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About the only thing to say about the PPQ is it performed flawlessly, shot well, was accurate, fit my hand beautifully, was inexpensive. The only slight ding I could give it is that the paddle style mag release is not as well designed as the paddle releases on HK pistols (which cost more). But even though not as good as the HK release, the paddle performed well. This minor criticism is of no consequence if you get the PPQ equipped with a push button style mag release (the button style release is the more common variation you see in stores, by far). With the current Walther rebate, the PPQ cost me $379. I can think of no valid excuse NOT to buy one unless money is really tight.

During this shooting session I did a side-by-side comparison between the PPQ and:

HK P30S, DA/SA, V3 trigger, ploymer, hammer-fired
CZ SP01, DA/SA, all steel, hammer-fired
HK VP9, LEM trigger, polymer, striker-fired
Glock 19, polymer, aftermarket trigger, striker-fired

First, the prices and options/modifications to each gun so comparisons are more meaningful.

PPQ 4" $379 (after sale and rebate), stock configuration
P30S 4" V3 DA/SA trigger, $999, stock configuration
VP9 4", threaded barrel, night sights, tactical model, $650, stock configuration
CZ SP01 5" Tactical Suppressor-ready, threaded barrel, night sights, aftermarket Hogue grips, $750 with grips
Glock 19, aftermarket threaded barrel, trigger, springs, sights, stick-on grip panels, extended mag release, flared mag well, $1000? with custom work

Ergonomics: 1st place: P30S and VP9 (both fit hand perfectly, nearly identical ergos, paddle style mag release)
2nd place: PPQ (fit hand well, paddle style mag release, but HK paddles are much better than Walther paddles)
3rd place: SP01 (very large pistol, controls difficult to reach for me, except trigger reach was good)
4th place: Glock (typical clunky Glock feel in hand, but extended mag release and flared mag well were nice)

Build quality feel in hand:
1st place: P30S and SP01
2nd place: VP9
3nd place: PPQ
4rd place: Glock

These pistols all were excellent build quality. The difference between 1st place and 4th place is insignificant. As far as aesthetic appeal (highly subjective!), just looking at them and admiring: P30S, PPQ, VP9, SP01, Glock (Glocks really are quite homely IMHO, but they do shoot well)

Trigger:
1st place: VP9
2nd place: PPQ and SP01 (initial take up on PPQ spring felt slightly heavier than VP9)
3rd place: P30S (long reset)
4th place: Glock (the only reason for this lower rating was because spring felt heavy)

Trigger ratings are highly subjective and mostly a matter of personal preference. All triggers were evaluated in SA mode (if there were different modes available). The Glock rated lower for me because I don't like heavy triggers. However, the Glock trigger was smooth, had a clean break, a very good reset, and I shot well with it. It was just heavier than all the other pistols, which caused me to rate it lower. The PPQ had the best reset of them all, but a little heavier takeup than the VP9, it's closest equal. The VP9 and PPQ triggers are a tossup. The SP01 trigger was excellent, but had a highly curved trigger that took a little getting used to to find the sweet spot. Once that spot was found, an excellent trigger. The P30S trigger has a very long reset, and a definite "two stage" feel. I shoot it very well, but it's definitely a "you like it or you hate it trigger".

Sights:
1st place: P30S
2nd place: SP01 and VP9
3rd place: PPQ
4th place: Glock

Sights are so much personal preference and planned-usage-based that a comparison is mostly meaningless. And, you have to "learn" your sights as well, and I did not have a chance to do that for all pistols. Better than a comparison, would be a listing of the differences:

