Concealed Carry

Review: Walther PPS 9mm

Woman's hands holding a Walther PPS pistol

The Walther PPS has been around a bit more than a decade. I continue to be surprised that the PPS 9mm is often overlooked by those looking for a first-class concealed-carry handgun.

The single most popular concealed-carry handgun in America seems to be the slimline 9mm, and the PPS is among the most desirable, in my opinion.

Walther PPS pistol with the magazine removed
The pistol’s magazine pad is a large part of the grip frame.

Walther PPS Specs

The Polizie Pistole Schmal, Police Pistol Slim, is a double-action-only, polymer-frame, striker-fired handgun.

I obtained one long before the GLOCK 43 9mm came along and find the PPS an excellent shooter. The pistol is easily concealed, light and reliable.

The Walther PPS is 6.3-inches long, 4.4-inches high, and the weight is only 21 ounces.

While the width is one-inch max, it is actually measured at the widest point of the slide, and the frame is slightly thinner.

The pistol uses the proven Browning-type tilting-barrel, locked-breech lockup. Lockup is tight. There is very little loose motion in the slide and frame interface.

The fixed sights feature a three-dot outline. The pistol is fieldstripped easily. There are two tabs in the frame that are pressed down to remove the slide.

The barrel and recoil spring are easily pressed out of the slide.

Walther PPS 9mm pistol right profile
The Walther has good features.

In common with the GLOCK, the pistol is partially cocked or prepped by the slide’s rearward motion.

The striker spring is compressed, and the striker is partially pressed to the rear.

Pressing the trigger to the rear moves the striker, and the striker breaks forward and fires the pistol.

There is no manual safety, however, there are other safety features. The trigger features the blade-type safety common on modern striker-fired handguns.

There is also a firing-pin block and a disconnect. A cocking indicator at the rear of the slide gives instant confirmation of the pistol’s readiness.

The original pistol used a paddle-type magazine release. The PPS M2 features the Browning-type magazine release. The grip frame offers excellent adhesion and abrasion.

The fit is good for most hands. Walther calls the treatment dots, while traditionally it is called pebble grain.

While the grip is excellent, with both good abrasion and adhesion, it isn’t uncomfortable when firing.

Dual rear white dot sights on the Walther PPS pistol
Dual white dots on the rear sight aid in rapid sight acquisition.

Walther PPS M2

The pistol illustrated is what is now known as the M1, or Classic, version. The later version, the M2, features an even better grip frame.

The light rail is eliminated in the M2. Crimson Trace offers a Laserguard-type option for the Walther PPS M2.

The M2 pistol is identical as far as the trigger action. The pistol is supplied with one six-round and one seven-round magazine.

The Walther PPS illustrated is well proven, with several thousand rounds fired in the piece.

For this review, I broke out the Walther and loaded a few magazines with Winchester’s USA Forged 9mm Luger ammunition.

This is an affordable, but clean-burning and accurate loading. I fired over 100 rounds at man-size targets at five, seven and 10 yards. The results were good to excellent.

This is a small handgun, and it has more recoil than a service-size handgun, but it never was uncomfortable and there are no sharp edges to pinch the hand.

I also fired a number of the Winchester USA FMJ loads.

Walther PPS 9mm pistol left profile
The Walther PPS is a credible and reliable 9mm.

The sights are well regulated for 115-grain loads. The trigger is well designed for all-around use.

The trigger features about 1/8 inch of takeup before breaking at six pounds even.

This is a smooth break that makes for good control.

Firing off of a solid benchrest, I used three personal defense loads that I feel are good choices.

The Winchester 115-grain Silvertip, 124-grain PDX +P and the 147-grain PDX were fired for accuracy.

I prefer the 124-grain PDX +P, and recoil, while greater than the other loads, isn’t unpleasant.

At 15 yards, I fired two five-shot groups with each load. The Silvertip exhibited a two-inch group, the PDX +P went into just under two inches, and the 147-grain PDX was 1.5 inches.

This is plenty accurate for personal defense. Carried in the Galco Stow-N-Go holster, the Walther is a flat package that is easily concealed.

There are a number of good slimline 9mm Luger handguns. The Walther PPS is as good as any and better than most.

It isn’t the only choice, but may be the best choice for some shooters. Don’t overlook this high point of Walther production.

Have you fired the Walther PPS? Tell us what you thought in the comments section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 (19)

  1. Nice pistol. Mine did not, however, care too much for Blazer 115 grain aluminum-case ammunition. I just took it to the range for the first time this afternoon and discovered that as long as I run brass-case ammo (mine was 124 grain JHP Federal Hydra-Shok) it ran flawlessly. My PPS M2 9MM had difficulties with failures to eject with at least one round on almost every magazine. I was concerned, so I dumped the aluminum and went strictly with the more expensive defense ammo. There wasn’t a single problem as soon as the better ammo was used. Other than its propensity to be picky about the ammunition, the pistol was great! Tight groups at 7 to 10 yards, and recoil was easily managed. The trigger, although not quite on par with that of the PPQ, was just fine for the PPS and the job it’s built for. It broke smooth at probably around the six-pound mark, and the reset was just a tad longer than I’d like, All in all, this is one fine conceal-carry pistol. It doesn’t break the bank either, and that’s always a positive.

  2. 100 Percent. I carried the Mk1 PPS for a number of years and it is an innovative and well designed handgun. You pick up on most of the key features, but I’d just add a couple more showing the thought that went into this gun – the German’s don’t do much by accident 😉 The trigger guard paddle slide release will put some people off this gun, but it is simple and surprisingly intuitive to run – however it also makes it impossible to pop the mag release whilst in the holster and suffer the embarrassment of mag drop syndrome on drawing. The cocking indicator not only shows the condition of the firearm but also gradually protrudes out of the slide rear as the trigger is loaded. Holstering with a thumb over the back of the slide will give a clear indication of the trigger snagging. That’ll come naturally to folks runnning DA hammer guns and gives me a great sense of security. I have an 8 round mag also and worth noting that each offers progressively more molded finger contact enabling the carrier to find his balance of capacity and concealment. The grip can also be modified with sized backstrap inserts, which immobilize the gun when removed! This is the single example of design frivolity on this pistol – at least to an American mind!

    Beyond that, the gun is easy to shoot well; for sure snaps a bit but is moderated by the design guiding grip high on the frame. The only modification I’ve made to mine was adding 3 dot night sights. Trigger is way better that a Shield and (in my view) better than a G43. And it wins hands down on coolness!

  3. Walther PPS .40 cal and Walther PPS 9m are very good concealed carry firearms. I own both and am truly a fan. I also own the walther P22 22lr, which is also a great selection. Very slim design. Comes with 6 round mag and 7 round mag. 7 being the most out of their extended version. Nice traction grip for stability with some recoil. Very at 15 to 20 yards. You couldn’t make a better choice when selecting another firearm of this caliber for the size.

  4. I bought mine used several years ago, and it’s provided good and faithful service. Mine is a .40 S&W, and a bit snappy, but still quite accurate. I had to change the front sight to get it to hit Point of Aim. I believe that Walther provides front sights in three different heights.

    The PPS is often and unfairly overlooked as a concealed carry. It’s reasonably priced, and there are plenty of accessories available. The paddle mag release on the M1 took a bit of getting used to, but I have come to prefer it.

    Thanks, Bob!

  5. I have owned the PPS M1 & now the PPS M2 which is my EDC. Either version shoots better than I can hold. I have fired enough rounds that I am confident in the reliability of this pistol. I carry in an Alien Gear shape shift Appendix holster which gives me nearly detectable carry with shirt tail out as a cover.
    I purchased at a great price point which makes this even better. $700 to $1K is too much to spend when there is an option like the PPS in either varient.

  6. I shoot the PPSM2 about once a month, and find the accuracy very good. The trigger is smooth.

  7. I have used a number of single and double stacks for concealed carry. S&W 9mm and 40 sw,Taurus G2C in 9mm, Glock 42 and 43, Kimber Micro, Springfield 911 my current deep conceal, Sig P365 and a Walther PPS M2….sold the first PPS and now back with the Walther PPS M2 LE with 3 magazines 6,7,and 8. I couldn’t be happier with this carry.Range time is pleasant as well as carry. So what I’m saying is I’ve been around the block and have come back to the PPS…you won’t find a better do all carry.

  8. The PPS is a great gun for CC. Walther as a brand has not had quite the fan base as other manufacturers. I own a PPK/S in .380, a P22, a PPQ M2 in .40 S&W and a PPS M2 in 9mm. I own a couple of other manufacturer’s picks as well. The PPS replaced my PPK/S as my carry gun this year. It’s nearly 40 years old, and I wanted a bit more than .380 for personal protection (also as my eyes have aged the PPK’s sights are harder to quickly aqquire). I’m very pleased with my choice of the PPS. I use an Alien Gear 3.5 IWB holster (have used one for the PPK for close to 10 years), I find it comfortable to carry and easilly accessed. Walther’s are a very viable option for a carry gun, and in the times at the range that I’ve had the opportunity to shoot other guns, I’ve returned to Walther happy with my selection. I find it handles better than the Glock, Springfields, S&W’s and others, easier to operate and maintain and up at the top accuracy wise. I recommend Walther to anyone interested, old hands and newbies alike.

  9. Please define “Double-action-only.” This pistol is a single action only gun. Also, there are no “pins” to remove for takedown. It it a latch with finger grooves on each side of the frame.

    The factory sights are plastic and easily damaged, For EDC, the owner should consider replacing them with an aftermarket set. Otherwise, it is a great single stack 9mm.

  10. Reliability is suspect. I bought one a few years ago and on my 3rd semiannual qualification the extractor broke. It cost me $75 just to UPS it back to an authorized repair shop. When I got it back I traded it in on a G43. I’ve owned Glocks for years and never had such a problem.

  11. Just to add to my previous post. My Walther PPS, I’ve been carrying it for about 10 years now since it came out.

  12. I have the PPS M2 and it is a great gun. I use a Talon grip enhanser and it helped the fit & grip for me. Got an Alien Shape Shifter and plan to use as a carry option. Also, got the 8rd mag as an extra.

  13. Great gun. Mine is in .40 S&W. This gun has been review and tested along with other single stack guns and always ends up on top. I own many guns and revolvers, but this is my main carry gun. It also has a removable backstap in two sizes and when off the gun acts as a safety and is unable to shoot.

  14. Walther has proven to be a exceptional company, have had my PPS 40 cal for 10 years and is fun and accurate to shoot. A month ago had a failure with slide stop shearing off and the company was a pleasure to deal with in the handling and repair. This gun is my number one carry.

  15. I have the PPS in .40 S&W. It is my go to pistol every time. Small, concealable, and deadly accurate. Keep your mini Glocks. The PPS outperforms, in my opinion.

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