Just mere life is not victory, just mere death is not defeat.

Search The Knowledge

The Walther PDP Compact 9mm - Initial Impressions

walther pdp compact 9mm pistol acro mps hydro shock

The Walther PDP Compact 9mm is the first pistol I have purchased that is not a Glock in the last 5 years.  That was by design since most pistols don't even remotely come close and I do not have emotional reactions to tools, so there was never an impulse to purchase a pistol out of wanting but always need.  Three main factors drew me to purchasing this particular Compact 5" version of the PDP, the fact it comes in a long slide / G19 sized grip, has slide mountable (even though with plates - I will get to this later) optics while taking Glock type sights, and that Bill Rapier (amtacshooting.com) has been running one for a while and only has good things to say about it.  This initial impressions post will cover a bunch of the little things I like, don't like, recommendations, expectations and predictions.

As you can see it's got a lot of markings all over the place, it definitely tells you exactly what you are getting without having to guess.  The frame is stamped "compact" on it.

The OEM texture grip is actually really decent.  It's not a top-tier stipple job from Battle Cock Tactical like I have had on other guns, but for an OEM texture it is probably in the top 5 I have personally tried.  The OEM backstrap is a little too M&P-type round for my taste and I will likely change it out for a thinner version after I shoot it a little bit more.  I want to run it the way it is out of the box first before I change stuff.   The magazine release button is round, which is a great feature that I wish OEM Glocks had, the texture is also very nice.  

The has a very Glock-like appearance to the trigger and the very crisp click of it is one of the obvious standing out points.  Lots of other guns try to make a better trigger than Glock but the PDP actually feels better out of the box.  This is absolutely no small accomplishment and credit must be given where credit is due.  It feels like a very well-worn 4.5lb negative bar 3rd gen Glock 19 or 17 trigger.  I am pretty happy with it so far.  I have done in the area of 2000 dryfire rounds with it and shot around 200 rounds with this pistol so far, just enough to get an overall feel for it, and I am pretty happy with what I am seeing.  Out of the box, the PDP was very accurate.  I shot a few 100s with it and will shoot some more in the future, I put up high 90s every time with the cheapy OEM sights (more on them later).

The rail is full-sized and easily fits any weapon-mounted lights that may be required for this pistol

The serrations on the front of the slide and back of the slide are similar and offer great counter-resistance if you are someone who needs to use them.  Every new pistol should have front serrations of some kind, I don't know why some new guns do not, they should be standard at this point and the PDP serrations are nice.

Once you take the slide off using the center dual side grip slider thing (don't know what it's actually called) and pull the trigger, the slide pops right off.  It looks very similar to a Glock 34 slide in that it has a shortened spring insert, and the barrel looks very similar.  

I did not take the slide apart but I have a feeling it will come apart the same way any Glock slide would.  I guess that this was done on purpose and it is a smart move by Walther.  Most people know how to take apart Glocks at this point and why reinvent the wheel when the wheel is the thing everything else is compared to?  I have not done a thorough cleaning of the PDP yet either so it is still with its OEM lubrication but I will get to it.

The lower of the PDP is also very Glock-like in appearance.  Clearly has seen some changes from the Glock lower.  I do not need to get into the differences, as they are clearly obvious.

A few close-up shots of the PDP lower internals.  Once I sit down and take the whole thing apart for a thorough cleaning I may do another post covering all the little pieces and differences between the PDP and Glock. 

Going back to the slide, the OEM red dot mounting plate cover is a plastic piece that has two Torx screws holding it in.  This is a good thing because under the plate there are exposed internals.

For me, this is an interesting setup because I would consider no exposed internals on a pistol to be the best practice, but clearly, the engineers at Walther did not believe this was the case.  Likely because it comes with a cover and one mount upon request.

I contacted the bros over at Walther and they shipped me this "PDP ACRO" plate super quick.  In the box of the PDP you get a little card you mail back (or email with proof of purchase, I guess) and they will send you one free plate you want to run.  I knew I was either going to be running the original ACRO P-1 or the new Steiner MPS, so I ordered the ACRO plate as it will work for both.  Install was super simple, I threw a small drop of blue Loctite on the threads for good measure as I always do on all mount setups like this.  The issue with all mounting plate setups is that they can, and in some instances will fail over time.  The Glock MOS system has a ton of issues, I am hopeful that Walther did their due diligence, but only time will tell.

I removed the OEM plastic Glock-styled cheapy sights.  I know Walther threw in these rear "adjustable" sights but they are not very adjustable and they are very plastic and cheap, just like Glock OEM cheapy plastic sights.  I assume that the only justification Walther had for not including good sights with a pistol that costs $150+ in most instances over a Glock is that they do send you a plate for a red dot sight, you can also use Glock sights on the PDP, so I guess Walther was specifically targetting the Glock user market segment, which is cool.  Now if they only made the PDP accent Glock 9mm doublestack mags as well as their metal mags, we would have something to really talk about.  

The rears came off exactly the same as any Glock rear, I have a cheap universal rear sight tool that I used to move the OEM rear plastic sight out of this slot.

For the rears, I put on some Ameriglo Pro-I dot rears.  They stick out the back a little bit and I have no idea if they are going to work because they are probably 10+ years old at this point, but they are what I had laying around.

For the front, you have to push the spring mount channel out of the way.  I just muscled it out of place with my thumbs, but you could probably use a flat head to do it.  OEM plastic sight used a Glock front sight screw size and easily came out with a Glock OEM front sight tool (everyone should have one).  

Install was easy, the Ameriglo Pro-I dot front fit snug and I screwed it in with no issues.  I pushed the spring mount channel back into place.  Pretty easy overall front sight swap.

Once I got the rears on, I tightened down the red dot sight mount and attached the Steiner MPS.  The red dot attachment was pretty straightforward, the MPS co-witnesses with OEM Glock sights easily, which I will confirm when I hit the range.

I know I missed a bunch of various features of the PDP, and that's fine since I do not nerd out on pistols.  As I run this gun in various shooting situations I will post updates.  I will also likely grab an F03 holster from BlackPoint Tactical if they make one for the 5", and I may consider developing a Seraph AIWB holster for it down the line.  So far there are two things that I would really have liked to see come standard with the PDP.  Threaded barrel (even on the 5") and an OEM included an extended magazine of 20 rounds.  I know that is not a standard setup most companies do in a pistol box, but that's what everyone wants to see.  As for my expectations and predictions for this gun, I have to do some shooting with it in order to see what it can do.  If Walther wants to knock the king off its throne (Glock) they better have done their homework.