These days, the single stack 9mm handgun is everywhere. It’s a gun produced by every major company and is a favorite for concealed carry. In 2007, however, the PPS was unique and one of the forebears of the future of concealed carry pistols. The Walther PPS was a small but potent gun that showed a ton of innovation, especially for the time it came to be.
The Walther PPS has a striker fired design similar to the classic Glock model pistols. It lacks any form of an external safety, though it has a trigger safety and internal firing pin safety. The gun was initially marketed for the plainclothes police forces in Europe, but found a home in the holster of the American concealed carrier. Thus, concealed carry users will benefit the most from this Walther PPS Review.
In fact, this is currently my main carry gun, and it often accompanies me throughout my day. Over the years I’ve tried numerous guns, including small 380s and revolvers of all types, but eventually, I settled on the Walther PPS. It fits my individual needs for a concealed carry gun, and I’m willing to bet it’d fit a variety of shooters’ needs as well.
Walther PPS Review: Overview
The Police Pistol Slim is a concealed carry gun, at least here in the states. The gun looks odd, for sure—all squares and rectangles. Walther purposefully designed it very slim with hard angles, making it a little unattractive to most.
It’s far from fancy, but still more distinguished from the traditional Glock or Springfield designs. The PPS is very comfortable to carry, and the weapon can change different sizes to fit different shooters. We’ll cover a little more in the features section of our Walther PPS review.
Let’s take a peek at the specs behind the Walther PPS M1.
Barrel Length – 3.2 Inches
Overall Length – 6.32 inches
Height – 4.4, 4.9, 5.3 inches
Width – 1 inch
Weight – 19.4 ounces
The PPS is a small, compact, lightweight little gun. It’s small enough for easily concealment and large enough to handle in a fight. Weighing at only 19.4 ounces helps reduce recoil and keep the gun from being a palm-slapping mess.
The height is curious to most, I’m sure. Why exactly is it varied? Well, that’s why our Walther PPS review has to go into features.
The big thing about the Walther PPS M1 is its different sized magazines. The grip of the weapon changes with different capacity magazines. The different capacities allow you to extend the grip for greater control, at the cost of less concealment. In the 9mm variant you can choose from a 6 round flush-fitting magazine, a 7 round with an extended pinky grip, and an 8-rounder that offers an even longer pinky extension.
I prefer the 8 round magazine, as it gives me a much bigger grip. I loathe a grip that makes my pinky dangle, and I wear 2XL sized gloves if that gives you an idea of how big my hands are. The 8 round magazine fits my hand perfectly and is my typical go-to for concealed carry and range time. The added ammo is always a plus, but so is the bigger grip. If I ever need a shorter gun, I can toss in a shorter magazine.
The Walther PPS was also the first single stack 9mm to feature interchangeable backstraps. These backstraps allow the shooter to modify the size of their gun’s grip to fit their hand better. My personal preference is for the medium grip panel. Another unique feature of the backstraps is that, with the backstrap removed, the gun will not fire. This acts as a safety measure, should you need to deactivate the gun for any reason.
The sights are solid three dot combat sights. The PPS is a compact gun with full-sized sights. My model has the standard three dot sights, but tritium night sights and XS big dot sights are also available. I love the sights, and they make shooting rapid and accurate. The stock sights are made of metal! This is a major plus in my opinion. Companies like Glock include plastic sights which require you to buy them aftermarket. For duty or defensive guns, metal sights are the way to go.
The rear of the gun has a red protrusion that shows when the weapon is cocked, and this protrusion can be felt with the thumb if you can’t see it in the dark. There is a small viewing window in the chamber that allows you to see if there is a round chamber. The gun features a very small rail that will accommodate small lights, lasers, and other accessories. This small detail proves surprisingly handy, especially when lights are getting as small as the TLR8 from Streamlight.
Fit and Finish
The Walther PPS sports a Tenifer finish on both the slide and barrel. Tenifer is a tough material that is designed to resist both corrosion and scratches. Again, this gun has been carried for years in IWB, pocket, and OWB methods, and the finish is still going strong. The weapon has an even, professional-looking matte finish. I hate when gun companies place a billboard with their logo across the slide of the gun, and I’m glad Walther places a small and simple logo.
The Walther PPS has a polymer frame, of course, and the grip uses Walther’s much-beloved grip texture pattern. It’s a combination of serrations running up and down with a small set of textured dots. This provides texture to the gun and gives you an attractive overall design.
One feature you’ll either love or hate with this gun is the magazine release. Americans are used to their standard push-button magazine releases, but European companies like HK and Walther place an interesting paddle on the trigger guard. The shooter’s thumb or trigger finger activates this truly ambidextrous system. I personally have grown to like this system, but it’s really up to the end-user to decide.
