This firearm was designed with two objectives in mind: The first and primary being an effective weapon for the law enforcement community, and the second concerning the ever-present need for self-defense. This is not a weapon that one would consider for hunting, due mostly to its short barrel; also, the standard clip holds too many rounds to be used by hunters here in Michigan, and probably a few other states as well. However, I believe that they sell an eight-shot-clip model, making it legal for hunting use in my native state.
The result of this weapon's design has been a spectacular, with all of the most (in my opinion) important concerns addressed. To begin with, the weapon is relatively lightweight but not so light as to place too much of the kick in the hands of the user. It is also a very accurate--as well as safe--weapon, having adjustable sights and four separate safeties designed into the weapon.
The action for this weapon is described as a Double action/single action, meaning that depending upon which trigger pull it is, it acts as one or the other. The first trigger pull acts as the double action, moving the hammer (self-contained in this case) as well as the firing pin. In any subsequent shot it acts as a single action weapon moving only the firing pin as the discharge of the shell has already cocked the hammer.
As the firing mechanism engages the powder charge goes off, propelling the bullet out of the barrel, it also works the rest of the action. First, the slide and barrel move back; next, the barrel catches after moving only a short distance, which leaves the slide free to move back and eject the spent casing, before finally moving the next available round into place in the barrel, as the main spring pushes the slide forward. The only energy used comes from the shell, and the weapon is ready to fire again in the blink of an eye.
I'd like to take a moment to explain that by no means is this a hammer-fired weapon. It was designed to feel like a hammer-fired weapon but is in fact striker-fired. I only use the term hammer because it is much simpler. Specifically, this is not just a random feature of the weapon; it was designed in such a manner to follow under the German Police protocol striker-fired pistols, which only need 8 lbs. of force to detonate the cartridge, as opposed to the 12.5 lbs. required by a hammer-fire. This makes for a lighter, smoother trigger pull as well as slightly less actual movement of the gun pre-ignition, which creates a level of accuracy that is highly desirable.
Walther decided when creating this weapon that nothing would be overlooked, so when it was time to hire someone to design the frame of the pistol the job was offered to the world-famous designer of the Olympic "Glove Grip", Moroni; however, instead of asking Moroni to put his traditional grip on the pistol, they asked him to design the most ergonomic handle possible. I have held--if not fired--this weapon, and I have to say it is comfortable, and exceedingly well-balanced.
The frame itself is made primarily from composites, much like the glock. Although I was at first put off by any firearm that was so light, I found that the kick of composite firearms wasn’t as terrible as I originally anticipated.
Now comes the vast improvement from my standpoint: The grip size is adjustable, though all models come standard with the medium. There are three sizes available for purchase, a small, a medium, and a large. This may seem like small potatoes, but many people, myself included, find that some grips feel too small while others feel too large; however, with this model the same problem does not occur. One can simply swap out the medium for the small or large, and in a
matter of minutes one has a pistol of identical weight and balance, but with a grip of the appropriate size.
The weapon uses a typical pistol sight in that the back sight is two seperated prongs, and the front a prong that rises between them; however, the difference between this weapon and many others is that the back sights are adjustable for windage only. The front sight is removable and therefore adjustable for height so that one can zero with the type of ammunition they are using.
This weapon is available in a 9mm x 19, and a .40 S&W.
A seemingly small dimension to a weapon but--just as with every other aspect of this weapon--Walther spared no expense.
The clip was designed and built by Europe's foremost magazine manufacturer, MecGar. The American version of this gun has only a stunted ten-shot clip. This is accomplished by simply putting a plate in the bottom part of the clip. With the European and law enforcement versions, each sports 16-shot clips. This topic brings me to my final heading for this weapon....
This typically isn't viewed as a good thing, but in this case it truly is a good deal. This weapon is completely ambidextrous. Again, this may seem like small potatoes, but speaking as a lefty having used a right-handed pistol this is a great advantage; with a right-handed pistol, you have to stop dead in the middle of what you are doing, switch hands, load in your first round, switch back and then take aim and begin to fire. You're definitely not going to win any speed competition with this tactic. For a lefty, using a right-handed weapon is useless for time-based competition and downright unreliable in a law enforcement situation, where seconds make all the difference in the world.
- Total length: 7.08 in.
- Barrel length: 4.015 in. (102 mm)
- Sight Radius: 6.27 in.
- Height (Total): 5.31 in.
- Width of Slide: 29 mm (1.14 in.)
- Dimensions (L/H/W): 180 mm /135 mm /29 (32) mm
- Weight without Magazine: 609.8 grams (21.51 oz.)
- Weight of Empty Magazine(10-round magazine): 70.8 grams (2.5 oz.), 16rd: 80 grams
- Weight with 16 rounds of Federal Hydra Shok: 875.06 grams (30.86 oz.)
- Single Action Trigger Pull: 4.496 lb. (20 Newton)
- Double Action Trigger Pull: 35 Newton
- Magazine Capacity: 16 cartridges (Does not include cartridge in chamber), 10 rounds for U.S.A. civilian. Custom 8 round hunting clip.