Gun Review: Walther PPS

    Walther firearms has always stood for quality in many ways. The design, function and fitting of parts are typical for quality German guns. Even though materials have changed over the years the quality is still there using modern design as well as modern materials. The Walther PPS is a prime example of these qualities in the 21st century.

    The PPS designation stands for “Police Pistol Slim” since this was initially a design made for the German police as well as other police agencies. I’ve never read anything to substantiate this but I believe S&W saw the commercial value of this pistol in the US civilian gun market and began importing the PPS for our use.

    As far as size the PPS was the smallest design to fire the potent 9MM +P round. Since that time the Kimber “Solo” is the only other high quality 9MM in this size range. In fact the PPS is about the same overall size as the .380 Walther PPK. Not only is the size very close the weight is also very similar. The Walther PPK comes in at 20 Oz. with the PPS at 19.4 Oz. The big difference is in caliber with the PPK being a .380 acp and the PPS a 9MM capable of firing +P.

    Ergonomics of the PPK are good but the PPS is far and away much more comfortable to grip and aim. One contributor is the interchangeable backstraps. The PPS comes with a small and a large backstrap. The shooters grip is also high and much closer to the barrel centerline mitigating recoil and providing a more comfortable grip when firing the pistol. In fact recoil is much less than I ever expected considering the size and light weight. I believe part of this has to do with ergonomics with another contributor being the dual recoil springs.


    Model: PPS
    Caliber: 9mm
    Length: 6.3″
    Height: 4.4″
    Overall Width/Width without slidestop lever and takedown buttons: 1.04″/.91″
    Barrel Length: 3.2″
    Sight Radius: 5.4″
    Weight (without Mag): 19.4 oz.
    Standard Magazine Weight: 1.9 oz.
    Action: Striker Fire Action, Pre-Cocked
    Trigger Pull: 6.1 lbs.
    Frame: Black Polymer

    The magazines also tailor the grip in a fashion. The larger the capacity the longer the magazine allowing those with large hands to obtain a positive grip without having one finger curled under the shorter magazine. The flat surface magazine holds 6 rounds the next longer holds 7 with the final magazine holding 8 rounds in 9MM. Subtract one round from each magazine for the 40 caliber version. Also add one additional round for the chambered round regardless of caliber.

    The magazine release is ambidextrous and unique in design. Both release levers are mounted even with the bottom of the trigger guard on both sides. The levers are hinged on the rear so that the shooter can use either finger to depress the selected lever and eject the magazine. They are very simple and easy to activate.

    The PPS trigger pull is one of the best I’ve ever used. Now that may seem hard to believe considering it’s a polymer pistol that is striker fired. Never the less this trigger has a short takeup and reset. The pull is very crisp and breaks at a listed 6.1 pounds but feels more like 5 pounds. The trigger is also setup as most striker pistols with a small safety lever built into the center of the trigger as a safety feature.

    Safety features are also very similar to other polymer pistols with a drop safety, loaded chamber indicator as well as a striker status pin at the rear center of the slide. Of course the trigger safety which has already been mentioned.

    Disassembly is very much like a Glock with two small tabs on either side of the slide. These tabs are depressed and the slide removed. The magazine must be removed prior to takedown as is normal with all pistols of the type.

    The frame also has a rail for attachment of a light or laser. The rear sight is adjustable for windage. The sights are common three dot white inserts. The top of the slide measures .9 inches across with the widest part of the slide at just over 1 inch. The PPS is very easy to conceal with a pocket holster or belt holster.

    Range Time

    During this session I fired a total of 300 rounds of ball and hollowpoint ammunition. The ball ammo was Remington 115 grain, S&B 124 grain. The hollowpoints were also from Remington at 124 grain. I also had some older Cor-Bon 115 grain +P rounds. Most shooting was done with ball ammo. Hollowpoints made up 100 rounds of the range session.

    In the pictures below you can see for yourself just how accurate this little PPS really is. Frankly I was very pleased and more than a little surprised at the accuracy of this Walther!

    Ten yard target standing unsupported. The center ring is 1 inch. Six rounds fired.

    Fifteen yard target standing unsupported. Same target as above with an additional 6 rounds fired. Two rounds were a little off.


    I’ve never fired a pistol of this size and short sight radius that has been capable of this kind of accuracy. This is one impressive Walther that has obviously had considerable thought behind the design. The design can be the best around but unless those who make the parts and assemble the pistol don’t do their job it makes no difference. It’s obvious everyone performed their job very well with the PPS!

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.