Saturday, June 7, 2014

Walther PPQ .22LR Pistol Review

Walther PPQ .22LR Pistol Review

As noted in my previous giddy review of the Walther PPQ M2, it is without question my favorite production compact pistol loaded with all the custom features already included. In short, I love the PPQ M2 design.  Ambi-slide releases, reversible mag releases for lefties, match grade barrel, outstanding ergonomics, light rail, custom look and serration, and a grip which seems magically custom molded to my hand. The trigger is also amazing which leads us to the PPQ M2 .22LR which has an equally amazing trigger in an identical copy of the PPQ M2 9mm. What? That’s crazy, a .22LR version of a full caliber pistol without a 17lb trigger pull in a weight, feel, and finish that is identical to the full bore version - Yes, Mrs Jackson, it is for real.

Works great with Winchester M-22 rounds as well
Forgive my bluntness, however generally most .22LR copies/analogs of the real pistol or rifle suck. Usually the weight is way off, the trigger is substantially heavier, and the quality usually is substantially different than the original full bore version. In most cases they feel like a downsized lightweight kids version of the gun with a trigger pull that a WWF wrestler would have a hard time pulling.

In the case of the PPQ M2, it is a stunning example of what a manufacturer can do when they stop tinkering and just copy a great defensive caliber design into .22LR. It feels, looks, and operates just like the PPQ M2 in 9mm. The only very minor differences are a 0.7lb lighter trigger feel in the .22LR and 0.1lb weight difference when empty. Due to the single stack design, the capacity is also reduced to only 12-rounds in the .22LR version, however in practice it makes little difference to me.

I was a little short on the spy training requires the trigger pull difference between a 5.6lb on the 9mm vs a 4.9lb trigger  on the .22LR. It seemed identical to me. In almost all .22LR pistol analogs, the triggers are usually considerably heavier, however in this case the PPQ M2 is actually a tad lighter than the original. The 0.1lb weight difference is also un-noticeable between the unloaded guns, however loaded the weight varies greatly with a stack of fifteen 9mm 124gr rounds loaded in the 9mm PPQ M2. With eyes open or closed, your hands cannot tell the difference between the two without looking at the size of the hole in the end of the barrel or kicking out the magazine.

My other annoyance with most .22LR “versions” of full caliber pistols is that they usually require premium hyper-velocity .22LR ammo to function reliably. In the case of the PPQ M2 .22LR, it cycles perfectly with anything from standard velocity to hyper velocity rounds. During the recent great American ammo shortage, I was able to still test several Lapua, SSK, and CCI standard velocity rounds as well as a wide variety of high velocity .22LR rounds from CCI, Federal, and Winchester. CCI Mini-Mags, Velociter all performed perfectly as well as the new 325-round Federal Fresh Fire (bulk) Packs. I starting having some feeding issues around the 500 round mark, however I have the same issues on my Ruger Mark III (the pinnacle of .22LR pistol reliability)without a brief range lubing. This tells me the Walther PPQ M2 .22LR pistol  is a very reliable and extremely comparable to the famously reliable Ruger Mark III. A squirt of oil on the range to break the .22LR buildup and the PPQ M2 .22LR pistol starts humming again.

During a recent shopping trip, I scored two boxes of Federal 550 bulk ammo packs. Around a box and a half was fired with this ammo through the Walther PPQ M2 .22LR in just one session after an especially stressful week. There I sat for over two hours banging away on my Action Target steels and some helpless golf balls while sitting on my tailgate. Sure, its an incredible analog for training, however for simply the price of two bulk packs of .22LR ammo, it was worth $600 worth of therapy for me that day being just a fun way to plink away some worries and stress on a beautiful afternoon.

During that plinking session, I did have to give the gun a squirt here and there with some WD40 to clean up the 22LR crude, however it performed on par with my Ruger Mark II and Mark III pistols. Impressive considering it looks and feels like a full sized 9mm and I had a wonderful time just plinking away. The PPQ M2 .22LR does feature fully adjustable rear sights for windage and elevation.

The Walther PPQ M2 .22LR also delivered great accuracy at 10-yards I could easily keep all my groups within a dime-sized group. At 25-yards, 1” groups were doable off the sandbags with high quality match ammo and a clean pistol. Could it be a great hunting pistol as well as a plinker and trainer? You betcha!

