With handguns and just about anything, you have to settle with either form or function. It’s like you can never get both – until you try out the Walther PDP Compact. It’s unlike any handgun you may have handled, and considering the warm reception it’s had, the Walther PDP Compact seems like the real deal.
If you’re looking for a reliable handgun, one that’s a great all-rounder and not too hard on the pocket, you should consider Walther PDP Compact. This Walther PDP Compact review covers all aspects you need to evaluate when choosing what’s arguably the best compact pistol 2023. So, what really makes Walther PDP Compact so alluring, and is it worth the hype it’s getting? Dig in and find out.
The Walther PDP Compact was only released in 2021 and barely two years later it’s sending shockwaves across the industry. Here is a detailed review of the handgun’s features and performance which make it so special.
On paper, the Walther PDP Compact may either seem too good to be true, or it may not seem like much until you have it in your hand and send a couple of rounds down the range. That’s when you’ll realize why this one is every gun enthusiast’s dream. Walther managed to fuse form and function into the PDP Compact, and the result is remarkable. The gun looks, feels, and shoots beyond what you’d expect for a handgun coming in its price range.
Performance is the name of the game with this handgun. Everything about it is designed to complement you in every way. From the well-thought-out ergonomic features like interchangeable backstraps upgrade performance trigger to expertly positioned magazine release, the PDP Compact is meant to perform exceptionally under all conditions.
The gun handles better than others in the same category thanks to its performance textured grip, ambidextrous controls, aggressive SuperTerrain slide serrations and a low-bore axis, which significantly reduces muzzle flip. On the reliability front, Walther is known for its near-flawless reliability. In the two years since its release, the Walther PDP Compact has proved its worth with very few user reports of malfunctions.
Glock 19 and Sig Sauer P320 may appear to be strong competitors owing to minimal price differences or even additional configuration options with the Sig Sauer. However, still toe to toe, the PDP Compact leads the pack. It’s relatively affordable, packs lots of value thanks to the many features it comes with stock, and it’s a perfect all-rounder, everything considered.
Ergonomics is where the Walther PDP Compact truly shines. Despite being a compact pistol, it feels and shoots like a full-size pistol. It’s something that dawns on you once you send a few shots down the range. Starting from its aggressive, well-textured grip that offers unmatched control over the pistol, you can tell Walther is onto something. While the grip texture isn’t abrasive in any way, it allows for exceptional handling in all conditions. Whether it’s sweat, mud or rain, you’ll always be able to expertly maneuver the Walther PDP Compact without much struggle.
It also comes with an interchangeable backstrap, so you can easily switch it depending on your hand size and preferences. On top of that, the PDP Compact boasts a stock performance duty trigger (PDT), which can only be described as clean, crisp and predictable. With a 5.6 lbs. pull weight, this is an ideal pistol for the beginner or experienced shooter. The trigger reset is quick, consistent and slightly audible, making quick repeat shots a breeze, whether in the range or defensive scenarios.
If you’ve been at it for a while, the considerably reduced muzzle flip with this gun may come as a surprise. However, beginners may need some time to get used to it. Another thing worth mentioning is the ambidextrous controls accommodating all shooters. It may not seem like much, but in defensive situations where you can’t operate with your dominant hand, this may come in handy. The Walther PDP Compact also has a naturally inclined angle to it. You can easily draw it and acquire targets at a remarkable speed and with lots of ease.
The controls on Walther PDP Compact are designed with two major aspects in mind. Clarify and ease of use. The first thing you’ll notice is the controls are ambidextrous. This makes it ideal for both left and right-handed shooters. The magazine release falls conveniently under the thumb, ensuring quick and seamless reloads.
But that’s not all. If you’re ever worried about accidental discharge or mag release, you don’t have to with this handgun. The magazine release, like all other controls, is cleverly placed to negate any chance of an accidental release or otherwise unintentional action.
Three-dot iron sights are standard for the Walther PDP Compact. You can further customize the iron sights using luminescent inserts on the front and rear. The rear sights are fully adjustable for wind, but unfortunately, you can’t adjust the sights for elevation with the standard system. The iron sights offer a relatively good sight picture, but again, this is dependent on good lighting.
On the bright side, the gun comes optics-ready. The pistol’s slide features pre-milled prints, which can anchor just about any red dot sight mount. Generally, RDS offers a better sight picture and target acquisition than iron sights, especially under low-light conditions, which may be inevitable in certain defensive situations. If you can, and if you’d prefer, buy and install an RDS on the Walther PDP Compact. While you’re at it, ensure the RDS you choose offers as many adjustability and configuration options as you’d like.
RDS may offer better accuracy, but it could also compromise your concealment efforts since the print may be more prominent. One thing you may not like about the standard model is its three-dot iron sights are not at suppressor height. So, you might need to get an after-market upgrade if you prefer to have the iron sights as a backup should the RDS fail.
The Walther PDP Compact comes with a standard 10-round stainless-steel magazine for the Model 2854686. Other models come with 15-round magazines, while full PDP models feature 18-round magazines. Each purchase comes with two standard magazines. The magazines are solid, durable and can take a beating. You can’t get any better than stainless steel when it comes to magazine construction. With a polymer-based plate, the magazines are as good as they get. The magazines fit snuggly in the gun and generally feel good.
The magazine release is another great thing about the gun. It has a nice texture to it, so you can always find it, and once you hit it, the magazine drops almost immediately. And for double measure, Walther included a little ledge below the magazine release, so you can never miss it. All in all, Walther PDP Compact magazines match industry standards; they’re easy to work with and durable.
