As most know, Walther Arms is a quality German firearms manufacturer founded by Carl Walther in 1886 and has been around for more than 100 years. Their Walther PPQ M2 9mm pistols are very high-quality pistols, made in 4 inch, 5 inch, and 3.5 inch barrels. A strong 9mm carry pistol of mine, the PPQ M2, is shown above.
I reviewed all three of these fine pistols and highly recommended all of them. Here are my previous reviews of them:
- Walther PPQ M2 4-Inch 9mm for Concealed Carry
- Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact Review [HANDS-ON]
- Walther PPQ M2 9MM Review
The New Personal Defense Pistol
In mid-2021, Walther released its new PDP (Personal Defense Pistol) in three sizes (4 inch, 4.5 inch, and 5 inch barrels) and announced that they would be discontinuing the PPQ and offering the PDP pistols as a replacement line. The new line builds on the successes of the PPQ line and the Q4/Q5 series. Walther’s PDP at this time is only available in 9mm. I immediately wondered “why” they were making this major change on an almost perfect pistol, in my opinion, both with very similar and almost identical specifications. I really like the excellent triggers, stellar accuracies, and almost-perfect ergonomics on my PPQ pistols. I had successes with them in International Defensive Pistol Association shooting events and wanted to learn some reasons for this change. And what specifically are the differences between the two pistols, if any, before I considered buying a PDP. I initially noted that the two pistols appear to be very similar. (Hint: Maybe it’s modularity and red dots?)
Here are the basic specifications for the four-inch 9mm PDP and PPQ:
|Walther Performance Duty 4" Pistol (PDP)||Walther PPQ M2 (Push-Button Mag Release) 4" Pistol (PPQ)|
|Type||striker-fired semi auto||striker-fired semi auto|
|Barrel||4.0 in.||4.0 in.|
|Length||7.4 in.||7.1 in.|
|Height||5.4 in.||5.3 in.|
|Width||1.3 in.||1.3 in.|
|Weight||24.2 oz.||24.5 oz.|
|Finish||matte black Tenifer||matte black Tenifer|
|Sights||polymer 3-dot; white; adjustable front and rear sights; optic ready||polymer 3-dot; phosphorescent; adjustable rear sight (author added Trijicon HD Night Sights)|
|Trigger Press:||5.50 lb. pull (factory new and not broken in)||5.00 lb. pull (new as measured by me & not broken in- now broken in 4.75 lb.)|
|Safeties||Trigger; Striker; Disconnect||Trigger; Striker; Disconnect|
Here are some of the new PDP features to help your research:
PDP is Modular for Customization
The new Walther PDP is being touted as their most modular and versatile pistol ever designed by Walther. It has three different slide lengths and two different frame sizes, allowing the shooter to customize it for their particular needs. Walther has now entered the modular arena, given the 2017 U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force’s XM17 Competition modular emphasis. Walther was not one of the eight manufacturers in the modular service pistol competition in 2017.
PDP Has “Stepped” Chamber To Help Accuracy
The PDP has a unique chamber that very few other handguns have and it is called a “Stepped” Chamber. While the PDP is very similar, if not exactly alike, the PPQ’s external dimensions and specifications, the internal chamber, and riflings are very different for the PDP. Walther has added a “Stepped” chamber to a portion of the gun’s internal front chamber configuration. The PDP’s chamber is configured exactly to the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI) standards in the rear of the chamber, like the PPQ. However, Walther has taken this a step further and modified about one-third of the front of the chamber with a slight taper and necked it down. This is a very critical chamber modification that allows the cartridge to be better and tightly centered when it enters the rifling in the barrel. The manufacturer says that this will significantly contribute toward making the pistol more accurate and improve velocity. For me, the PPQ M2 has proven to be very accurate.
PDP Enhanced the Grip Texturing
While the PPQ’s grip texturing and feel are just right for me and my medium-sized hands, Walther has changed the texturing somewhat and used the new “Performance Duty Texture” for the PDP, like is on their steel-framed Q4 and Q5 pistols. See the above image. This hexagonal pyramid texturing is neither too aggressive nor too smooth for me for occasional carry and wraps from the sides of the grip and around the backstraps. But, some may find it too aggressive after a day of carrying. The backstrap and both sides of the grip have this special Performance Duty texture. It has small ripples along either side of the grip that serve as finger grooves. Both the frontstrap and the front of the trigger guard have the standard checkering, which is fine for me. This combination of texturing works for me, but so does the PPQ’s.
