The Walther PPS M2: Still a Good Choice?

The Walther PPS helped create the single stack subcompact concealed carry pistol trend. The PPS hit the market in 2007 and, despite less-than-stellar looks, was an immediate success. True to the Walther reputation, the PPS combined accuracy, reliability, and concealability to provide a superior concealed carry experience. The PPS M2 arrived nine years later with improved ergonomics, an easier takedown process, and sexier lines. The PPS M2 is perhaps the slim single stack 9mm by which all others are judged, but its reign was fleeting thanks to the double stack Sig P365’s arrival in 2018.

Walther PPS M2 pistol
Does the Walther PPS M2 deserve a place in your system? (Author’s Photo)

The Sig Sauer P365 and P365XL offered considerably more rounds in a comparably sized frame and slide, prompting many concealed carriers, including me, to change. So, is the single-stack PPS M2 still a viable concealed carry choice, or has its usefulness fallen by the wayside? The answer is obviously subjective, but let’s look at the Walther, see what it offers, and I’ll tell you how I’ve kept it in my system.

The Police Pistol Slim (PPS)

The Walther Police Pistol line goes all the way back to the original 1929 Polizeipistole (PP) designed by Fritz Walther. It continues today with Walther’s Police Duty Pistol (PDP). The PPS is sometimes portrayed as a modern PP or PPK. It’s a fair comparison, though the PPS won’t likely achieve its ancestors’ iconic status.

But the roles are certainly similar. Small, concealable duty pistols for policemen or detectives, as well as convenient civilian carry guns. The PPS M2’s frame even hints at the PP and PPK’s distinctive taper forward of the trigger guard. But the operation is very different, which is a topic for another day.

The Walther PPS M2 is a polymer-framed, striker-fired semiautomatic pistol chambered for 9mm Luger. Walther also offered the original PPS in .40 S&W, but the M2 ditched the larger caliber. The original, now called the PPS M1, also had the ambidextrous trigger guard-mounted paddle mag release, a feature I love, but the M2 is only available with the familiar push button release. The button is not ambidextrous, nor is it reversible. That mag release is the one thing I like less about the M2 compared to the M1. I expect most of you will disagree with me there.

The M2 also didn’t keep the original’s one-slot rail section under the barrel. I can’t say how useful that rail was, but at least you had an option. The tapered-frame aesthetic replaced it. Judge that how you will.

PPS M2 Improvements

But the M2 is an overall better gun. First, The M2’s grip is light years ahead of its predecessor’s. The PPQ-style stippling is exactly how I like it, though many folks prefer something more aggressive. Either way, it beats the M1’s dimpled grip. The thin, blocky shape is gone, replaced by nice contours, a generous palm swell, and shallow finger grooves.

Walther PPS M2 8 and 6-round magazines
The PPS M2 features improved ergonomics, a better slide, a new mag release, and optional extended mags. The 8 and 6-round mags are pictured here. (Author’s Photo)

The M2 also dumped the “Quicksafe” striker disconnect function, which simplified the newer pistol’s takedown process. The M2 disassembles like most other polymer striker-fired guns. Another addition was the easily visible rear cocking indicator. Yes, I agree that shooters should know whether their gun is cocked. But I don’t mind an extra way to be certain. The indicator can be verified by touch in the dark, but it’s not prominent, so you’ll need to practice it in the light to get the proper feel. The PPS also has a top chamber viewport, which I like.

The M2’s slide is also better, with front cocking serrations added for more positive operation. The trigger still has the blade safety, but its face is a little wider, making it more comfortable and easier to run. The trigger itself is fine if nothing special. It breaks at about 6 lbs. after a little more take-up than I like, being used to the PPQ. The reset is also noticeably longer than the PPQ, but the break on follow-up shots is pretty good. I’m probably being a little harder on the trigger than I should, but the PPQ spoiled me.

I’ll also add that the M2 is much more aesthetically pleasing than the M1. I know it doesn’t matter, but everything else being equal, I like my guns to look good. The PPS M2 looks good. I suppose I should include the button mag release as an improvement since most American shooters see it that way. Fine, I did it. I still like the paddle better, if only for its ambidexterity.

The PPS M2 at the Range

The PPS was my first subcompact pistol, and I was a bit skeptical of how it would shoot. I needn’t have worried. The grip locks naturally in my hand, and the recoil is lighter than I anticipated. There was certainly some muzzle flip, but the superior grip made it very manageable. My only issue there is that my pinky finger won’t fit on the flush 6-round mag. But it’s a subcompact, and firearms always have trade-offs. I get my full grip on the extended 7 and 8-round mags.

