At a glance, it is pretty obvious that the PPS M2 is a total redesign of the frame, grip, and slide. It goes even further on the 9mm versions. The squared off upright stance of the PPS has been replaced by more contoured lines, a more ergonomically shaped grip and a sense of style that the otherwise excellent PPS seemed to lack. As for the personally lamented loss of the ambidextrous triggerguard-mounted magazine release, I may be in the minority of Walther owners in the U.S., but I never had a problem with it or learning how to instinctively use it to drop an empty magazine. The new push button release is just as fast and by and large, more familiar to the majority of semi-auto pistol owners, but not ambidextrous.
Redesign by design is the best way to summarize the total number of changes between the Walther PPS (henceforth the PPS Classic, anyone for a Coke?) and PPS M2 centerfire and CO2 models. The Umarex Walther PPS M2 shares very little with the PPS, aside from internal operation and trigger design, including the obligatory crossbolt trigger safety. The M2 clearly shows its PPQ M2-driven design changes making it a more contoured pistol that is better balanced in the hand. Visually the PPS and M2 have almost nothing in common, but as a CO2 training gun, the M2 falls into that same perfect niche as its predecessor. But perhaps even better, as each of the PPQ derived enhancements to the PPS benefits not only the gun but the individual who handles it.
How do I change thee? Let me count the ways. Beginning at the muzzle, there is a new contour with more rounded (re-holstering friendly) lines. The triggerguard is completely redesigned, though still large enough to get a gloved finger in there without running into the trigger. The flat bottomed PPS triggerguard has been replaced with a rounded contour and undercut to allow more room for fingers to warp around the PPQ M2-inspired grips. The grip surfaces have a lower profile, the same tactile “non-slip cross directional grip surface” and rounded, palm-filling backstrap curve as the PPQ M2. And if you are wondering if the PPS and PPS M2 18-round stick magazines are interchangeable, the answer is no.
Take a look at the larger Walther PPQ M2, especially around the grips and button magazine release…now go back and look at the PPS M2; it has the same basic shape to the grips. This is a notable improvement over the original PPS grip design which was functional but not nearly as comfortable.
To avoid redundancy with the photos and captions, I’m going to give a brief summary of the changes, which are detailed in the comparative photographs of the two Walther air pistols. With the exception of the removable backstrap, which has been eliminated on the centerfire PPS M2 model, (along with the earlier “Quick Safe” design which de-cocked the gun and rendered it inoperable by removing the backstrap as part of the earlier design’s field stripping procedure), the only quick visual tell between the CO2 pistol and the centerfire PPS M2 is the trigger, and the fit of the magazine base pad which falls somewhere between the standard 6-round and extended capacity 7-round 9mm magazines. The air pistol still needs the removable backstrap to allow loading the CO2 but it has been completely redesigned to match the 9mm PPS M2 backstrap.
Here is where you begin to find several more changes, looking at the top of the PPS and PPS M2. The M2 slide is flat along its entire length; the rear sight sits the same but has larger white dots, the front sight is a different shape with a larger white dot. Both slides function the same and lock back on an empty magazine.
Another significant change to the squared lines of the original PPS is the contour of the triggerguard, which no longer houses the ambidextrous magazine release paddles. This allows an undercut triggerguard providing a higher grip on the pistol and more relief for the middle finger, which was previously pressed into the side of the triggerguard magazine release. Bottom line, the M2 is more comfortable to hold.
The top of the ejection port has been reshaped to blend in better with the slide on the M2, and the raised center strip that runs along the top of the PPS slide, (which could interfere with sighting under some circumstances, as it appeared within the bottom of your line of sight), has been eliminated.
One could accurately describe the original PPS as having a flat, squared look with a very vertical pistol grip. That too, is gone. The PPQ M2-inspired curves give the new subcompact 9mm and CO2 pistols a smoother, more rounded look. And from a purely aesthetic point, it is a good looking pistol. I don’t think anyone ever described the PPS as good looking; thin, practical, concealable, but not exactly pleasing to the eye. The M2 gets high marks just for appearances.
Here again the big changes in the slide and grip designs are evident. The slide is better looking and that’s mostly aesthetics, but the change in grip design and shape is significant. You can also see the front slide serrations with the Walther banner and repositioning of the PPS name to the center of the slide flat. There is also a nice grooved accent line through the front of the redesigned frame.
The reshaping of the front of the frame did away with the PPS model’s short accessory rail and allowed the M2 to have a new dustcover shape with less mass and rounded edges that are more holster friendly. The backstrap contour is the same as the PPS M2 9mm version but is still removable on the air pistol to allow inserting the CO2 cartridge into the grip frame. The new backstrap still has the built-in hex head CO2 seating tool.
Last among the big external changes is the redesign of the frame and slide. The short accessory rail on the dustcover is gone and the front of the frame has been smoothly re-contoured for less mass and to provide more rounded edges. The PPQ M2-inspired slide has cleaner lines and the addition of forward slide serrations. This is definitely a case where version 2.0 is much better than 1.0. Not to say the PPS is not a good gun, just that Walther has made enough improvements to the PPS M2 to make a good gun a great gun, in any caliber.
At only 1-inch wide the PPS and PPS M2 centerfire models are among the best CCW options in a 9mm subcompact. With nearly identical dimensions, the CO2 models are first choice training guns or a very affordable means of finding out if a PPS is the right carry gun for you. (Shown in a Galco Walther PPS Stinger belt rig)
In Saturday’s conclusion some hands-on comparisons and what, if anything, has changed in accuracy and handling with this new Umarex Walther blowback action model.