Black Ribbon – A special version of the 9mm Walther Q5 Match pistol under test

Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon in 9mm Luger right side view
The Black Ribbon from Walther's Q5 SF family comes with eye-catching serrations on the rear and muzzle area of the slide.

Already in 2019 introduced the latest Walther additions to the Q5 pistol family. The new semi-autos bear the abbreviation SF in their model name – it stands for Steel Frame. The series, which is derived from polymer pistols, was thus given a brand new, solid and correspondingly heavy steel frame in the new competition versions. In the test, the grip did not only fit well in the hand, it also noticeably reduces the recoil of the individual pistols – mass is an effective recoil brake. Walther then designed several pistols on the basis of the new steel frame and launched them on the market last year. These include the four-inch Q4 Steel Frame PS pistols and the Q4 Steel Frame OR, the latter already featuring a red-dot mounting interface and match sights. The sporty five-inch versions are named Q5 Match Steel Frame, and are available in 3 special versions: the basic version of the same name, the Champion and the top of the trio, the Expert. 1. The Match comes factory with the Quick Defense Trigger, its excellent characteristics, LPA sports sights and interchangeable adapter plates for reflex sights. 2. The Champion comes with an adjustable trigger, a blue magwell and three magazines with magazine extensions. 3. The top model Expert relies on the trigger mechanism of the same name, which is exclusively installed here. With the Expert, the shooter can choose between a straight trigger blade and a classic curved design. Both come without the trigger safety, so the shooter can use the complete trigger blade with his finger. The trigger is fully adjustable and performed very well on the Triggerscan measuring device. In addition to the four-inch Steel Frame models and the three competition versions, Walther also has four special versions in its range: the Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame Black Diamond, Black Tie, Patriot and the Black Ribbon – the latter is our test gun.

Walther Black Ribbon: the test gun

The muzzle of the Q5 SF Black Ribbon
The new steel frame of the Q5 SF Black Ribbon is based on a muzzle-length dust cover, which is designed to form a tactical rail. The steel front sight comes with a red fiber optical insert.

These noble-looking special versions all come with slides and frames milled from solid steel billet. The surface finishes of the pistols also make you sit up and take notice. For example, Walther has a high-gloss finish applied to the Patriot with an engraving by Giovanelli of Italy. The gun picks up US motifs: in addition to the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty and the Stars and Stripes can also be found on the elaborately designed surface. The satin-look Black Tie features various surface treatments such as Tenifer and a subsequent Stinox coating. The Black Diamond, which is completely black, is also the child of various work steps. Its high-quality mirror-like appearance is the result of fine polishing processes and a coating called "Diamond-like Carbon". The Black Ribbon is completely black too – only slightly duller and less reflective. Obviously, it is based on the proven coating of the Q5 Match SF series.

The Black Ribbon within the Q5 Match SF family

Rear sight of the Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon.
The Black Ribbon from Walther comes with an adjustable LPA match rear sight.

The Black Ribbon is a special model of the current Q5 Match SF series in the Walther product range. considers the Walther pistol slightly above the Expert competition top model. This probably also explains the slightly higher price of 2289 euros, which places the Ribbon around 40 euros above the Expert. In terms of equipment, the Black Ribbon has almost everything that the Expert has to offer. So it also comes with the 5” long slide with its cuts at the front. These can also be easily grasped as non-slip cocking surfaces. For those who prefers rear cocking serrations, these are also found in the rear slide area.

Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon and supplied cover plates
In addition to the cover plate with the LPA rear sight, Walther also factory supplies three adapter plates with the Black Ribbon to accept the more common red-dot sights.

Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon: sights and optics

On the slide, we have a front sight with a red fiber-optic insert. On the interchangeable cover plates at the slide rear sits a full and adjustable LPA match rear sight that does not shy away from competition shooting. It features a rear sight blade with rounded edges and a 3 mm wide rectangular notch to prevent light reflections. The rear sight is superior to the slightly smaller Expert sights, especially when it comes to static disciplines at longer ranges. Because of this fully-fledged sights, shooters may consider the included red-dots adapters as an option. Many manufacturers of OR (Optics Ready) pistols either don't use a rear sight or use very simple sights, which are usually not very adjustable – not so the Black Ribbon. Here shooters can replace the red-dot sight on the base plate with the fully-fledged LPA rear sight at any time. If, however, they want to fit a red-dot sight, the gun comes factory with 3 mounting plates for Trijicon, Leupold, Docter, Vortex and Meopta red dot sights – you always have the choice.

The technology inside the Walther Black Ribbon

The Black Ribbon Walther Black Ribbon stripped 
The Walther Black Ribbon stripped (from above): slide, barrel, recoil spring on steel rod, steel grip. On the right is the magazine.

