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First Impressions: The Walther PDP

For many, the Walther brand is associated with firearms of a bygone era. In fact, the first Walther I ever fired was a P-38 that my grandfather had taken as a trophy during his time in the Second World War. These older models hold a considerable amount of historical significance, and had even influenced post-WWII pop-culture after a certain British secret agent selected a PPK as his sidearm. Even though the P-38 and PPK are arguably Walther’s most famous and recognizable pistols, I think a little more attention should be given to one of their latest models: the Performance Duty Pistol aka the PDP.

I recently got my hands on a full-size Walther PDP and so far, I’m very impressed. For the past few months I had been looking for a new handgun, and eventually it boiled down to a contest between the Walther PDP and the Beretta 92X. They’re roughly the same size, in the same price range and use the same ammunition. While the Beretta is still a great weapon, I ultimately chose the PDP because of it’s larger 18 round magazine and a higher level of customization.

At the range, I quickly discovered that the Performance Duty Trigger was my favorite part of the PDP. Performance is the key word here; this trigger delivers an exceptionally smooth pull with a short length of travel and distinct, tactile break. To be honest, I never really paid much attention to a firearm’s trigger pull, and I was pleasantly surprised to find just how much a good trigger improves accuracy. It took me a few shots to find my point-of-aim, but at 25 yards, I was able to shoot 3-inch groupings pretty consistently, not too bad for just iron sights.

While the PDP’s standard sights are considerably accurate (and are fully adjustable), one of the other notable features is the optics-ready slide. The optics-cut sits a little deeper in the slide to accommodate co-witnessing with iron sights, and Walther has mounting plates readily available for the more common micro red-dots. Another feature worth mentioning is the Performance Duty Texture grips, which offers an aggressive yet non-abrasive surface, and 3 interchangeable back-straps allows the user to modify the grips to conform to their hands.

The trigger, grips, and optics ready slide really steal the show, but the PDP also has a ton of little features that you wouldn’t take into consideration or even notice at first glance, but they really do make a difference in the grand scheme of things. One of the little things I like is the loaded chamber indicator. This might not seem like a big deal, but I can appreciate being able to immediately tell whether the weapon is loaded or not. Another small but considerable aspect is the Superterrain Cocking Serrations. Again, you probably wouldn’t even take the cocking serrations into account, as virtually all semiautomatic pistols have them, but the Superterrain Cocking Serrations are actually slightly higher than the slide surface and are more pronounced. I found these deeply cut grooves to be quite useful, as racking the slide with a fully-loaded magazine is noticeably stiff.

All things considered, the Walther PDP is an outstanding handgun. What really sets it apart from other handguns of the same class is its sheer level of customization, combined with an exceptional trigger. While I purchased mine for personal and home defense, the PDP’s versatility extends to duty applications as well as everyday carry.

Walther PDP Highlights:

  • Trigger – Performance Duty Trigger
  • Grips – Performance Duty Grips with interchangeable backstraps
  • Slide – Optics cut, click here for mounting plate options
  • Sights – adjustable three-dot sights
  • Rail - 3-lug picatinny rail
  • Models available - Available in compact and full size, with 4", 4.5", and 5" barrels  


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