I still remember the very first Walther handgun I ever owned. I owned it for less than a week. Bear with me; I had just purchased a brand new Walther PPK/s .380 in stainless steel. I still have the receipt showing I paid $125 for it back in 1973. I was working as a private investigator (PI) at the time and living back in Chicago, IL, where you had to register your handguns within 30 days of bringing them into the city. There were no gun shops in the city proper, so you had to purchase handguns at neighboring suburban gun shops. To the best of my knowledge, there still are no gun shops inside the city limits of Chicago.
I only had the handgun a few days, when on my way home after working late one evening on a stake out I was stopped by the Chicago PD for no reason at all other than it was about 1:00AM in the morning. As they patted me down, again with no legal reason to do so, they found my PPK/s in a shoulder holster. I explained that I was a PI and coming home from a stake out. I thought there’d be no problem, I’d just show them my badge and ID and I’d be on my way, right? Wrong! I had left my badge and ID back at the office. I was hauled into the local police district and charged with unlawful use of a weapon and carrying an unregistered handgun. Of course, the “unlawful use of a weapon” sounded like maybe I pistol-whipped someone; it was just the fact that I was carrying concealed, period! No matter what I said, they wouldn’t even let me make a phone call so my boss could run to the office and bring my badge and ID to the police station to clear matters up! I was released the next morning.
When I went to court, I showed the judge my badge, ID, and a letter from my boss stating that I was working that evening. The case was dismissed with all charges dropped. However, the judge told me in order to get my Walther PPK/s back, I had to get proof of registration before it would be released to me. Okay. That’s no big deal. I ran down to city hall and filled out the registration form. A little more than a month later, I received my registration in the mail and went down to the Chicago Police property room to get my PPK/s back. There I was informed that they only hold firearms for 30 days, and then they are destroyed.
Okay, does anyone believe that ridiculous story? I know. I didn’t back then, but it wasn’t worth hiring a lawyer to fight it. I believe with all my heart that to this day some Chicago cop is still walking around with my PPK/s. Enough said!
I recently purchased a Walther CCP (Concealed Carry Pistol) from my local gun shop, or maybe I traded into it. Whatever! The CCP feels incredible in the hand. It’s one of the best-feeling handguns I’ve held in a lot of years, and the wife loved the way it felt, too. The CCP is a 9mm handgun that operates on a gas-delayed blowback action instead of the Browning design or a straight blow back action. The gun is very soft-shooting to be sure. Walther calls this their “Softcoil” technology. I guess they had to come up with some name for it, and I’ll conceded that the recoil feels softer than many other compact 9mm handguns I’ve fired. You can read all about this Softcoil technology on the Walther website, if you are interested.
My sample had a polymer black frame and satin finished stainless steel slide and adjustable sights of the three dot variety for a fast sight picture. There is also a Picatinny rail, if you want to attach a laser or light to the frame of the gun. Cocking serrations are front and rear on the side of the slide. The trigger pull was outstanding at 5.5 lbs. It’s hard to explain but easy to feel if you check one out at your local gun shop. The thumb safety is just big enough but not too big for proper use without shifting your grip on the gun; it’s nice! The gripping surface on the frame was really well done and felt great!
The CCP also comes with two 8-rd magazines, and spares can be found for around $36, which is a bit spendy, but you should have more than one spare mag, if you ask me. Barrel length is 3.54 inches, and the gun weighs 22-oz empty. Plus, the gun comes with a limited lifetime warranty! There is also a full-time ambidextrous magazine release, which is another really nice touch.
Okay. Enough of the boring stats. We need to take a close look at the CCP and see how it performed for me. I carried the gun for two weeks in a Blackhawk Products generic-type belt slide holster, and the gun rode nice and tight against my body. Of course, I also carried a spare mag on my off-side.
