Tag Archives: Walther

REVIEW: Walther PPS M2 9mm


Looking for one handgun to serve well for home-defense and concealed carry? This might be the best one! Read all about it…

pps m2

by Major Pandemic

Even despite the insanity of the gun market some manufacturers have stayed true to their roots. Walther has retained its long history of innovation while ushering in a completely new era of firearms. Sure they still faithfully produce those great symbols of 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 — one that became a favorite concealed -carry gun. The PPS was a gun ahead of its time delivering a feature -rich, accurate, and configurable single -stack that could behave like a compact-, mid- and full-sized gun. Based on the two years of carrying and shooting the PPS, I think it is one of the best subcompact concealed-carry single-stack guns on the market despite the introduction of many other competitors.

pps m2

What many did not like about the first PPS was that it was a bit blocky and featured a European-style paddle magazine release which Americans are not terribly excited over. The PPS M2 resolved those complaints with a standard button magazine release and more rounded ergonomics that mimic the amazingly comfortable PPQ and other Walther pistols.

The Walther PPS M2 retains the hybrid design which 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. But just a swap to the 7- or 8-round magazines deliver a full-sized grip and control plus extra rounds. In essence this allows the user to swap out a magazine and transform the PPS from a full-sized feel for home defense to a smaller magazine for concealed carry.

The original point of the PPS was not to be a high-capacity firearm, but to deliver an extremely thin and slim profile for concealed carry that is small enough that both men and woman can carry comfortably. It is a “lifestyle” gun that was designed so it would always be with you versus being left in the car or at home. From my perspective, this has to been the most comfortable sub-compact pistol I have handled, carried, and shot. I love my Glocks, but this fits my hand better and has a far better grip surface which adds 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 are exceptional, the milling on the slide is well thought out with the front and rear serrations providing enough bite to charge the PPS reliably.

m2 glowing sights
Luminescent sights glow for around 15 minutes after being exposed to light.

The PPS M2 has low -profile snag-free three -dot metal luminescent combat sights with the rear sight adjustable for windage (Tritium night sight options are available in the LE version). The luminescent sights will pick up ambient light or a quick flash from a flashlight and glow with usable illumination for about 15 minutes. A Tenifer-coated slide and barrel are provides corrosion resistance, and other features include a loaded chamber viewport and red cocking indicator at the rear to give both tactile and visible status, smooth beveled snag-free slide stop with a lock back on empty, and features one of the most crisp, smoothest, and lightest 6.1 lb 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 lb 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 unnecessary feature that bulked up the gun.

Some of the other details to enhance functionality are minor but I notice 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, a bevel on the ejector size, and a 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.

pps m2 grip
Extreme comfort are the words most describe the PPS M2 grip.

Functionally, the Walther PPS M2 is a striker-fired pistol with a mechinism similar to a Glock. There are some differences, but to my eyes they look the same which is a great thing because it is a proven design. In fact it even takes down identically to a Glock: clear the gun, pull the trigger, pull down on the two take -down tabs, and move the slide off 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-in. 25-yd. groups with Federal Guard Dog ammo from a shooting rest. Functionally I have 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 which delivered everything I needed for testing of this pistol.

m2 magazines
Upsize the PPS M2 easily with just a magazine swap from 6 to 7 to 8 rounds.

The trigger unit works like a Glock also with all those wonderful internal safeties and 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. Compared to Glock there is more steel rail contact between the frame and slide with equates to a smoother action, the grip actually offers “grip.” Most importantly the PPS M2 looks like it was designed by someone with an eye for design. The PPS M1 was the 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 was 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 Glock 43 because they feel, carry, and shoot better for me. The PPS is flexible enough to accommodate a wide array of clothing, defense, and concealment needs. It is big enough not to feel under-gunned and small enough to conceal better than any double -stack . The PPS M2 is a top-grade pistol that can easily fulfill everything from home defense to concealed carry.

Check it out HERE

pps specs

Major Pandemic

[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. Click HERE to learn more.]

EVALUATION: Which is Better For CCW, 9mm or .380?


For the ultimate in concealment and also comfort, a small-framed handgun is great, but consider caliber selection carefully. Here are a few thoughts on a common debate…

Jeff Johnston, NRA Family

9mm vs .380

So, you want a gun for concealed carry, but you can’t decide between the venerable 9mm and the handy .380 Auto. While I’m not going to solve the debate for everyone, I will provide you with some facts and insights to make your choice easier. Before we get started, however, there are some points you should know:

Water capacity is the standard measurement for case capacity comparison, because powder volumes vary.

Due to the laws of physics, any given cartridge will produce less perceived recoil if fired from a heavier gun, while a lighter gun will result in more.

Less recoil, in general, means more accurate shooting and faster followup shots. Gun writers call this “shootability,” although it’s definitely a very subjective term.

9mm Luger
The 9mm Luger (aka 9mmX19, 9mm Parabellum) is likely America’s most popular handgun cartridge because it offers a balance of power, shootability, reliability and concealability. Because of these traits, the cartridge has become so popular that it has gained another advantage: options. If you choose 9mm, you are immediately granted myriad options in loads, handgun models and accessories for your new gun.

