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Summary: Walt Rauch’s review of and rating for the Walther PPX pistol, including a range report, photos, pricing, specs, user ratings and user comments. (Click here to see all of Rauch’s handgun reviews.)
Walther now offers its PPX pistol, first introduced in Germany, to the U.S. handgun market. I obtained a 9mm model from Walther Arms (it’s also available chambered in .40 SW), and my review follows.
The PPX features a steel slide (blackened or stainless), a polymer frame and three passive firing safeties, but no manual safety. The slide and barrel are Tenifer coated. The gun’s all-steel magazine holds 16 rounds of 9mm and 14 or .40 SW, and it includes a removable polymer base pad. Cartridge witness holes numbered 5–16 are on either side of the magazine body. One magazine comes with the gun. The PPX weighs 26.5 oz. unloaded.
The angular slide contains the barrel and captive recoil spring on a polymer guide rod. It also features wide diagonal grasping grooves front and rear, and fixed but optionally-adjustable three-dot sights. To make elevation adjustments, you must replace the front sight with an optionally-purchased steel sight of needed height (these are numbered). Replacing the sight requires removing a slotted, front-sight screw, which you access from within the slide. For windage changes, drift the rear sight as needed in its dovetail cut.
The large internal extractor is at the lower right side of a large ejection port. A passive firing pin drop safety is present. The barrel’s chamber hood is notched at its center-rear to serve as a loaded-chamber indicator such that when a round is chambered, you can see a small portion of the cartridge case when looking directly down on the notch.
The cartridge pick-up rail is stepped, with a narrow rail on its larger body. Why? To help prevent the rail tip from striking a live primer when unloading or clearing malfunctions. (This can and does happen.)
The polymer receiver contains a metal insert that holds the firing system, including the spurless, pre-tensioned hammer. The metal insert is pinned in using two cross pins, one front and one rear.
The polymer frame, which is serial numbered on a metal plate inserted into its dust cover, holds the reversible magazine catch and left-side, frame-mounted, take-down lever. The dust cover includes a picatinny M1913 rail for accessories such as a light or laser. The rail worked as it should when I easily installed and removed a Streamlight TLR-1 HL light.
The horizontally-grooved slide stop is left-side mounted and thumb reachable by all but small-handed users. The disassembly lever has stepped curves in its face and is also on the left, just forward of the ample and squared trigger guard, which is horizontally grooved on its face.
The reversible magazine catch (detailed instructions for reversing it are in the owners manual) offers a vertically-serrated head and is at the left rear of the trigger guard. It’s partially protected from accidental depression by a molded ridge, which can serve as a thumb rest, extending rearward on either side of the frame. The frame also includes finger grooves on its front strap and the lower portion of the sides.
The gripping surfaces feature a rather unique combination of half-circle ridges and raised dots that provide a solid but not grabby surface treatment. Two wide and shallow depressions in the top sides of the grip serve as thumb rests or as a guide to your firing-hand finger to help you get the proper grip on the gun and on the trigger. This is particularly useful when lighting is dim or nonexistent.
The bottom rear of the backstrap is lower than the magazine well opening, but the resulting space created between the front and backstrap is filled by the base pad of an inserted magazine. The end result: More gripping surface for your hand.
The wide-faced, curved and grooved trigger is positioned roughly 40% of the way forward inside its squared trigger guard. It features what Walther calls a constant action trigger system, which is similar to a double-action-only trigger. The trigger pull measured out at 6.5 lbs. on my gun, and it was smooth except for what turned out to be only some initial creep. We thought might just be an instance of this sample PPX being shot right out of the box without any additional lubrication. The problem went away after lubricating the system, along with repeated dry and live firing.
Disassembly & Re-assembly
Disassembly of the PPX is quick and easy. First clear the pistol and, with magazine removed, lock the slide to the rear. With the slide locked back, rotate the take-down lever from 3 o’clock to 7 o’clock. (It can’t do so if the slide isn’t locked back because an extending tab at 11 o’clock must fit into a semi-circular relief cut in the slide, which can only occur when the slide is fully open.) Then remove the slide, which allows removing the captive flat-wire recoil spring. Finally, lift the barrel out.
Perform re-assembly in reverse order, while taking care to ensure the slide rails fully engage the rear two metal rail tabs. I found the slide tends to tilt up while installing it such that the rails move over and not through the two rear tabs. Apply light pressure, or better yet aim with the slide, to avoid this.
