There are more than 16.3 million concealed carry permit holders in the U.S. in 2017, per the Crime Prevention Research Center, and it is estimated that there are about 310 million guns nationwide. If you are a concealed carry permit holder and want a concealed carry gun for the holidays or anytime, which one will you choose? You certainly have very many quality ones to select from, and many want striker-fired handguns. Walther Arms’ PPQ (Police Pistol Quick Defense) M2 (Model with American-style magazine release button) is one of them, and it is not your usual semi-automatic striker-fired pistol.
In 2016, I reviewed the PPQ M2 5-inch barrel full-size model for competition and home defense and liked it so much that I bought it. Its great short and soft trigger and short reset especially impress me. Probably one of the best, if not THE best, striker-fired triggers I have shot. That is a bold statement for me. Several have asked me about the PPQ M2 compact for concealed carry, so I got the 4-inch barrel model to review here. I was a little hesitant to review it, since I already have 5 or 6 very high-quality compact concealed carry guns and 5-6 great subcompact concealed carry guns. But, I know the high quality and great trigger of the 5-inch model, so wanted to test and evaluate the 4-inch one for concealed carry.
What about its trigger? Are there special features that make this 4-inch compact gun stand out from the other concealed carry guns? Most importantly, how accurate and reliable is it? Is its trigger press and characteristics as stellar as the 5-inch model with a longer sight radius and barrel? What about its price? How do I rate it relative to the other 21 concealed carry guns that I rank in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection.” This is my report and opinions about the PPQ M2 4-inch compact model for concealed carry. Does it rank in my top 5 concealed carry compact handguns? Does it rank in your top 5 concealed carry guns?
Initially, I want to give you the PPQ M2 4-inch specifications and features. Next, I want to provide you with my short list of 10 criteria for selecting any handgun. I have other criteria and considerations in my book, but space prevents presenting them here. So, this is my brief look and report on the PPQ M2 4-inch pistol with just a few of my considerations to help you get started. Lastly, I rate each criterion and give you my “Go-No-Go” recommendation and suggestions.
Criteria and Considerations for Reviewing the Walther PPQ M2 4-inch 9mm
Here are my ten criteria for evaluating the PPQ M2- 4 Inch pistol and I will apply them for my concealed carry shooting purposes. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features that may be appealing for some, like a particular style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last miscellaneous criterion. I assigned a total possible point score of 10 points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. You can certainly add additional criteria and preferences or subtract any of mine.
Remember, there are a lot of attributes, pros and cons, and criteria to include and consider and you make tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, and defined needs and use.
Quality Night Sights are a Must for Concealed Carry
To effectively use this PPQ M2 as a carry gun, you need quality sights that will help you in low light and darkness. This gun comes standard with decent 3-dot Fixed Polymer sights, but it is not offered now with Night Sights as an option. Walther told me Night Sights for the PPQ M2 are NOT a factory option at this time. It happened that a friend associated with Trijicon mentioned their new very bright and high-quality steel HD tritium night sights, so I requested some yellow ones to review and use with the PPQ M2. Here’s what they look light.
Trijicon HD Steel Night Sights Option
The Trijicon HD Night Sights (self-luminous iron sights) are a recent optional accessory for several handguns, particularly the Walther PPQ M2 pistol. The three-dot green tritium night sight set’s front sight has a taller blade and an aiming point ringed in photoluminescent yellow (or orange) paint while the rear sight is outlined in black and features a wider U-shaped notch, with serrations to help reduce glare.The 3-dot tritium-filled glass lamps give great illumination in darkness and you need this for concealed carry and nighttime scenarios. It is comforting to know that the Trijicon easy-to-see green (I’m color blind) lamps are warranted for 12 years from manufacture date. Also, all their Trijicon HD sights are equipped with green lamps encased in protective aluminum cylinders. During daylight the bright-yellow painted glow-in-the-dark front sight tremendously help front sight acquisition and visibility. With my color blindness, I need the green and bright-yellow photoluminescent ring for the front sight for color differentiation and for faster sight acquisition for both day and night use. They honestly work very well for me. I discovered that I just had to shine my LED flashlight on them for only 15 seconds to get about 8-10 minutes of very bright glow. Trijicon was nice enough to send me a yellow HD NS set (Model 600737) and I had them professionally installed for my testing and evaluation review of this PPQ M2. MSRP is $165. for the HD night sights, but shop around, and you do get what you pay for. For me, Point of Aim equaled Point of Impact on the target with them. Great bright night and day sights!
