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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August 26th, 2014

New Valuation Resource for Carry Guns

As the majority of states now allow concealed carry (under “shall issue” or similar doctrines), there are more Americans armed with carry guns than ever before. And now there’s a new resource that lets CCW holders keep track of the value of their totable weapons.

Carry Gun values book publishing

A Guide Book of Carry Gun Values covers all types of carry handguns from derringers up to full-frame semi-autos and large relovers. This full-color book offers accurate pricing estimates along with handgun specifications, production history, and market information.

This resource features the Red Book Code™, a universal system of identifying and organizing firearms on the secondary market. Additionally, since wear is a huge factor in determining a firearm’s value, the book offers a firearm condition grading scale, rating guns at NIB (New in Box), Mint, Excellent, VG+ (Very Good Plus), Good, Fair, and Poor.

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December 30th, 2013

Glock Model 42 — A New Single-Stack .380 ACP Carry Pistol

Glock will sell a small, single-stack .380 ACP pistol in 2014. The new carry gun, designated the Glock 42, was supposed to be a deep, dark secret until SHOT Show 2014, but news leaked out throughout the blogosphere, and Glock has confirmed that this is the real deal. Here’s the good news: the pistol is light (13.4 oz. empty) and slim (0.94 inches wide). Under 6″ in length, it should carry discretely in a variety of holsters. Made in the USA, the Glock 42 has a 6-round mag, and a 5.5-lb trigger pull weight.

First “Un-Boxing” of Glock 42 Carry Pistol in .380 ACP:

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

Here’s the bad news: It seems Glock fans were hoping for a slim, single stock 9mm, as the .380 ACP cartridge is considered under-powered by many self-defense “gurus”. Some would-be buyers were also hoping that Glock would finally jettison the distinctive bulged-bottom backstrap that many shooters consider uncomfortable at best, and just plain wrong at worst. For many people, that fat bulge in the lower half of the grip causes the gun to point wrong. For many of us, the “hump” on the back of the grip forces an unnatural wrist angle when firing. If you don’t understand, shoot a Glock and a classic Sig back to back and you may experience ergonomic enlightenment.

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acpDoes the Glock 42
Really Represent Progress?

We find it interesting that, in the 105 years since Colt released its m1908 “Pocket Hammerless”, handgun design hasn’t necessarily advanced that far. Let us explain…

Compared to the Glock 42, the slim, .380 ACP Colt m1908 (derived from Colt’s .32 ACP m1903) has a smoother trigger, and boasts a 7-shot magazine (vs. a 6-shot mag for the Glock 42). The Colt also has a better-shaped grip, plus a smoother exterior (with fewer bumps, ridges, and snag-points). Remarkably, the 105-year-old Colt is actually thinner — it is 3/4″ wide compared to just under 1″ for the Glock 42.

On the other hand, at 13.4 ounces, the Glock is much lighter in weight than the 24 ounce Colt, and, yes, the Glock 42 is shorter than the m1908. For some, the Glock’s lighter weight is all-important. Others may prefer the Colt given its all-metal construction, lovely blued finish, and classic styling. Many gun aficionados feel that the m1903/m1908 pistols were the prettiest of John Moses Browning’s self-loading designs. What do you think? Is the Glock 42 really a better .380 ACP pistol than the classic Colt m1908?

Colt model 1908 m1908 pocket hammerless .380 acp

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February 23rd, 2009

Lou Alessi, Respected Holster-Maker, Succombs to Cancer

Lou Alessi, one of America’s leading holster-makers for four decades, passed away this weekend in New York after a struggle with cancer. Lou was a great designer, and a master craftsman. He invented many holster designs that were copied by other holster-makers. Alessi’s classic ankle holster design was “the standard against which others are measured”, and the Alessi Talon, in this Editor’s opinion, is simply the best IWB (Inside Waist-Band) design ever. The Talon IWB is thin, comfortable, durable, easy-to-deploy, and affordable. This editor once asked Lou why he maintained affordable pricing on the Talon while other holster-makers were selling copy-cat designs for twice the price. Lou replied: “I’m not in this to get rich. I want to sell at a fair price so law enforcement officers can afford good equipment.”

Lou Alessi Leather Holster

D.M. Clark, moderator of the 911 Jobs Forum, noted: “Lou was well known to all those in law enforcement, who found his gear to be beautifully made and durable beyond belief. Almost all custom holster craftsman today credit their designs and skills to the generous advice and support of Lou Alessi. [He was] truly a real gentlemen. RIP Lou.”

Jim Shepherd of the Shooting Wire adds: “[Alessi’s] reputation among his fellow holster-makers was a man who led by example…. That’s the same kind of reputation Alessi had among fellow holster makers coming up in the past two decades; if there was a question about how to do something, Alessi was always willing to share his insights. Insights many others considered their trade secrets.”

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