Ever shoot a gun that you really wanted to like, but there was that one little thing that ruined it for you? My wife was ready to buy and carry a Walther PPS pistol, except for one of those little things. That single design choice—a feature for some, a drawback for others—steered her to another pistol instead. However, Walther may have just won her back with a new version of the gun: the PPS M2.
A little more than a year ago, my wife was shopping for a new concealed-carry pistol that was light and thin for the year-round warm weather here in Florida. She had settled on a single-stack 9mm pistol, preferably with a striker-fired system, but had not yet made a decision on which to select.
We carried half a dozen pistols to the range and punched many holes in paper targets that day. She really loved the Walther PPS—it felt great in the hand, had little muzzle rise relative to the other pistols, seemed very accurate and was utterly reliable.
The only downside for her was the magazine release. It was a paddle-style unit that you had to push down. More importantly, it was nearly impossible for her to hit the release with the thumb of the shooting hand. The only way she could reliably actuate it was to use the trigger finger. While that may work for some people, years of training made her far more comfortable with a push-button magazine release. So, the PPS was regrettably rejected and another gun was selected.
Fast-forward to January of 2016, when Walther announced its PPS M2. This gun delivered exactly what she wanted, plus a little more.
Most of the time, pushing someone’s buttons is done to provoke anger or frustration in another. Walther’s button pushing actually reduced my frustration with the original PPS design. The PPS M2 was engineered with a number of design changes, including replacing the lever-type magazine release with a push-button release.
The PPS M2 places a push-button release in the common location on the left side of the pistol. The release is textured to provide a non-slip surface when activating it, and magazines drop free. While this was not the only update to the gun’s design, it was certainly one that got a lot of people’s attention.
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On the original PPS, the magazine release lever was located along the bottom edge of the triggerguard. It was ambidextrous, allowing the lever to be depressed on either side of the pistol. The problem experienced by some people was that the lever was hard to actuate with the thumb of the shooting hand.
As an alternative, many people would activate the release with either the trigger or middle finger of the shooting hand. As most people learn to release the magazine with their thumb, pressing the lever with another finger felt clumsy and would require retraining for it to become second nature. Some shooters who otherwise liked the gun were not willing to invest the time in training when there were other options available on the market.
A new magazine release was not the only design change on the new PPS M2. For this model, Walther also reshaped the grip and changed the surface texturing to bring the pistol more in line with its other handguns. While the original PPS grip was certainly acceptable, I do like the new shape and texturing better. It seems to fit my hand very well and offers a very good trigger reach.
Also, the PPS’ accessory rail was removed from the new pistol. This rail allowed for the addition of a light or laser, which may be very important to you. Instead of a rail, Walther reduced the size of this area, making it sleeker and without hard edges.
Other aspects of the PPS M2 remain similar to the pioneering pistol. Both are available in either 9mm or .40 S&W, have the same overall length and height and weigh in around 21 ounces. Walther also offers a law enforcement edition of the PPS M2 in 9mm that includes phosphoric sights and three magazines.
PPS M2 Shooting Results
I was very impressed by the way the original PPS shot, and I had a strong belief that Walther would deliver another great shooter in the M2. I’m very happy to say the company exceeded my expectations, and each time I take it to the range, I like it more and more.
Every modern Walther pistol that I’ve owned or reviewed has been very reliable. The PPS M2 was no different. I’ve had this gun for several months now, and I have run a lot of ammunition through it. At this point, I’ve run a baker’s dozen different loads through the gun without a single hiccup. I’ve loaded hollow points and FMJs of all varieties, and the gun fired them all with aplomb.
Along with demonstrating great reliability, the gun showed very good accuracy with all kinds of ammunition. With high-pressure, self-defense loads, I was able to keep five-shot groups within 2 inches at 7 yards. Rapid firing increased the spread but kept everything well within the pie plate area of the upper torso.
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In a self-defense gun, there is a point of diminishing returns for accuracy. It’s my opinion that most guns will have more potential accuracy than the shooter can deliver. Also, if you are training for self-defense and you are stacking holes on top of each other, you should speed up your shooting. The idea is to find a balance between how accurate you can be with how fast you can shoot. Taking 30 seconds to fire a pair of shots that are perfectly accurate isn’t necessarily the best tactic in a deadly-force situation. Likewise, firing seven rounds in three seconds, but not hitting the attacker, isn’t useful either.
The PPS M2 has more than enough potential accuracy for self-defense. In addition to the bulletproof reliability of this gun, its next most important feature is the ability to be run very fast in a controlled manner. Regardless of what stopping-power theory you may subscribe to, I think most of us can agree that quickly getting multiple hits into vital areas is the most certain way to stop a violent attacker.
It was easy to maintain control over the gun when shooting. In addition to the positive grip texturing on the frame’s surface, the triggerguard is significantly undercut where it meets the grip. This allowed me to get a high grip on the gun and better control muzzle flip during recoil.
With the flush-fitting magazine, I was able to control the gun even with my pinky curling under the gun. When I used the extended magazine, my control was absolute. While it does add a little extra height to the gun, the larger-capacity magazine is my first choice for concealed carry and self-defense use, as it allowed me the best control to get those rapid hits into the torso region of a target.
The change in the type of magazine release was also a huge benefit to me. The lever-style release used on the prior version of the PPS simply did not work well for me. However, the push-button release used on the M2 worked very well. Running magazine-exchange drills, I found the release to be located in a spot that made it very natural for me to use. It was large enough to access quickly and positively, but not so pronounced that it was accidentally activated at any point.
Walther rates the trigger pull on this gun at about 6 pounds. For a striker-fired gun, it was a fairly smooth trigger with a clean break. The reset was fairly quick with a very obvious click to it. The revolver fan in me doesn’t want to like the mechanical nature of the system, but the shooter in me really likes it. This gun is a tool for surviving a deadly encounter, and the trigger system works very well for such a utilitarian purpose.
White three-dot sights come standard on the gun. I found that they worked as well as any that are currently sold on handguns today. The rear notch seemed wider than other options on the market, and this helped speed up targeting downrange.
Finding the right concealed-carry gun is a very personal experience. To be comfortable with a pistol that you might use to defend your life, you need to find one that fits well in your hand, is reliable and fits your budget. Only you can make that decision.
For me, the Walther PPS M2 is an excellent concealed-carry choice. It is reliable, accurate and easy to run. It is small enough to comfortably tote all day long, yet large enough for me to get a full grip with the extended magazine. Even with the flush-fitting magazine, I am able to control and shoot the gun very well.
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Walther continues to offer the PPS for those shooters who prefer the original design. If you need an accessory rail, that is the best choice between the two. Likewise, if you prefer the lever-style magazine release, you will want the older gun. However, for any other situation, I think the PPS M2 is a superior gun. Considering I think the original is very good, you should understand that to be high praise.
Without reservation, I highly recommend you checking out this gun if you are in the market for a compact pistol for personal protection. I suspect you will like what you find.
For more information, visit waltherarms.com or call 479-242-8500.
This article was originally published in ‘Concealed Carry Handguns’ 2017. To subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.