Test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol

Extra-long pistol variants in more or less sport-oriented configurations represent a market segment that basically no manufacture of polymer-frame handguns can ignore nowadays.
Although unlikely to be used as service or defensive pistols, either for concealed or open carry, these nodels are however very popular IDPA or IPSC shooting competitions or similar events, and are very popular in the United States.

Now, almost 20 years after the first introduction of the P99 − the gun that launched its production straight into the 21st Century the Carl Walther GmbH company introduces a five-inch barrel version of the PPQ M2.
With this release, the well-established Ulm-based manufacturer is entering a market segment that most major manufacturers of polymer-frame pistols have been active in for a number of years now. And exactly what do you get for just over €1000?


At the core of the Walther PPQ M2 pistol

Essentially, Walther's latest PPQ model is based on the P99’s proven technology. The frame is manufactured out of fibreglass-reinforced polymer, with an ergonomically-shaped grip. On top of that are a robust slide, machined out of a single piece of steel, and a cold-hammer forged barrel with a conventional rifling.

There's nothing technically complex about its lock design: both the P99 and PPQ are based on an improved Browning-style locking system, with a bushing-free tilting barrel that's secured to the frame directly around the ejection port.

The main difference lies in the trigger system. Currentlmy, Walther offers the P99 as a SA/DA handgun, with a slide-mounted decocking lever, but DAO versions are also available, and so is a constant-action variant dubbed the P99Q, used by German Law Enforcement agencies. On the other hand, the PPQ trigger resembles a pre-loaded striker system in terms of trigger travel and weight: strictly technology-wise, the PPQ trigger is more akin to a single-action than to anything else.

Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
The new 5-inch PPQ M2 inherited the Walther P99’s interchangeable backstrap for adjusting the grip to the individual user’s hand

The designers have nonetheless greatly considered safety features.

Along with an automatic firing pin safety, the gun features a trigger safety incorporated in the the trigger blade (Glock anyone?).

The grip of the new PPQ M2 5-inch barrel pistol features the same ergonomic, gripping and not overly abrasive surface texture used on the standard PPQ and on the P99Q pistol issued to German Law Enforcement agencies.

The gun also comes equipped with interchangeable backstraps to adjust the grip to the individual shooter's hand size – and rightfully so, since Walther was the world's first manufacturer to introduce interchangeable backstraps in a polymer frame pistol, back in 1996, with the original P99.


Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
The M2 designation refers to the presence of an "American-style", reversible magazine release button in lieu of Walther's standard ambidextrous flat lever
Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
Another quintessential feature of the Walther PPQ M2 5-inch barrel semi-automatic pistol: six compensation holes are milled on top of the slide
Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
Whereas the standard Walther PPQ and PPQ M2 sport fixed, metal rear sights, the 5"-barrel variant comes with polymer rear sights adjustable for windage

Features of the Walther PPQ M2

Exception made for its longer barrel and slide, the 5-inch PPQ M2 differs only marginally from the standard PPQ – the six compensation cuts on top of the slide serving more as an aesthetic feature, and to improve barrel ventilation, than to reduce the slide weight. The slide release lever, as usual with Walther pistols, is ambidextrous, located on both sides of the frame, at easy thumb reach.

The "M2" suffix for this 5-inch PPQ variant – which also applies for a standard-lenght PPQ available on the commercial market – designates the presence of a standard, grip-mounted magazine release button, which can be refersible for left-handed shooters, in lieu of the factory-ambidextrous flat release lever located on the rear portion of the trigger guard that is quintessential of almost all German-made service and duty pistols ever since the launch of the Heckler & Koch USP in 1993.
It may be a matter of personal taste, but the standard magazine release button was implemented as American shooters seem to prefer that design over the original magazine release lever of the P99.

Being the M2 magazine release button pretty large, a bulge has been implemented on the grip, right behind it, on both sides, to secure it against accidental releases during handling.

Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
Walther PPQ M2 5-inch model: hereby portrayed, a close-up of the MIL-STD-1913 "Picatinny" integrated rail and of the front slide serrations

Unlike the standard PPQ, the 5" PPQ M2 comes with Walther's own, polymer-made adjustable rear sight.

