A lot of people say beauty is the eye of the beholder. That might be true in a lot of ways, but I don’t trust people who don’t think Walther’s new Q5 Match Steel Frame models are beautiful. These guns are gorgeous, and surprisingly they handle even better than they look. The core of the Q5 Match Steel Frame models is the original Walther PPQ. The PPQ began life as a polymer frame, striker-fired service pistol.
In a sea of polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols the PPQ stood out for having the best stock trigger on the market. Walther recognized that and created the Walther Q5 match guns that made some changes but kept the polymer frame. The Steel Frame Q5 series of these guns created a rare combination of a striker-fired pistol with a metal frame. The idea was to create one of the most comfortable handling guns ever produced.
The Steel Frame models come with some of the best features of the original Q5 PPQ. This includes LPA sights which an adjustable rear and high visibility front sight. The guns feature a ported barrel. Porting is placed so that gasses from the round firing are directed upwards. These upward-directed gasses help push the weapon down, and this reduces muzzle rise. The Q5 series are all optic’s cut for a miniature red dot. They feature a crisp and short 5.6-pound trigger, and the trigger travel is less than half an inch long. Not to mention these are 9mm handguns and both sport polygonal rifling. They also have the distinctive blue trigger that helps distinguish Walther competition models.
They are also both M2 models, and this means the magazine release is a US-style press button design rather than a trigger guard mounted lever. These guns can use all stand PPQ full-size magazines.
The main difference is self-explanatory. A steel frame has now replaced the polymer frame. This new frame adds significant weight to the gun. The weight difference is nearly 20 ounces between the steel frame Q5 and the polymer frame Q5. That extra weight isn’t there because of body positivity. Those extra 18.6 ounces are there to help tame your gun’s recoil.
The 9mm is already a low recoiling round, but in a 41.6-ounce gun, the recoil is almost nil. Add in the fact that the weapon is ported and you have a weapon that barely moves when you pull the trigger. At SHOT 2019, I was blown away at how the gun handled. It was an eye-opening and jaw-dropping moment. It doesn’t end there, though.
The Steel Frame Q5 also incorporated an aggressive beaver tail. The original polymer frame Q5 had a slight nub, but the Steel Frame models go full bore. The beavertail allows for a high grip as well as adding more control. The beavertail helps you naturally resist muzzle rise by adding more downward leverage without any extra effort by the shooter.
The frame also includes a full-length dust cover that extends to be flush with the barrel. The original Q5 model had a shorter dust cover and rail. The slide release is also recessed and allows for a higher, more comfortable grip.
The grip frame has wrap-around panels, so there is the potential for replacement grips in the future to customize your grip. The Q5 Match Steel Frame models are amazingly comfortable guns. For the longest time, the standard-bearer for comfortable grip design was the CZ 75 series.
Steel Frame Performance
Somehow Walther found a way to design a grip even more comfortable than the legendary CZ 75’s grip. It fills the hand and provides an extreme level of comfort. When the weapon recoils and rises, it’s never uncomfortable. You can get a tight grip, and the gun remains comfortable. The gun hardly moves as you fire and it just barely recoils. It’s impressive how well this gun was designed. I was shooting at a hostage style steel target with a popper that rotated from side to side. I was able to keep that popper moving back and forth, back and forth. I could keep it going with minimal effort at 25 yards.
I fired the Q5 Match Steel Frame with both iron sights and red dot sights. Both allowed me to be quick and accurate. A red dot sight is by far the faster choice and does make it easier to shoot at increased distances. The iron sights were are still intuitive, and the bright front sight is quick and easy to pick up by the eye and easy to focus on. It’s an effective weapon that’s absurdly accurate and very easy to handle. I watched dozens and dozens of shooters pick the gun up, load a mag, and start spitting lead downrange. These guns never choked, never failed, never jammed, and just kept going. The only break was to let them cool down after choking through hundreds of rounds in just mere minutes.
The Q5 Match steel frame guns are absolutely fantastic and brilliantly designed. I say guns because there is more than one.
The Pro and Standard
The Q5 Match Steel Frame guns come in a Standard and Pro model. They share most of the same features, but there are a few differences. The Pro model comes with Walther’s new Performance Magwell and both magazines come with aluminum +2 magazine base plates.
This brings the capacity of the Pro model up to 17 + 1, and the aluminum base plates are designed to take a beating when dropped from a gun. This is a must-have if you plan to be running and gunning in the way these guns are designed to be.
The Performance Magwell is designed to allow quicker reloads and makes reloading more intuitive all together. It’s essentially a funnel that makes it harder to mess up your reload. The Pro model comes with slightly more features, at a somewhat higher cost.
The purpose of these weapons is essential to know when considering one. These are big and heavy guns, so concealed carry is not their purpose. They could be used for home defense and would be useful in that role, but that’s not the role they are designed to serve. The Q5 Match Steel frame guns are built for competition. These guns, especially the Pro model, are designed for competition sports. These would be perfect in the open gun class, or the optic’s classes of professional shooting sports.
Their weight, size, and porting make them perfect for shooting sports where recoil and muzzle rise are always the enemy. The Q5 Match Steel Frame models are specifically designed for control, recoil reduction, and accuracy. All features that are ideally suited for competition shooting. Not to mention the PPQ’s naturally excellent features that include a light and short trigger pull, a short reset, and fantastic ergonomics.
The Q5 Match Steel Frame models are somewhat expensive admittedly, but these are essentially custom made weapons. As far as custom guns come, these are affordable firearms. If you’d like to compare check out the prices of custom handguns, these are downright cheap compared to other decked out competition pistols. The Q5 Match Steel Frame guns are top of the line firearms, and Walther has outdone themselves with these weapons. Give them a look and let us know what you think!
Credit: Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.