Like any pistol it had its favorite rounds. In this case it really liked the CCI Standard Velocity and the Hyper Velocity Velociter ammo from an accuracy perspective with my best groups from those two rounds.

The only real, "gotcha" for me has been the availability of spare magazines and the gun only coming equipped with one magazine. I believe that it should be mandatory that every gun come with at least two magazines, after all you can't even practice a speed-load. I had put of this review in hopes to acquire a few spare mags for reload testing. As of the review, I am still waiting for spare magazines to hit the market and hoping they will not be the same high price as my beloved PPQ M2 9mm magazines.

For around $390 on the street, the PPQ M2 .22LR delivers reliability, precision and one of the few .22LR analogs which actually works with a wide variety of ammo while delivering the realism of the real thing.

I think Walther is missing a potential marketing opportunity to package these as a single box set with three mags each a holster and dual mag pouch. They would likely sell truckloads of them to both new and old shooters.

Sadly, locating any substantial information regarding the  PPQ M2 .22LR on Walther's site is an effort in futility with only one little sputter of info at the bottom of the PPQ M2 full caliber page. Hopefully they will get this updated soon.

Add in the obvious little  benefits of sharing the same holster with its 9mm big brother and you have a perfect compliment to the 9mm and one heck of a stand alone .22LR pistol.

This was the first .22LR pistol which actually had me considering selling a couple of my Ruger Mark III pistols, after all I can train with it and even bag a few squirrels, coons, and rabbits during hunting season. All around a spectacular little pistol.

.22 L.R.
Barrel Length:
Trigger Pull:
5.6 lbs
4.9 lbs
15 rnds
12 rnds
Overall Length:
1.5 lbs
1.4 lbs

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Aussie Aussie Oi OI Oi said...

I have a PPQ .22 M2 and love it (so far). In Australia it costs two or three times as much to buy one of these beauties as it does in the US. On the plus side, it came with two mags and I ordered two more, so no issues there. The only bug I have so far is that my PPQ M2 does not like Federal standard velocity ammo. Maybe it is just the batch, but it does not have enough recoil energy to cycle the action. No stove pipes, it just does not eject. Anyway, this minor issue is outweighed by the many pluses, including that trigger, its great accuracy and the fibre optic foresight, and the fact that it is virtually the same gun in .22 as in 9 mm.

Unknown said...

Strange, I've been running the Federal White box stuff ok (1200fps), however I'm going to try out the SK Pistol Match as I've been told European-built pistols prefer lower velocity stuff. Looking at the recoil spring I don't doubt that claim either.

jimbo69 said...

Same problem with federals.
Any good reliable ammo in .22 thats available in Aust ?

jimbo69 said...

Just bought ppq .22 the feel and fit, very neat gun however i have only used at range once an put couple of boxes of federals thru it with many failing to cycle/ eject .
Can you recomend a good .22 ammo that is reliable and available in Aust ??

jimbo69 said...

Terrible problem feeding using federal ammo...havnt tried other brands yet. Can you recomend good brand that feeds well .22 cal avail in Aust ?

Major Pandemic said...

Unfortunately, I do know know of ammo sourcing in Aust. CCI Mini-mags are great if you can get it.

siffert said...

I have had no misfire, feeding or ejecting problems using CCI .22LR ammo in the PPQ M2 with their
Mini-Mags, Blazer and AR Tactical ammo. The Mini Mags and AR Tactical
are cooper lined and the Blazers are
lead un-coated. Have not used any other brand aside from CCI.

Aussie Aussie Oi OI Oi said...

Here's a comment from another Aussie who loves his PPQ despite it costing three times as much as in the US. My PPQ won't cycle on Federals either. Mini-Mags (1235 fps velocity) work fine but are more expensive. I am currently trying Highland RX high impact and they work fine except that they are a bit longer in overal length. I have had one Highland case rupture, probably because of a a dirty gun, as it fired when the breech was not entirely locked. My fault entirely but no damage done.

Unknown said...

We been using the remington bucket o bullets in ours. Runs like a dream. Maybe 1 or 2 stoppages in 100rds. And they seem to be failure to fires. Great value.

Unknown said...