While the standard PPQ iron sights come with glow-in-the-dark dots and can only be adjusted by tapping, the new polymer rear sights can be adjusted with the turn of a screw to adapt to the peculiar features of the used ammo type, to the shooter's favourite shooting stance, or to the shooting distance.

The sights can however only be adjusted for windage. Adjusting the sights for elevation requires either a file or a totally new front sight, of a different height. 

We are thus not talking about "real" Match sights, here.

The three alignment dots are considerably wider and flatter than in most sights, and are considerably wider and flatter than in most competition sights; in a sports shooting competition, after all, the three dot system may be a hindrance more than a useful aid. As a combat sight, on the other hand, they prove to be too small to be really helpful in quick target alignment under inadequate lighting conditions.

The magazines are mostly similar to the ones used on the P99 and PPQ pistols, but are not compatible, due to the different magazine release system. Walther clearly marked them as "M Series", though, to prevent confusion between shooters.

All the rest remains mostly the same: holding fifteen rounds of 9mm ammunition and 12 rounds of .40 Smith & Wesson ammunition, the size-Vs.-capacity ratio of the PPQ is not exactly outstanding.

On the other hand, the magazines remain fairly easy to reload manually, from the first all the way down to the last round, and the steel body − treated with a corrosion-resistant coating − feature rear see-through holes for a quick count of the remaining rounds. The Walther PPQ M2 5-inch pistol is provided with a magazine loading tool, which works flawlessly but may be all-out useless for shooters with average strength in their thumbs.


Workmanship and Finish of the WALTHER PPQ M2

In terms of quality, the test weapon was fully consistent with Walther's usually high standards. Both inside and outside, the new five-inch barrel pistol has been crafted meticulously and shows no annoying tool marks or signs.
The flat black Tenifer surface finish meets all current corrosion protection standards for service pistols.
So, what didn’t we like so much? Well, even a moderate shaking of the pistol was enough to hear the slide rattle slightly on its frame guides. That's acty not unusual at all for weapons in the P99/PPQ series, however, and generally seems to have no adverse effect on shooting accuracy at all: Walther pistols are actually considered to be extremely accurate guns. The barrel seats securely in the slide when it's closed, and that's (mostly) all that really matters.

Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol
The Walther PPQ M2 5-inch pistol field-strips mostly like a Glock − that is, by pulling the trigger and pressing down the disassembly latch located over the trigger guard

Basically nothing changes in the trigger system. From a pure sports shooting perspective, the Walther PPQ M2 5" comes with one of the best factory trigger pulls that a shooter may expect from a polymer-frame striker-fired handgun.

The intermediate trigger travel and roughly 2.5 kilogram trigger weight are very similar to triggers commonly found in other partially-preloaded striker systems. 

That also applies to the pleasantly dry pressure point of the Walther PPQ M2 5" − a signature feature of the PPQ design that's unfortunately not commonly found as a factory feature in other striker-fired polymer-frame pistols. Likewise, the extremely short trigger reset (about 3mm) of the PPQ design is an extremely appreciated feature between shooters, but not often found in current polymer-frame pistol designs.

Some other manufacturers' models can be retrofitted with similarly functioning triggers using aftermarket components, but that won't work with anywhere near all tge handguns out there, and even when the right custom parts are available, the tuning can end up costing a pretty penny: just changing one or two springs simply wouldn't do the trick.


Downrange with the Walther PPQ M2 5"

We didn't expect any unpleasant surprise when whe hit the range with the Walther PPQ M2 5" pistol, and indeed it didn't disappoint.

During the shooting test, spent cases hit the shooters' heads twice; otherwise, casings consistently flew well away from the gun. The pistol also performed well when intentionally fired casually and one-handed, or when using ammunition of particularly poor quality to test the IPSC Minor power factor.

