The Alien Gear Walther PPQ Subcompact Review
Walther makes some of the low-key best striker guns on the market, which we will go over in this Walther PPQ Subcompact review. Walther doesn't get as much attention as some of the bigger names in the business, but what they lack in cachet they make up for in quality.
This is what a compact/subcompact poly-frame striker gun can be when the maker gives a darn about the details and you will notice the difference when you handle it.
Granted, you should carry and shoot what you like and if this gun doesn't happen to be that, then don't do so. However, you're missing out if you don't even look at them. Let's get into what sets the Walther PPQ SC apart from the pack.
A Walking Tour Of The Walther PPQ Subcompact
The Walther PPQ Subcompact is...well…a subcompact variant of Walther's PPQ M2. The barrel, slide and frame are shortened to accommodate a shorter barrel and shorter magazine. However, much of the song remains the same compared to the full-size version.
The PPQ Subcompact, like the M2, is rather bare-bones in terms of controls. There's a slide release, takedown levers and a magazine release, and that's it. The slide release and takedown is ambidextrous, but the magazine release button has to be switched around if you're a lefty. The frame has a 1913 rail for using an accessory.
The takedown lever is unique in that it's a U-shaped locking tab; you have to pull it down and then do the normal takedown thing (check to make sure its unloaded, pull the trigger and pull the slide forward) which is kind of interesting.
The sights are low-profile polymer sights, wearing three white dots on the standard model. The slide gets a black Tenifer coating. Angled serrations are on the front and rear of the slide for pistol press checks, and they're grippy.
The barrel is polygonally rifled. It's also given a black Tenifer coating, and features coated a dual captive recoil spring and plastic guide rod. Instead of the standard Walther button, the loaded chamber indicator is a witness hole on the top of the slide.
The PPQ Subcompact has Walther's grip texturing around the grip, and swappable backstraps. It comes with two sizes, small and large. Like other subcompacts, it has a flush-fit magazine and an extended magazine for those preferring a fuller grip. The extended magazine includes a grip sleeve for a more seamless feel.
The trigger has a safety tab, a la Glock, in lieu of the hinged unit of Walther's parent company Smith and Wesson.
The trigger guard has an undercut, allowing for a high, tight grip. Relief areas on the upper part of the grip housing help in this aspect too. The beavertail of the frame is moderate, so most shooters should have no problem with it but some might. Your mileage of course, will vary.
Walther PPQ Subcompact Specifications
The Walther PPQ Subcompact in overall size is about the size of a Glock 26, if that helps describe it for scale. While the "Subcompact" part of the name might tempt one to compare it to the Shield, the thing is that it uses a double-stack rather than single-stack.
So, without further ado, the specs.
Barrel length is 3.5 inches, with the standard linkless falling block design. As mentioned, a dual captive recoil spring goes with a plastic guide rod.
The overall dimensions are 6.6 inches long, 4.4 inches tall and 1.3 inches wide if the pistol has the flush-fit magazine inserted. If the extended magazine is inserted, height increases to 5.3 inches. Unloaded weight is 21.2 ounces.
The standard complement is 10+1 of 9mm with the flush-fit magazine. However, the extended magazine increases ammunition capacity to 15+1 of 9mm.
Trigger pull is billed as 5.6 lbs. If you pick one up, yours might be plus or minus 1 lb, as that tends to be the case. However, our example was right in that wheelhouse.
Walther PPQ Subcompact Review
You might have read another Walther PPQ Subcompact review elsewhere singing its praises. This review will pretty much be a continuation of that theme, because the only real faults we could find are rather small in the broad strokes.
The Walther PPQ Subcompact is one of the most comfortable subcompacts you're likely to hold. Walther is known for building some of the best ergonomics in the industry among the poly striker set and this gun is no exception. The palmswell is the classic bulge into the palm under the meat of the thumb, much like the Browning Hi Power, CZ 75, older guns like the S&W Model 39 and so on.
Add the extended magazine, and it becomes arguably the perfect carry gun in terms of fit, feel and overall specs. If you asked me, the guy writing this, the extended magazine is a must. I wear size XL gloves (small guns don't fit me too well) and I prefer a good, tight grip on a gun, ergo if I bought one of these...I would carry with the full-size magazine. You may not have an issue with a three-finger grip, but those are your preferences, I have mine, and we're all free to figure out what we like on our own.
The PPQ SC has finger grooves (two with the flush mag, three with the full mag) but they're more like bumps rather than grooves, such as on a Glock, so almost anyone should find it perfectly comfortable. The texturing is enough to not worry about slippage, but isn't like handling a rasp.
Build quality is also exceptional for the price point, which is $649 MSRP. You'll probably find it for more like $500 to $550. Machining was clean, and the moderate melt on the top of the slide is a nice touch.
Walther is known for having some of the best triggers in the polymer-frame striker segment. The PPQ SC is no exception. This gun has one of the best triggers among guns of this size and configuration. Only the VP9SK rivals it in this regard.
Take up is smooth, travel is short (0.4 inches) and the break is crisp and clean. It doesn't even stack much, like most striker guns. It's smooth, light, crisp and clean. Reset is a short, tactile, audible, crisp click as the striker resets.
Are there any faults to it? There are a couple of hitches. Walther pistols enjoy less aftermarket support than other brands, so sourcing aftermarket parts might not inundate you with options. There are some, just less than there are for other guns, including options for sights.
The magazines are stamped "Made In Italy" which means they're made by either ACT or (more likely) MecGar. Unfortunately, MecGar doesn't offer magazines for any Walther pistol besides the PPK, meaning you have to buy them from Walther and at $40+ per, that's annoying.
However, those minor quibbles aside...this is one of the best subcompact striker guns on the market, full-stop. It's so much more comfortable than almost any other gun in this segment in the hand. The trigger is so much better. This is low-key one of the best carry guns out there, but it just doesn't get the love it deserves.
If you asked me, personally, if I'd recommend it or buy it, I would. If you told me I had to go out and buy a subcompact striker gun, there's a darn good chance this is the gun I'm coming home with.