Walther pulled a demo model from their show displays and got it shipped out so I could use it in time for the World Speed Shooting Championship. Show display guns get handled a lot, and it's usually a requirement for companies to remove the firing pins from their displays. This was the case with the model sent, but an email with a reply that had a return label and a very quick turnaround from Walther's service department in their Fort Smith, AR, offices had the pistol in my hands the day before I headed to WSSC in Talladega.
My plan was to shoot Rimfire Pistol and Rifle Optics first, then shoot Open and PCC. I would switch to Carry Optics with the PPQ Q5 in the morning and then shoot a Q5 setup with Irons and the PPQ 22 in the afternoon. I was able to head up to the practice bay between the morning and afternoon flights on my "PPQ" day. I shot about 25 rounds through the Q5 with iron sight setup and 25 in the rimfire gun. I started with centerfire in that afternoon flight, but
we are not going to talk about it. Did you know that "Hey, great reload" at a Steel Challenge Match is actually not a compliment, and you will never win a big trophy just drawing into the stop plate?
My Production Division match was not good, but my rimfire runs were not too shabby for a guy who put maybe 25 rounds through the gun before his first stage.
The PPQ 22 was great to shoot, it has the same great ergonomics of the centerfire pistol and shares the same controls. This is not a small-scale "knock off" of the centerfire models. These are built by Walther, not Umarex. They are available with a 4-inch and 5-inch barrel, or the 4.6-inch that comes suppressor-ready. The polymer frame is the same externally, with a few exceptions that are unique to a blowback .22 LR. The takedown is different, and you will find two tabs forward of the trigger guard that you pull down. Then, pulling the slide to the rear, you lift it over the rails. This is not a cheap zinc alloy slide either, but hard-anodized aluminum. In the back of the slide stop notch there is a steel pin insert that will help prevent the notch from rounding off and wearing out.
With the slide off, you will notice that this model has an internal hammer instead of the striker-fire system in the centerfire models. If you didn’t fieldstrip the gun, chances are you would never know these have a hammer. This feature does not take away the great triggers that the PPQ line is known for. The trigger is a little better, with less reset movement than my main CO Q5. This model has the 5-inch slide with a red fiber optic front sight, and the rear sight is an adjustable Novak-style sight. The red fiber is a little large, in my opinion, but that is an easy change.
If you have never felt the trigger on the PPQ line of guns, then you are missing out. They have about a 4-pound pull and the reset is less than .1 inch, with .4-inch of travel. In my opinion, out of the box, the trigger is ready to go to the range. All of my PPQs have stock triggers in them. The controls on the 22 are the same as the centerfire and are ambidextrous. The non-slip cross-directional grip surface provides better control and comfort. The slide and barrel are a matte Cerakote finish to resist corrosion, and has held up well despite the handling and knocking around it has gotten from being a show display test gun.
The PPQ 22 has two drop safeties and a firing pin block. The 5-inch model weighs 22.4 ounces, and is 8.1 inches in overall length, 5.3 inches in height and 1.3 inches in width. These come with a 12-round magazine, which I discovered when I did my 25-round pre-match "practice." The magazines have a nice button to aid in loading them as well. Walther also offers a 10-round capacity magazine. I had to look up the rules to see if there was a magazine capacity in rimfire and there is not. If you're like me, those extra two rounds could come in handy to avoid the "nice reload" comments from your "friends." Since the grip size is the same as the centerfire guns, you do have a nice size magwell for reloading your skinny 22 magazine, if necessary.
I carried my bag with the 22 in it and had the Q5 holstered for my Production Division run on the afternoon flight. I started with the 9mm on my first run and followed it up with the 22. My Production runs were horrible, but for the eight stages in Rimfire Pistol Irons, I ended up with a personal best of 107.66 total time. I am currently classified as A in RFPI, with five of the stages from WSSC counting, and the other three from the Indiana State SC Championship with a total time of 101.14, 84.50 percent. At the Indiana Match, I took home the State Title in RFPI with a second place overall finish shooting the Walther.
I let Luigi Li shoot the gun at the Kentucky State SC match where he ran a 110.16 total time. I have run mostly the Federal 36-grain ammunition with zero issues; the Winchester 40-grain M-22 rounds did have a few cycling issues not extracting the spent case. I would recommend staying in the 1280 fps range.
While not something that you would want for steel matches, the PPQ 22 barrel is set up to take the thread adaptor to run a suppressor for aftermatch fun. With an MSRP of $469, and available online for under $400, you should give this a serious look as an option for Rimfire Pistol Irons. Since this model comes with a Picatinny rail, I'm going to get a UM3 mount from UM Tactical, mount a light, and look at what compensators I can add to the thread adaptor to make this a RimFire Open Pistol for 2019.
Article from the November/December 2018 issue of USPSA’s FrontSight magazine.