The Walther PPQ M2 5" semi-automatic pistol handles very well, with a good combination of low recoil and firm grip. Nothing negative to report concerning accuracy. The best five-round group all out measured 45mm overall, and was obtained with Sellier & Bellot 115g JHPs. Said group includes one flyer; excluding it, the overall group would measure barely 22 millimetres. 

The shooting performance of the new model is very similar to that of a standard 4" barrel PPQ. In purely subjective terms, the 5" barrel variant seems to be slightly more front-heavy, which provides a better balance and a lower muzzle climb.

The longer sighting line may also provide an advantage, if it wasn't for the overall inferior quality of the factory-issued polymer sights if compared to the standard steel sights found on the 4" PPQ variant. Clearly a longer barrel is never a bad idea if your intentions are to coax a few extra metres-per-second out of your ammo.


Test firing the WALTHER PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm pistol

Round
SK (mm)
v0 (m/s)
E0 (J)
1. 93 grs Fiocchi EMB
103 (43)
389
456
2. 115 grs Sellier & Bellot JHP
45 (22)
359
478
3. 115 grs PMC FMJ
71 (38)
352
462
4. 115 grs Prvi Partizan FMJ
82 (43)
325
394
5. 115 grs Magtech FMJ
72 (54)
362
488
6. 123 grs Fiocchi FMJ-TC
66
340
461
7. 124 grs Sellier & Bellot FMJ
75 (47)
327
430
8. 124 grs GECO Hexagon JHP
49 (30)
336
454
9. 124 grs Magtech FMJ
67 (36)
352
498
10. 139 grs GECO FMJ
78
293
400

  • Comments/Abbreviations:
  • SK (mm) = pattern spread data in millimetres; the gun is fired from a fixed position to a target 25 metres away. The number refers to a 5-rounds pattern; the second number between parentheses shows the result after any flyer is excluded
  • v0 (m/s) = muzzle velocity, measured using a Mehl BMC 18 chronograph
  • E0(J) = bullet energy value in Joules, obtained starting from the v0 and projectile velocity values. The website www.helgepeters.de provides a web-based tool to calculate this value

Bullet type achronyms: FMJ= full metal jacket, JHP = jacketed hollow point, JSP = jacketed soft point, TC = truncated cone.

GECO's brand new ammunition, the Hexagon, has already been tested before.

Scoring second overall in terms of accuracy with this gun, the GECO Hexagon performed considerably better than the conventional GECO 9 mm FMJ loads.

More information here.


Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol: a wrap-up

The new Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistol performed outstandingly. The manufacturer may want to rethink the sights design, though, or maybe replace them outright with the standard iron sights of the 4" barrel PPQ model, as they're nothing particularly exciting as per materials, adjustability and sighting.

Shooters looking for a lightweight striker-fired, polymer frame pistol that's well manufactured, reliable, and sports a good accuracy, a smooth trigger and overall fine performance can purchase this pistol in most European Countries at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of 1049,00€.

More information on the Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm caliber semi-automatic pistol are available at:

CARL WALTHER GmbH

 

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Walther PPQ M2 5"
DATA TABLE

Pistol test: Walther PPQ M2 5" 9x19mm semi-automatic pistolMichael Schippers

€1049,00

ManufacturerCarl Walther GmbH
Im Lehrer Feld 1
89081 Ulm − Germany
www.carl-walther.de
ModelPPQ M2 5"
TypeSemi-automatic sporting pistol
Caliber9x19mm
ActionSemi-automatic, modified Browning system with tilting barrel
Trigger system"Quick Defense" constant light double action with pre-cocked striker
SafetiesNo external safety; trigger safety and automatic firing pin safety
Capacity15 rounds in double-stack stainless steel magazine
Barrel127mm/5" long, standard rifling
SightsFixed polymer front sight; polymer rear sight adjustable for windage
Overall length20,6cm /8.11inches
Weight (empty)737g /1.62lbs, empty
Materials/FinishesTenifer black-finished extended slide with six ventilation cuts; black polymer frame
NotesComes equipped with two 15 rounds magazines and a magazine loading tool
Price€1049,00 (MSRP)