Walther Arms’ PPQ M2 is accepted as having one of the best striker-fired semi-automatic pistol triggers. Some recognize this single-action striker-fired trigger as the best available now. In the past, I have reviewed the PPQ M2 5-inch full-size and the 4-inch compact-size models and liked them so much that I bought both. They work very well for me with their excellent smooth and soft trigger and short reset. Well, last month Walther announced their new PPQ M2 SUB-COMPACT (SC) model with the 3.5″ barrel, so I had to test and evaluate it for those who have asked about it for concealed carry and quite honestly for myself. Now lets jump right into my Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact Review.
A Few Questions About the Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact to Investigate
1. Does the PPQ M2 SC 9mm have the same great smooth and soft trigger as the bigger PPQ models?
2. Does it share the other iconic features of their larger PPQ M2 guns, but in a smaller package for concealed carry?
3. What about the PPQ SC’s accuracy and reliability?
4. Are the sub-compact’s standard 3-dot sights acceptable?
5. What are its biggest strengths for concealed carry?
6. What are its biggest limitations for concealed carry?
I was anxious to get hands-on at the range with this PPQ M2 SC to shoot, compare, and rate it relative to the other 21 concealed carry guns that I analyze and rank in my book “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection.” This is my report and opinions about the PPQ M2 3.5-inch SC model for concealed carry. Should you even consider it for your carry gun, given the abundance of high-quality concealed carry pistols available at this time? I want to help you with your decision!
First, I will give you the PPQ M2 3.5-inch SC specifications and features. Then, I will provide you a list of my ten criteria for selecting any handgun. I have other criteria and in-depth considerations in my book, but space prevents addressing them here. So, this is my brief look and report on the PPQ M2 SC pistol with just a few of my key considerations to help you get started. Lastly, I rate each criterion and give you my opinions, suggestions, and final recommendation.
Criteria And Considerations for the Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact Review
Here are my ten criteria for evaluating the PPQ M2 SC pistol and I will apply them for my concealed carry shooting purposes. In addition to my criteria, other subjective features may be appealing for some. For example, a particular style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, added extras like a holster and pouch, and customer service. 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.
Since there are many attributes, strengths and limitations, and criteria to include and consider, you can make tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, and defined needs and use. Go for it!
Quality Sights For Concealed Carry
To effectively use this PPQ M2 SC as a concealed carry self-defense gun, you need quality sights that you can clearly see and which will help you in various lighting situations, e.g., in low light and darkness. This gun comes standard with 3-dot fixed polymer sights, but it is not now offered standard with night sights. While the 3-dot front and rear sights have smaller dots than several of my other 3-dot fixed sights on my carry guns, they are user-friendly and not a distraction. Just not my preference for a concealed carry self-defense pistol. Also, the general (civilian) version of the PPQ M2 SC does not now offer nights sights as an option. If you purchase the Law Enforcement version #2829789, phosphorous glow sights are standard, as are three included mags.
Walther told me night sights for the PPQ M2 are NOT a factory option at this time. I think this gun needs night sights or some form of glow sights as a standard option for the concealed carry general, self-defense market. There are quality after-market green tritium night sights with photoluminescent bright-yellow paint available for concealed carry in various light situations. The added cost for this option is about $165. This PPQ SC needs some form of night sights or phosphorous glow sights to allow it to compete with the new small, striker-fired, 10-round Sig P365 with included standard tritium metal night sights or the H&K VP9 SC (also striker-fired, single action) with included bright, luminescent glow sights and optional night sights at a nice price. All three appear to be excellent concealed carry guns, each with its pros, cons, and features.
A Quality Holster Is A Must
To effectively use and carry this PPQ M2 SC 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 and easy access. If I were to buy this compact PPQ M2 SC 9mm pistol, I would use it for concealed carry and wear it either Outside-the-Waistband (OWB) or Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) with a cover garment.