Walther really went out of their way with the PDP Compact. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a range bag. The good is there are plenty of range bag options in the market. Consider the following when choosing a range bag for it:
As much as they’re fun and convenient, handguns can cause a lot of unintentional harm. Most of this is a result of improper gun handling techniques and even storage. To this end, Walther didn’t come to play with the PDP Compact. Everything about it is designed with your safety in mind. Right from the well-textured grip that ensures firm control over the gun in all circumstances to the optimally positioned magazine release that prevents unintentional pressing.
Additionally, the gun comes with a whole suite of internal safety features to prevent any accidents. These include a firing pin safety (internal firing pin block) and an indicator to show if the chamber is loaded or not. As for the safety switch, it’s located inside the trigger hold and looks like a ledge going halfway through the inside of it. To activate it, you need to press it, and the same goes for when you need to deactivate it.
Other great safety features include: a strike indicator which shows whether the gone is in a ready state or the striker isn’t cocked, drop safety, and magazine disconnect safety. All these guarantees there won’t be any unintended discharges or accidents when handling the pistol.
Still, you have to keep safety practices in mind when operating the PDP Compact. The pistol itself will cover most areas you may not have thought about, but be careful when handling it. If you’re starting, ensure you watch the owners’ manual Trusted Source Walther PDP Owners Manual This video series covers the Walther PDP (Performance Duty Pistol) the newest member of the Walther Arms lineup. waltherarms.com or better yet enroll in a firearms safety program or course near you to learn how to handle the Walther PDP Compact and any other gun safely and responsibly.
The Walther PDP Compact stands out in sharp contrast to other pistols in this category. One way to describe it is that it has a rugged yet polished look thanks to its precise and bold lines, not to mention the aggressive SuperTerrain slide serrations on the slide. Somehow, the manufacturer managed different user preferences while maintaining near-flawless reliability and functionality with the pistol. Nearly every aesthetic quality of the PDP Compact serves to improve its functionality.
It’s one thing to look at and another to hold and try it out. Naturally, you may expect aesthetic features like the SuperTerrain slide serrations and textured grip to be a problem down the line. The opposite is the truth. Employing ingenious design, Walther managed to ensure you can get enough texture on the grip without it becoming too much or abrasive to the touch. The same goes for the SuperTerrain slide serrations. They certainly give the PDP an aggressive, rugged look, and you might be forgiven for thinking they’ll eat into performance and ergonomics. However, once you try it out, you can feel the positive feedback with each cycle but without any abrasion to your hand. How Walther pulled this off is a story for another day, but on aesthetics, no pistol in the same class comes close to the Walther PDP Compact.
For a pistol in its class, the Walther PDP Compact is slightly bigger in terms of size and mass. To put this into perspective, it has a width of 1.33 inches, which unfortunately pales in comparison to others in the same class. For instance, the Glock 19 has a width of 1.26 inches, but it’s still considered bulky.
All the same, despite this, the Walther PDP Compact is easily concealable. However, you’ll still have to contend with being aware of its presence at all times and the occasional printing. If printing is an issue, you may want to consider getting some of our recommended holsters, which offer more comfort, better concealment depth and, not to forget, easy and practical accessibility.
Walther PDP Compact starts at $699, and honestly, it’s a steal at this price. Look at it this way. A comparable pistol in the same class would go for at least $600-700, and that’s on the lower end. However, you’ll also need an extra $200-300 or so to kit it out to match the gun’s stock features. It also goes without saying that after-market modifications severely eat into a gun’s reliability and durability in the long term.
It’s like the team behind Walther PDP Compact looked into all the after-market modifications and factored the most common into the design of the pistol. The result is a fully-kitted, feature-rich stock compact pistol coming at an incredibly affordable price point. Adding on to the fact that Walther is known for making high-quality, durable and reliable guns, the verdict is clear. Walther PDP Compact is a sound investment if you’re in the market for the best compact pistol.
A key defining characteristic of the pistol is that, unlike previous handguns by Walther, the Walther PDP is designed for more modularity. In addition to the stock features, you can easily spec it up with a wide range of after-market accessories and upgrades.
The entire PDP series comes red dot-ready, and you can easily install your optics on it. If you’re not interested in optics, Walther has you covered with the free optic plate that comes with each pistol. In case you didn’t receive yours, you can always request one from Walther Arms at no extra cost.
The stock Walther PDP Compact comes fully packed with features unlike other options in the same class, but you can always go for after-market upgrades. A little downside with the PDP Compact is you must request a mount plate if you intend to install after-market optics. After-market mounts won’t do, and you must contact Walther Arms via their website to get the mounting plate. Although this can be slightly inconvenient, the upside is that Walther delivers it fast to wherever you are, and best of all, it’s free.
Some additional accessories you may get for your Walther PDP Compact include:
Having the right ammo is key to the safe and proper use of any gun. As you choose your ammo, ensure it’s appropriate for the intended purpose and suitable for the pistol. The Walther PDP is a 9MM Luger, so keep that in mind as you select your ammo. For self-defence purposes, you’d want to go with something that has adequate stopping power. Bonded jacketed hollow point or regular hollow point rounds are perfect for this.
For competitions, look for ammo that has consistency to it and with a focus on accuracy. Precision hollow point is a good place to start. Finally, for target practice, consider getting full metal jacket rounds, which can go through targets while offering relatively less recoil and better accuracy. Don’t forget to check the laws and regulations that apply to ammo types allowed for different purposes. This may seem like a no-brainer, but with the law and authorities, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
If you’re looking for a perfect all-arounder compact pistol that’s reliable and easy to work with, the Walther PDP Compact is your best choice. There are some considerations you may want to relook at about this gun, but generally, it ticks most of the right boxes. Hopefully, this Walther PDP Compact review answers all questions you may have about the gun.