Advantages of the Trijicon HD Night Sights
- High Visibility Colored Front Sight Post– Glow-in-the-dark bright yellow photoluminescent paint aids visibility & quicker target acquisition in transitional light
- Tritium-Phosphor Lamps– Tritium-filled glass lamps provides superior illumination in no light or low light
- Subdued Rear Sight– Angled & serrated surface to reduce glare & black painted rings to enhance focus on front sight
- “U” Notch Rear Sight– Specifically designed rear notch enhances front sight acquisition
- Silicone Rubber Cushion– Gives additional shock protection to tritium-filled glass lamps within the aluminum housing
- Sapphire Window– Each tritium lamp is capped with a sapphire jewel which helps to evenly distribute light from the lamp, as well as protect it from solvents & puncture
- Protective Aluminum Cylinders– Contains & protects the tritium gas filled lamps from heavy recoil & harsh solvents
- Limited Lifetime Warranty– Green tritium lamps are warranted to illuminate for 12 years from date of original manufacture
A Quality Holster is a Must
To effectively use and carry this PPQ M2 you need a quality holster for your preferred concealed carry method. There are several very nice holsters available that are custom fit, all-day comfortable, conceal well, have good retention, easy access, etc. If I were to buy this compact PPQ M2 9mm pistol, I would use it for concealed carry and wear it almost always Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) with a cover garment.
Kramer Handgun Leather Horsehide Holster (KHL)
KHL makes a beautiful, high-quality OWB Horsehide Leather custom holster. It has great workmanship, is very comfortable, double stitched, extremely durable with the horsehide material, and conceals well. I love their attention to details. The KHL Leather OWB holster has a nice FBI forward cant and rides high for easy draw. This belt scabbard holster has the classic “pancake” design and works well for concealed carry, as well as for range use and competition. There are various options and prices, but this high-quality horsehide holster shown below rides close in to the body and has a MSRP of about $126. Again, you get what you pay for. NOTE: KHL is offering my readers a 15% discount through January 20, 2018 on their holsters. Just order from them by phone or their website given below and use “ColBen15” discount code. Here is the PPQ M2 9mm compact pistol in the high-quality KHL OWB holster.
PPQ M2 4-INCH 9MM Field Test
After shooting the PPQ M2 4-Inch 9mm and carefully considering its specifications and features, below are my opinions, point evaluations, and ratings. Please know that these are very personal and subjective and that I am not a top expert shooter by any means. Also, that I only shot about 200 rounds through the PPQ M2, so it is not entirely broken in. I shot Sig Sauer premium ammo in Elite Performance 115-grain FMJ and V-Crown 124 grain JHP.
Without any doubt, this 9mm PPQ M2 with a 4-inch barrel felt very comfortable in my hands. It was a smooth shooter and felt great to handle with super ergonomics. The grip felt as if it was custom made for my medium-size hands. The texture on the grip was just right, not too aggressive and not too smooth. My wife tried the gun and she also said it felt great with her small (and beautiful) hands. The M2’s felt recoil was easy for both of us to handle and it proved on the range to be very reliable and accurate for both of us.
For the rounds I shot with it and right out of the box, the PPQ M2 impressed me as a quality, well-made, very accurate, very reliable, good-looking, and above everything else a very comfortable handgun to hold and shoot.
Below are my hits on my first target from my range field testing of the PPQ M2 4-inch 9mm. The target shows my first 15 hits with Sig Sauer FMJ rounds from a standing position, with two-hands, drawing from a Kramer leather OWB holster and slow firing at 7 yards on an 8-inch target. Most of my hits on all targets were in a 3-inch or less grouping. I did best at longer distances and had smaller groups with the Sig Sauer V-Crown 124 grain JHP rounds. Likewise, my wife’s target hits at 7 yards were 3″ or so. This old codger with aging eyesight is not a great shot, but the gun made be look very good. I was sincerely amazed at the inherent accuracy and grip comfort of this excellent gun. Honestly, it has an excellent smooth, soft, and short trigger.
Field Test Results for the PPQ M2 4-Inch 9mm for Each of my 10 Criteria:
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The accuracy of the PPQ M2 was excellent for me at distances of 7, 10, and 15 yards and good and acceptable for me at 20 yards. The gun performed with great Reliability and it did most of the work, along with the highly visible day and evening optional Trijicon HD tritium night sights. I had no problems at all cycling the ammo. My groups at each of the distances were about 3.0-3.5 inches or so for the first time I ever fired the gun “out of the box” while drawing from the holster. Acceptable given my carpal tunnel wrist problem and aging eyes, which are not excuses. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various Sig Sauer 115 grain & 124 grain FMJ & JHP ammo.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 10
The trigger press out of the box averaged about 4.95 pounds, with 5 readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This was excellent and I was not expecting it, since it surpassed their published press average. I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased with the short and soft press. I definitely will put this gun in my concealed carry rotation and rank it in my top 5 concealed carry compact 9mm guns. But I must shoot it more to confirm. I do want to analyze other criteria and features for it, especially with more range time with the night sights and for reliability. I believe after it is broken in with more range time, I will have the data I need.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
The PPQ M2 trigger had a short and very identifiable travel distance and reset, was smooth to operate, and felt very nice. The pre-cocked trigger made the shots consistent each time and I liked the short travel distance. This is an excellent, striker-fired pistol with shot-to-shot consistency. The trigger is excellent for firing quick follow-up shots. We really enjoyed shooting it. Did I mention it has a great trigger?