The trigger pull is short, and so is the reach. The gun’s thin handle makes it easy for shooters with small hands to use and shoot. The handle itself is a rectangle. It lacks a proper palm swell and gives you the feeling of holding a board, for better or worse. It feels odd and will be uncomfortable for some. It’s simply not how a grip is supposed to be.
The slide lock is nice and is designed for righties. It’s textured and rather large for a small handgun and is very easy to reach and accentuate. The texturing is impressive, and it’s easy to use even when wearing gloves. The slide has rear slide serrations only, but that’s expected from a small gun.
Overall, the gun is comfortable for both shooting and concealed carry. The thin grip, frame, and slide make it a great gun for IWB carry. It’s very easy to carry day in and day out, especially for smaller framed shooters. With the right holster, you’ll forget you are holding the gun in the first place.
On the Range
The Walther PPS is a very comfortable shooting gun when equipped with a medium or large magazine and grip. The recoil is minimal, and the gun never hurts the hand when fired. The full grip makes it easy to control the gun and allows quick and accurate shots to be placed on the target. The Walther PPS features a nice crisp trigger pull with a bit of pre-travel and a good break. The reset is nice and short, and you can both hear and feel the trigger reset.
The Walther’s odd rectangular grip is odd but doesn’t make the gun uncomfortable. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect how the gun shoots; the PPS is genuinely a fun gun to shoot, and most concealed carry guns are not exceptionally fun when it comes to plinking and training.
The PPS isn’t just a fun gun, but an accurate one. Out to 50 yards, I have no issues hitting steel poppers, and of course man-sized targets. Again, this is when the gun is equipped with a full-sized grip. Without a good pinky extension, the gun may be a bit more challenging to shoot.
Reloading for people like me can be a bit challenging. The pinky grip extension is great for grip, but not so great for reloads. My big hands will put pressure on the magazine as I press the magazine release. This keeps the magazine from falling freely from the gun, which requires me to move my hand or pull the magazine out with my spare hand. There exists a trade-off with this style of grip and the different magazines available for it.
Nonetheless, as our Walther PPS review demonstrates overall, the gun excels as an excellent concealed carry weapon. The PPS is comfortable and easy to shoot, but at the same time is small, light and easy to carry. To me, it is the perfect compromise between control and size.
Walther PPS Review: Rating Each Category
Looks: 5 out of 5
In the easiest to ignore category, the Walther PPS scores a solid 5. Why? It’s just a striker fired, polymer frame, single-stack 9mm right? Well, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feature the same classic styling of any Walther pistol. It has subtle and spartan lines as well as a nice Walther scroll and small PPS engraving.
Ergonomics: 4 out of 5
The placement of the controls works perfect for me. The magazine release is easy to reach, and the slide lock is also very easy to activate. The trigger safety is comfortable, and the trigger itself is light and short for a stock trigger. The addition of different grip and magazine sizes allows you to control the grip length which is nice. The downside, and the reason why it loses a point, is the fact it feels like holding a board in your hand.
Accuracy: 3 out of 5
If this gun were just compared to other compact weapons, it would have a 4 or 5 rating. It is an accurate gun for what it is. However, the short sight radius will never allow you to get precision shooting done at longer ranges. Compared to something like the Dan Wesson Bruin with its 6-inch barrel and extended sight radius, the Walther PPS just doesn’t stand up.
Reliability: 4 out of 5
The gun is remarkably reliable with all the types of ammo I’ve put through it. This includes cheap steel and aluminum cased ammo. I can’t recall a single malfunction over the years. So why does it have a four instead of a 5? To get a 5 out of 5 I’d want to see this gun go through hell and still keep ticking, and this means being exposed to a high round count, dust, dirt, and debris.
Customization: 2 out of 5
Walthers aren’t the most popular guns on the market. You can find holsters and sights easy enough, but beyond that, finding something like aftermarket triggers, threaded barrels, or aftermarket anything simply won’t happen. It gets a 2 for the many sights and holsters out there.
Price: 5 out of 5
Because the M2 model is now out, the older PPS Classic can be found for a steal right now. I’ve seen them priced as low as $269. That puts them close to lower-tier brands like Kel-Tec and Taurus. When they were first introduced, it wasn’t uncommon to see them for 5 to 6 hundred dollars.
Walther PPS Review: Parting Shots
The PPS is a great concealed carry firearm. Even though the design is over a decade old by now, it’s still valid and well thought out. The PPS is a great gun. It’s accurate, easy shooting, and well thought out in terms of ergonomics.
If you find one for a great price, snatch it up in a heartbeat.