With more than 130 years of fine German engineering, Walther is a name we’ve all come to know and love; synonymous with quality, accuracy, and reliability.
I’ve owned several Walther handguns, including the surprisingly accurate P22 rimfire handgun, and I’ve grown to be a bit of a Walther fanboy. But until recently, I hadn’t ever dabbled in their line of high-quality competition guns. I’m not sure if I wasn’t interested in them, or if I didn’t feel I was ready for them yet. Either way, after spending a few hours behind the trigger of the Walther Q5 Match (polymer frame, not steel frame. Sorry, folks; I don’t have that kind of cash) and sending about 1,000 rounds of lead down range, I might just be a changed man.
I’ll tell you why.
The Walther Q5 Match is pretty to look at. Its sleek steel slide with precision-cut lightening cuts and crisp blue competition trigger naturally catches one’s attention and draws you in for a closer look. The polymer frame features Walther’s famous ultra-comfortable ergos with an aggressive, yet comfortable stippling pattern that just sinks into the hand.
The high-visibility fiber optic front sight and windage-adjustable rear sight offer quick, intuitive target acquisition and a lightning-fast return to your target for quick follow-up shots. If pistol-mounted optics are your thing, the rear sight assembly is easily removed from the slide using a supplied hex wrench. But, buyer beware: You’ll have to order your specific optics plate from Walther as the pistol does not come with any plates. We’ll get to that later.
Standing Out in the crowd
In a sea of quality race guns, the Walther Q5 stands out, in my opinion, for two main reasons. First, it’s ergonomics, which I briefly touched on earlier, and second, it’s factory-standard features. We’ll start with the ergos.
Built on the proven PPQ M2 frame, the Q5 Match features precision-molded finger grooves and a full-size magwell that sort of sinks into the hand. Well, at least for beefy hands and sausage fingers like mine. The stippling is aggressive, but not so much as to feel like 60-grit sandpaper digging into your palms. I stuck with the factory-installed backstraps, though the gun includes three other options to accommodate any hand size.
The extended ambidextrous controls are tactile and easy to operate, though I did find that my thumb liked to ride the slide release lever, which resulted in one failure to lock open on the last round. However, with some adjustment to my grip, that issue resolved itself. Otherwise, the gun is a real dream to shoot.
When it comes to the factory-standard features, the Walther Q5 Match is by all accounts a premium handgun, which is reflected in the price tag a bit. The Q5 Match comes ready to roll with a fiber optic front sight, an adjustable LPA rear sight, an optics-ready slide, and a match-grade trigger system. The five-inch barrel features polygonal rifling and a stepped chamber, resulting in exceptional accuracy at extended ranges. The Q5 Match’s steel slide features precision-cut front and rear slide serrations for easy manipulation; a must when under the pressure of the shot timer.
I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the gun ships from the factory with three flush-fit 17-round magazines. However, with a quick glance at the Walther webstore site, I quickly found all sorts of factory-available upgrades including mag extensions, aluminum mag floor plates, steel and titanium guide rod replacements, multiple optics plates, and more. So if the stock gun ain’t enough for you, there are plenty of factory and aftermarket parts out there to upgrade the pistol.
Walther Q5 Match: Range Performance
While the Q5 Match is catered toward experienced competitive shooters, I had a blast with it on my last trip to the range for a bit of casual plinking. I might be committing a bit of blasphemy here, but I’d venture to say the Q5 Match is more of a utilitarian, do-all gun than just a race gun. But I digress.
Because the pistol features a lightweight polymer frame, it’s a bit snappier than you’d think. It’s still completely controllable and a joy to shoot, but I did find that it was a bit easier to get back on target with a heavy SureFire X300U and a Holosun 407C installed, courtesy of GunMag Warehouse.
Weight eats recoil, so I was more than happy to add the light/optic combo to the gun. With the additional weight, it was easy to stay on target, and the pistol snapped right back to my target between shots. Controlling the pistol under rapid fire was as easy as it gets, and it was easy to punch holes in paper without readjusting my grip or searching for the sights.
My only gripe is that I struggled to accommodate the extended slide stop/slide release with my normal shooting grip. At one point, I caught myself tucking my thumbs to the side in hopes of clearing the lever, only to pull my shots off to the left a bit. That’s not a problem with the gun per se, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the lever design. That’s nothing a little training won’t fix though.
The Q5 Match checked all the boxes for me. It’s accurate, comfortable, consistent, and above all else, reliable. Aside from my inexperienced user error, the pistol performed flawlessly and looks good to boot. If you’re in the market for an entry-level race gun or utilitarian “do-all” gun (except for concealed carry; you’d be crazy to try and conceal this sucker), give the Q5 Match a shot. If you can spare the extra change, you might even spring for the steel-frame version!