Inside the gun, we find a Browning-Petter locking system with an open cam at the bottom. The 127 mm long polygonal barrel has a 250 mm right-hand twist length. Similar to many modern polymer pistols, the barrel at the muzzle does not require an additional bushing. At the rear of the slide is the striker fired action, which in its usual design is responsible for the cartridge ignition in all Q4 and Q5 self-loading pistols. The steel frame, newly introduced at Walther a few months ago, is also used on the Black Ribbon. In contrast to the Q5 polymer frame, it increases the total weight of the pistol by around 14 oz/400 grams – this is a lot, but deliberate. The higher dead weight and other tuning work make the heavy semi-automatic pistol correspondingly mild to fire, which is a great help especially in dynamic disciplines, where it is sometimes important to keep shot-to-shot times as short as possible. The ergonomically designed component with beavertail also comes with a long dust cover, which is milled into a tactical rail. The take down lever is on the left, the slide stop is on both sides. Walther equips the magazine release button here with a screwed-on round attachment that features a ribbed surface and is easy to release. The wrap-around black aluminum grips fixed by Torx screws are extremely slim, which brings the shooter's hand even closer to the gun. The grip scales are high quality and come with a 20 lpi checkering. The Q5 series is known for its very good pre-cocked trigger.

The trigger of the 9mm Black Ribbon Walther Q5 Match pistol 
Walther fits the Black Ribbon with the new Dynamic Performance Trigger.

As a special model, the Black Ribbon gets the new Dynamic Performance Trigger. The aluminum trigger blade offers a skeletonized trigger safety and flat finger rest including a curved tip. In contrast to the fully-adjustable Expert Trigger, the new Dynamic Performance Trigger lacks customization possibilities, but the assembly is already precisely factory tuned. The characteristic reveals a short, clear take-up and a rather crisp break. Dynamic shooting enthusiasts can also be happy: the reset of the trigger is crisp and short. The measured pull weight is 4.85 lb/2203 g. This means that the Black Ribbon undercuts the Expert by around 5.2 oz/150 g. The Expert trigger came with the factory settings and was not readjusted by the testers. In the end, the Ribbon trigger also proved to be a very good trigger in the field of precocked striker fired pistols.

Walther Black Ribbon specs, price and equipment at a glance

Model:Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon
2289 euro
Caliber:9 mm Luger (9x19 mm)
Magazine Capacity:17 + 1 rounds
Dimensions (L x W x H):8.7 x 1.4 x 6 in (222 x 37 x 154 mm)
Barrel Length:5”/127 mm
Sight Radius:7.12”/181 mm
Trigger Pull Weight:2200 g
Weight:4.85 lb/1285 g (with empty magazine)
Equipment:Striker fired, steel frame pistol, Dynamic Performance Trigger with trigger safety, Red-Dot ready slide (three mounting plates included), front sight with fiber-optic insert and adjustable rear target sight, tactical accessory rail, enlarged magazine button, slide stop on both sides, aluminum magwell, beavertail, three magazines with magazine extension included, tools, case.

On the shooting range with the 9mm Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon

For the accuracy test and bullet speed measurements, the Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon was first fired from a sandbag rest. It immediately produced good groupings with a diameter of 1.9-2.3 in (50-60 mm). The best grouping circle with a diameter of 1.81”/46 mm was achieved with the Hexagon Sport load from GECO. The Ribbon once again confirmed the noticeably mild shooting behavior due to its heavy steel frame compared to the Q5 polymer competition guns: the fired cartridge types were not able to make the muzzle of the gun rise too much. The sights described above also fit perfectly for static shooting at 25 m. The trigger also showed its effective tuning on the shooting range: take-up and release were impressive, especially with faster shot strings. For static shooting, however, trigger pull weight is somewhat too high. Competition pistols in this field have a trigger pull around 3.3 lb/1500 g, and this difference in weight is noticeable. In dynamic shooting, however, you can't beat Walther's new Dynamic Performance Trigger: here it shines.

The Black Ribbon from Walther in a case with accessories.
The Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon special model comes with a wide range of accessories.

Walther 9mm Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon: wrap-up

With the brand new Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon, German manufacturer Carl Walther is adding a new competition special version of the Q5 series with steel frame to its range. The gun comes with an "out of the box" very good SA trigger for striker-fired pistol with precocked trigger. Only its slightly too high trigger pull weight is noticeable when shooting statically, but the action and precision of the trigger are exemplary. The gun shows a solid quality of workmanship across the board. Accuracy is comparable to the Q5 match models. The Ribbon comes in a large plastic case with three magazines, three adapter plates for reflex sights, a magazine loading tool, a few tools and a sticker.

For further information about the Walther Q5 Match SF Black Ribbon, please visit the Carl Walther Firearms website.

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