Walther WMP .22 Magnum

Virgil Caldwell

.22 Magnum ammunition offers excellent performance for the size of the cartridge. This is a fragmented CCI 30 grain V Max loading.

Every firearm doesn’t have to have a clear cut role, at least unless you can only afford a gun or two. Been there and done that. A .22 Magnum self loading pistol is a wonderful thing to play with. Walther firearms has managed to create a Walther like pistol- a neat trick it has a certain Walther flair that functions well with the rimmed long rimfire. While the Kel Tec pistol is reliable the original AMT was not and a few other attempts have failed. The Walther proved reliable. As reliable as a rimfire may be. The cartridge is dirtier than centerfire handgun cartridges as the relatively slow burning powder of most loads is designed for rifle use. An exception is the Hornady 45 grain Critical Defense refined for use in pistols. Some loads are more useful in handguns than others. And then rimfire ignition will never be as reliable as centerfire. But don’t let that discourage you. Rimfire ammunition is more reliable than ever. In firing about three hundred mixed rounds over the past few weeks I experienced a single failure to fire even though there was a good firing pin hit. There have been no failures to feed, chamber, fire or eject.

The Walther is a large handgun, larger than the Walther PDP F and Q5 9mm handguns on hand. If the pistol were a center fire I might say this reduced my grip on the pistol and was a problem for recoil control. With the .22 Magnums mild push this isn’t the case. The pistol is super easy to control. Part of the fun of the pistol is the .22 Magnum’s report. It sounds like a Magnum! But there is simply no recoil. The pistol features a double action only trigger action. The slide is racked and the hammer is partially cocked. A press on the trigger finishes cocking the hammer. This is a short stroke and the action is smooth. Measured on the RCBS trigger gauge trigger pull weight is 4.6 pounds. I like this. The sights are fixed sights with a fiber optic front sight. The sights were properly regulated for 40 grain loads at 15 yards.

The action is a neat design with the barrel running in a trunnion inside the receiver. This is a delayed blowback. This simply means that lower power loads shoot the spent cartridge case out quickly. Higher pressure loads adhere more strongly to the chamber walls and delay opening until pressure subsides. This system works well. The pistol also features a total of four different magazine catches. There is a push button type on each side of the grip. There is also a two piece paddle release. Walther uses push button and paddle types and while their 9mm handguns use a single type paddle release fans of either type of Walther magazine release may find familiarity. Firing the pistol is a joy. The WMP demonstrates no recoil or muzzle flip. Well, of course it recoils some or the slide would not cycle but even compared to a Kel Tec the pistol is noticeably docile. I began firing with the CCI MAXI MAG 40 grain loading. This load ran consistently over 1400 fps. Firing off hand I centered the loads in the X ring at 15 yards. I also tested the CCI V MAX. This is a 30 grain loading. At 1500 fps this is a great pest popper. Reliability was excellent with these loads and several other loads tested.

Firing for small groups at 15 yards three shot groups went into 1.5 inch or less. This is a superbly accurate pistol. I am not a fan of such a light caliber for personal defense but then those with a physical disability might find an easy to handle low kicking handgun better than sticks and stones. If you deploy the pistol for personal defense us a 40 grain load. The speedy 30 grain loads break up in an inch or two of penetration. They would make excellent pest poppers but not defense loads. In the end the Walther WMP is a great all around shooter. It is light, easy to use well, and holds fifteen rounds of a good outdoors cartridge. Just be aware- this is a large handgun. Trigger reach may challenge some shooters. This is a great survival and outdoors gun in my estimation. You could kill a lot of game with this pistol and feed yourself quite a while if you can shoot. And it is easy to shoot. Waltherarms.com


Caliber: .22 Magnum
Finish: Black
Frame: Polymer
Action: Double Action Only
Unloaded weight: 27.8 ounces
Barrel Length: 4.5 in.
2 15 round magazines spare rear sight and two optics plates supplied
Average retail: $540