I purchased this gun a few months ago and frankly have been disappointed. I have the PPQ M2 which is an outstanding product, I just love it. I read all the positive reviews on the PPQ 22lr and made the purchase. While the physical look and feel of the gun are the same, the trigger is nothing like my M2. It feels like a toy plastic product and has a totally different reset (tons of slack) and a very different trigger pull. It feels and acts like a cheap product. I contacted Walther USA and they just laughed me off and said "what did you expect, it's a 22". For the life of me why do they call it the PPQ and pitch it as a training weapon? I'm very disappointed in the product.

I have put a variety of ammo through the pistol and have had mixed success:

Winchester 336 - multiple fail to eject and fire
American Eagle High velocity - multiple fire to fire and eject
CCI standard velocity - No issues
Remington 22 Golden - No issues
Winchester Hollow Point - multiple failure to fire and eject
Remington Thunderbolt High velocity - No issues

Unknown said...

There's always one unsatisfied customer. We can't all be satisfied with all products. The weight is almost the same. So I'm thinking the 9 would feel like a plastic toy as well if your a 1911 fan.

Aussie Aussie Oi OI Oi said...

I managed to blow my PPQ up by using the wrong ammo (I think). Anyway I then discovered that the barrel lining is incredibly thin (what's there is mostly sleeve with a flimsy barrel inside) and the throat was possibly out of alignment. Walther dealer in Aust replaced the parts under warranty. Now that the new barrel is worn in, I can report that it still really requires HV ammo unless one is prepared to put up with the occasional fai to fire or fail to eject. CCI min-mags work best, Remmington HVs work fine also but Federals are a bit hit and miss. Pass on Highland RX HV because it is just a bit too long for the barrel throat. I use this firearm every week at the range and although it is a bit of a toy compared to large calbire centrefires, it is still a lot of fun and very accurate.

Unknown said...

Since I have mine, I put 300 rounds of CCI mini-mag 22lr through my new Walther, and only experience one jam. It simply didn't cycle. Bad round? Try them

418 said...

I'm running anything I got
22 golden bullets 36 gr jp
Federal high velocity bilk packs bought in 2010
WW. Power points 40 grain
Agulia high velocity copper wadh

After a break in of about 750 rounds it was digesting them all without issue

Unknown said...

My impressions with the M2 22lr 'tactical' after a month, 5 trips to the range, with 800 rounds fired.
- Operationally identical to my M2 9mm (good for training), including a full slide (not just a sliding bolt). Apparently this is a tricky thing to accomplish with 22lr. Reportedly they both fit same holster.
- Excellent trigger. To me right now, it seems every bit as crisp as the 9mm. It is lighter than the M2 9mm, but I'm pretty sure that is not an accident by Walther. My guess it's to further enhance shooter accuracy in a gun more designed for targets and training, and not designed for defensive work. It retains a very similar feel to it's bigger brother (compared to a Glock, and P99).
- Excellent ergonomics. Fits like a glove in my hand.
- Very good magazines
- Sights are just ok, I painted the inset on the rear sight white to improve visibility, and installed the red fiber front sight from Walther - both of which helped - much better, but still not great.
- Issues - Pistol is shooting about 4 inches high at 25 yards, and 5 inches high at 30 yards (3" high at 20 yards, right on at 10 yards). I have installed the taller (5mm) front fiber sight as a work around from Walther (free) to get to this point (the replacement sight brought it down about 1 inch at 25 yards). After talking with Casey at Walther, am now sending the pistol in for assessment by their team (apparently there are known issues with some barrels) (no charge).
- Warranty support - Very good (tbd)
- The additional hardware for the silencer adaptor makes for more maintenance, and adds cost. I'd skip this option if not of interest.

Experience with Ammo:
CCI SV and Minimag both work well - no issues in 100 rounds

Rem Goldenbullets - cycles reliably, a little dirty, a little inconsistent downrange - fail to feed 2 in 300 rounds

Federal American Eagle .22LR CPRN 42 - cycles acceptably - fail to feed 1 in 50

Federal Ammunition Auto Match 40 Grain .22LR - unacceptable - fail to fire 1 in 7. When they would not fire, there was no mark, or only a very slight strike mark on the case. I ejected them, reload, they fired next time. Interestingly, they cycle well when they do fire. This leaves me wondering why they wont fire, when they are cycling, but either not resetting the firing pin (which I cannot simulate manually), or the case is out of spec causing the firing pin to miss. I was pretty annoyed with the ammo, so I haven't fully explored the issue.