PDP Has Polymer Sights and Uses Red Dots
Walther offers standard PDP sights which are three polymer white dots, with the rear sight having a white outline. The standard rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. The PPQ sights are adjustable for windage only, have phosphorescent markings, and when I bought mine night sights and red dot assemblies were not available. Personal preference, but I generally do not like plastic, polymer sights and thought Walther would change to steel sights for the PDP. And both the PPQ and PDP have a wide notch in the rear sight, which might be distracting to some. I like a smaller width in the rear sights area. The PDP is cut for red dot sights and they sit very low on the frame and in the window. This is not the case with the standard PPQ. The PDP BUIS sights are designed to add back-up iron sights while using Trijicon RMR or SRO optics and work with various red dots, like Holosun 407c, 507c, and 508T optics. These sights give a co-witness with the red dot and since they sit low in the optic window have the advantage of helping to reduce distractions and to retain target focus for the red dot. So, you can have standard height sights on the PDP and be able to co-witness. There are various configurations. I added Trijicon HD Night Sights to my PPQ M2 compact and they are fabulous.
PDP Recoil Spring Assembly
The PDP uses a captive recoil spring design and is the same for all three models, 4 inch, 4.5 inch, and 5 inch models. This is because of their modular goal to easily swap out the barrels and slides among frame sizes. Note that the PDP slide is just slightly heavier than the PPQ slide, allowing for slightly more control of muzzle flip, but there is a little muzzle flip still present. I notice very little muzzle flip on my PPQ and it is controllable.
PDP is Ambidextrous
Like the PPQ, the slide-lock lever is ambidextrous for functioning with either hand. The slide-stop lever does not stick out like on some pistols but is just the right size for easy engagement from either side. The lever is long and serrated and positioned high enough to avoid unintentional operation. The magazine release is reversible. The PDP is adjustable for size using three interchangeable backstraps secured by a rollpin. Most find the medium backstrap works for them.
The PDP and PPQ triggers feel very much alike and they are cross compatible, so aftermarket triggers for the PPQ can be installed as desired. While the shape of the trigger shoe and safety lever appears identical, the geometry of certain internal parts are different. The PDP trigger is called a “Performance Duty Trigger” and it is marked like that. Some say the PDP trigger is distinct with a recognizable feel. Takeup was shortened and lightened, with a more distinct wall. But, try it for yourself. The trigger guard has a rear undercut with front checkering. My PPQ trigger is excellent.
PDP Has 15-Round Capacity
The 15 round capacity of the PDP is excellent for concealed carry, as is the same PPQ M2 capacity. Both of these guns are excellent for carry. The 4-inch barrel models are definite competitors in the carry gun market, as well as other models for competition, duty, and home defense.
The PDP has “Super Terrain” slide serrations. The serrations are coarse and deep, aggressive ridges that extend out from the slide body as a solid gripping surface to work the slide. PPQ slide serrations are not as deep and aggressive, but work very fine for me. The PDP slide is wider than the PPQ slide and seems slightly bulky for concealed carry. But the wider width helps for mounting a red dot sight.
Both the PDP and PPQ M2 have the “PPQ-Pattern” barrel design and the same bore height. But since the PDP is wider at the top, it appears to have a lower bore axis and be somewhat shorter. However, note that the new PDP will not fit in the PPQ holsters, but PDP holsters are available, e.g. Comp-Tac, Safariland, and DeSantis, etc.
The PDP line of pistols are most definitely strong competition for the very many excellent makes and models of pistols available in the market now. This applies to the PPQ M2 models as well and I am sad to see them being discontinued. Both the PPQ and PDP are excellent and reliable pistols with great triggers, accuracies, ergonomics, and features. The questions new buyers, especially concealed carry folks, should be asking themselves are “Do I want and need Modularity?”, “Will I use a red dot optic for my intended defensive use and carry?”, and “Are the features, necessities, and costs for this new model worth it to me?” The PDP has a strong place in today’s competitive market, as does the proven PPQ M2, and I am anxious to see how the new PDP performs for shooters. Maybe this is an opportune time to buy a PPQ M2 at a lower price if you can find them. Shoot the PDP and decide for yourself, before you make a commitment. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with either pistol.
Continued Success and Be Safe!
Photos by Walther Arms and Author.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2022 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.