The Walther Arms Company is one that never receives enough attention. When most people choose a handgun, they choose it for a specific purpose and price. When people look for mid-range price defensive semi-automatic firearms, they look at Glocks, Smith and Wesson M&Ps, or a few SIG Sauer models. These firearms have all been adopted by various police forces throughout the country and oftentimes, this makes the weapons shine in the public eye. The Walther has never enjoyed that kind of success with police forces in the United States.
Walther has made more than James Bond’s carry gun. Over the years, they have consistently released modern quality products. Walther is a company that isn’t afraid to take chances. They designed both the first successful double-action handgun and the first double-action/single-action handgun. They are a company that deserves more credit than they get. I’m going to go over a few weapons that I feel are an excellent choice for any gun enthusiast.
Walther has been around for over a hundred years. They first opened their doors in 1886 manufacturing rifles. Rifles aren’t the weapons Walther became known for, however. In 1908, Walther started manufacturing pistols. Fast forward a bit and Walther began making the PP and PPK pistols in .22 LR, .25 ACP, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP.
The PP series of weapons were small, lightweight handguns that were both cheap to produce and dependable. The PP and its many variants are still popular weapons for concealed carry for those exact reasons. The PP was also the first widely successful double-action, semi-automatic pistol. The weapon proved popular with European police who preferred smaller lightweight handguns in contrast to the American police who, around the same time, were adopting larger revolvers.
The truly revolutionary pistol in Walther’s line up was the P38. One has to acknowledge the fact this weapon was designed for and adopted by Nazis, no matter the origin. The weapon was an amazing piece of engineering at the time. The P38 is best known for being the first locked-breech pistol to use a double-action/single-action trigger. Also known as DA/SA, this system is still present in modern handguns and my personal favorite. The weapon also featured the first loaded chamber indicator.
We are going to fast forward some more because after World War II, Walther was essentially reduced to a lot of good ideas drawn on paper. The company was resurrected and began producing their revolutionary handguns. They had some failures like the P88, a wonder nine style pistol. The weapon was beautifully built, a superbly accurate weapon, and highly reliable. The weapon was designed to attract military and police, but its high price failed to illicit much attention.
1. The P99 Comes On The Scene
In 1997, Walther introduced the P99. The P99 was Walther’s entry into the polymer frame world of modern pistols. The P99 has proved itself to be just as dependable as a Glock or a SIG Sauer in some pretty rough environments. The P99 features one of the most comfortable and ergonomic grips I’ve ever held. This is a feature that runs across all Walther weapons. Simply put, they are just incredibly comfortable.
The Walther P99 also features what they call an anti-stress trigger. The first shot is like a traditional double action coming in at 10.8 lbs on my scale, with .55” inches of travel. The next shots are at 5 lbs of trigger pull with only .31” inches of travel. This feature is an interesting idea, but does take additional training to become used to it. The same could be said for the magazine release. The mag release is a paddle placed behind the trigger, but as part of the trigger guard. This took some getting used to, but not only was it ambidextrous, I could choose to use my index finger or thumb. Now this does prevent premature magazine ejection since there is no button to be hit. This is odd for someone trained with the traditional push-button magazine release. Again this is something training will have to overcome.
I love the P99 as a full-sized fighting gun. If the world goes dark, you no longer need to conceal a weapon and a full sized handgun is better in a fight than any concealed carry piece. Do not let the elegant design fool you—this weapon is designed to fight. The sights are low profile and plenty visible. The weapon does feature an accessory rail for lasers or flashlights. The weapon is available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, and has magazines available ranging from 10 to 20 rounds in capacity.
2. And The PK380
The PK380 weapon is just attractive. It’s a sleek, compact design that looks amazing compared to the plain-Jane Glocks out there. There is nothing wrong with plain, but there is also nothing wrong with looking good.
The PK380 is designed for concealed carry. The PK380 is a superbly modern concealed carry .380 ACP handgun. This weapon’s design is incredibly similar to the P99. They both feature similar control and ergonomics. Being able to switch smoothly can be a matter of life or death. The weapon is incredibly lightweight and it’s probably one of the most pleasant carry guns I’ve ever encountered. As I said, the grip ergonomics are wonderful on Walther guns and even the smaller grip is comfortable in my larger hands. The Walther rides so comfortably in an inside- the-waist band holster, it’s hardly noticeable.
The PK380 features a lot of the same features as the P99, including the low-profile sights, the magazine release, the loaded chamber indicator, etc. The magazine does hold 8 rounds in the magazine and an additional in the chamber. You can’t beat the ambidextrous controls on this weapon. They are easy to operate and easy to reach. The accessory rail can be outfitted with a laser that is included in a special package for the Walther PK380. This viridian laser is designed especially for concealment, and fits perfectly on the Walther.
3. The P22 Is Worth A Look, Too
The P22 is actually one of the better-known Walther handguns. The P22 is actually one of the most popular 22 caliber handguns out there right now. The P22 is a scaled-down P99 chambered in the cheap .22 LR. The P22 is an excellent weapon for training, teaching new shooters, or simply as a reliable and handy .22 pistol.
The Walther P22 is a lightweight, accurate, and reliable little pistol. The P22 isn’t like most .22s. Weapons like the Beretta NEO and Ruger MK series of pistols are great weapons, but are often the same size as an average fighting handgun. They also don’t have the ergonomics of the Walther.
The P22 is designed after a fighting handgun and features the same controls. If you own the P22 and P99, you can switch almost effortlessly. The size is the only issue and difference between the pistols. The P22 features adjustable grip backings, different sights for elevation, and an internally threaded barrel.
These aren’t the only three guns Walther has come out with. These three do represent the three main sizes of handguns—full, compact and sub-compact. They all function similarly and feature the same controls, lessening the need for training for transitions. These weapons all feature superior ergonomics. The accessory rails allow you to share different lights and lasers between weapons. All in all, these weapons function together as an amazing team that’s hard to beat. Walther is a company that’s more than James Bond’s gun, but I can see why he picked a Walther.