Walther PDP 4″ Full Size — The Performance Duty Pistol By: Alex Cole

Walther PDP

The Walther PDP was voted the 2021 handgun of the year by Guns and Ammo and the Industry Choice Awards, yet people still seem to be sleeping on this gem. In my opinion, it’s probably one of the most underrated pistols on the market.

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When describing this pistol, the “full-size” refers to the frame and the “4-inch” refers to the barrel length and slide. I’ve owned several PDPs — full-size 4.5-inch, compact 5-inch, and full-size 4-inch, and I’ve got my eye on the 4-inch compact, perhaps the PRO SD. I’ve shot hundreds of rounds through them over many different range sessions. It’s safe to say, I’ve got some experience with the PDP under my belt.

Walther PDP Features

Walther offers several different versions of the PDP, including an F-Series with a thinner grip and shorter trigger reach that was designed for shooters with small hands. All slide lengths will fit either frame length and are available to be purchased separately.


Walther PDP slide
The slide serrations and optic cut are two great features.

The slide features Walther’s “Superterrain” slide serrations. From what I have gathered, this means large, deep grooves. They work well and offer plenty of grip with gloved or bare hands. They’re also not so aggressive that they tear up leather holsters.


The slide is cut for Walther’s optics mounting system. The PDP also features adjustable white three-dot sight. Walther’s plate system is cut deep. This provides a sturdy platform for mounting your optic of choice. Walther includes a coupon to redeem one mounting plate for the optic of your choice with the pistol, but I believe they should give you all the mounting plates in the box.

My favorite part of the PDP is the grip. The Performance Duty Texture feels amazing in the hand and the trigger guard undercut allows you to get a high grip for complete control while firing. The texture consists of small hexagonal pyramid shapes that seem to conform to the hand. The feeling is similar to stippling, but is much smoother until firm grip pressure is applied.

The texture continues up to the grip to assist the support hand. Additionally, Walther states that the grip angle has been optimized for use with red dot sights. It’s angled, so as you naturally present the firearm, the optic window is properly aligned.

Walther PDP trigger
The grip angle and trigger guard undercut allow for excellent control over the pistol.

One of the guns I used when learning to shoot was the Walther PPQ. It’s nice to see Walther kept the amazing trigger in this new, updated configuration. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s even better. The Performance Duty Trigger offers a smooth pull with a crisp, clean break at 5 pounds. Walther has also carried over the ambidextrous controls from the PPQ, a welcomed sight for this southpaw.

Walther PDP 4” FS Specs

Manufacturer: WaltherAction: Semi-auto, striker-firedCaliber: 9mm LugerCapacity: 18+1 roundsBarrel length: 4 inchesWidth: 1.34 inchesHeight: 5.7 inchesOverall length: 7.5 inchesWeight (empty): 24.6 ounces

Range Results

Range time went off without a hitch. The PDP ran right out of the box — to be expected from a modern firearm from a major manufacturer. The Walther PDP is the kind of pistol that makes you appear to be a better shot than you are. The grip texture lends itself to good control during fast follow-up shots, and the controls are easy to manipulate.

I tested the compact 5-inch and the full-size 4-inch — probably the two most different versions — side by side and was impressed with both. With iron sights, the 5-inch barrel model was a touch more accurate, but not by much. You really have to stretch out to farther distances for that to come into play. I don’t know if it’s the length or something to do with the contouring, but I preferred the full-size grip. The balance and shooting characteristics of the full-size 4-inch just feels right to me, so much so that it’s now my home defense pistol.

Two Walther PDP pistols
Both the 4-inch and 5-inch pistols shot well.


The 4” full size model of the Walther PDP is designed in the same vein as the Glock 19X/45, SIG Sauer M18, Beretta APX, and HK VP9. These options all feature a full-size grip paired with a barrel of about 4-inches. However, I believe the PDP offers the most features for the best price point.

The grip texture alone outshines the competition, in my opinion. As I mentioned before, if you prefer a standard full-size, compact, or long-slide variation, Walther offers those as well. Whether it’s the standard model or F-Series, there’s a configuration of this pistol that fits your needs.

PDP Grip
The PDP grip texture is one of my favorite features.

Conclusion: Walther PDP

If you’ve been considering, or perhaps never even heard of, the Walther PDP, I encourage you to give one a shot (actually, a lot of shots). It’s a feature-packed pistol that’s well worth its modest price tag and is sure to serve you well. I waited for one of these for a while, but I’m glad I finally decided to pull the trigger.

What do you think of the Walther PDP? How do you feel about compact slides paired with full-size frames? Let us know in the comment section.

  • PDP grip inserts
  • Walther PDP with light
  • Walther PDP with light
  • Walther PDP
  • Two Walther PDP pistols
  • Walther PDP slide
  • PDP Grip
  • Walther PDP trigger