Firearms

Walther PDP 4″ Full Size — The Performance Duty Pistol

Walther PDP

The Walther PDP was voted the 2021 handgun of the year by Guns and Ammo and the Industry Choice Awards, yet people still seem to be sleeping on this gem. In my opinion, it’s probably one of the most underrated pistols on the market.

When describing this pistol, the “full-size” refers to the frame and the “4-inch” refers to the barrel length and slide. I’ve owned several PDPs — full-size 4.5-inch, compact 5-inch, and full-size 4-inch, and I’ve got my eye on the 4-inch compact, perhaps the PRO SD. I’ve shot hundreds of rounds through them over many different range sessions. It’s safe to say, I’ve got some experience with the PDP under my belt.

Walther PDP Features

Walther offers several different versions of the PDP, including an F-Series with a thinner grip and shorter trigger reach that was designed for shooters with small hands. All slide lengths will fit either frame length and are available to be purchased separately.

Walther PDP slide
The slide serrations and optic cut are two great features.

The slide features Walther’s “Superterrain” slide serrations. From what I have gathered, this means large, deep grooves. They work well and offer plenty of grip with gloved or bare hands. They’re also not so aggressive that they tear up leather holsters.

The slide is cut for Walther’s optics mounting system. The PDP also features adjustable white three-dot sight. Walther’s plate system is cut deep. This provides a sturdy platform for mounting your optic of choice. Walther includes a coupon to redeem one mounting plate for the optic of your choice with the pistol, but I believe they should give you all the mounting plates in the box.

My favorite part of the PDP is the grip. The Performance Duty Texture feels amazing in the hand and the trigger guard undercut allows you to get a high grip for complete control while firing. The texture consists of small hexagonal pyramid shapes that seem to conform to the hand. The feeling is similar to stippling, but is much smoother until firm grip pressure is applied.

The texture continues up to the grip to assist the support hand. Additionally, Walther states that the grip angle has been optimized for use with red dot sights. It’s angled, so as you naturally present the firearm, the optic window is properly aligned.

Walther PDP trigger
The grip angle and trigger guard undercut allow for excellent control over the pistol.

One of the guns I used when learning to shoot was the Walther PPQ. It’s nice to see Walther kept the amazing trigger in this new, updated configuration. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s even better. The Performance Duty Trigger offers a smooth pull with a crisp, clean break at 5 pounds. Walther has also carried over the ambidextrous controls from the PPQ, a welcomed sight for this southpaw.

Walther PDP 4” FS Specs

Manufacturer: Walther
Action: Semi-auto, striker-fired
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 18+1 rounds
Barrel length: 4 inches
Width: 1.34 inches
Height: 5.7 inches
Overall length: 7.5 inches
Weight (empty): 24.6 ounces

Range Results

Range time went off without a hitch. The PDP ran right out of the box — to be expected from a modern firearm from a major manufacturer. The Walther PDP is the kind of pistol that makes you appear to be a better shot than you are. The grip texture lends itself to good control during fast follow-up shots, and the controls are easy to manipulate.

I tested the compact 5-inch and the full-size 4-inch — probably the two most different versions — side by side and was impressed with both. With iron sights, the 5-inch barrel model was a touch more accurate, but not by much. You really have to stretch out to farther distances for that to come into play. I don’t know if it’s the length or something to do with the contouring, but I preferred the full-size grip. The balance and shooting characteristics of the full-size 4-inch just feels right to me, so much so that it’s now my home defense pistol.

Two Walther PDP pistols
Both the 4-inch and 5-inch pistols shot well.

Alternatives

The 4” full size model of the Walther PDP is designed in the same vein as the Glock 19X/45, SIG Sauer M18, Beretta APX, and HK VP9. These options all feature a full-size grip paired with a barrel of about 4-inches. However, I believe the PDP offers the most features for the best price point.

The grip texture alone outshines the competition, in my opinion. As I mentioned before, if you prefer a standard full-size, compact, or long-slide variation, Walther offers those as well. Whether it’s the standard model or F-Series, there’s a configuration of this pistol that fits your needs.

