Walther PDP Review: A Perfect Out of the Box Handgun?

by Stephanie Martz

May 10, 2024



First made as a duty pistol for Law Enforcement and those alike, the Walther Performance Duty Pistol quickly took a sharp turn in being a well loved pistol around the entire firearms industry. Myself included, many now use the PDP as both a carry gun and a competition gun due to its modularity and performance. In this Walther PDP review, we will look at why this pistol is now a go to both in the defensive and competition world.

I reviewed this gun last year, but after spending more time with it and firing off a couple hundred rounds, my thoughts on it have changed. So, let’s dive into this updated review of the Walther PDP and see what’s different now.

The Walther PDP series of handguns is a polymer framed 9mm available in several different grip and barrel sizes.

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Walther PDP Specs

Compact 4in

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Action Striker Fired
  • Capacity 15+1
  • Trigger Performance Duty Trigger
  • Sights 3 Dot w/ Adjustable Rear
  • Slide Steel
  • Frame Polymer
  • Barrel Length 4 in
  • Weight 24.4 oz

Walther PDP Background

As a veteran small arms repairman, I can attest to the fact that Walther is a company known for making beautiful classic pistols. I mean, who doesn’t know the Walther PPK? The company showed their versatility though when releasing the Walther PDP. The first thing consumers saw was a 4 minute long video first seeing of a man in his bathroom putting on jeans and his carry gun. Then, turn to a cop gearing up for shift. In the end, both are involved in a grocery store shooting. This pistol hit the market when it was needed. It is a high end action striker fired pistol with a price that Law Enforcement and civilians can afford and trustworthy in defending ourselves.

Men and ladies can appreciate the firearm due to it’s easy to rack slide, light and clean trigger, and optic ready platform right out of the box. The grip features Walther’s own stippling patterns, serrations on the slide, and a picatinny rail for white light. It also comes with a unique grip texture known as the “Performance Duty Texture”. Basically, the Walther PDP has all things that those who are looking to have a trustworthy firearm need.

Walther PDP Features

Walther PDP Gun Features
1 Easy to Rack Slide

Raised and protruding slide serrations for a more positive feel

2 Slide and Frame Modularity

Both compact and full size frames will fit with any of the three different lengths of slides.

3 Grip Angle

Engineered for pinky pressure and offhand support for better acquiring a red dot.

4 Optic Ready

All PDP models come optics ready, including a free optic plate.

5 Performance Duty Trigger

Defined trigger break and short travel

Models and Variations of the Walther PDP

One of the great things about the PDP is its modularity. You can get it with a few different grip sizes and slide lengths, as long as you want 9mm.

They also have the F series and the Pro Series options. The F series being designed specifically for female shooters while the Pro Series comes with a threaded barrel and a large magazine well.

Walther PDP –  Our Take

Walther PDP Hero Patch

At the PDP release, the interest was there. An optics ready pistol with it’s own upgraded trigger, factory rear sight, red dot ergonomics shaped into the grip, and a factory upgraded slide? It was all things that those who buy a firearm will purchase to upgrade the factory gun! Not things that usually come already with an out of the box gun. When finally receiving the firearm they were right. It had it all.

If I was LE, this would be right up my alley as it is ready to go and shoots well straight out of the box. I’m not LE though, I am a female that carries appendix and dabbles in competition shooting sports.

Competition Shooting

Walther PDP Target

This firearm is the best shooting and most accurate pistol that I have ever brought into USPSA competition, including the ergonomics of it. Right off the bat you will notice the extended slide release, small undercut into the trigger grip, and magazine release button with ledge. These are all things that are needed when doing quick reloads on a stage or clearing a malfunction. My smaller hands have no issues with any of it including racking the slide. The slide also has a unique feature, it’s serrations. Most slides have serrations that cut into the slide however Walther actually made their serrations protrude from the slide adding more grip. I also liked the full-sized trigger guard on this pistol. It has plenty of space, so I didn’t have to bend my fingers awkwardly.