I had an outstanding assortment of various 9mm from Black Hills Ammunition and Buffalo Bore Ammunition to run through the CCP, and I fired more than 400-rds through the CCP during my testing. From Black Hills, I had their 115-gr FMJ, 115-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP +P and their 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP all copper hollow point +P ammo. From Buffalo Bore, I had their 147-gr Hard Cast Outdoorsman load +P, 147-gr FMJ-FN Subsonic load, 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP all copper hollow point +P+ and their 1240-gr FMJ-FN +P+ load.
One thing worth noting is that some handguns that operate under a delayed piston-blow back recoil operation sometimes get very hot from the escaping gases under the barrel and inside the frame. So, I ran three mags through the gun as fast as could pull the trigger. While the gun felt a little warm, it wasn’t hot to the touch, and if you find yourself in a position with a handgun and you’ve fired three mags as fast as you can pull the trigger, then you might want to think about carrying an AR-15 with you instead of a handgun. Remember, the CCP was designed for personal self-defense, not offensive use.
I had no malfunctions, until I tried some of the Buffalo Bore +P+ 9mm loads. Then the CCP turned into a total jam-a-matic. The empty brass would not extract from the chamber of the gun, and I had to drop the mag and pull on the extractor with my handy-dandy Leatherman multi-tool in order to relieve the tension on the empty case and then pry the case out, once I locked the slide open. This happened again and again but only with +P+ loads. As I have mentioned before, no gun maker warranties their guns for +P+ ammo. None! Still, I try to test a variety of ammo through firearms for my articles, to find any weak points and to see which loads perform the best. It didn’t matter which +P+ loads I used from Buffalo Bore, it locked the gun up solid. It is not the fault of the ammo; it’s the delayed piston operation, which was keeping the empty brass in the chamber a fraction of a second too long and tying the gun up. It’s not something you want to happen to you during a gunfight!
I performed my accuracy testing from only 15 yards instead of 25 yards, and all loads (even the P+P loads) were in the 3 1/2 inch range, which is not bad at all. There was one stand out and that was the Black Hills 115-gr JHP +P load. So long as I did my part, I was getting groups just a hair under 3 inches, but I think the gun could do even better. By this time, I was frustrated with the +P+ loads tying the gun up on me and was losing patience in my shooting skills. Hot off the heels of the Black Hills load was the Buffalo Bore 147-gr FMJ-FN subsonic load!
Now, for the fun part– cleaning the gun. Um, I found out in a minute that it takes at least three hands, though four would be better, along with a specially-provided tool to disassemble the CCP. In short order, I discarded the tool and used a small screw driver. I won’t go into how totally frustrating it was to tear down the CCP just for basic cleaning. You can read about it on the Internet; it’s all over the place. Putting the gun back together was a little easier, but three hands still worked better than two hands. I had my lovely wife assisting me with a third and sometimes a fourth hand. Still, it shouldn’t have been that difficult to break the CCP down for a basic cleaning and a light lube job. I tore the gun down a dozen times; while it did get a little easier, it was still a monumental task, if you ask me, and it shouldn’t be!
All-in-all, I really liked the CCP. It was more than accurate, felt great in the hand, and handled everything I fed through it, other than +P+ loads. (Steer clear of them, please!) As always, test your gun with the ammo you want to carry in it.
My final thoughts on the CCP? Well, it’s a great little gun. It feels good and shoots good. However, with the difficult procedure required to tear the gun down for basic cleaning and having to use a tool, I wouldn’t care to have this gun for the “end times”. It’s just too complicated for my liking. For everyday carry, yep, it’s a nice little gun but not one I’d want to bet my life on in the long term, when constant maintenance is required to keep the gun up and running. Plus, the tool that Walther provides in a cheap piece of plastic; a small, flat-tipped screw driver worked better. The CCP is going for $425 in my neck of the woods, and it’s a good buy, but I traded mine off after testing it for this article. I don’t want anything that is going to be complicated to maintain during a SHTF scenario. For everyday use, the CCP is fine, but it isn’t on the top of my list for long-term, hard core use. It gets one and a half thumbs up and not two thumbs up from me.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio