Walther Q4 SF

Better than 007 deserves?

What does the name of the Walther Q4 SF tell us about the gun? Walther is the short name for the German firm building high-quality handguns treasured by military, law enforcement and discerning civilians for more than 100 years. The “4” in the name indicates it has a 4″ barrel. “SF” stands for steel frame. “Q” indicates this is the gun Q keeps for himself after giving 007 a wimpy gun to perform his mission. What? You don’t believe me? It’s certainly a gun I’d keep for myself, whether I have a mission or not!

The high-quality all-steel Walther Q4 SF ships with two magazines and a magazine loader.

All In The Title

Guns are named what they are for marketing reasons as much as anything else, so I suspect Walther perceived a demand for a 4″ version of the Q5 SF, their highly successful competition model. Just looking at one of the Q5 competition guns evokes a sense of awe and richness. It’s not a custom-made gun, but it sure looks it. Five inches is just a little too much for most of us to carry daily but put it together with a 4″ barrel and with a good belt and holster combo and you can carry it all day. To me, everything about the Walther Q4 SF looks and feels like a top-end pistol.

The Q4 arrived in a plastic case with the requisite lock, a couple of 15-round magazines and a magazine loader. Everything on the gun is black except for the three large white-dot night sights. If there’s any plastic on the gun, I can’t find it. Even the checkered wraparound grip panels are made of steel. The front strap adds to the grip function with checkering of its own, a little more aggressive than on the side panels and back strap.

The gun is 7.4″ long and 5.4″ high, approximately the same as a GLOCK 19 but what I notice right away is how balanced the Walther feels. The weight of the gun forces you to lock in a good grip while on target and it absorbs recoil so well, getting back on target happens almost without conscious effort.

The weight is 39.7 oz., which is almost 2.5 lbs. Some might think there’s no way you could carry a gun so heavy but consider a SIG P226, a Colt 1911 or a Beretta M9 are all in the same weight range and people carry them all the time. If you are serious about carrying a gun and like a particular gun, you’ll find a way to carry it.

The size of the Q4 SF is similar to a GLOCK 19. David found it easy to
grip and a delight to shoot. The weight of the gun helps to mitigate
recoil even with +P loads.

The top of the slide has rounded sides, anti-glare stripes on the full
length and is topped with highly visible white dot sights.

A Trip Around The Gun

The profile of the Q4 SF is similar to the very popular PPQ M2 but with a few differences. The slide configuration is almost identical with effective but easy-on-the-hand cocking serrations front and rear. The top of the slide has an anti-glare row of grooves the full length. The front and sides of the slide are rounded to assist in holstering and comfortable carry.

The front sight is pinned, while the rear sight is in a notch to allow drift-adjustable correction.

Moving down to the steel frame, the slide lock is a long, recessed lever which is easy to thumb but doesn’t stick out enough to get in the way. It is also ambidextrous. The takedown lever is just ahead of the slide lock on the left side of the frame.

Field-stripping the Q4 gives us a chance to explore the internal workings of the gun. The internal trigger block safety is on the right side of the slide just behind where the firing pin exits. On the frame you see the extension on the trigger bar. It deactivates the safety as the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear. The rail guides, the trigger bar and the barrel lock mechanism are all beefy to match the ruggedness of the frame. This is a gun to easily last several lifetimes. Factor this into the cost of the gun — you’re buying something your great grandchildren may someday enjoy.

Cleaning is standard. Swab out the barrel, remove residue from the gun’s inner workings, add a touch of oil to all the contact points and put it back together. For now, let’s pop the barrel back in place, snap in the recoil spring assembly (the smallest end goes to the front), push the slide on the frame and lock it back. Rotate the takedown lever counterclockwise until it’s aligned with the frame and we’re done.

A takedown lever on the frame rotates 90 degrees to facilitate easy disassembly for cleaning.

More Features

Continuing the external exam, we find a 3-slot Picatinny rail system up front. The trigger guard is large enough for gloves and the rear of the trigger guard has a bit of an undercut to facilitate a high grip. The oversized magazine release button is reversible. Since there is no external safety, the reversible mag release button and the ambidextrous slide lock make the Q4 a perfect pistol for the southpaw.

The Q4 has Walther’s Quick Defense trigger system that became popular on the PPQ M2. The Quick Defense Trigger works like a 2-stage trigger. The first stage allows for a consistent movement of the trigger up to the “wall” with the second stage being a crisp break followed by a quick reset. The reset is only 0.10″ which on some guns might result in an unintended follow-up shot but it doesn’t on the Q4. The break comes with a 5.6-lb. trigger pull — for me, the perfect amount in a carry gun.

Moving to the rear of the frame an extended beavertail with a smooth, rounded design allows a high grip without any pinching or other irritation when shooting. It helps mitigate recoil as well. Walther’s description says it’s optimized for duty retention holsters, providing clearance for retention hoods often used by law enforcement. I’ll have to take their word for it as I don’t use any of those types of retention holsters. I’m carrying the gun in a D.M. Bullard Leather Company IWB holster — it works very well for me at the three o’clock position.

After seeing some attractive blue grips on a Q5, I wondered about the possibility of trading out the grips on the Q4 SF. I found an interesting option with LokGrips (LokGrips.com). They make blue and black G10 grips in two different textures for the Q5 competition gun that also fit the Q4 SF.

David found the weight of the gun a non-issue when carrying
in this IWB holster by D.M. Bullard Leather Company.

Time On TheRange

I’ve enjoyed shooting the Q4 SF at both indoor and outdoor ranges. I tend to visit with people in the lanes around me and for people who are open to trying something new, I always offer them the chance to shoot any gun I might be evaluating. Almost everyone I’ve shared the Q4 with shot it well. It’s designed to take advantage of a shooter’s natural point of aim. With more than 600 rounds of combined factory ammo and reloads through the gun, I’ve not experienced any glitches. It’s as accurate as the shooter with any of the ammo but it tends toward tighter groups with 147-grain SIG or Speer JHPs. I took advantage of the Q4 to burn up some Hornady Critical Duty ammo festering on my shelf because I didn’t like the recoil. The Q4 digested it like popcorn. I heard the noise but didn’t feel the sting.

With an MSRP of $1,399 this is not a gun for everyone. However, discerning shooters will appreciate the bragging rights of owning a gun with exceptional quality, knowing it will last a lifetime and more.


Subscribe To GUNS Magazine

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine April 2021 Issue Now!