The New World of Walther – Steel Frames and .380s

Walther is underappreciated. They bring out some all-around excellent guns and continue to produce some of the best modern handguns on the market. The PDP series has built on the world of Walther’s excellent ergonomics and brilliant triggers to bring optics to bear, as well as an overall modular design. The PDP lineup incorporates ergonomics that make shooting with a dot faster, easier, and ultimately more intuitive. Walther has recently taken what’s traditionally a polymer frame design and mated it with a steel frame to produce the PDP Match, the PDP Full Size Steel Frame, and the latest, the PDP Compact Steel Frame. 

Steel Frame Supremacy 

Polymer is great. It’s strong, affordable, and has kept prices low and made mass production easy. With that said, we haven’t quite figured out how to make polymer frames as ergonomic as metal frames. Guns like the CZ 75 define good ergonomics, and the PDP series has taken that to 2024. A steel frame is often thinner and less blocky and provides an absolutely wonderful grip design. 

At the range, these guns felt like well-used and broken-in gloves that have been worn daily for years. The PDP steel frame series is all handled masterfully. The Match variant is absolutely wonderful. I lack a better term outside of holy crap. It’s smooth and allows for a nice high grip that’s exceptionally comfortable. The gun barely moves between shots, and the accuracy is absurd. The compact provided a smaller version of the Match grade. Triggers are excellent, the controls are massive, and the accuracy was off the chain. 

The new steel frame PDPs won’t be cheap guns. The MSRP ranges from $1,699 to $1,899, so you have to be really into the PDP platform to enjoy the steel frame models. Even so, it’s tough to say they aren’t worth it. The guns handle like race guns and come ready for optics, lights, and more. 

The Little .380 

I can’t forget a gun I completely overlooked and downright ignored when it was released a few months back. The Walther PD380 is a compact, single-stack .380 ACP with a DA/SA trigger system. I saw a new version of the PK380 when it first premiered. I thought it was a bit out of date, but today I handled it. 

The PD380 is a low recoil, polymer frame, single stack handgun. It’s extremely thin and delivers an excellent ergonomic weapon overall. It’s essentially a single stack PDP in .380 ACP. The main selling point is a lack of recoil, and that’s apparent when you first fire the gun. It barely moves. It’s not snappy, and in fact, it’s downright calm and soft even with hotter defensive loads. The PD380 is a bit more affordable than the PDP Steel Frames and has an MSRP of $479. 

The PD380 is another entry into this new genre of low recoil .380 pistols aimed at a growing market of new concealed carriers. It certainly doesn’t deserve to be overlooked. 

The World According to Walther 

Walther’s new steel frame pistols are an impressive entry into their famed lineup. The PDP was already an excellent series of guns, but the latest steel frame models take it to the next level. Plus, don’t sleep on the PD380 for a low-recoil alternative. 

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.