If you have kept track of developments with Walther, you have seen a company move from the back bench up to first string in just a few short years.
For many years, their offerings consisted of the venerable .380 PPK/PPKs (a 1929 design which is still available) and an updated variation of their 9mm WWII era P-38, the P5. In 1996, they introduced the polymer-framed P99 and with it moved into the modern era of pistol manufacturing that was initiated by Glock.
In the last few years, Walther has been introducing new models of polymer-framed handguns aimed at law enforcement and the concealed carry community at a rapid-fire rate. Their most recent introduction is the PPS M2.
The Walther PPS M2 is one of the current generation of striker-fired slim-line 9mm and .40-caliber concealment handguns. Slim-line pistols have become popular these days for several reasons: First, people have realized that they really always need a concealment pistol that holds 15 rounds; gunfight statistics just don’t bear that out. Second, high-capacity pistols are more bulky and are more likely to print, at least in part, against covering clothing. Third, not everyone has hands large enough to comfortably hold and manipulate a double-stack pistol. While some situations may warrant packing double-stack guns, single-stacks should be just fine for most situations the CCW permittee or off-duty cop is likely to encounter.
The PPS M2 has much to offer. The original PPS is a downsized, single-stack P99. The M2 PPS features some refinements—and simplifications—of the PPS design. Starting from the top, the PPS M2 is equipped with windage adjustable three-dot metal sights (phosphoric sights are available on the LE edition), front and rear cocking serrations, tactile and visual cocking indicator at the rear, chamber viewport, easily accessed slide release, standard-style magazine release (the original PPS uses the P99 lever style magazine release), three magazine capacity options in both .40 and 9mm, a 6.1-pound trigger pull courtesy of the trigger safety lever, and genuine Tenifer coating of the slide and barrel. Tenifer penetrates the metal’s surface and bonds with it—absolutely preventing rust. It does not impart color. The slide and barrel are finished in matte black.
The Walther PPS M2 uses the Glock takedown system, which is excellent, even though some folks are critical of it. Both require that the trigger be pulled before the dual takedown levers will allow the slide assembly to release. This means that in order to disassemble the Walther PPS M2 safely, you must remove the magazine, then visually clear and inspect the chamber. Nothing special about this procedure—you should do it every time you fieldstrip a handgun.
I took the Walther PPS M2 to the range, testing it right out of the box without cleaning or lubrication. My PPS came with one six- and one seven-round magazine. The seven-round mag is extended to provide support for the pinky finger of the shooting hand. The six-rounder sits flush. With either magazine in place, the gun fits comfortably in the hand. Note that there is no way to adjust the backstrap like there is on the PPS.
The trigger pull of the PPS M2 has a reasonable length of travel. At 6.1 pounds, the trigger pull is easily managed by any shooter and is smooth. The slide is easy to retract for chambering a round or locking back for inspection. The slide release lever is easily reached and easy to manipulate.
I went to the range with two types of SIG Elite Performance Ammunition (www.sigammo.com) and my chronograph. I started off the testing with the 9mm FMJ load on a standard silhouette target. At 30 feet, groups of 2.5 to 3 inches were easy to attain. Recoil was not an issue and the 9mm PPS M2 was controllable even in rapid fire.
The second load I tested was the 124-grain V-Crown JHP load. The recoil level was about the same as the FMJ load, which is important in training. If you use these loads for practice and defense, there will be no surprises if you have to fire the V-Crown to protect your life. Accuracy was on par with the SIG FMJ ammo, which attests to the quality that goes into the production of SIG’s FMJ practice ammo. The Walther PPS M2 functioned flawlessly with both rounds.
At 100 yards, using the V-Crown ammo, I was only able to get three hits out of five on the silhouette. One was in the chin and two were in the forehead. However, the head was not my intended point of aim. I was holding in the center of the body. I had one called flyer to the left off the paper. The other round likely launched over the top of the paper since the PPS M2 was shooting high at this distance. Not bad for a close-quarter concealment pistol.
With a barrel length of only 3.18 inches, I expected some significant reduction in velocity when I fired the rounds across the chronograph, but I was wrong. The SIG 115-grain FMJ is advertised as having a muzzle velocity of 1185 feet per second, yielding 359 FPE. The SIG 124-grain V-Crown load is advertised as having a muzzle velocity of 1165 feet per second with the 124-grain bullet, which yields 374 FPE. This similarity explains why there was little difference in felt recoil between the two rounds.
My chronograph recorded an average velocity of 1200 feet per second for the SIG FMJ load, which yields 368 FPE. The 124-grain V-Crown registered an average velocity of 1173 feet per second and 379 FPE. Velocities for both rounds registered higher than the factory quoted numbers when fired from a short-barrel pistol like the Walter PPS M2. This is remarkable performance.