PDP Grip
The PDP grip texture is one of my favorite features.

Conclusion: Walther PDP

If you’ve been considering, or perhaps never even heard of, the Walther PDP, I encourage you to give one a shot (actually, a lot of shots). It’s a feature-packed pistol that’s well worth its modest price tag and is sure to serve you well. I waited for one of these for a while, but I’m glad I finally decided to pull the trigger.

What do you think of the Walther PDP? How do you feel about compact slides paired with full-size frames? Let us know in the comment section.

  • PDP grip inserts
  • Walther PDP with light
  • Walther PDP with light
  • Walther PDP
  • Two Walther PDP pistols
  • Walther PDP slide
  • PDP Grip
  • Walther PDP trigger

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a relatively young firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting consistently for around seven years. Though he is fairly new to the industry, he loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related.

Alex tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills. He also enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and to keep them properly cleaned and maintained. He installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn.

Additionally, he is very into buying, selling and trading guns to test different firearms and learn more about them. He is not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. I just bought a Walther PDP F series is excellent pistol, I used it for competing it is great but I need my trigger 3.5 pound for double tap when competing,I E Mail Walther and they are working on that type of trigger I hope soon.My is very accurate and the Trijicon SRO work fantastic help me to be better with the trigger at 5 pound.
    It is excellent pistol.
    July 31 2022

  2. Great Article! I purchased the Walther PDP as soon as I could get my hands on one and it’s one of my favorite pistols. I own a PPQM2 in 9mm and a PPQM2 in 45 APC along with the P22Q. I’ve fired hundreds of rounds through them without a hiccup! When I purchased PDP, I wanted the 4.5″ barrel but couldn’t find one, so I ended up with the Compact with 4″-barrel, Holosun Red dot and 15 round mags. The pistol is excellent in every way with I believe a somewhat better trigger than the PPQ’s I’ve fired. My PDP has about 500 flawless rounds through it and it’s very accurate! I also own a SIG P320 X-Carry which I love but I prefer the PDP if I had to choose! If I was back on the street, I’d opt for the PDP with a 5″ barrel and 18 round mags but the Compact is better for Conceal Carry…I highly recommend the PDP!

  3. I bought a PDP 4.5″ because I loved the trigger. There is very little trigger resistance until it hits the “wall”. Then just a hair more movement causes the trigger to break. It was so nice to immediately find the trigger wall. That improved my “first shot” speed a lot.

    Then I got a Rival Darkside. The Rival trigger has the same great feel as the PDP except that the break over pressure seems quite a bit lower. I found that I am constantly producing tighter groups with the Rival because I don’t need to work as hard the trip the trigger. I almost feel like the Rival makes it too easy to be accurate. Got to love a gun like that. – DanT

  4. I bought the 4.5 in 9mm .18 round . What a sweet smooth pistol . Just heavy enough to provide very little recoil but light enough to be my EDC . Would highly recommend it .

  5. I bought my first Walther PPQ a long time ago. It was the M1, with the paddle release and I absolutely loved it. Then the PDP came out. So after months and months of not being able to find one, I found the 4” compact PDP at Cabela’s and it was the major upgrade I was waiting for. I love my PPQ, because of the reliability I have had with it. Probably have nearly 20k rounds through it without ONE failure to fire and I ran the thing filthy.

    Took the new PDP 4” to the range, and had some problems getting a proper sight picture as the sights were not actually Walther Sights, they had been replaced with factory Glock Sights. The gun I bought had been a return and someone had swapped the sights off of it. I was hitting about 4” low at 25 yards, which was ridiculous. I am still looking for a good set of Night Sights for it. While a Red Dot would be fun, I am going to hold off as I also have bought the 5” PDP compact.

    The difference between the full size and the compact are negligible save for the magazines. I went with the compact because the 5” has a nicer balance and magazines are plentiful. The difference in handling between the 4” and 5” compact is noticeable as with the 5” you have less recoil, better grouping and it seems better accuracy. I was able to keep a 1.5” shot group at 15 yards with it, and 2” at 25.

