With Walther's evolution of the classic PPQ line to the modern PDP line (see our PDP guide HERE), it was only natural that after the main carry and duty models were updated, the competition models would follow. Recently Walther announced the new PDP Match in both polymer and steel frames.
What Is It? The PDP Match is a competition-ready model akin to the Q5 Match from the PPQ, but with some extra perks for this generation. A 5" barrel equates to more energy on target, a slower recoil impulse, and longer sight radius for those who prefer iron sights. These are also built on the the full-size PDP frame which permits for 18-round magazines versus the 15-round magazines with extensions used in the previous generation. To see what makes the PDP Match Polymer different see the video below.
The upgardes over a regular PDP, and from the Q5 Match era include a magwell, lightened slide, optics readiness, and perhaps the biggest perk is in the inclusion of Walther's Dynamic Performance Trigger. This trigger is the closest to a crisp hammer-fired trigger I've ever felt in a striker-fired gun. It made the list of best striker-fired triggers for good reason!
What Does the PDP Match Polymer look and feel like? To me it has an air of serious professionalism. Take a look at it for yourself, as well as what comes in the box in the tabletop video below.
CALIBER: 9MM LUGER
SLIDE MATERIAL: STEEL
FRAME MATERIAL: POLYMER
OVERALL LENGTH: 8.5″
BARREL LENGTH: 5″ 1/9 Twist
WEIGHT WITH EMPTY MAGAZINE: 26.9 OZ
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 18rds
MAGS INCLUDED: 3
TRIGGER: Dynamic Performance Trigger
SAFETIES: 3 – AUTO
TRIGGER PULL: 5LBS (+/- 1LB)
Prices around the web (as of 30DEC23, check links for current pricing)
To get to know the PDP Match in a fair and balanced manner the standard GBGuns range protocol was followed as has been done to hundreds of other pistol models. This protocol ensures any reviewer bias (positive or negative) is limited to commentary as the firearm does most of the talking. With such a library of guns reviewed this also makes it easy for you to compare performance and commentary against most other models.
Cold Shots: Truly our first rounds through the gun, on camera, with first thoughts shared.
Full Mag +1: Not all guns are happy at full capacity. This is a combination of pistol design, magazine design, and ammunition used. Unloading the pistol rapidly helps me get a feel for recoil and trigger control.
What's For Dinner™: A test to see what ammunition the gun will eat. Does the gun feed the round from slide lock, will it cycle and feed another round of the same type, does the slide lock to the rear on empty, and is there any notable point of impact change with different loads.
For this gun following ammunition was used:
90gr 1776 USA Lead-Free Sporting $14.79 / 50 at GrabaGun
95gr Magtech JSP
100gr Hornady Critical Defense Lite $23.89 / 20 at Global Ordnance
100gr S&B Non-Tox
115gr Blazer Aluminum Case $17.59 / 50 at Optics Planet
138gr Federal Syntech Defense $33.99 / 50 at TargetSportsUSA
147gr Speer Lawman TMJ
147gr Federal Syntech Training Match $19.76 / 50 at Global Ordnance
147gr Federal HST $38.99 / 20 at Optics Planet
158gr PPU Subsonic FMJ $25.70 / 50 at Global Ordnance
Sights & Trigger Control: on a 6" spinner target at a distance of 12 yards. We got this from Titan Great Outdoors and use it to gauge how learnable the trigger is and usable the sights are for forced, timed, precise shots.
Practical Accuracy: Five shots from a distance of seven yards at a one inch target. This isn't so much about printing a tight group as it is a culmination of the shooting experience and time to collect thoughts prior to making a conclusion.
After Shots: Final impressions and reflections from the range session.
You can watch the process from first shots to comparison in the Shooting Impressions video below:
After more than 60 Walther videos, I was expecting greatness and was not let down. I had just shot the PDP Match Steel Frame prior to shooting the polymer frame and quickly realized I needed to particpate a bit more with the lighter pistol. Once I did that and shot the gun like someone who knows how to shoot I was quickly rewarded with a spectacular experience. In fact, in some ways I enjoyed the polymer model more that day because it felt more like shooting. I'm sure that sounds strange, but because the steel-frame model was so easy to shoot, the polymer frame was more fun to shoot.
Why Offer Polymer and Steel? In my experience, the heavier guns are softer to shoot and tend to rest more in hand. They can be slower to transition between targets, but steadier while settling on target. Lighter pistols are easier to whip from target to target which the risk of not settling as quickly. Both ends can of course be compensated for with training and experience, but it seems to me that if smaller and farther targets are your game, a heavier pistol will benefit you. If targets are larger/closer then the lighter pistol will get you there quicker.