By Ben Findley
Review: A hard look at Walther's New for 2016- PPS M2 Sub-Compact 9mm pistol as a Concealed Carry Weapon .
Florida – -(Ammoland.com)- At SHOT Show this January 2016, there were several new handguns introduced that all could work as concealed carry weapons . If you have never attended, there are endless new firearms of all types, sizes, and uses on display at the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas.
One intriguing subcompact handgun for concealed carry (CC) based on a previous, proven classic one (introduced in 2007- the Walther PPS M1 Classic Pistol) was the new Walther PPS M2 9mm subcompact pistol. The PPS means “Police Pistol Slim.”
Walther was nice enough to send me a Walther PPS M2 to review and range test, so I want to share with you what I discovered, with the idea of carrying it as a concealed carry weapon.
The Walther PPS M2 Pistol incorporates several design and operational changes that seemingly improved the gun, but I want to delve deeper into what were the specific changes, improvements, and what specific features it has. As you probably know if you have read my book and previous articles, I prefer 9mm handguns for carry that have been proven to meet my 10 point criteria and that particularly function accurately and reliably to protect my life and the lives of my loved ones.
So, what are the M2's specifications and features and how do I rate them against my strict criteria? Of course, up front there are many recognizable handgun attributes that directly affect accuracy, performance, and certain considerations to seek (My recently published book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials” gives my specific handgun attributes to look for and my main selection criteria and considerations in depth.) This is my brief look and report on the Walther PPS M2 Pistol with just a few of my considerations.
Here are the Walther PPS M2 Pistol Specifications:
Some Features I especially liked for the Walther PPS M2 Pistol as a Concealed Carry Weapon are:
(1) Tool-less Take Down;
(2) No External Safety; Has Drop Safety, Internal Striker-Block Safety, & Trigger Safety;
(3) Flush-Fitting 7-round mag & Extended 7-round mag included, with 8-round mag optional & available;
(4) No more removable Backstrap concerns – no safety feature that disables gun when backstrap insert removed;
(5) MSRP of $469; LE Version MSRP of $499 (Phosphorus Sights + 3 mags);
(6) Striker Cocking Indicator on rear of slide;
(7) Low Bore Axis with slide mounted low to frame to help muzzle flip;
(8) Identifiable Trigger Reset click & short travel distance;
(9) No Magazine Disconnect (Gun will fire with the mag removed);
(10) Walther Limited Lifetime Warranty
When I examined, analyzed, shot, and reviewed the Walther PPS M2, my top three criteria below were most important to me. I was considering the PPS M2 mainly for concealed carry and wanted to primarily compare accuracy, reliability, trigger press, and ergonomics. It is very similar to the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and the Ruger LC9S I reviewed last year, especially regarding barrel length, overall length, height, thin width, capacity, and weight.
Concealed Carry Weapon Criteria and Considerations
Below are My 10 Criteria for evaluating the handgun as a concealed carry weapon and I will apply them for purpose of this review. My criteria that follow are the main gun attributes, features, and results I want. There are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like a certain style, action, or caliber, appearance, more mags included, different sights, more aggressive grip texture, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into the last Miscellaneous criterion. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my 10 criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add your own additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.
Here are my Concealed Carry Weapon Criteria:
(1) Accuracy and Reliability- Performs well without reoccurring malfunctions and stoppages and results in accurate target hits with a maximum of a 4″ inch hit group at 7-10 yards and do that consistently;
(2) Trigger Press maxiumum of about 5.0-5.5 pounds – lessens force applied for less
movement & better accuracy- and press that is crisp and identifiable;
(3) Trigger with short travel distance (a short travel distance increases the speed the trigger can be fired) and
easily identifiable and short reset point; Trigger with a smooth consistent press for every shot (less need
to transition between presses & make adjustments);
(4) Barrel length of 3.0″-4.0″ (primarily for a Concealed Carry Weapon);
(5) Sights that are basic & simple (easy to use & see–I like Fiber Optic fronts); fast target acquisition; for my purposes– rear- adjustable for windage; Night Sights for low-light situations;
(6) Proper Gun Weight to minimize recoil (I prefer 25 oz. or less for personal defense);
(7) Caliber match to my needs, characteristics & abilities (consider medical & physical limitations); 9mm is my preference;
(8) Capacity -adequate for use and feature tradeoffs- usually want at least 8-9 in a 9mm magazine;
(9) Ergonomics – Hand Comfort and Grip Fit, controls easy to work and easily accessible; and
(10) Miscellaneous – Finish, fit, & quality appearance; ease of disassembly-assembly; number mags included; customer service with friendly & helpful representatives; Hard Case; Extras (like holster & pouch), etc.
Remember, there are a lot of attributes, pros and cons, and criteria to include and consider and you make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, and defined needs and use.
Concealed Carry Weapon Testing: Field Test Of The Walther PPS M2 Pistol in 9mm.
After shooting and handling the new PPS M2 subcompact in 9mm and carefully considering its specifications, below is what I discovered and my point evaluations. You should know that I am not being paid to say these things, am not on Walther's payroll, and what follows are genuinely my truthful thoughts and opinions. Also, know that I am not a top expert shooter by any means and I only shot about 150 rounds through the new PPS M2, so it really is not fully broken in. I shot a variety of ammo in the M2 including: American Eagle 115 grain FMJ and Aguila 124 grain FMJ. I also shot some 115 grain FMJ commercial reloads.
Walther in their Instruction Manual specifies “Never use non-standard, reloaded or ‘handloaded' ammunition which has not been subjected to internal ballistic pressure testing. Reloaded or handloaded ammunition may have many manufacturing and quality variables (such as the type and amount of gun powder.)” So be careful when field testing any gun and pay attention to this warning.