The proof (or not) of the value of all the PPX features is ultimately in the shooting. I enlisted the aid of Irv Gill and Ted
Murphy, and we used the range facilities of the Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club in Oaks, Pa. Our initial shots at 15 yards were encouraging: The gun shot to point-of-aim with no malfunctions. We all shot it well using Winchester Personal Protection 147-grain JHP, CorBon Performance Match147-grain FPMC and Remington UMC 115-grain FMJ, beginning with deliberate, five-shot groups at 15 yards.
Murphy shot one-handed, standing, and delivered an excellent group of 2″! My seated and supported two-handed effort was only good enough for a 2.5″ group. Gill opted for some faster, two-handed shooting and place all his shots within the 6″ center ring of a Warren IDPA training target.
I also fired the PPX over a chronograph with three types of ammo at 55 degree F, 300′ above sea level. The results:
- CorBon Performance Match 147-grain FPMC: 891 fps
- Remington UMC 115‑grain FMJ: 1,038 fps
- Winchester Personal Protection 147‑grain JHP: 972 fps
After, my associates and I agreed the pistol lacked any annoying sharp edges, and the grip is quite comfortable in hand. Also, we thought the PPX’ faux double-action trigger pull was much better than the actions on some costlier pistols from other manufacturers.
The PPX is simple to operate and has a good-feeling, natural grip design. The backstrap’s outward curve is just right for my hand. Gill and Murphy also commented that the PPX had a good, first-impression feel.
The PPX delivers just what many handgun buyers, including lawmen, military and the non-sworn citizen, want in a defensive handgun. That is, a gun that’s reliable, easy to operate, lightweight yet durable and chambered in either 9mm or .40 SW, and one that holds lots of rounds. The PPX certainly fits the bill.
With the PPX new to the American scene, I know of no history from others who have this pistol to help determine if my sample is a one-off or common. I suspect the latter, however, based on Walther’s reputation of making quality arms.
I do know the PPX is capable of great accuracy, only limited by a shooter’s skill and quality of ammunition, as noted above with Murphy’s excellent shooting. And last but not least, the PPX offers an MSRP ranging from $449–$499—a good price for a good self-defense handgun!
Walt Rauch received a BS degree from Carnegie Tech and completed service as a Special Agent in U.S. Army Intelligence. Rauch was a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent and a Philadelphia, Pa., Warrant Unit Investigator. He now operates a consulting company for defense-weapon and tactical training. Rauch & Company services include expert witness testimony on firearms use and tactics.
Rauch is also a writer and lecturer in the firearms field. He’s published in national and international publications including InterMedia’s Handguns, several Harris Publications specialty magazines, Police and Security News and Cibles (France). He is the author of a book on self-defense, Real-World Survival! What Has Worked For Me, as well as Practically Speaking, a comprehensive guide to IDPA defensive pistol shooting.
|.40 SW||14+1||4″||7.3″||1.3″||5.6″||27.2 oz.|
MSRP: $499 (black finish)
MSRP: $549 (stainless finish)
9 thoughts on “Walther PPX”
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Awesome pistol. Got it the first day it was offered at the local gun shop. Went straight to the range and fell in love with it. Compliments my PPS and PPQ nicely.
“Faux double action?” Oxymoron, much, The PPX believe it or not, is smoother and more consistent than the more expensive PPQ. The SSQ is a pre-cocked hammer – not a striker-fired pistol. Considering that you can buy a PPX for half the price of a PPQ, it would be the greatest thing since sliced break – EXCEPT, that they made the PPQ the most dangerous handgun to carry around by excluding any external firing safeties to accidental discharges.
With a very wide trigger guard and a trigger pull around 5.5lb or less, it’s too easy to trip the trigger. If it had a blade safety, a la Glock, it would be the best deal in handguns, bar none.
It’s too big to carry as a CCW or a duty weapon. For home defense, it would be ideal if the likelihood of firing your weapon under stress was not so high.
The PPQ M2 has a decocker and a safety trigger. The earlier M1 had a decocker like the P99. Now, take a look at the Diamondback DB9FS. It cocks the trigger with a ahort pull-back on the slide – just like the PPQ’s. It also has a blade safety trigger like the PPQ M2, but no decocker.