I found that my H&K VP9 SK and FNS-9C holsters all work close for the Walther PPQ M2 SC pistol, although not an exact fit. The width, height, barrel length, and overall length are key dimensions to match. So, I would suggest for safety reasons that you get a custom-designed holster to perfectly fit this PPQ SC gun. After all, your life and the lives of your loved ones depend on it.
Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact 9mm Field Test
After shooting the PPQ M2 SC 9mm and carefully considering its specifications and features, below are my opinions, point evaluations, and ratings for each of my criteria. 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 SC, 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. Thanks to Sig Sauer for providing this fine, premium ammo for my field test and evaluation of the pistol.
Initial Thoughts on the Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact
Without any doubt, this 9mm PPQ M2 with a 3.5-inch barrel and cross-directional grip surfaces felt very comfortable in my hands. Its overall ergonomics are excellent. And it was a smooth and accurate shooter. The non-slip 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. We both easily got three shots within two inches at seven yards when we first shot it. Right out of the box, the PPQ M2 SC 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.
At the Range with the Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact
Using my Concealed Carry Drill, below are my draw and rapid-fire 15 hits on my five circle targets from my range field testing of the PPQ M2 SC 9mm at three yards. Are you seated? I almost fell over, since 14 of my 15 hits made it in the five circles in less than 20 seconds for me to pass on my first try. It took this ole geezer 16 seconds to do it. YES! Usually, it takes me two or three trials to get 80% hits (at least 12 of 15) with three hits in each of five circles within 20 seconds. For me, the key is to keep my draw close to only one second, but draw safely, and focus on the front sight. A lot of accidents happen on the draw. BE CAREFUL!
I used Sig Sauer FMJ 115-grain and JHP 115-grain and 124-grain rounds from a standing position, with two-hands, drawing from an OWB holster and rapid firing at three yards on five circle targets of varying sizes. I found after shooting a 100 rounds or so that I did best with the Sig Sauer V-Crown 124-grain JHP rounds. My hits at seven yards were also decent, and 13 of my 15 rounds hit within the five circles. This old codger with aging eyesight is not a great shot, but the gun made me look so very good. The single-action striker trigger is honestly great! It is not a double-action striker trigger like so many of the strikers have now. 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 Sub-Compact 9mm for Each of My 10 Criteria:
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The accuracy of the PPQ M2 was excellent for me at self-defense distances of 3, 5, 7, and 10 yards. You can see my results using my Concealed Carry Drill above. It was also very good and acceptable for me at 15 and 20 yards with 3-inch or so groups. The gun performed with exceptional reliability and it did most of the work, without any misfeeds, failures to eject or lock back upon last round, nor any malfunctions or stoppages. All of the ammo cycled well, and it sincerely was a fun gun to shoot. 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 a little less than five pounds, with ten readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. This result was excellent, and I did not expect it since it surpassed their published press average of 5.6 pounds. I was not that surprised since my other two PPQs also surpassed the Walther published trigger presses. Such a nice short and soft press. I will definitely buy this gun to put it in my concealed carry rotation and rank it very high on my top concealed carry 9mm guns. But, I must shoot it more to break it in and to confirm. I do want more range time with it and to probably add some metal night sights or other sights on it.
3. Trigger – Score: 10
The PPQ M2 SC trigger has an excellent and very short .1″ reset point with only a .4″ short and very identifiable travel distance. This trigger meets its reputation as a smooth, quick, and easy to operate trigger. The pre-cocked striker trigger made the shots consistent each time. This is an excellent, single-action striker-fired pistol with expected shot-to-shot consistency. The trigger is excellent for firing quick follow-up shots. We enjoyed shooting it, and now my challenge is to keep it away from my wife.
4. Barrel Length – Score: 9
The 3.5-inch barrel and its sub-compact size, dimensions, and low profile are 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 muzzle flip. As expected, there was more muzzle flip and felt recoil from this short-barrel pistol, compared to my 5-inch PPQ M2. The accuracy and handling of the 3.5-inch did not exactly match my 5-inch and 4-inch PPQ models, but the sub-compact performed well and was still very nice and accurate. Of course, my larger PPQs have longer sight radii which give an advantage.