I have many comparable handguns and this 9mm Walther PPS M2 Pistol handled well with manageable recoil for a sub-compact pistol, but I did feel the recoil. It was comparable to the Ruger LC9s which has a somewhat softer press. The smooth PPS trigger with short travel distance was very good, although a harder press than specified in my criteria. The slide-to-frame fit was very tight and solid. I experienced only 1 malfunction, a “stovepipe” failure to eject only in the first 50 rounds fired. I was holding the gun firmly and not limp wrisiting it, so perhaps ammo related. There were no failures to fire or failures to feed; no failures to lockback; and no misfires. It was fun to shoot and was smooth shooting. It fit my medium-sized hands very well, but my wife with very small hands shot a couple of mags in it and had a blister on the base of her strong thumb.
For the rounds I shot with it, the Walther PPS M2 impressed me as a quality, accurate, good-looking, and comfortable handgun suitable for a Concealed Carry Weapon.
1) The Accuracy of the M2 was acceptable for me at distances of 7, 10, and 15 yards. The gun did most of the work, but I felt the recoil which affected my movement. My groups were better, naturally, at only 7 yards, but at all of the distances they were between 3-4 inches or so for the first time I ever fired the gun “out of the box.” I drew and rapid-fired from my kydex holster, the one I use with my Sig 320 sub-compact, then reloaded my second mag and fired it. I used my standing Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various 115 grain FMJ and 124 grain FMJ ammo, including reloads. I did not shoot hollow points. That's next… 9.
(2) The Trigger Press out of the box averaged about 6.7 pounds, with 5 readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. Remember, it is a new pistol with no break-in. It is rated by the manufacturer at 6.1 pounds, so my readings were a little higher. This was over my criterion and I am spoiled with a lighter press on my 1911s, but this is not a 1911. I was hoping the press would be near the 5.5 pound average, but I can handle this. I believe after it is broken in with more range time and with smoothing and lubrication, the press will improve… 8.
(3) The M2 Trigger had a short travel distance and very identifiable reset. It was smooth and crisp. I got off quick follow-up shots easily. I like the similar press each time with striker-fired guns like this M2. It was smooth and consistent shooting with the same press each time. I enjoyed shooting it for the most part, because of the great feel in my hand… 10.
(4) The way the 3.18-inch Barrel handled was certainly acceptable, compared to most of my other 3-inch guns. The recoil was very manageable and while I did feel the recoil, it was controllable. This old codger was also surprised by my accuracy with it at 15 yards… 10.
(5) The 3-dot sights were nice, but I would have preferred bigger ones and Tritium Night Sights to help with shooting at dusk and in low-light shooting. I liked that the rear sight was adjustable for windage. The Sights are steel… 9.
(6) The frame combined with the barrel and magazine for the 23.3 ounce Weight loaded was close to the upper limits for my CC gun criterion. It felt so good in my hand that I did not even think about the weight and I could handle it… 9.
(7) The 9mm Caliber in the PPS M2 was pleasant to shoot, made recoil manageable, and my accuracy with it was good. There is a variety of 9mm ammo available in this caliber, at relatively low cost, and the gun digested various brands well without any problems, except with the one stovepipe with the reloads… 9.
(8) The 7+1 Capacity of the M2 flush-fit 9mm mag was less than I wanted, but similar to some other sub-compact guns with 6, 7, or 8 rounds. But, some sub-compacts do have a greater capacity. The 7-round mag was sufficient, but if one buys this gun I would get the 8-rounder- for an additional $40 or so… 9.
(9) The Egonomics of the M2 were really superb for my medium-sized hands. It felt very good in my hands. With the extended mag, I could easily reach all the controls like the enlarged magazine release and long slide-stop lever, without turning the gun or adjusting my grip. This was a relief from doing that with some of my other smaller handguns. My wife, however, to get a good purchase on it had to turn the gun in her hand because of her small hands and fingers. I did not like my pinky finger dangling with the flush-fit mag… 9.
(10) Miscellaneous. I easily disassembled and re-assembled and cleaned the PPS M2 before I shot it. However, I did have to press the trigger to complete disassembly. This is a safety concern, so you must visually & physically inspect the chamber and mag well opening to ensure that they are empty before pressing the trigger. But, recognizing this up front helps, along with practice and proper safety orientation. I wish it came with the 8-round mag included. It would be nice to have a holster included, night sights, and 3 mags, including the 8 round. Customer service is a consideration… 8.
Concealed Carry Weapon Test Results: Total Points = 90 out of 100 Possible.
The very nice feel in my hand and the trigger's short travel distance and nice trigger reset of the PPS M2 sub-compact impressed me. I RECOMMEND this handgun for a sub-compact concealed carry weapon, with the proper ammo and break-in period. Remember, this is just my personal opinion. I believe it would make a nice edition to anyone's CC inventory, but check some of my other reviews and my top 21 in my book. I hope this review of the PPS M2 sub-compact, striker-fired 9mm has helped you gain some information you did not previously have. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using only 150 rounds of available ammo. Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, how it fits your particular hand and fingers, and what features are important to you ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds or more to determine reliability and dependability.
- Photos by Author.
- Contact: Walther Arms, Inc., Fort Smith, AR; (479) 242-8500. www.waltherarms.com
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
About Col Ben Findley:
“Col Ben” is retired with 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, with joint services Special Ops duty and training, and is Air Force qualified as “Expert” in small arms. Ben is an experienced NRA-Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Range Safety Officer, and FL Concealed Carry License Instructor. Ben recently wrote the book Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com.