Cover Photo: Another great shot from Jaq from my last training class with Green Ops.

This is a quick “journal-esque” piece about the Walther PDP Match Steel Frame pistol I’ve been shooting since mid-December. It was originally reviewed for Shooting Illustrated. As the title suggests, I have approximately 1,500 rounds through the Walther PDP SF at the time of this writing. It is roughly 1000 rounds over the original review’s 500-round count estimate. Obviously, with more trigger time behind the pistol now, my initial thoughts have evolved. 


For some 1,500 rounds of 9mm isn’t much. But considering the number of pistols I’m working with on a regular basis for review, it’s a fair amount. Especially since more than 90% of 9mm ammo has been out of my personal stash). To date, 115-grain Blazer Aluminum is the what I’ve shot the most through this Walther. I’ve also started reloading again to replenish my depleted stock of hand-loaded 9mm, and the pistol cycles these like champ. Everything has been a mixture of factory rounds from Federal, Fiocchi, Nosler, Winchester, and CCI. Other than some self-induced malfunctions by my floating left-handed thumb blocking ejection, I’ve had no legitimate malfunctions. 

There is an observation I’ve noticed after shooting a lot of the CCI Blazer Aluminum. The ammo is great and works nicely without giving up accuracy or anything, but after higher round counts or shooting the gun aggressively, small flecks of aluminum off the cartridge casings do tend to accumulate to a higher degree than brass flecks. It’s easily wiped down, but it’s something to keep in mind. And one more thing about this alternative-cased ammo… Like the HK VP9, Walther PDP barrels have stepped chambers and conventional wisdom says to avoid steel-cased cartridges. After shooting scores of Blazer aluminum across three separate PDPs, Blazer Aluminum hasn’t caused issues. 


As soon as I took the gun home from the FFL in early December, I immediately mounted my first-wave T&E Gideon Optics Omega Green Reflex sight using the included Walther OEM optics mounting plate. My experience with the Gideon Omega is something else that will eventually be released in another write-up. But for now it has seen over 800 rounds while mounted on the PDP Match SF.

After SHOT Show, I swapped out the Omega for Trijicon’s new enclosed-emitter RCR reflex sight. The RCR uses the novel capstan screw mounting system. In addition to dry-fire with the RCR, I’ve taken it to Green Ops AAPM One-Day class and my most recent local weekend club USPSA match. So, I estimate round count to be around 600ish to date. Interestingly enough, I’ve never used the iron sights on this pistol. All rounds have been aimed with a mounted pistol dot-sight. I’m not to worried about the lack of BUIS on this piece, since I do not carry it for self-defense. For the foreseeable future, I plan on keeping the RCR mounted on this pistol. As the RCR will eventually also get its own write-up like the Gideon Omega.   


Besides my original “review” session and shooting it once or twice with family around Christmas-time 2023 and New Year’s 2024, I’ve only taken the Walther PDP Match SF to four other events. Three weekend club USPSA matches and the already-mentioned Green Ops pistol class. 

Both my latest match and that Green Ops class were my inspiration for this “follow-up” post. Not only did I cross the 1,000 round count milestone during the Green Ops course, but I also pushed performance as best as I could with the PDP SF that day. And I followed this up at that recent match from four days ago. Although my competition prowess is modest at best, I shot a fairly good match. At one point, I hit a personal record — the first time ever shooting .13 and .11 splits with any gun. But now I know it’s physically possible for me with the PDP Match SF. What a gun! 


The more I shoot the gun, the more I like it. What I’ll describe next is completely subjective and emotional: the Walther PDP Match SF is well-made and shoots amazingly. In one’s hands, it feels like a rheostat–it spits out as much or as little performance as one inputs into it. Even though the Dynamic Performance Trigger has a breaking weight closer to five pounds than it does to three pounds, I’ve come to really appreciate its flat face, especially after the trigger control lessons during the Green Ops class. Along with the short take up, the flat face allows a higher and more precise degree of manipulation, and it shows.

Sure, this pistol’s weight is probably its biggest downside, but it’s also its biggest asset too. The gun hardly recoils, after all. At the same time, drawing and shooting from concealment all day at the Green Ops class, made my forearm tired as if I had been doing front kettle-bell swings all day! Fully loaded with a 20-round magazine, dot and light the PDP Match SF weighs 57 ounces.


Going forward, I’m interested in experimenting with aftermarket stocks to see how they change the contour and feel of the grip. Because this pistol is made from metal, it doesn’t have the same characteristics as the original PDP’s grip. As far as evolving thoughts, when I first got my hands on it in December, I viewed this more as a match gun than anything else. Not only is it in the name, but since it comes with its magwell installed from the factory which mentally primed to think “competition.” Sure, it’s 100% “race-ready” for most USPSA divisions, but more and more, the pistol doesn’t strike me as merely a competition piece. It’s proving itself to be such a well-rounded 9mm handgun that it can make for a great full-size general-purpose piece, especially if you don’t mind a little extra weight. Walther’s marketing campaign paints the gun both as “practical” and “tactical” and so far it might actually be looking that way.

P.E. Fitch
I am a shooter first, and a writer second. IG & Twitter: @pfitch45