In the past six months I have dropped about 40 pounds and rediscovered the joy of carrying a gun without it poking me in the stomach when I sit down. I have been on the search for a small 9mm for concealed carry for some time and to celebrate my new svelte figure I recently picked up an equally svelte Walther PPS 9mm. It has quickly become my favorite carry piece.
The Walther PPS, which stands for Police Pistol Slim, is not a tiny gun by any means—it will cover up a GLOCK 26 nicely when you place them side by side—, however it is incredibly thin for a compact 9mm pistol at just 0.91 of an inch wide. It has a 3.19-inch barrel while running 6.34 inches overall, just a hair longer than the GLOCK 26. The 9mm PPS comes with a standard seven-round magazine with a small pinkie extension. A flush fit six-round magazine and an extended grip eight-round magazine are also available, albeit, at a steep price. Other features include two interchangeable backstraps, loaded chamber and cocking indicators and a trigger safety.
The styling of the PPS is best described as a Walther P99 that has been smashed many times with a sledge hammer until all the curves have been flattened out. It retains the dimpled grip and familiar outline of the P99, while coming in a full 0.19 of an inch thinner. The internals are pretty much a direct GLOCK copy making it a simple and reliable design. It field strips quickly and easily for cleaning and there are few moving parts to mess with.
One of the unique features of the PPS is the ambidextrous trigger guard magazine release lever. While I was not a fan of it initially because of its placement, I discovered it is a handy design that allows a thinner frame. The lever is right where you would expect a magazine release button to be and your thumb can work it in the same manner. The different sized magazines all drop free nicely.
While the frame remains thin, the grip fills my hand nicely. The standard seven-round magazine with the small pinkie extension provides enough room for a good grip when shooting while remaining small enough to carry inside the waistband comfortably. The PPS also features an accessory rail which fits a Streamlight TLR-3 Weapon Light or Laserlyte V3 Mini Laser perfectly.
At the range the PPS performed flawlessly. I shot 200 rounds of several different loads through it, including steel cased and hollow point ammunition, and it did not hiccup once. The PPS recoils lightly and the long grip promotes easy control and handling for a gun of this size. While not a competition gun by any means, the PPS was very accurate for a short barrel compact pistol. I was easily shooting sub 6-inch groups at 15 yards.
Despite its look, the PPS is not a pocket gun. It might fit in a cargo pocket, but the frame is just too big to pocket carry without being very noticeable. The winning feature of the PPS is the blend of an incredibly thin profile with a full-size grip. I find that barrel and grip length are largely irrelevant for me when carrying. Because I appendix carry, my main concerns are the width of the gun and any sharp points on the back . The PPS is just about as good as it gets for a concealable 9mm. It has no sharp edges and it conceals like a dream.
There are other, smaller 9mms on the market which are good options. Two of the best are the Kahr Arms PM9 and the Kel-Tec P11, however these really are pocket guns and I believe the PPS will outperform them as an IWB/OWB weapon any day of the week. Its blend of comfort, size, function and capacity edge it over the other mini nines available.
When it comes to accessories, good PPS holsters are a chore to find and spare magazines are expensive, but don’t let a few negatives keep you from looking at the Walther PPS as a a serious carry option.