Walther is simply one of the most underrated and overlooked handgun manufacturers of all time. If you inquire about what the best handgun manufacturers are, you’ll most likely have answers that include Glock, Smith & Wesson, CZ, Beretta, Springfield, SIG Sauer, and HK.
Do those listed gun makers make high quality firearms? Absolutely. But Walther makes firearms that are absolutely built at that same level of quality of each of those other manufacturers.
What’s more, is that Walther has always been known for making firearms that are incredibly unique and innovative. In other words, each time Walther releases a new pistol, there’s always something new about it that helps it to stand out not only among Walther’s other firearms but among the firearms industry as a whole.
Here are the best Walther guns of all time:
The Walther P99, which is available in either 9mm Luger or .40 S&W, is simply one of the most unique duty pistols available on the market today. That's because the P99 is a striker fired pistol (much like a Glock), but it also has a double action/single action trigger mechanism (meaning the first shot is long and heavy, and all subsequent shots are short and crisp), which is normally something that you would only expect on a hammer fired pistol.
But the P99 also has a third trigger position called the AS mode. When you pull the slide back around a quarter of an inch, the gun is cocked, but the trigger remains in the double action position. However, the trigger pull is now much lighter to pull, while also being safer to carry than if it were in the single action position. It truly is a marvelous system, and one that is highly under appreciated.
The Walther PPQ is a development of the Walther P99, designed to function much more similarly to a Glock. While the P99 was and has been enormously successfully with military and law enforcement units all over the world, it has been noticeably less popular here in the United States. In the late 2000s, Walther developed the Walther P99Q pistol, which as a single action only trigger much like a Glock or Smith & Wesson M&P (only the trigger pull is much lighter and crisper).
In 2011 in the USA, the P99Q was rebranded as the PPQ and released. It was later evolved in 2013 as the M2 model with a push button magazine release that American shooters typically prefer. The PPQ has become Walther's flagship model for the American market, with a countless number of variants released. It is currently available in the .22 LR, 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP calibers.
Perhaps the most famous Walther pistol of all time is the PPK. Primarily made for the .32 ACP and .380 ACP calibers, the PPK is a more compact version of the Walther PP, which itself is a highly influential pistol. The PPK also became famous for being the standard issue sidearm of 007 in the .32 ACP configuration. The PPK was one of the most common concealed carry semi-automatic pistols for many decades, but has since become supplanted in popularity by many other carry options that are smaller, lighter, and more powerful. Nonetheless, there's no denying that the PPK holds a very important part in Walther firearms history.
The Walther PP was released in 1929 as a sidearm for German detectives and plain clothes police. The PP was the world's first successful double action single action auto, and also uses a slide mounted safety/decocker system that has been replicated in many other famous firearms, including the Beretta 92FS. It also utilizes a blowback action that delivers the recoil directly into the web of the hand, and has likewise been replicated in many other famous and successful firearms as well such as the Makarov and Bersa Thunder. The compact version of the PP is called the PPK, which is a far more famous firearm.
The Walther PPK/S is a hybrid of the Walther PP and PPK, consisting of the barrel and slide of the PPK combined with the frame, grip, and magazine of the Walther PP. The PPK/S was created in order to allow it legal for shipment into the United States following the Gun Control of Act of 1968. The PPK/S is by far the most popular version in the United States, with many shooters preferring the longer grip and extra round over the PPK.
The Walther P38 was selected in the late 1930s to replace the Luger P08 as the standard issue sidearm of the German Army. It was an immensely successful pistol, serving on the battlefields of World War II and in the hands many German soldiers during the Cold War as well. In fact, the P38 served as the main sidearm of the German Army up until 2004, when it was finally replaced by the HK USP in 9mm and .45 ACP (the 9mm USP was issued to German infantry and the .45 to German special forces). The P38 utilizes an internal locking lug system that is virtually identical to that of the Beretta 92. The slide mounted safety and decocker safety replicates that on the PPK.
The Walther P5 was adopted for West German police in the late 1970s. The P5 is basically an updated and more modernized P38, but the internals of the two firearms are very similar. The P5 was widely adopted throughout Germany and the Netherlands in the hands of police forces, but in the 2000s and early 2010s it was completely replaced by the more modernized Walther P99 and HK VP9 pistols. The P5 is unique in that spent shell casings eject to the left hand side of the handgun, much like the P38.
The Walther PPS M1 was released in 2007 as one of the first single stack 9mms compact pistols to hit the American market, having the way for the Ruger LC9, Smith & Wesson Shield, Springfield XDS, and Glock 43. The PPS was updated in 2016 as the PPS M2, which features a more ergonomic grip and an American-style push button magazine release. The PPS is a highly reliable firearm with ergonomics that are designed to replicate the kind that you find on the PPQ. The PPS is available in 6 round, 7 round, and 8 round magazines.
The Walther P22, which is actually manufactured by Umarex, is one of the most popular .22 pistols in the USA Today. The outside of the gun resembles a hammer fired P99, while the internals of the gun utilize a blowback action like you would find on a Walther PPK. The P22 feeds from a 10 round magazine, and requires higher quality ammunition in order to function reliably.
The Walther CCP in 9mm, which is also manufactured by Walther's parent company Umarex like the P22, is a highly unique firearm that utilizes a gas piston system much like the HK P7. It also has a blowback action, similar to the PPK and P22, which means that recoil is transferred directly back into the webbing of your hand. The CCP was updated in the CCP M2 in 2018, which has a much easier take down process.