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

American Rifleman - October 2016

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
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 8
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 9
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 10
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 11
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 12
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 13
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 14
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 15
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 16
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 17
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 18
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 19
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 20
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 21
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 22
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 23
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 24
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 25
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 26
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 27
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 28
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 29
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 30
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 31
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 32
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 33
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 34
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 35
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 36
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 37
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 38
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 39
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 40
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 41
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 42
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 43
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 44
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 45
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 46
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 47
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 48
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 49
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 50
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 51
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 52
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 53
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 54
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 55
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 56
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 57
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 58
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 59
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 60
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 61
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 62
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 63
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 64
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 65
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 66
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 67
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 68
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 69
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 70
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 71
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 72
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 73
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 74
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 75
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 76
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 77
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 78
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 79
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 80
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 81
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 82
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 83
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 84
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 85
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 86
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 87
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 88
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 89
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 90
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 91
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 92
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 93
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 94
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 95
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 96
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 97
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E2
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
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 100
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 101
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 102
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 103
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 104
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 105
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 106
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 107
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 108
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 109
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 110
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 111
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 112
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