March 19th, 2016

Walther PPS M2 — Small Gun, Big Performance

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Jay Christopherson is AccurateShooter.com’s systems administrator — he keeps the servers up and running. Jay is also a very talented rifle shooter who holds a carry permit. Recently, Jay acquired a Walther PPS M2, a compact, defensive carry pistol. Here Jay reviews that pistol, which is now his “go-to” handgun when he chooses to carry a firearm pursuant to his CCW permit.

The Walther PPS M2, Single-stack 9mm is a Comfortable, Reliable Everyday Carry Pistol.
Looking for a new carry pistol in a single-stack, 9mm configuration, I tested out the slim (1″-wide) Walther PPS M2, with three different magazine capacities. For someone who has carried a 5″-barreled, .45 ACP model 1911 for the last few years, the switch to a single-stack 9mm was a big change — but a welcome one in terms of weight and comfort. I like my big 1911, but the PPS M2 gives me the feeling that if it’s needed, it’ll be a safe, effective, and reliable option. I still love my 1911, but when it comes to carry, the 1911 will stay in the safe while I “pack” the smaller, lighter PPS.

Click Image for Large View of Pistol Specifications Sheet
Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Like many of AccurateShooter.com’s readers, I have a permit to carry a concealed firearm and I use the privilege regularly. I’m no great shakes with a pistol, having focused most of my efforts on long-range rifle shooting, but I do spend enough time at the pistol range to ensure that I am familiar with my weapon and comfortable shooting it out to ranges where I might encounter a situation requiring its use.

Part of being responsible is selecting a carry weapon that you can be comfortable with, both using and carrying. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve focused a lot on the former, but not as much on the latter. I’m an unabashed fan of John M. Browning’s crowning (in my opinion) achievement, the Colt .45 ACP M1911. My current 1911, with a 5” barrel, is not the easiest pistol in the world to carry comfortably. While I love shooting it, carrying it is another situation altogether. I’ve tried many different configurations, but found myself carrying it less and less.

And so, I decided that I needed to enter the world of the 9mm single stack for a carry weapon. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to go that direction, but it’s a highly subjective and personal subject (some of the arguments out there are pretty heated), so I won’t bore you with mine. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of available information for you to make an informed decision. To help with testing, Walther Arms was kind enough to provide a new Walther PPS M2, in 9mm, for evaluation.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Three Magazine Options
Along with the PPS M2, Walther provided three magazines — the 5-round standard mag plus 6-round and 7-round extended magazines. I tried all three magazines, both for carry/fit, and at the range to see if they would affect my ability to shoot the pistol. For reference my hands are roughly 9.25″ wide — according to the Internet, the average hand size for a male is 7.44″, so I guess I’ve got larger than average hands. The shortest magazine was a bit too short for me to grip comfortably — my pinky finger had zero engagement and my two-hand grip suffered for it. The middle magazine let my pinky engage the grip partially, but was still not ideal. The longest magazine fit perfectly. My guess is that if your hand is in the average range, the middle magazine will work for you. For women, I think the smallest grip will work nicely. My wife has an average hand span for females and thought that the smallest grip felt pretty natural for her.

The trigger is fair — the takeup is smooth, the trigger breaks relatively cleanly and predictably, but a rough spot on the Glock-style trigger safety lever wore against my finger, leaving it feeling a bit raw. It’s fairly minor and something that can easily be resolved. And even with my larger fingers, I still had no problem with trigger guard clearance. Disassembly is fairly easy, though the take-down lever takes some effort to work. [Editor — on the PPS M2 I tried at SHOT Show, the small slide-stop lever was hard to manipulate.]

After having carried my 1911 around quite a bit, I found the Walther PPS M2 to be much lighter and easier to carry (I use a Clinger holster). I rarely notice it, even when getting into and out of a car. With the PPS M2 it’s easy to carry without “printing”, at least with the appendix carry method I prefer.

General Function and Accuracy Testing
I took the pistol down to the range to test it out and get a feel for it. I bought a variety of 115 grain FMJ ammunition to test including PMC and Blazer brass-cased 9mm. I ran about 400 rounds through the little Walther. None of the ammo experienced any sort of issue and the pistol never failed to perform flawlessly. With 400 rounds through the PPS M2 cleanly, I am confident to carry the PPS M2 when I feel the need to carry.

I set up targets at 15 feet and 30 feet — remembering that I’m looking for a personal defense/carry pistol and that I don’t practice for competition! At both ranges, shooting all three magazines, I had no problems putting together groups that are more than accurate enough for “center mass”.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mmDuring a second testing session, I shot the pistol for accuracy with my forearms rested on sandbags. The results were impressive. Above is a seven-shot (7-shot) group at 10 yards (30 feet) with the CCI Blazer Brass ammo. At right is a group shot at 5 yards (15 feet), forearms rested, with the PMC ammo. The one shot that went up outside the group was probably me, the shooter. Remember this is a very small, light-weight pistol that does have some muzzle flip. I’ve seen other tests done with the Walther PPS M2, at longer ranges in the hands of skilled shooters and producing much cleaner groups.

Summary — Walther PPS M2 is a Keeper
Overall, I really like the 9mm single stack Walther PPS M2. It’s a very handy, manageable pistol. After testing the gun for AccurateShooter.com I decided to purchase the pistol and keep it. That’s the ultimate vote of confidence. This gun shoots comfortably, accurately and reliably, and most of all, the PPS M2 is comfortable to carry. When I choose to carry, should I ever need a firearm, I have every confidence in the Walther PPS M2.

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March 19th, 2016

6.5×47 Lapua — Accuracy to Spare for Tactical Applications

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Last summer we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 13 Comments »