Last December, I put together a USPSA Carry Optics Division firearm and shot my first match with it. I picked up the Walther PPQ Q5 Match (MSRP: $849, WaltherArms.com) and headed over to a lane at the indoor range, sighting in the Trijicon RMR, the first red dot I was going to test. I took the three supplied magazines, added the Taylor Freelance extended base pads and started shooting.
I never set out to do a “from the box to the range” type of review but that is what this has turned out to be. It also wasn’t my intention to do an abuse type test either. No, I haven’t dropped this from a 10-story building or buried it in the mud and then dragged it down the road tied to the bumper of my truck. I haven’t done any of those things, I have just shot it—a lot.
I have been running this gun for a year straight from the box, and the only thing that I have done is swap out red dots on it. I have shot this gun in over 30 USPSA and Steel Challenge matches. Every trip I have taken to the range, it has been put to use. I am not 100 percent sure on the round count—I don’t pay that much attention to that kind of stuff. I have shot about 16,000 rounds of 9mm this year, so I am guessing that this gun has seen over 12,000 of that. You would think I would be better by now. (I have two PPQ Q5s. The second one that I picked up in April became my back-up gun.)
My main match gun, number one (easy to remember, since one is the last digit in the serial number) has been wearing a C-More RTS 2 6 MOA since April. Other than changing batteries I haven’t touched it, and the zero has stayed the same. This setup has been packed up and has flown all over the country and I am sure the TSA has been gentle with it—probably about as gentle as I have been. I don’t do a lot of maintenance on guns, and this one I have done none—no oil, no cleaning, no wiping it down, just shooting, straight from the box to the range. The TSA hasn’t cleaned it either, but they sure do like checking it out.
These Walthers are stock; I haven’t changed anything. Along with that, I have not done any maintenance to the guns. I have not touched the mags since setting them up either. These three mags are the only three that I have used in every match and I have not taken them apart or cleaned them either. They have been all over the place in sand, dirt, concrete floors and mud. (I finally had to rotate one out on the last stage of the Gator Classic because it was full of mud.)
Almost every round through the guns has been the Federal Syntech Action Pistol 150-grain ammunition or a 135-grain SNS Coated bullet loaded with VihtaVuori N320. They have run with no issues, especially number one. It is dirty, but the Federal ammo is very clean and has not gummed up the works. I have been very happy with the performance of this gun. I have been very happy with the features of the PPQ line, so much so that I also bought a 4-inch model as my everyday carry gun. That gun has also seen several thousand rounds through it with only a change to the Trijicon HD night sights.
Some history If you are not familiar with Walther, you soon will be. The company has been around since 1886, making hunting and target rifles at first, then began making pistols in 1908. Starting with Model 1 through 5, and 7 to 9, were in .25 ACP and .32 ACP. Model 6 was their first 9mm pistol and was a blowback design. Not many were made and it is highly sought after on the collector’s market. We are more familiar with the PP and PPK models introduced in 1929 and 1931. The other model that we are familiar with was the P38. I only mention these designs because they were of the first mass-produced and successful double action/single action semi-automatic pistols and were steel-framed guns. After World War II, Walther was reduced to only a few patents and no factory until Fritz Walther set up in Ulm, West Germany, in 1953. The company started to concentrate on the sports market in 1966 when Walther’s son Karl-Heinz took over.
The company was acquired by Umarex in 1993. In 1994, they began design work on the new firearm that would become the P99, going into production in 1997. The P99 was a polymer-frame pistol that was first introduced with a DA/SA trigger and decocker. This was the Anti-Stress variant that is the closest to a traditional DA/SA trigger. The pistol was highly praised for its ergonomics, and then in 2000 was introduced with the QA (Quick Action) trigger system. It was discontinued in 2011. During that time Walther outgrew its existing facilities in Ulm and ultimately relocated to a brand-new facility that was ready for use in 2006. In 2012 the PW Group, the parent company of Umarex and Walther, formed Walther Arms, located in Fort Smith, AR, to take over the distribution of Walther arms in the United States.
Walther has a very long and rich history in producing some of the finest target firearms in the world and is widely known as a top name in international target shooting. Those same engineers went to work on a replacement for the P99 model, the PPQ, or Police Pistol Quick Defense. Introduced in 2011, the PPQ’s main innovation was the Quick Defense trigger. The internal preset striker “Quick Defense” trigger of the PPQ is a departure from previous Walther pistols. When the trigger is pulled, the trigger bar engages a disconnect lever, which props up a sear hook, which releases the fully pre-loaded striker assembly, firing the pistol. Pulling the trigger does not partially load the striker spring as do many other striker-fired pistol designs. The PPQ trigger pull is entirely due to the trigger and disconnector springs. The PPQ has a trigger travel of approximately 0.4 inch, with a relatively short trigger reset of 0.1 inch.
Ergonomics and fully ambidextrous controls were a key focus in the design; however, the first generation (M1) had magazine release levers built into the bottom of the trigger guard. These were omitted in the M2 series with the thumb release push button. This is reversible if you wish to move it. The PPQ M2 comes in several variants, but the PPQ Q5 Match is what we see at most USPSA matches. Article from the January/February 2019 issue of USPSA’sFrontSightmagazine.