Monday, May 04, 2015

Guns: Walther PPS review - Thin before it was cool

The release of the GLOCK 43 generated a lot of hubbub last month, but those looking for a Tenifer-finished, single-stack 9mm have had a very good option for about a decade - the Walther PPS:

First Impressions - Would a GLOCK by any other name shoot as sweet?

Yes, it's made by German-speaking people in Germany rather than German-speaking people in Austria, but the Walther PPS is still similar to the G43 in many respects. It's striker-fired, with a blade-type trigger safety, and it's significantly thinner than a double-stack pistol like a G26:

A better comparison might be made with another single-stack 9mm, Bersa's BP9CC. With the PPS sporting the extended 8-round magazine to match the BP9CC's default capacity, the two guns are fairly comparable:

Features - "Judge me by my size, do you?"

Overall, the Walther PPS is bigger and heavier than the M&P Shield or the G43, but it does have some unique features that make it worth a look if you're considering this type of gun.

1) There's a bright red cocking indicator that extends from the back of the gun as the trigger is pulled. This gives the user a visual and tactile indication of the position of the striker, and it's quite useful for safe reholstering.

2) The PPS has an accessory rail, unlike most single-stack semis in this size category (another option if you need a light rail is the Springfield XD-S).

3) There are 6, 7, and 8 round magazines available to adapt to different concealment requirements.

4) The gun uses interchangeable backstraps that might provide a better fit with some hands.

5) The paddle magazine release is fully ambidextrous.

Range Report

Shooting the PPS is, well, GLOCK-like, and therefore kinda boring. The trigger is neither distractingly heavy nor pleasingly light, the sights are bog-standard three-dots, and I shot the gun okay, but not well:

I found the PPS to be very reliable, though not perfectly so. About every thousand rounds, I experienced a failure of some sort, which is par for the course in guns of this size:

At 10 yards, I was getting decent groups with various types of ammo (pictured here - Georgia Arms Canned Heat and Speer Gold Dots)

At 15 yards, the groups opened up, but not terribly so (like all my pistol targets, these 15-round groups were shot offhand):

Conclusion - An Overlooked Gem

I like the Walther PPS. It's quirky, but not in any way that would make it impractical for self-defense. It has the drawbacks of being slightly larger and more expensive than its single-stack brethren, but other than that, this is a well-made, solid gun.