Walther PPS .40

One of the things that stands high on my “to-do” list is shoot and write about a particular pistol that seems to be running under the radar. It is a Walther, sold in the United States by Smith & Wesson under a strategic agreement with the legendary German gunmaker. Most shooters are aware that this agreement has resulted in a number of the very popular Walther pistols becoming available in the United States at competitive prices. The particular pistol to which I refer is the Walther PPS, which stands for Police Pistol, Slim. As a guy that has looked at all of the current genre of small, single column 9 mm Luger pistols in detail, I found the PPS in 9 mm to be a very appealing personal defense package. Best of all, it was reliable.

But another version of the PPS was introduced a year or so back and has received very little attention. It is the PPS .40, a suitably modified version of the original that fires the more powerful .40 S&W cartridge. Almost none of the range of skinny nines can be adapted to the larger cartridge—Kahr is the exception—but I just got delivery of the first PPS in that legendary planet wrecker of a personal defense cartridge, the .40 S&W.

I won't go into another tirade about this cartridge, which was arguably the most immediately successful round ever introduced. A potent medium bore, the Forty sometimes presents problems to less sturdily built guns. It operates at greater pressure than most of its contemporaries and that translates to high slide-velocities. Because of this, it takes a well-designed and strong pistol to run the .40 S&W. The smallest pistol ever chambered for it was the Kahr, with the PPS is in the same size class. The Kahr was a nasty kicker and I anticipate the same from my new Walther. But the various desirable features of the PPS make a little recoil acceptable.

In .40 S&W, the gun comes with 5-, 6- and 7-shot magazines. Each additional round means another little bit of length to the butt section, as the five rounder fits flush. The longer the magazine, the more gun to grip. It really seems that Walther's designers understood the need for minimal dimensions on a concealed carry gun. The pistol's backstrap comes in three sizes to accommodate various hands, all slender in keeping with the gun's design parameters. This little Walther is not particularly expensive, seems to work well, but a further positive commentary on the model in .40 S&W will have to wait for a detailed shooting review, which will appear in the pages of American Rifleman soon.

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10 Responses to Walther PPS .40

Montell wrote:
June 10, 2014

Purchased my PPS .40 in March & have put about 600 rounds through it; love it, love it, love it! Very accurate & some recoil, but very manageable. This pistol definitely slipped under the radar. Love mine & would not hesitate to buy another.

Buford wrote:
May 25, 2013

I have this gun and am very satisfied with it. Easy to conceal and enjoy shooting it. If you are shooting 3' low at 25' it's not the gun.

Robert wrote:
April 20, 2013

XS sights have a high front post for PPS.

Greg wrote:
April 15, 2013

Purchased the PPS in .40 about 4 months ago. Have put about 500 down range and am looking to get rid of it and get the UC II like I started to do. Very uncomfortable pistol to shoot. Like holding a pineapple. Recoil is on high end but manageble. Also, shoots 3' low at 25'. Not a fan of having to adjust sight picture when in a hurry. Advertises different height front posts but they are not availabe. 3/10

Chris wrote:
January 08, 2013

I just bought one of these little Walther gems a few weeks ago. I was originally looking at the 9mm but someone came in and bought it. When I went back to the store, the .40 was in the case. It feels fantastic - fits my hand perfectly and with additional backstrap included, you can customize the fit. Mine came with 2 backstraps, a 7 round mag and a 6 round mag. The balance is excellent and it's light while still feeling substantial. It is also stupidly fast to strip and reassemble. It does have a very long trigger throw, but I personally don't mind. I can't wait to get to the range with this pistol!

Shallowsport wrote:
January 05, 2013

Buddy of mine has this gun. Tried it out and found it to be comfortable and accurate. Now I have my own and with 70 rounds shot have found it great right out of the box.

ZeusTx wrote:
January 01, 2013

It felt good in my hand when it was handed to me. Thus the reason I am looking up any info on this weapon.

Pete wrote:
June 10, 2012

Feels very, VERY awkward in my hand. Sorry Walther, this one did not get past the initial "pick up" in the store.

mark wrote:
June 01, 2012

I own a PPS in .40 and it kicks hard, but if held firmly it is extremely manageable and it is really accurate while having only a 3" barrel. It carry it regularly with the 7 round mag.

Gary wrote:
June 01, 2012

Thanks for writing an article in which you emphasized that the .40 is a real shock and awe kind of cartridge, a real big-boy round that is up to the task of saving your life. Far too much space is spent on glorifying small guns that fire small cartridges that come up way too short on penetration and permanent wound cavity. Readers shouldn't be misled into thinking that the term "self-defense gun" in a generic term applied to all handguns, regardless of lethality. Now Mr. Clapp, would you please, please, PLEASE, starting now, with this Walther, tell us if the pistols you review have a supported or unsupported chamber. This is a top concern for handloaders and shooters using factory reloads. And if you kept this information up-to-date in a data base that was retrievable by us, you would be the best thing since smokeless powder. For readers not quite understanding the importance of this request, please Google "glock kB" and read some of the articles and watch some of the videos.