The trigger and grip are also game changers in competition. With the PDT there is a pretty well-defined wall movement. If I were to explain it, as I am taking out the slack of the trigger there is then almost a small click/stop to the trigger letting me know I hit the wall however it doesn’t impede my trigger press. There is then a clean trigger break and I can find that wall immediately again. A game changer in competition due to wanting to take that slack out as I’m coming onto the target.

Walther PDP Grip

As far as the grip goes, it is legit made to find a red dot faster. On the grip Walther chose to add three almost “mound like” placements of material where your palm would land and pinky would push up into. Just enough fill that space in your grip and allow your pinky to press into the gun. A tip that many red dot instructors always mention is when you can’t find the dot, press in with your pinky. This grip helps you with that. The grip also includes a small lip on the front of the magwell allowing your finger to find that first before ramming the magazine home.

The F-Series and Females Alike

Walther PDP Appendix Carry

After the PDP took the firearms industry by storm a couple years later Walther launched the PDP-F Series. While this firearm still allows small statured females like myself to handle it with confidence, the F-Series takes it a step further with a new operating system for reduced recoil, shorter trigger reach, and a reduced grip size. Now, while this was geared for females, DUDES ARE LOVING IT. It’s not a gender thing, it’s a size and preference thing. Large hands have an easier time manipulating things right? So why wouldn’t an improved firearm help with smaller hands? Walther did it again.

As far as carrying my PDP compact as a small female. I have shot it during a Green Ops Class and a USPSA match concealed in a C&G AIWB holster. It will conceal fine and be drawn with ease.

Shootability and Reliability

Although my version of the PDP is a compact model, it shoots like a full size pistol. With its upgraded recoil spring, I barely felt the recoil is barely and I didn’t lose the dot or my grip when shooting the gun. I haven’t had one malfunction in the two years that I have been shooting it.


Walther PDP Red Dot Sight Picture

Remember that this firearm is geared towards Law Enforcement and concealed carry citizens. When in that customer base the price cannot be outrageous, or consumers simply won’t be able to purchase and use your product. For a MSRP of $699.00 Walther was ensuring that we can afford a high end and trustworthy firearm. Think about it. Extended slide stop, serrations on the slide, improved trigger, optics ready with optic plate. Those are all aftermarket products that can easily add up to over $300 dollars. Most are buying firearms for 700 bucks and then adding another $300 dollars in upgrades. You don’t have to do that with a Walther PDP. It comes with all features at a great price.

Walther PDP Pros and Cons 

  • Magazines – Walther gave us 15 and 18rd magazines
  • Optics Cut Slide – Walther provides a free optics mounting plate when requested during purchase of PDP. The slide comes cut for an optic already.
  • Trigger – PDT allows for a light trigger pull with a crisp break
  • Proprietary Optics Plate – You have to have a Walther PDP optics plate to mount any optic
  • Iron Sights – Iron Sights are not tall enough with optic, I can just barely see the front sight with my Aimpoint Acro on the gun therefore I need to buy suppressor high sights to get a good iron sight picture.

Report Card


A compact PDP shoots like a full size, minimal recoil is felt and grip doesn’t need to be adjusted due to an ergonomic grip.


Not one malfunction so far, 5k rounds in


An extended slide release, lip on the magwell, and protruding serrations all make manipulations quick and easy.


The PDT allows for clean and light trigger presses. In a 5 round zeroing drill, all shots were in the same hole at 7 yds.


All aftermarket parts that would normally be purchased no longer need to due to already being on the gun. Self Defense Folks thank you Walther.

Walther PDP Final Grade

Our Grade


Reviewed by Stephanie Martz

Reader’s Grade


Based on 14 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Walther PDP Starter Pack

These three items are must haves for all firearms owners.

  • Eye Protection: Eyes are hard to replace, you need to have eye protection on when shooting. Here are our recommendations for the best shooting glasses!
  • Hearing Protection: Odds are you already are damaging your ears in day to day life before adding shooting to the mix. If you are going to be shooting you need to have good hearing protection.
  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Here is a link to our article on gun cleaning kits you’ll need to keep your firearms maintained.  

