Being a big fan of Walther guns pretty much my entire life, I always wanted to carry one but hadn’t really found the right model. The Q5 is just fantastic, but a bit too large. And my PPS and PPQ are great at the range, but just a little heavy for everyday carry. I just was never able to carry them comfortably. That is where the Walther Arms PDP Compact comes in.
The Walther Arms PDP Compact
When I approached the Walther booth at the 2020 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, I was immediately drawn to a new pistol that didn’t really look like any Walther I had fired before. I picked up this new mystery pistol and grabbed a loaded 15-round magazine and started shooting.
The guys from Walther asked me how I liked it. To which I replied, “I don’t know—I think I need a few more magazines.”
This was because the gun was awesome, and I didn’t want to put it down yet.
This mystery pistol turned out to be the brand new Walther PDP. Walther had both offerings of the PDP—the Full-Size and the Compact—on the table. But I really fell in love with the compact version.
The PDP Compact is not exactly what I would call “compact,” but for some reason that’s how the market describes these guns. The PDP Compact is very much Glock 19ish in size, which really makes for an amazing carry-size gun.
The Walther Arms PDP Compact is clearly built and designed with carry and duty in mind. The pistol comes ready to take a red-dot sight (RDS) for those shooters looking to run one. Walther offers a wide variety of proprietary mounting plates, so you can use pretty much any RDS you prefer.
If you choose not to run an RDS, the PDP comes with a cover plate to maintain that factory look and feel. The cover plate fits the gun very well and includes the deep factory serrations, creating a very nice, aggressive edge to grip.
Those same deep serrations are also found on the front of the slide, providing great grip for performing press checks. Walther calls these “Super Terrain” serrations. I’m not sure exactly what that means. But when you make a gun with serrations this deep, I do feel that naming them could be necessary.
On top of the slide you’ll find a decent, if pretty basic, set of iron sights. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. The new Walther Compact pistol features a 4-inch barrel. Walther’s unique and innovative stepped chamber is designed to offer better performance and long-term dependability with any ammunition.
Performance in Hand
A Performance Duty Trigger (PDT) with a crisp break and a very light, short and smooth reset boosts accuracy and improves the shooter’s confidence. The trigger shoe has a typical curved style, and unfortunately is made of polymer. It’s not that polymer doesn’t work, but just that I am not a fan of plastic on my trigger.
The trigger sits in one of the most ergonomic frames I have ever wrapped my hands around. It feels almost as if Walther took a mold of my hands and designed this grip to accommodate them. The PDP ships with different backstrap panels as well, to customize the grip to every hand. Incredibly, the grip texture looks and feels almost like a custom hand-stippling job.
A slight undercut on the triggerguard and some subtle finger grooves really give a positive, performance-based feel. On the front of the frame is a basic accessory rail for installing lights and lasers. The magazine release button is reversible and well sized for quick changes, and the slide stop is ambidextrous.
I did little shooting at the media event, so when I got the chance to handle the PDP on my own, I was ready to run it hard. After scrounging up whatever ammo I could, I headed out to the range—the ammo shortage has affected us all—and began shooting.
I started out with the cover plate installed, running iron sights for the first 100 rounds to get a feel for the gun. The sights are pretty basic, and it didn’t take much to get my shots on target. I was shooting a silhouette target at about 20 feet and was able to achieve very consistent 1-inch groupings.
I was at an indoor range with some fancy target systems that allow you to run drills, so I started doing a few speed drills to really get the feel of the PDP. Then I decided to install the Leupold plate with a DeltaPoint Pro and try those same drills with a dot. After zeroing in the RDS, I could easily achieve tight, sub-1-inch groups on paper and was able to cut seconds off my drill times.
This gun just felt so damn good in my hands. Due to the incredible grip and ergonomics, perceived recoil was minimal. It was easy to acquire the iron sights because the gun pointed so naturally on target.
All told, I was able to put 350 rounds through the PDP. In one session I fired 200 rounds, with one ammunition malfunction. I believe it was a bad primer in a reloaded round because the strike looked hard, but the round wouldn’t fire. I did try that round again, and it still failed.
At close—what I call “defensive”—distances of 25 feet and less, I was consistently able to put rounds on paper shooting five-round groups. At 20 feet, they all fell within 1.5 inches with iron sights and less than an inch with the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro.
I achieved my best group with the PDP Compact while shooting a slightly hotter load. The Hornady Critical Defense 124-grain and Federal 138-grain Syntech Defense consistently churned out the best results at 20 feet.
Shooting one-handed, with my non-dominant hand, double-tap, rapid fire and even from the hip, going through multiple magazines in a row with no cool-down. The PDP performed perfectly. I fired those other 150 rounds through the gun using ammunition from HSM, Black Hills, Hornady and Wilson Combat, plus some random reloads I was able to get from a local reloader. The PDP flawlessly ate all those different bullet weights and types of ammo.
Then I tried more for speed than for accuracy. Honestly, I needed to blow off some steam, and range therapy was needed. You all know how that kind of shooting goes: fast and furious. And sometimes that kind of shooting really simulates the real world quite accurately.
It would have been better to send more rounds downrange during testing, but 9mm ammo is tough to find right now. But those 350 rounds were enough to convince me that the PDP Compact is a performance-driven pistol that is designed to be carried and used.
Walther seems to have hit all the wants and requirements of pretty much all shooters. Whether you are new to concealed carry or have been carrying for years, the Walther PDP is for you. Normally a pistol with this much thought put into it comes with a price tag that keeps it out of reach of many people looking for an amazing everyday carry gun.
However, the PDP Compact’s MSRP is just $649, making it a very affordable and extremely good option.
For more information, visit WaltherArms.com.
Walther Arms PDP compact Specs
Barrel: 4 inches
OA Length: 7.5 inches
Weight: 21.4 ounces (empty)
Sights: Optic ready, adjustable white dots
This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World October/November 2021 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featuring an integrated compensator, the P320 Spectre Comp from SIG Sauer has improved accuracy...
by Personal Defense World / Mar 8, 2022