Why in God’s green earth did Walther leave out a safety trigger that;s found on all Glocks and virtually every other polymer pistol costing about the same (or less) as the PPX? Did they really save any money or implement manufacturing shortcuts in doing this?
I cannot tel you how ticked off at Walther for making an absolutely great shooter that’s extremely comfortable to hold, easy to shoot, more accurate than the shoot with very little recoil, but leaving out a blade trigger, a split trigger or a manual safety.
Sure, it’s got an internal firing safetly and hammer block if you drop the gun. Big deal. you have to drop the mag and retract the slide fully to unchamber the round, and then dry-fire it to out it in its “faux uncocked” mode.
But, as soon as you put a magazine in it, it is loaded for as long as a round remains in the chamber. Even a magazine safety that keeps the gun from firing with a round in the chamber – despite how many dislije this feature – would have been safety improvement,
I’d give this gun a “10” if it had anything to prevent an accidental discharge. As for its philosophy of use, it’s a fantastic range gun. Its a poor man’s PPQ. And I hope that Walther Werks comes to its senses and comes out with an PPX M2 that has, at least, a trigger safety.
If there’s a gunsmith who could install some kind of safety on the PPX, I’d buy a bunch of them,
The only other caveat is to buy a Walther from a commany that offers a lifetime warranty – like Davidsons or Buds Gun Shop because Walther has a problem with the same German hubris that implies its products never fail.
They do. My first PPX arrived defective, and getting a lemon NIB is was a tab surprising, to say the least.
If you;re careful in keeping four finger far away from the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, you’ll be more than satisfied.
I brought this pistol for two reasons. One, it’s a Walther and second the price. When u received the pistol and tried the trigger it was as smooth as butter. Contrary to the opinion of the other writer,I believe the pistol is just as safe without the paddle. Although most striker fired pistols do have the Glock paddle I have never cared for it because I have seen it fail. Use the safety between you ears and you will be just fine.
Shot my new PPX today and loved it! For a duty sized pistol it handled well and that Trigger is the best DAO (pre-cocked) or what ever you want to call it trigger I have ever fired. I rates right there with my Kahr MK9. The PPX sights are large 3 dots and very easy to acquire. The gun at 11 yards, shot point of aim with the Federal 147 gram ammo I was shooting. I put 250 rounds through the PPX, 100 rounds Federal 147 gram and 150 rounds of hand loads also with 147 gram bullets from Barnes. groups were 1.75 inches to 2.00 inches center to center. I experience no malfunctions what so ever. I highly recommend this gun!
Being new to the firearms world, I prepared myself with a lot of reading and research. Several things emerged as a good rubric for knowing which Gun to buy as my first. I wanted high capacity, good craftsmanship, accuracy, dependability, and above all, I wanted these things at the best price. Glock was becoming my first choice but price kept me from making the leap. Then I saw a a number of reviews by reputable reviewers (folks with huge following and recognized reputations) and I heard the term Walther PPX. My first look at the gun online left me unimpressed but I couldn’t get away from the strong recommendations and the affordable price. I received my 9mm shortly after. I have had it for months now and I have practiced frequently. I am a newbie but I can get this gun to repeatedly hit within a 4 inch area from 24 yards. After what must be thousands of rounds (yes I practiced a lot) I have had zero problems. I was so excited that I bought the PPX .40 cal only to find it to have the same high quality. Very nice trigger! Very easy to shoot. Very simple to maintain and very accurate all at a price under $400 for each. Hard to beat!!!!
Great gun, bought 2……………….. no safety issues just as a revolver,don’t touch trigger till ready to shoot, that simple, if you don’t follow that rule a revolver will be unsafe also..And I don’t hear people shooting themselves every day, with them,use your finger as your # 1 safety…….that’s all….
I have the PPX 9mm and love it. The thing I wonder about is when target shooting I am getting what I call is a double kick. I squeeze the trigger light or hard and the gun fires two quick shots. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong.
Of all the guns I own only this gun can give a double shot when shooting. I love everything about the gun except that double shot. I think when I squeeze the trigger slowly and it fires the jolt causes my finger to retire another round. When I rapid fire, no problem, only when I am shooting slowly trying to achieve a silver dollar circle at 30 feet it happens. Thanks for the feed back. Bill.
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