Walther PPS M2 magazine lengths
The PPS M2 offers full grips on both extended mags but not the 6-rounder (left). (Author’s Photo)

The gun is more accurate than I am, which is the norm with quality modern handguns. I don’t practice with the PPS as much as I did, but I could regularly hold two-inch groups at 7 yards when it was my primary carry gun. Not Jerry Miculek, but it works for me. I’m still not far off that mark now. As I said before, the trigger is comfortable and pretty good, though I think my P365XL’s flat-faced trigger is a little better. But to be fair, a carry gun shouldn’t have a competition trigger.

Let’s hit the PPS M2’s specs before getting into how it carries and how I use it now.

Walther PPS M2 Specifications

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Capacity: 6/7/8+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.2 inches
  • Overall Length: 6.3 inches
  • 4 inches with flush 6-round magazine, 5 inches with 7-round mag, and 5.25 inches with 8-round mag
  • Width: 1 inch
  • Weight Empty: 19.4 ounces
Concealed Carry
The PPS M2 is the most comfortable pistol I’ve ever carried. (Author’s Photo)

Carrying the PPS M2

The PPS M2 is probably the most comfortable gun I’ve ever carried. My P365XL replaced it as my numero uno, but the PPS feels better, if only because of the grip texture. Depending on my holster choice, the Sig’s grip can irritate the heck out of me. The PPS never did that. Call me a wuss, but it’s true. The PPS just has more comfortable contours than the P365XL. The Walther’s low-profile slide and mag releases make for an almost slick-sided gun, meaning the PPS draws quickly and easily every time, assuming a quality holster.

But let’s face it; the P365XL gives me a 12+1 capacity compared to Walther’s 8+1. And despite the Sig being smaller, I can still get my pinky finger on the grip. The only way the PPS matches the P365XL’s height is with a 7-round mag. That’s an easy choice to make, especially considering the Sig is excellent in its own right. So, the P365XL now rides on my hip where the PPS formerly hung out.

But the PPS still has a place for me. I don’t always carry a backup gun. In fact, I don’t most days. But when I feel the need or just want a backup, I usually turn to the PPS. I have a Velcro ankle holster that holds it perfectly inside my left ankle. I don’t even remember the holster’s brand, but it works. The Walther’s light weight and slim profile are perfect in that role, even with the 8-round extended mag. I almost forget that it’s there, and I sometimes run the PPS on my ankle as my only weapon if I can’t carry anywhere else. I had a job a few years back where hip carry was problematic. But no one ever saw the PPS on my ankle.

Vertx Ready Pack concealed carry compartment
The PPS M2 is perfect as a low-profile backup gun. (Author’s Photo)

I also occasionally run it in a backpack’s concealed carry compartment. Again, no one but me knows it’s there, and it’s so light that it doesn’t affect the pack’s weight. The P365XL on my hip, coupled with the PPS somewhere else, is a pretty good setup.

Is the PPS M2 reliable?

My son gave me my Sig Sauer P365XL for Father’s Day a couple years back. What a great gift. It quickly replaced my PPS, which I considered selling. But I held off, looking for a way to justify keeping it. Not that I need much justification to keep any firearm. I soon realized that the PPS offered options I hadn’t previously had. Subcompacts on the hip and the ankle. Awesome. Or just the ankle, on which I prefer the PPS because it’s more comfortable.

The point is that I have a high-quality handgun that lends itself to easy concealment. Why would I completely ditch that? Sure, I could always buy another Sig or whatever, but I already have this one. I see no reason to needlessly drop hundreds of dollars on another gun. Your mileage may vary, but I’ll use the proven gun that I have and like.

Walther PPS M2 and Sig Sauer P365XL
The Sig P365XL replaced the PPS M2 as my EDC gun. But the PPS still has its uses. (Author’s Photo)

So, to answer the article’s initial question, yes, the Walther PPS M2 is still a good choice and still very reliable. It’s maybe not the best choice since the advent of double-stack subcompacts, but it’s still good. The PPS M2 is a reliable firearm from a proven company. I’m not saying you should rush out and buy one, but if you’ve moved on to a higher capacity sidearm but still have your slim single stack, maybe get a little creative with it. It’s a good way to re-engage a great gun and give yourself a couple more carry options.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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