We searched the internet and found some deals on the Walther PDP.

Walther PDP – FAQs

Is the Walther PDP suitable for personal defense purposes?

The Walther PDP is made to meet your needs as a personal defense pistol user. Crafted with insights from law enforcement professionals, it ensures reliability, accuracy, and ease of use, providing you with a trustworthy companion in self-defense situations.

How is the grip stability of the Walther PDP?

The grip stability of the Walther PDP is exceptional, giving you confidence and control when you’re firing. With features like the Performance Duty Texture, raised slide serrations, and optimized grip angle, you can maintain a secure and comfortable hold, even in fast-paced or stressful shooting situations.

Is the Walther PDP suitable for concealed carry?

Yes, if you’re considering concealed carry, the compact Walther PDP is a great option. With minimal recoil and a comfortable grip, it’s been tested and used by individuals, including smaller-statured females, in concealed carry setups without any issues.

Is the Walther PDP suitable for both law enforcement and civilian use?

Yes, the Walther PDP was initially designed as a duty pistol for law enforcement but has gained popularity among civilians as well due to its modularity and performance.

Upgrades and Accessories for the Walther PDP

For handguns we always recommend a good holster. Safariland makes great holsters and we think we found a great one for you and your PDP.

We also recommend the aimpoint red dot sight and weapon mounted light to maximize the potential of this handgun.

Finally, you can never have too many spare magazines, and why not get the magazines that hold the most rounds?

Upgrades and Accessories for the Walther PDP

Safariland 7378RDS 7TS ALS Holster
  • Level III Retention
  • Automatic Locking System
  • Fore Use with red dot optics firearms
Check Price
Aimpoint Acro P2 Red Dot Optic
  • Duty rated
  • Larger Window yet similar footprint to a RMR
  • Side mounted battery compartment
Check Price
Weapon Light

Surefire X300U

Surefire X300U
  • Mounts straight to the picatinny rail
  • Compatible with most holsters that accept lights
  • Tactile switches for easy on/off to identify targets but maintain light discipline
Check Price
Walther PDP 18-Round 9mm Extended Magazine
  • Blued stainless steel construction
  • Polished steel spring
  • Polymer follower
  • Numbered witness holes
  • Removable polymer floor plate
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Walther PDP

The PDP is great for both duty uses and competition. Stock up on range ammo and get yourself some duty ammo. We found a few options for you below.

Range Rounds

Magtech 9mm Ammo

Magtech 9mm 115GR FMJ

Cost Per Round
Target Sports USA $0.27
Optics Planet $0.27
Primary Arms $0.36

Defensive Ammo

Gold Dot Handgun Personal Protection 9mm Luger +P

Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 GR JHP

Cost Per Round
Gun.deals $1.10
Optics Planet $1.42
Sportsman’s Warehouse $1.70

Other Pistols of its Class to Check Out

We gave the Walther PDP top grades! However, we have a few other handguns that we think you may also

Editor’s Choice Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS

Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS Feature Image

Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS

The popular compact Glock 19 with upgrades including optics ready MOS system, removed finger grooves, and front slide serrations in 9 mm Luger.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 5 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Metal Frame Springfield Prodigy Commander 4.25 Inch

Springfield Prodigy Review

Springfield Prodigy Commander 4.25 Inch

The Springfield Prodigy is an excellent double-stack 9mm 1911 with many performance upgrades straight from the factory.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 4 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your Walther PDP

Walther has one of the best online users manual I have ever seen. In my mind they have set the standard.

They have detailed videos showing you everything you could possibly want to know from all the makes and models along with the features of the firearm, to how it functions, to how to clean and maintain you Walther PDP.

Check out the links below for the manufacturer’s website and operator’s manual.


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About Stephanie Martz

Steph is a veteran Small Arms Repairman in the Army and former gunsmith in the Federal LE sector. She is very active in the Precision Rifle shooting community (including the National Rifle League Hunter Series and Quantified Performance Series). Keep an eye out for reloading for newbies tips and equipment DOs and DON’Ts, complete with the WHYs.

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