5. Sights – Score: 8
The 3-dot standard polymer sights were acceptable, but all three dots were smaller than several of my other comparable striker-fired guns. My aging eyes tell me that I need larger dots on my sights, especially on the front sight. I probably will have installed steel tritium night sights or bright, green, and larger sights for a quicker front sight pickup. Night sights were NOT available as a factory option by Walther Arms at this time.
But if you buy the Law Enforcement PPQ SC version, you get the optional metal self-illuminating sights. I requested them, but they would not be available for several weeks, and I want to get this review to you soon. I like fiber optic, bright yellow or green photoluminescent or self-illuminating front sights, and tritium night sights for help while carrying at dusk or nighttime and during the day to help my aging eyes get a quicker sight picture.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9
The polymer frame and the overall unloaded weight of 21.2 ounces for this sub-compact gun was just right, and I could handle it well.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The 9mm caliber in the PPQ M2 SC 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 PPQ SC came with two double-stack mags, a 10-round flush fit and a 15-round extended with sleeve. An optional 10-round mag with a finger (pinky) extender is available. I like the latter, since my medium-size pinky finger tends to dangle in mid-air and not give me that strong a grip on the gun. I received an extender and liked it. The flush fit 10-round mag is the one to carry since it is flush fit and does not stick out as much as the 15-rounder for carry purposes.
At the range, the 15-rounder was nice to have for the extra rounds and a more solid grip. 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 part of the casing that indicates the gun is loaded. This works in the dark so you can feel the extractor pulled back to tell if a round is chambered.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 10
The ergonomics of the PPQ M2 SC was outstanding for me. My medium-sized hands fit just right, and the grip texture and cross-directional surface helped me have a firm and solid purchase, without it being too aggressive or scratchy. It felt very good in my hands and also in my wife’s hands. Walther included two interchangeable (Standard and Large) backstraps for a customized grip. I used the Standard and it fit perfect for my medium-sized hands and I had no slippage and could easily reach all the controls. The elongated slide lock lever is nice, so I do not have to turn the gun or adjust my grip. I don’t wear gloves to shoot, but this bigger lever helps. The large mag release button (American style behind the trigger guard) really helped me. It is similar to others I train with and was not too big.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 8
I easily disassembled and re-assembled and cleaned the PPQ M2 SC 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. Safety First.
My Walther PPQ M2 full-size 5″ and compact 4″ mags WILL FIT AND WORK in the PPQ M2 SC.
TOTAL POINTS = 94 out of 100 Possible.
Conclusions on the Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact Review
I RECOMMEND this PPQ M2 SC 3.5-Inch sub-compact 9mm pistol for concealed carry. But I would certainly add improved sights, like a fiber optic or bright photoluminescent front sight or tritium night sights for low and no-light situations. I want metal, rather than polymer sights. I want to research the green tritium night sights with bright yellow front sight post and some of the optional fiber optic sights for this particular sub-compact pistol. The SC PPQ’s great grip and ergonomics, excellent trigger and 5-pound press, short reset, controllable muzzle flip, reliability, and accuracy were very impressive to me. This is one of the smoothest, shortest and softest single-action, striker-fired triggers on any of the concealed carry guns I have reviewed. I would trust my life to this excellent handgun. And it does undoubtedly rank high in my concealed carry 9mm carry guns.
See my Top Concealed Carry 9mm Compact, Sub-Compact, and Pocket pistols for year-end 2017 article here. My book also has more data and analysis on the top 21 concealed carry handguns I recommend. This Walther PPQ M2 Sub-Compact 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.
Photos by Author.
Walther Arms, Inc.
Fort Smith, AR 72916
Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown 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.
© 2018 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]