Walther PPQ M2 Review
June 19, 2014
Last year Walther announced an upgrade to its striker-fired, polymer-framed PPQ pistol. Called the PPQ M2, the new gun featured interchangeable backstraps and came in 9mm and .40 S&W. It also featured a reversible magazine release in a traditional push-button form. The original PPQ, which was introduced in 2011, had a curved paddle-style magazine release that was recessed into the trigger guard.
According to Walther's sales manager, "The main change from the original PPQ to the M2 version was the magazine release. We went from the traditional European-style paddle magazine release on the trigger guard to a push-button style, which is more popular in the U.S. We still make the paddle release and import limited quantities of them for our loyal Walther enthusiasts."
The PPQ M2 utilized the original PPQ's Picatinny frame rail, "precocked" trigger, loaded chamber indicator, front and rear slide serrations, and oversized slide stop. It was initially offered with a 4-inch barrel.
New for 2014, the PPQ M2 is now available with a 5-inch barrel, and .22 LR has been added to its caliber options.
Just about every firearms publication on the planet covered the PPQ or PPQ M2 when they came out, so I'm not going to go into an in-depth discussion of the basic model. My earlier nutshell description should suffice. And I'm not going to mention James Bond here — like so many of those articles did — because Bond has nothing to do with the PPQ. What I will offer is a little information about the new 5-inch PPQ M2 and the results from my range work with a 5-inch 9mm PPQ M2 and a 4-inch .22 LR PPQ M2. Actually, there are three new 5-inch-barreled pistols. Two are centerfire (9mm and .40 S&W); one is .22 rimfire.
All of the 5-inch PPQ M2s are 8.1 inches in length, 1.3 inches in width, and 5.3 inches in height. They weigh from 20 to 26.5 ounces with an empty magazine inserted, depending on the caliber.
And all of the 5-inch PPQ M2s come with low-profile sights. The centerfire guns have a polymer white-dot front sight, and the rimfire PPQ M2 has a fiber-optic front sight. (As I mentioned, the rimfire PPQ M2 is also available with a 4-inch barrel. Actually, there are two 4-inch-barreled PPQ M2 .22 LR pistols, and they come with polymer white-dot front sights. One has a standard barrel, and the other has a threaded barrel for use with a suppressor.) The centerfire pistols have two white dots on the rear sight, which is a polymer fixed Novak-like combat style (three-dot metal sights are also available), and the rimfire pistols have plain black rear sights that are fully adjustable.
Sight radius for the 5-inch-barreled PPQ M2s is 7.2 inches. A small increase in sight radius will mean significantly better accuracy. The longer the sight radius, the easier it is to see any wobble in your hold. You can't correct a wobble if you can't see it, and with a shorter sight radius, you might not be able to see a wobble even though it's there. The 4-inch-barreled .22 LR PPQ M2 I test-fired for this report had a sight radius of 6.1 inches.
All PPQ M2s have the textured grip that is integral to the polymer frame. Walther calls it "Cross-Directional Textured Tactical Grip." The centerfire PPQ M2s come with interchangeable backstraps in three different sizes (small, medium, and large), but the rimfires do not. According to Walther, grip circumference for all PPQ M2s is 5.3 inches, and the distance from the trigger to the backstrap is 2.8 inches.
All PPQ M2s have Picatinny accessory rails integral to their polymer frames, and all have front and rear slide serrations. They are finished in matte black, with the slides wearing a Tenifer coating. Tenifer is a liquid ferritic nitrocarburizing process that was created to improve wear by resisting scuffing and corrosion. The slides are also serrated on the top to help reduce glare.
The centerfire PPQ M2s come with two magazines; the rimfires come with one. Capacity depends on the caliber. The rimfire PPQ M2s have a 12-round magazine (an optional 10-rounder is available); the 9mm PPQ M2 has 15-round magazines (10- and 17-round magazines are available); and the .40 S&W PPQ M2 has 11-round magazines (10- and 13-round magazines are available).
All PPQ M2s have ambidextrous, extended slide stops and what Walther calls the Quick Defense Trigger. It's similar to other safety trigger setups with a lever in the middle of the trigger that must be depressed in order to allow the trigger to be squeezed fully to the rear. All PPQ M2 triggers have short resets. According to Walther, trigger travel of the centerfire PPQ M2 is just 0.4 inch, and the rimfire PPQ trigger has 0.16 inch of travel.
The centerfire PPQ M2s have three safeties: the trigger safety, an internal firing pin block, and a magazine safety. The rimfire PPQ M2s have the trigger safety and the internal firing pin block.
The 5-inch-barreled PPQ M2s have ported slides. Our sample had six slots in the top of the slide. They are not barrel ports or compensators, but they function to lighten the weight of the slide, which reduces the reciprocating mass and allows faster cycling times.
The 9mm PPQ M2 ST obtained came with a test target, but the rimfire sample did not. The 9mm target showed a five-shot group fired at 15 meters that measured 2.13 inches, center to center. Three of the five shots were clustered together.
During my offhand drills and accuracy shooting from the bench, I found the 5-inch-barreled 9mm PPQ M2 and the 4-inch-barreled .22 LR PPQ M2 to be very comfortable to shoot. Grip, balance, and pointability were superior. Trigger pulls were excellent for this type of trigger. On the 9mm pistol, take-up seemed especially firm, consistent, and short, and letoff was crisp and clean, averaging 5.5 pounds according to my trigger-pull scale. Likewise, the .22 LR pistol's trigger pull was equally good. It averaged 4.5 pounds.
As for accuracy, the accompanying chart shows the averages for five, five-shot groups fired with five factory loads from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards for both pistols. Overall average for the five 9mm loads was 2.07 inches. I consider that to be excellent for this type of pistol. It's not Bullseye match accuracy, but it's darn close. Overall average accuracy for the .22 LR PPQ M2 was 3.30 inches.
The most fun part of my shooting session was shooting both PPQ M2s on my swinging steel target. Engaging the 4-inch-wide steel gong at various distances ranging from 15 feet to 10 yards, from just about every angle I could think of and while on the move, was extremely satisfying. Double-taps were quite easy to make.
I like the 5-inch 9mm PPQ M2 a lot. It's accurate, comfortable, and instinctively pointable in the hand. It would be a good choice for competitive action shooting, defense, and plain old fun shooting. I'd prefer a fiber-optic front sight, and I don't care for two white dots on the rear sight, but a lot of handgunners like a three-dot sight setup, so they'll like the 5-inch centerfire gun just as it is.
When it comes to rimfire pistols, well, I have a real fondness — or is it a weakness? — for them, and the PPQ M2 .22 LR is ergonomic and accurate. It is so close to an exact copy of the centerfire PPQ M2, except for the weight, that it makes a great sub-caliber training tool. It's a fun plinker, too. I just wish I'd have had the 5-inch version for this report.