Chad Colley Blvd., Fort Smith, AR 72916; 479-242-8500. This warranty does not cover cosmetic blemishes or wear and tear associated with normal use. It does not cover any problems caused by abuse or misuse. It does not cover damage caused by the use of parts or service not provided by Walther.

The new PPQ Q4 TAC is accurate and comfortable to shoot. And with the newly threaded barrel and milled slide for optics baseplates, it’s ready for action.

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