A 9mmx19 cartridge features a bullet that is 9mm, or .355 inches in diameter. Bullet weights range from 80 to 147 grains with 115- and 124-grain bullets being the most popular. Its case is .380 inches in diameter, 19mm long and can hold a maximum of 10 grains of water. A typical 9mm Luger load contains about 6 grains of powder used to propel a 115-grain bullet to 1,000 feet per second (fps) out of a 2.75-inch barrel. (Velocities increase along with barrel length.) This produces approximately 255 ft.-lbs. energy while generating 5.36 ft.-lbs. of recoil energy from a pistol weighing 1 pound.

Walther CCP
9mms are available that are just about as small in size as .380s, like this Walther CCP, but keep in mind that the smaller and lighter the gun, the harder it’s going to kick.

.380 ACP
Firearms chambered in .380 Automatic Colt Pistol (aka, .380 Auto, 9mmx17, .380 Browning Court, 9mm Short, .380 Corto) are continuing to grow in popularity. That’s because the cartridge, with its very short case, can be made to function safely and efficiently in extremely small-framed guns. Because the pressures produced by the little cartridge aren’t excessive, the guns don’t require pounds of steel reinforcement, like, for instance a .44 Magnum. Yet the cartridge is more powerful than other small-framed guns such as .22 LR, .25 ACP and .32 S&W. Yet even in a lightweight gun such as the 10-ounce Ruger LCP, recoil is mild thanks to the .380’s modest ballistic data. Consider the following specifications:

The .380 Auto features the same diameter bullet as the 9mm and the same diameter case, yet it is shorter at 17mm in case length. It can hold a maximum of 5.3 grains of water. A typical load carries roughly 3 grains of powder that propels a 95-grain bullet at 845 fps to produce 151 ft.-lbs. of energy from a 2.75-inch barrel. It produces about 2.76 ft.-lbs. recoil energy from a 1-pound firearm.

So, when compared to the 9mm Luger, the .380 is smaller, lighter in recoil but not as powerful when it strikes a target. Now let’s take a look at the numbers in more detail.

The venerable Walther PPK is a well-proven and very concealable .380 that still maintains great shootability.

Head to Head
While 255 ft.-lbs. of bullet energy from the muzzle of a 9mm Luger is not a lot in the firearm world — consider that an average .30-06 deer rifle produces around 2,500 ft.-lbs. energy — a 9mm’s energy is far greater than a .22lr’s piddly 105 ft.-lbs. and many other smaller calibers. It has about 68 percent more energy than the .380 Auto. The question then: Is this extra power worth the 9mm’s extra weight and recoil?

If all things are equal, more velocity means greater penetration. A 9mm Luger typically out-penetrates .380 Auto bullets, but not as much as you might think. That may be due to the fact that the 9mm’s extra energy causes its bullets to expand to a slightly greater diameter, and expansion retards penetration due to greater surface area. But if two bullets penetrate the same distance, the one that has greatest surface area is best because it produces more tissue damage. No doubt, due to its advantage in velocity and energy, the 9mm Luger is the clear winner in terminal performance.

But for the same reasons, the .380 wins in shootability, with one caveat. Because the .380 has 94 percent less recoil (if fired from an equal-weight gun), it’s easier to shoot. But, you must consider that 9mms are typically a few ounces heavier than guns chambered in .380, and so the extra weight reduces that 94-percent figure considerably. Also, the smaller the gun, the smaller its grip and the more recoil it has. So a .380’s advantage in shootability is somewhat negated when fired from the smallest guns available in that chambering. You should also remember that “shootability” isn’t everything, or we’d all carry peashooters. Carry caliber choice, until the laws of physics are altered, boils down to finding a tradeoff between shootability, gun size, and power that works for you. It’s important to remember that the bigger gun you get, the tougher it is to conceal, but the easier it is to shoot.

Some of the smallest and most concealable guns made –which still maintain the prerequisite features for serious carry consideration — are chambered in .380 Auto due to the cartridge’s diminutive size. Examples are the 8.3-ounce Kel-Tec P3AT, the 9.97-ounce Kahr P380, and the 8.8-ounce Diamondback DB380. (All these guns weigh just under a pound when fully loaded.) On average, 9mm versions of these guns weigh 4 to 5 ounces more. Five ounces doesn’t seem like much, but for most people it’s the difference between a true pocket gun that you can wear in your front jeans or shorts pocket without it pulling down your pants, and a 20-ounce (fully loaded) gun for which you probably need a belt and a holster. In terms of pure concealability, the .380 is the clear winner.

For options and choices, the 9mm wins again. More gun models at all price ranges, holsters, ammo and accessories can be found for it than perhaps any handgun (with the possible exception of the 1911). One notable option here is ammunition. The 9mm, because of its larger case capacity, can be downloaded to a .380’s velocity if needed, or uploaded to +P status where it can produce velocities of 1,200 fps and energies nearing 400 ft.-lbs. if called for.

Lastly, while there is no discernible difference in reliability between the cartridges themselves, bear in mind that, in general, lighter-weight guns are less reliable than heavier guns of equal quality. So, if you choose a .380 in a 10-ounce gun, while it shouldn’t jam often, it will likely experience more malfunctions over time than a full-sized handgun would. That’s just how it is.

Hornady .380 ammo.
With a round as small as .380 ACP choose the ammo wisely. The newer breed of specialty loads such as the Hornady Critical Defense series adds some security to a decision to choose a smaller handgun for defense. See Midsouth offerings HERE.