    The 4” Compact was a bit more varied, but it will improve with more time and practice. My PPQ M1 will always be my favorite as it is the one firearm that no matter what, I can hit what I am aiming at, where I am aiming.

    The trigger group and feel are noticeably different than the PPQ series, the reset is just a little different but the consistency and the draw up are nearly identical. Making the change over was not a problem. The only issue is that the sight picture is a bit different, but that too can be improved with either new sights or, an optic.

  6. Been a true advocate for Walther for a few decades now. Since I first got my hands on a P-38 stamped from ww2 I couldn’t help but learn the history and I could feel it in my purchase, which wasn’t cheap but very rewarding to finally own a true relic from one of the evilest persons to exist.
    I own a few newer types Walthers put out over the years but being an avid shooter, Hunter , natural, I’ve obtained what the old westerners called “trigger finger”, and my index fingers are curled in making striker fire and double action firearms a safety issue.
    I refuse to give up my joy of shooting and guns so I must study each firearm closely in order to operate them safely. Long gone are the days when I could grab anyones guns and stack rounds at twenty yards while eating a banana.
    Being a natural gave me advantages I clearly noticed in competition.
    I say this because Walthers pdp F seems to have listened to not only females advice but those men like myself with hand issues. Arthritis, Sclerodactyli fingers etc.
    it’s an immune thing that chews away at the soft tissue in the finger joints.
    I’ll be damned if this gift granted to me by god is hindered by this awful thing.
    I went to shotshow 21 and got to hold one in hand and could easily slide my index finger over the trigger without disrupting the wall which is fairly fast with just a tiny bit of take up. I studied the trigger as I actuated it and found it’s one of the best in a striker fire setup. Crisp and a good reset makes it very comfortable in hand. The grip isn’t small like you’d think either. I own a ppk which is the best and most accurate pocket gun on the planet and with its rather squared off edges on the grip, it’s smaller in feel than the pdp F to which is like going from an ice cream sammich to a soufflé imo.
    The oldschool quality and heft to the new school technology and lightness.
    Point be made, if anyone here is uncomfortable having or using a firearm because of some disability I want to tell you this. Don’t be afraid. I personally, with true gunsmiths and designers are working on firearms that function around peoples disabilities and strongly feel one, everyone has a right to defend and protect themselves even more so uniquely a led or disabled citizens. Two, because we feel there is a market to be developed for customized firearms and or weapons that fit each individual’s needs.
    Walther pdp in any iteration is the most comfortable firearms out of the box I’ve ever shot and the F series is a wonderful accident with its inclusion of an entirely different demographic besides the one intended, for this I am great full and excited about the future for gun owners. Yes, woman love Walthers between the Ppk, PK380, P99,pps etc. they are the Ferrari’s of the gun world and super soft shooters. But, the pdp is something woman will love even more for that grip and ease of slide and trigger.

  7. I had a PPK/S that consistently had feeding/extraction problems, gave-up and got rid of it and have sworn-off Walther ever since.

  8. Have owned the P99, both the Walther and S&W 4″ barrel versions in .40 cal and now own the PPQ 5″ barrel versions in 9mm & .22 cal. The .40 and 9mm are dreams to shoot and maintain. The..22 has had feed and extraction problems. Had to be sent to Walther when a squib round caused a blowback of a succeeding round essentially destroying the barrel. Walther was very professional and quick in replacing the barrel but the pistol still has many hangfires and failures to extract or feed.

  9. How do you feel about compact slides paired with full-size frames?

    I remember the introduction and I liked it when the Colt Commander came out, still find it interesting but have learned that the extra “oomph” and accuracy mean I wind up going full/full now.

  10. Alex, you’re absolutely right on with your assessment of this pistol. You mentioned the grip texture as your favorite feature but for me it’s the trigger. The PDP and its sister pistol the Q4 SF have the best triggers of any handgun I’ve owned or shot. Walther has produced a real winner here and one of my favorite guns. If I were forced to reduce my inventory of mid-sized carry guns down to one gun I’m pretty sure the PDP would win the prize.

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