FIREARMS

Walther PPX: an Underestimated Pistol

Let me introduce you to the Walther PPX 9mm. Today we have a market ruled by high-speed pistols that are slim, small, and have a huge capacity to size ratio. Every now and then we get a gun that is overbuilt for the necessary purposes it serves. This is not a crime, but instead is an underappreciated quality that I feel should be considered more often. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Look inside and the story and its true value will be revealed. This pistol is a prime example of this saying.

PPX stands for Police Pistol Xtreme. The pistol at first sight does not strike one as being a pistol fit for being carried on a duty holster by Police, or even by any security force. It looks like Walther tried to make a Hi-point of their own design. But looks aside, this is a very interesting design and very well built. Each piece of this pistol is well made and looks like Walther made it to last. When looking at pistols we want to trust our lives to, it is hard to sell someone on a pistol that looks so big and unnecessarily clunky.

First thing you will notice about this pistol is that it has a tall slide and a very tall grip with a huge hump near the bottom. This feature in the grip, along with the texturing, helps you get a good purchase on the pistol for maximum control under recoil. By the way, the recoil is very low, even using with Winchester 124gr NATO ammo, which was the primary ammo I used in shooting this pistol. I found this ammo to have very consistent recoil and to burn very clean in this pistol. NATO spec ammo typically has comparable velocities and pressures to that of +P ammunition, just for frame of reference. I also shot some Fiocchi 115gr FMJ which functioned very well and consistently.

The pistol stands 5.6” and holds 16 rounds in the magazine, where most pistols around this size will carry at least one more round. For only having one size, it has a very good trigger reach. All the controls are dehorned and are quite basic in their function. They do feel flimsy but in reality don’t need to be too much bigger in order to have a long service life. I would not say that this gun wouldn’t be a good candidate to use the slide stop as a release. The mag release is a button push design as most Americans prefer. Running this pistol is very easy being that it has few controls and the slide makes it very easy to grab under pressure.

The sights on this pistol seem to hit right at POA. I find this to be a very normal thing for Walther pistols. I did not get a test target in the box with this pistol, which is odd, but I will live. That is what a laser boresighter and ammo to confirm is for. The sight alignment will present less air on each side of the front site than usual Walther sites that we have come to know. They seem to be very robust and they are big enough to pick up quickly without being so big that they snag. I also find that with the ergonomics and the height of the slide relative to the placement of the hand lend this pistol to be very quick into action. This is a huge thing that should be a point of consideration for those wanting a pistol that they can build shooting skills on and use in a defensive role.

The PPX features a DAO trigger with a small hammer under a lot of tension. The springs keeping the hammer under tension are very thick and substantial. The whole firing system consists of individually overbuilt components. The hammer is considerably small in comparison to other hammers that rely on mass to assist in striking the firing pin reliably. The firing pin is exposed at the rear of the slide in a deep recessed cut out and is just a thin, horizontal, rectangular protrusion.The trigger pull on the pistol is actually kind of similar to the LEM triggers on the HK pistols. This basically means that it has some take-up in the trigger, which you will notice causes the hammer to lean back and cock.

You will notice that not only is the take-up very short, but that the wall before the break is stiffer than most other triggers on the market today. The trigger wall being heavy is merely a symptom of the hammer spring being so tight. Now this does smooth out and lighten as you shoot the pistol more. There is a method I would employ for this trigger though. I would recommend practicing just a complete stroke on the trigger instead of staging at the wall. This just means to go ahead and give a squeeze to the trigger in a nice and smooth pull. If you wish to stage the trigger to the wall before breaking, that is on you, but it seems to me that the trigger weight increases if you stage the trigger. In my recommended method, the wall is virtually unnoticeable before the break due to the momentum of the squeeze. Id estimate a good balance of a quick and smooth pull is the best idea for optimal comfort and handling of this pistol.

As far as the purpose of this pistol, I see it as being an overqualified candidate for home defense, vehicle carry, and even as a high round count training gun for instructors that are teaching shooting to complete beginners. I feel that the trigger is a great trigger to learn on since the wall is so dramatic and stiff to allow new shooters to understand how to apply steady pressure to the trigger without disturbing the sight picture. I personally load up this pistol with 147gr Goldensaber Bonded ammo and use it as a home defense gun. I feel that it suits the role of a quick response pistol for me, as well as a general training pistol for my wife and others that need to learn how to shoot properly.

The Walther PPX is a breeze to shoot once you get the trigger pull down and I would definitely say that it is a keeper. That seems to be a pattern for Walther pistols in my household. The Walther PPX is no different. Their ability to put a full commitment to quality and understanding what people want in a range or fighting pistol make them one of the top manufacturers of pistols in the world, in my opinion. For the money, I know of no other pistols specifically designed to withstand abuse and a long service life like this pistol. Go check out the Walther PPX and give it a try. You may just see why this pistol is a great value for everyone.