»CHAMBERED FOR THE POTENT 9MM OR .40 S&W, Walther’s new PPS (short for “Police Pistol Slim”) M2 might have “police” in its name, but this little pocket-sized semi-auto is a good choice for today’s armed private citizens. Made in Germany, the Walther PPS M2 is a handsome little model with a tough black Tenifer finish on the stainless steel slide, which also sports cocking serrations fore and aft. It has a 3.18-inch barrel, 6.1-pound trigger pull, measures 6.3 inches overall and is just 1 inch wide at its widest point. The pistol weighs 21.1 ounces empty.
MODEL: PPS M2
ACTION: SEMI-AUTO STRIKER-FIRED
CAPACITY: 6-, 7- OR 8-ROUND MAGAZINES
BARREL LENGTH: 3.18 INCHES
SLIDE: STAINLESS STEEL
FINISH: BLACK TENIFER
OVERALL LENGTH: 6.3 INCHES
WEIGHT: 21.1 OUNCES EMPTY
MSRP: $469 – $499
My test model was a 9mm that shipped in a padded hard-sided case. It is loaded with the kinds of features modern handgunners expect, including low-profile 3-dot sights, loaded chamber view port at the top rear of the barrel hood, large ejection port, simple takedown that is similar to various other modern semi-autos and a grip profile that allows use by individuals with various hand sizes. The trigger travel is listed as 0.2 inches, and that’s none too shabby.
Three different sizes of single-stack magazines are available for the PPS M2 (my test model came with two; the Law Enforcement model comes with all three). The small magazine floorplate version holds six rounds, the medium floorplate model takes seven and the large floorplate model holds eight rounds of 9mm. The .40-caliber model magazine capacities are reduced by one round, respectively.
I prefer the seven-round magazine that came with the test gun because that larger floorplate makes the grip surface larger to accommodate my whole hand. Magazines are blue steel with polymer followers and floorplates. Note that this pistol will fire with the magazine removed.
Accessory lights and lasers on a compact concealment pistol make no sense to me at all.
The surface of the polymer grip has finger grooves molded along the front and a textured surface all around that certainly helps with a firm hold — even in damp environments. The trigger guard is large enough to allow access to the trigger even with a gloved hand. And, finally, one of the best features of the PPS M2 is something that isn’t there: a forward accessory rail.
I stand apart from the crowd on this feature. Accessory lights and lasers on a compact concealment pistol make no sense to me at all. With a handgun of this size, they might actually get in the way during an emergency draw. Walther’s front-frame surface is delightfully smooth and slightly tapered, so it can be pulled out of a holster or pocket without any concern of a snag.
My immediate impression is that the Walther PPS M2 is a pistol that will tuck well into a concealment holster but will also be at home slid into a pocket holster and dropped into the pocket of a parka, down vest or jacket. For my money, if this were my defensive gun, I’d have at least two different carry rigs: a leather IWB model that might be of the “tuckable” variety and an ankle rig.
Now, what about ammunition? Thanks to years of research and development, the past decade has seen remarkable advances in ammunition offerings in 9mm that are definitely capable of stopping a fight. The introduction of new ammunition from Browning, SIG Sauer, Ruger and Armscor augments and expands the choice of selections already available from stalwarts like Federal, Winchester, Remington, Hornady, Black Hills, CorBon and Speer.
Technicians at all of these companies have really pressed the performance envelope, developing various projectiles of different weights and compositions to make the best defensive ammunition available. In generations past, some people of my acquaintance decided they couldn’t really brag about the 9mm, but today, I’m in a position to say I can’t brag enough about the advances made with this cartridge, and the best part about the PPS M2 is that it handles them all.
Shooting the PPS M2 is actually surprising after you get used to the trigger. It has a bit of take-up, which seems inherent to the striker-fired platform, and a very fast reset. When you press through the trigger stroke, a cocking indicator pin emerges from the rear of the slide showing that you’re ready to go.
Recoil, regardless of the ammunition I was using, was easily manageable. This certainly contributes to the ability to reacquire a target and sight picture quickly, and new shooters won’t develop a flinch.
From the outset, my test pistol shot a bit low and to the left, and after I got the hang of this, I was able to produce some pretty decent groups that only on a couple of occasions exceeded a couple of inches (at 12 yards, shooting off a rest). While group size seems to matter to some people, I pay more attention to point of impact in relation to where your sights are settled.
The rear sight can be drifted for windage, and the front sight can be replaced to adjust for elevation. All things considered, the PPS M2 is a very decent package for a suggested retail price that is likely to surprise some people.
Retiring to the range with a selection of common self- and home-defense rounds, I found that even from a 3.18-inch barrel, today’s 9mm ammunition sizzles. Anything in the 115- to 124-grain range leaves the muzzle above 1,000 feet per second, and there was one cartridge — the new ARX from Ruger — that just warped.
Let’s start right up front with that sizzler. The brand new Ruger ARX 9mm cartridge features a radical 80-grain projectile that is described as a “copper-polymer” combination with the darndest design I ever saw. It’s got three large flutes that help keep the weight down, but as the spinning bullet heads downrange, those flutes do not interfere with the bullet’s ballistic integrity. It turned out that this little number was stunningly accurate, shooting the tightest five-shot group of all the ammo I tried. Four out of five rounds joined for one long jagged hole measuring just more than 1.5 inches end-to-end.
It’s safe to say the company that gave us the Walther P38, the Model PP and the world-famous PPK has another winner to address the preferences of today’s shooters.
With my chronograph set about 24 inches in front of the muzzle, that little bullet stormed across the screens at an average of 1,356 feet per second. Out of such a short barrel, that got my attention.
I had two loads from SIG Sauer — a 124-grain jacketed hollow-point that ran an average of 1,122 feet per second and a 115-grain jacketed hollow-point that streaked along at 1,147. I also had a small supply of Armscor 124-grain FMJs that moved out at an average of 1,019 feet per second, which was the slowest of all the speeds I recorded. The final entry for this exercise was the Black Hills jacketed hollow-points, which scooted along at an average of 1,135 feet per second.
Every one of these loads was reasonably accurate out of the Walther, shooting to within about 2.75 inches, but that was at close range from a rest. At 25 yards, they still managed to strike in the black, but, of course, the spread opened when shot with a two-hand hold and no rest. That’s to be expected.
It’s safe to say the company that gave us the Walther P38, the Model PP and the world-famous PPK has another winner to address the preferences of today’s shooters. It would make a good choice for anyone desiring a light, reliable and very concealable sidearm for personal protection. With a good holster, it’s ready for prime time.