The PDP Match Steel Frame is Walther's update of the Q5 Match Steel Frame to the PDP generation. This flagship pistol is meant to be Walther's ultimate competition model with a mass of 41 ounces (14 ounces heavier than the PDP Match Polymer) to keep the gun anchored in hand through rapid fire strings. The steel frame is cnc'd with incredible precision and I feel takes Walther's art of incredible ergonomics to the next level.
What is it? The PDP Match Steel Frame takes the PDP series' duty-focused design and augments it with competition-oriented features. A steel guide rod, heavy total weight, magwell, and Walther's Dynamic Performance Trigger are added as wel as a 5" barrel for more muzzle energy and a longer slide for a gentler recoil impulse.
Take a look at the incredible design in the tabletop video below.
Why Does it Cost So Much? There are a few apparent reasons for an MSRP of $1,899 (see below for current retail pricing).
Walther includes three magazines, one more than normal with a new pistols. Without considering the special base plate these magazines retail for around $60.
A steel PDP Guide rod is about $55
Magazinewells sell for $75-$85
The Dynamic Performance Trigger sells for $179
So without considering shipping costs, install times, of the magazine base plates simply the included parts at $379 to the cost of the PDP Match Steel Frame before we consider the extra machine time for the slide cuts, and of course the biggest cost is the cnc'd steel frame which costs significantly more to produce than a molded piece of polymer.
CALIBER: 9mm Luger
SLIDE MATERIAL: STEEL
FRAME MATERIAL: STEEL
OVERALL LENGTH: 8.37″
BARREL LENGTH: 5″ 1/9 Twist
WEIGHT WITH EMPTY MAGAZINE: 41 OZ
MAGAZINE CAPACITY: 18/20
MAGS INCLUDED: 3
TRIGGER: Dynamic Performance Trigger
SAFETIES: 3 – AUTO
TRIGGER PULL: 5LBS (+/- 1LB)
Online Prices As of 6JAN24. Click links to see current pricing
The range experience of course followed GBGuns standard protocols, but I must admit something. When I took this (and the PDP Match Polymer) to the range and began shooting I was a bit more relaxed than I realized. The PDP Match Steel Frame shot so well and so softly that I didn't realize I was slacking as a shooter until I shot the lighter polymer-framed gun for its review. The PDP Match Steel Frame performance was excellent, but it likely would have been even better if I had been participating more as a shooter. Another way to look at it is that I was not in my "A Game", but had A-Game level performance because of the PDP Match Steel Frame.
The range protocols were as follows:
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:
Despite me not being on my "A game", and shooting in near-freezing fog, the Walther PDP Match Steel Frame demonstrated great performance and was a joy to shoot. During the tabletop video I felt less impressed than I recall being when handling the Q5 Match SF for the first time, but I think that was simply a matter of perspective. On the range the PDP Match Steel Frame was incredibly comfortable in hand, comfortable in recoil, and ease of placing shots.
The only complaint I have about th gun out of the box are the sights. They're simpler than one might expect on a handgun of this stature, but I also understand that most who will own a PDP Match Steel Frame are likely going to mount a dot on it, so adding fancier iron sights to the cost would be pointless. Aside from my personal dislike of the iron sights, the PDP Match Steel Frame is as much a piece of machining and firearms art as it is a king on the range.