“Based on two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, it is my perception that it is one of the best subcompact concealed carry single-stack guns on the market…” READ WHY HERE
Even despite the insanity of the gun market — up, down; so much of it driven by politics and panic — some manufacturers have stayed true to their roots. Walther has retained the long history of innovation while ushering in a completely new era of firearms. Sure, they still faithfully produce those great symbols of Bond 007 spycraft and have even expanded that line with new entries, but the new Walther pistol designs have rightly captured a lot of attention. A few years ago, I reviewed the original PPS in 9mm — a gun that has become one of my favorite concealed carry guns. The PPS was a gun ahead of its time delivering a feature rich, accurate, and configurable, ready-to-carry single stack that could behave like a compact, mid- and full- sized gun. Based on two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, it is my perception that it is one of the best subcompact concealed carry single-stack guns on the market despite the introduction of many other competitor firearms.
Fit, Finish, Feel, & Features
What many did not like about the first PPS was that it was a bit blocky looking. Another major point of contention was that the PPS featured a European guard paddle-style magazine release, which Americans were not terribly excited over. The PPS M2 resolved those complaints with a standard, button magazine release and rounder ergonomics that mimic the amazingly comfortable PPQ and other Walther pistols.
The Walther PPS M2 retains the hybrid design that allows it to morph from a sub-compact-sized pistol to a larger hand-filling gun. Included with the gun are three magazines — one each in 6-, 7-, and 8-round capacities. With the flush fit 6-round magazine, your pinky is left dangling like it would with any sub-compact or micro-compact format pistol. Just a swap to the 7- or 8-round magazine will deliver a full-sized grip and control — plus a few extra rounds of ammo. In essence, this allows the user to just swap out a magazine to transform the PPS from a full-sized feel for home defense to a smaller magazine for concealed carry.
The original point of the PPS is not to be a high-capacity firearm, but to deliver an extremely thin and slim profile for concealed carry that is small enough both men and woman can carry comfortably. It is a lifestyle gun that was designed to be a carry gun that would always be with you versus being left in the car or at home. The PPS M2 carries through on that design goal in a big way.
Walther did some serious ergonomics studies before moving the mouse pointer in the CAD software. From my perspective, this has to been the most comfortable sub-compact pistol I have handled, carried, and shot. I love my Glocks; however this fits the hand better and has a far better grip surface which all add up to a more confidently handled gun. I used a few male and female friends as testers to shoot the PPS M2 and all loved it. In fact several loved it so much they may buy one.
The finish and fit were exceptional; the milling on the slide was well thought out with the front and rear serrated slide still providing enough bite to charge the PPS reliably. The PPS M2 features low profile, snag-free, three-dot metal luminescent combat sights with the rear sight being adjustable for windage (Tritium night sight options are available in the LE version). The luminescent sights pick up ambient light or a quick flash from your flashlight and glow with usable illumination for about 15 minutes. A Tenifer-coated slide and barrel are used for corrosion resistance, and other features include a loaded chamber viewport. The red cocking indicator at the rear provides both tactile and visible status.
The smooth, beveled snag-free slide stop locks back when empty and features one of these most crisp, smoothest, and lightest 6.1-pound trigger pulls I have tested on a factory compact gun. The PPS M2 trigger feel is better than the PPS M1 though both tested to break right at the same 6.1-pound point. The short trigger reset is similar to a Glock reset window. Walther did drop the front Picatinny mount from the PPS M2 model. Likely, with the proliferation of weapon specific lights and lasers, they saw it as an unneeded feature that bulked up the gun.
Some of the other details to enhance functionality are minor, but I noticed them. Rarely, you will end up with an especially non-acrobatic piece of spent brass that will almost make it out of the ejection port. The PPS design has an angled front cut on the port, bevel on the ejector size, and ramped area at the top rear of the port on the slide which all work in tandem to lift, turn, and push out brass attempting to cause a jam.
The design is similar to the Kahr PM series of pistols, which I think are excellent. However, the PPS is more ergonomic and has thinner feeling 1-inch concealed-carry profile.
Function & Accuracy
Functionally, the Walther PPS M2 is a striker-fired pistol that is very similar to a Glock. There are certainly some differences and probably some patent differences. However, to my eyes, they look the same, which is a great thing because it is a proven design. In fact, the PPS even takes down identically to a Glock—clear the gun, pull the trigger, pull down on the two take down tabs, and remove the slide from the frame. Walther even has the double guide rod spring assembly we see in the newer Glocks.
Accuracy was excellent for a gun this size and delivered 3.5-inch 25-yard groups with Federal Guard Dog ammo from a shooting rest. Functionally, I had no issues from the first round to the last shot before writing this article—excellent reliability all the way around. I have easily cleared a regulation police qualification test with the PPQ and do carry it as needed for some security work.
Holster options are already everywhere, but I choose a Klinger Stingray Flush Fit 0-cant holster that delivered everything I needed for testing of this pistol.
The trigger unit works like a Glock — with all those wonderful internal safeties — there is even the joyous absence of a safety or decocker. The fit and finish is better than a Glock; the trigger is leagues better as well; there is more steel rail contact between the frame and slide. This equates to a smoother action. The grip actually offers, “Grip.” Most importantly, the PPS M2 looks like someone with an eye for design actually had a crack at making a decent-looking pistol, and it is even comfortable to hold, shoot, and carry. The PPS M1 was the single stack Glock 43 we were waiting for that Walther delivered many years earlier than Glock. Well, at least that is how I would compare it to a Glock, if I were working the gun counter. The bottom line is that I own a Glock 43 and carry the PPS M1 and M2 versions far more than I ever do the comparable Glock 43 because they feel, carry, and shoot better for me.
The PPS represents a lifestyle firearm that is flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of clothing, defense, and concealment needs. It is big enough to not feel under-gunned, and small enough to conceal better than any double stack firearm. Walther has a great design with the PPS that is realistically proportioned to offer compact-sized power in a sub-compact-size pistol that people will actually be able to carry. The PPS M2 is a top-grade pistol that can easily fulfill everything from home defense to concealed carry and magazine swap options to extend the grip make it that much more versatile. With 6-8 rounds on tap, and one in the chamber, this is hopefully a new legacy that Walther will continue with and maybe… just maybe Bond could start carrying one of these instead of that retro PPK with the electronic trigger lock.
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[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple — tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com]