American Rifleman - October 2016 - 57

I t's right there in black and white: "[I]t has been experimentally made and found to be 100% satisfactory for use with the Super .38 and .45 automatic cartridges and pistols in these calibers will be available about the middle of the year." Thus read descriptive copy on p. 146 of the nation's largest gun catalog. The comment related the virtues of the new P.38 pistol from Walther and appeared in the venerable Shooter's Bible in 1939. That pre-World War II catalog was the 31st in a series that continues today, although its status as a true catalog has changed a bit. A publication of the A.F. Stoeger Co. of New York, this thick volume was initially both catalog and reference book. It filled a huge space in Depression-era America that had only the magazine you now hold as a source of definitive firearm and ammunition data. Stoeger was an important importer of European arms, including the products of Germany's Walther. In its day, the P.38 was a milestone pistol, so a .45 ACP or .38 Super version might have sold well in America. But it never happened. There is no surviving sample of any version of the P.38 in either chambering. The main history of the company mentions some pre-war interest in such a gun and the possibility of prototypes, but if they ever existed, they didn't survive the war. Also, that same history shows a pistol named the Big Bore. Designed in the mid-1990s concurrently with the Walther P99, the Big Bore was similar in appearance to the M1911 in .45 ACP. But Walther didn't offer its version of the Government Model commercially. Ergo, no Walther .45s. But Americans love their .45s, despite the rising popularity of 9 mm Luger pistols. For a company that seeks a decent chunk of the American pistol market to not have a .45 ACP option is risky. Thus-for the very first time-American Rifleman offers a review of a new Walther pistol marked with the company's banner logo and, yes, it is a .45. The new pistol is a version of the PPQ model, suitably altered to accept the larger cartridge. To understand the PPQ 45, we have to take a brief look at the recent history of service pistols in general and Walthers in particular. Most of the interest in modern semi-automatics for police, military and civilian use began in the 1950s and '60s, and a particular style of gun began to appear. It was nearly always a 9 mm Luger with high-capacity magazine and double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger system. By the end of the '70s, most police agencies were armed AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG with just this sort of handgun. In the '80s, a different style of gun emerged, typically with the same type of 9 mm magazine, but using various kinds of internal mechanisms, often with simplified trigger systems. In the '90s, we began to see new chamberings to match up with service pistol magazines and double-action-only (DAO) triggers. Walther came in a little late, but in time for the U.S. pistol trials with its P88 series. That evolved into the P99, which featured an unconventional and highly complicated DA/SA trigger system. Our subject pistol-the PPQ 45-is a direct descendant of the P99, with a strong resemblance in ergonomics, finish and general appearance, but with a much simpler DAO trigger system. The striker-fired PPQ was first introduced as a 9 mm Luger and then as a .40 S&W. In either chambering, the PPQ was a very appealing package, with full-size pistols weighing around 30 ozs. and dimensions in line with most of the contemporary models. In 9 mm Luger, the PPQ had a 15-round capacity, which dropped to 11 when the gun was chambered for the larger .40 S&W cartridge. Now that the even larger .45 ACP round fits a PPQ, we have an even bigger pistol. Walther's PPQ in .45 ACP is a large automatic pistol. It would fit into a box measuring 7.4" by 5.8". Thickness across the twin slide locks measures 1.3". It is a recoiloperated gun, operating on the basis of the time-proven tilting barrel principle pioneered by John Browning. Weighing 28 ozs. with an empty magazine, the PPQ 45 takes a double-column magazine of 12 rounds. Among modern pistols chambered for this venerable cartridge, this is one of the higher capacities. Like most of its contemporaries, the big PPQ has a polymer receiver, topped with a steel upper and barrel unit. The sights on the top of the slide are the familiar three-dot type. In an unusual touch, the rear sight is adjustable for windage by means of a screw on the right side. Elevation adjustments require substitution of different front side blades-a higher one will lower the point of impact, etc. There is a slightly elevated serrated rib running between the sights. The flats on the sides of the slide are a bit different than many competing models. Instead of OCTOBER 2016 57 http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - October 2016

Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 3
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 4
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 5
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 6
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 7
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 43
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 46
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 49
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 50
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W2
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