P30S sights are green glow-in-the-dark that will be brightly illuminated at night IF you shine a flashlight at them briefly to charge them. Once charged, they are way brighter than tritium night sights. But tritium sights have the advantage of not having to be "charged". In daylight, I do not like night sights. Their dots look more a washed out gray than a bright white. The front sight blade on the P30S, VP9 and SP01 is the perfect width the fill the gap between the sides of the rear sight. The PPQ sights are painted white dots. Not night time capabilities at all. Plus, the PPQ front blade is too narrow to fill the gap between the rear sights. However, the white dots on the PPQ sights are crisp and clear in daylight, but the P30S sights still beat the PPQ sights in the "clear and visible" department. The Glock sights were quite different. I did not like them as well, but I think that is because I didn't get a chance to "learn" them. The rear was dots (I think, but truthfully, I can't remember the rear at this moment - the front sight grabs all your attention). The front was a red circle. The circle filled the gap in between the rear sight perfectly, so if you were off to one side by just a fraction, it was immediately obvious because the front circle was only a partial circle. This is a sight that I think I could really learn to like. But for a first time use with no practice, it was more trouble for me. However, I shot very will with is none-the-less.

Accuracy:
1st place: SP01
2nd place: Glock
3rd place: VP9 and PPQ
4th place: P30S

The above was standing, off-hand, when really tired after about 4 hours of shooting. They were all so close to each other that the minor differences were most certainly human-induced. These were 5 shot groups, with a flyer from the PPQ and the P30S that I called at the time. If you throw away one flyer/worst shot from each pistol, the results become:

1st place: SP01 (and it was 1st place by a pretty good margin too)
2nd place: 4-way tie of all the other pistols (pretty much identical results)

Which pistol would I buy if I didn't have any other guns,and could only have one? Obviously a contrived situation given most KTOG'ers probably have dozens and dozens of guns! I guess, first you have to look at price, since that's a primary concern for many people.

Given the current sales and rebate on the PPQ, that becomes my prime recommendation, hands down. There are a few things that one gun or another might do slightly better, but the emphasis is on "slightly". For $379, getting a PPQ is a total no-brainer. You are not "settling for an inferior gun" because of price. No way. This is a top shelf handgun that just happens to be ridiculously cheap these days.

Throwing out the fancy stuff (threaded barrels, night sights, custom work, etc.), throwing out current sale prices and rebates, and buying the most basic version of each pistol, the P30S would cost you the most, by quite a bit. The SP01 would be next, about in the middle between the high prices P30S and the next group. Then the VP9, PPQ and Glock would all be pretty much tied for cheapest price. For a price conscious shopper, my vote would go for the VP9. And a very close second place to the PPQ. You'd need to try them both and decide for yourself. The main difference IMHO is the execution of the paddle mag release. The VP9 just does that much better. The VP9 can ONLY be had with a paddle style release. The PPQ can be had with either a paddle, or the more American-style typical button mag release. If you don't like paddles, your choice would clearly be the PPQ. If you actually prefer paddles, as I do, I'd pick the VP9.

Now, if we throw price to the wind, which would I recommend? This becomes difficult. I have small hands, and the SP01 is a very large pistol. For that single reason, I would recommend the VP9, followed extremely closely with a tie between the P30S and PPQ, next the SP01 (simply because of it's large size) and at the end, the Glock. I have to admit, I really don't like Glocks very much. They just don't fit my hand. They are good guns, extremely robust and reliable, but when I pick one up it feels like picking up a UZI (anyone who has ever picked up a UZI knows what "totally NOT ergonomic" feels like!) But if you have large hands, wow, that SP01 is a nice pistol. For actual shooting, the ergonomics are great for me (the trigger reach, grip feel). What doesn't work for me are the SP01's long reach for the mag release and the slide release. To actually use the slide release I'd have to grow an additional 1" tip onto my thumb! But I'm more of a slingshot slide person than a release switch person, so that mitigates the long reach to some extent.

So there you have it. My recommendations. All are positive recommendations really. The only gun of the group that I would not buy for myself is the Glock. The reason is that it is un-ergonomic (for me) and it is ugly. But that is so much personal preference that it's not fair to knock the Glock. If it fits your hand, and you have a different sense of aesthetics than me, it's a fine gun. BTW, I also think the SP01 is "a little ugly". Not Glock-ugly, but not P30S-pretty either.
 

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You've just set a new standard for reviews!

It should probably go in the Range Report thread so it stays accessible.
 
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