This “Pocket 9” Reaches A New
Plateau In Sleek Shootability.
A while back, when it was first marketed, I remember seeing an ad for the Walther PPX describing it as “a tough workhorse at a value price.” A really good description, but don’t take it to mean they have cut any corners to keep the cost at a moderate level. Come on, it’s a Walther! As usual, the quality and the features are excellent.
The PPX is also offered in “l0mm Lite” chambering, and regular readers will know that I am not a .40 S&W fan. Thus, the one I tried out, shown here, is a 9x19mm version. This is a full-sized pistol, and in 9mm the magazine holds a generous 16 rounds. So, with one in the chamber and a spare mag, you have 33 shots at your disposal.
At first impression, the sharply-angled backstrap of the grip frame may appear odd, but when you take it in hand it is perfectly comfortable. The deep incurve at upper rear is an advantage, and the front has ample room for all three fingers, even for large hands. The stippled surface texture gives a superb hold.
Some law-enforcement trainers still mistakenly teach that a finger of the support hand should go on the front of the triggerguard, so that part of the polymer frame is vertical, and has cross-grooving. The nicely-shaped trigger has vertical grooves, but they are shallow and not annoying. At the front of the frame (and no, that’s not a “dust cover”), there’s a rail for light or laser.
The right side of the Walther PPX is clean with nary a protrusion.
An accessory rail is positioned ahead of the triggerguard,
which is squared and serrated.
Two targets: One (left) was fired quickly with the Hornady load, and
gave 3 inches at 7 yards. A more careful slow-fired target (right) was
shot with CorBon at 15 yards and gave a group of 1.5 inches.
The square-picture sights have three white dots, and the rear one is laterally adjustable by drifting. The locking system is a classic falling-barrel type, with the enlarged chamber area engaging the ejection port. A small opening at the top rear edge of the barrel lets you see that a round is chambered.
The slide stays open after the last shot, and the low-profile latch is perfectly positioned at the top of the grip on the left side. There is no manual safety. An internal mechanism solidly blocks any movement of the firing pin, and this is released only when the trigger is in the full rearward position. The push-button magazine release, in the usual location, has minimal protrusion.
The PPX does not have that darling of the legal weasels, a “magazine-disconnect.” When the magazine is out, you can still fire a chambered round. If you have read the good instruction manual—as you should—you will know this, and always check the chamber when unloading. By the way, the magazine release is reversible for left-handers.
The grip may be visually odd (above), but it fits perfectly in the hand.
When the hammer is cocked (below), it’s visible vertically at the rear.
The trigger system is marvelous. Some will term it a “DA-only,” but actually, it’s not. When the slide is cycled to load the chamber, the hammer becomes visible, vertical, at the rear of the slide. Internally, the sear has caught the hammer strut and the compressed spring, not the hammer. In the first 1/2-inch of trigger pull you have only the trigger spring, and you can see the hammer tip back.
Then, there is a crisp single-action release. On my Lyman Electronic scale, the average figure was 4 pounds, 3.7 ounces. Of course, pulled quickly, straight through, you don’t notice the SA engagement. Thus, the effect will be a DA trigger pull. Either way, it’s perfect for any serious shooting endeavor.
At the Big Tree range, I tried the Walther PPX with two high-performance loads—the Hornady CD-FTX, and the DPX Plus-P from CorBon. All of the shooting was standing, with a 2-hand hold. Distances were 7 yards and around 15 yards. The “workhorse” proved to be a target-grade pistol.
At 7 yards, firing quickly with the Hornady loads, the PPX put four rounds into the center “1-ring” of the Champion VisiShot target, and one just above, in the “3-ring.” Group measurement: 3 inches. Then, at 15 yards, staging the trigger to SA mode, the CorBon load grouped into 1.5 inches, all in or touching the “1-ring.” Amazing.
And, finally, you get all this, and the Walther banner on the side, for a suggested retail price of $449 to $499, depending on some options. It’s a little large for deep concealed-carry, but for home, ranch or car, the Walther PPX would be a perfect choice. For police use? Hey, wait ’til the commissioner sees the features and the price!
By J.B. Wood
Maker: Carl Walther
D-59757 Arnsberg, Germany
Importer: Walther USA
7700 Chad Colley Blvd.
Port Smith, AR 72916
Action: Locked breech semi-auto
Caliber: 9mm (tested), .40 S&W
Barrel length: 4 inches
Overall length: 7.3 inches
Height: 5.6 inches
Width: 1.3 inches
Weight: 23 ounces
Magazine capacity: 16+1 (9mm), 14+1 (.40 S&W)
Price: $449 to $499
Champion Traps & Targets
1 ATK Way,
Anoka, MN 55303
1311 Industry Road
Sturgis, SD 57785
P.O. Box 1848
Grand Island, NE 68802