4. Barrel Length – Score: 10
The 4-inch barrel and its compact size were just right for concealed carry. It handled very well and drawing from the holster and concealment were no problem at all. Both my wife and I could easily handle and control the 9mm felt recoil and minimal muzzle flip. The accuracy of the 4-inch was very comparable to my 5-inch PPQ model. The extra length and sight radius gave just a slight advantage to my 5-inch PPQ M2 at longer distances.
5. Sights – Score: 8
The 3-dot standard polymer sights were acceptable with the smaller front dot, but I did have installed optional Trijicon HD steel tritium night sights (10 points out of 10 possible), and they were very bright, larger, and helped for a quicker front sight pickup. Night sights were NOT available as a factory option by Walther Arms at this time. Also, the standard polymer 3-dots were a little small, especially the small front sight, for my preference and aging eyes. I like stand-out fiber optic or bright yellow or green photoluminescent front sights and tritium night sights for help while carrying at dusk or nighttime to help my aging eyes get a quicker sight picture… and during the day. The standard rear sight was adjustable for windage. But no night sights standard or even as an option now.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9
The polymer frame and the overall weight of 24.5 ounces for a compact gun with an empty mag was just right, and I could handle it well.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The 9mm caliber in the PPQ M2 was pleasant to shoot and made recoil very manageable. It handled all the types and weights of ammo that I shot without any problems.
8. Capacity – Score: 10
The 15-round capacity of the steel M2 9mm mags was perfect & I like the extra rounds. The M2 has a loaded chamber indicator near the ejection port, so when a round is chambered the extractor will be slightly pulled back to reveal a red marking that indicates it is loaded. This works in the dark so you can feel the extractor pulled back to tell a round is chambered.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 10
The ergonomics of the PPQ M2 were outstanding for me. My medium-sized hands fit just right and the grip texture helped me have a firm and solid purchase, without being too aggresive or scratchy. It felt very good in my hands and also in my wife’s hands. I liked the medium-size backstrap and my wife liked the small one. If I had to design the perfect grip for my gun, this would be it. We could both easily reach all the controls like the magazine release and elongated slide lock lever, without turning the gun or adjusting our grips. The large mag release button (American style behind the trigger guard) really helped me, was like others I train with, and was not too big.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 8
I easily disassembled and re-assembled and cleaned the PPQ M2 before I shot it. However, I did have to press the trigger to disassemble it. This is a safety concern, but proper training, following safety rules, and recognizing this helps, along with practice. No real problem, but be careful. Note that Walther P99 mags will not work in the M2. Also, it would be nice to have a holster included, fiber optic or night sights, and especially three mags.
Total Points = 95 out of 100 possible.
I highly recommend this PPQ M2 4-Inch compact 9mm pistol for concealed carry, but I would certainly add improved sights, like a fiber optic or bright photoluminescent front sight and/or tritium night sights for low and no-light situations. The Trijicon HD Green Tritium Night Sights with bright yellow front sight post worked great for my color-blind eyes and I definitely recommend them. The PPQ’s great grip and ergonomics, excellent trigger, controllable muzzle flip, reliability, and accuracy were very impressive to me. This is one of the smoothest, short and soft triggers on any of the concealed carry guns I have reviewed. I would trust my life to this excellent handgun and it does certainly rank in my top 5 concealed carry compact 9mm handguns. My book also has more data and analysis on the top 21 concealed carry handguns I recommend. Any of my top 21 concealed carry handguns will be helpful for your holiday gift for your favorite handgun aficionado or even as a gift to yourself! This review with field test results are just my personal opinions and efforts, so try this gun for yourself with your criteria and personal preferences and skills.
I hope this review of the PPQ M2 4-inch, striker-fired compact 9mm, and the Trijicon HD Tritium Night Sights have helped you gain some information you did not previously have. Consider that this is just my point of view with limited live-range fire and using only 200 rounds of premium ammo. Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, Safety First Always.
Photos by Author.
Walther Arms, Inc.
Fort Smith, AR 72916
Wixom, MI 48393
Kramer Handgun Leather Holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411
Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown JHP-FMJ Ammo
Newington, NH 03801
* 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.
© 2017 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 [email protected].