Built around Walther’s PPQ platform, according to the manufacturer, the Q5 Match “is built for the production class competitive shooter.” While I’m a competitive shooter, I stay in the stock/production divisions and appreciate out-of-the-box qualities on pistols that lend themselves to fast and accurate running. Guns of that ilk that come to mind include the CZ Shadow at the high end, Canik tp9sfx on the affordable side, and now Walther has thrown its hat into the ring, somewhere in the middle.
I was introduced to the Q5 Match early this month at an event at Eagle Gun Range. While speaking with the factory representative there he asked if I had seen the pistol (I had not) and he put it into my hands. It certainly looked like a performance machine and with a few dry presses I enjoyed the feel of the trigger action. I was anxious to try it out and Eagle’s general manager assured me I would soon get the chance. So I’m happy to say that this month I’ve spent some time shooting the Q5 Match and I’m eager to share my first impressions of Walther’s new pistol.
Why Consider the Walther Q5 Match?
The Q5 Match is specifically made for competitive shooting. It comes with three sizes of grip backstraps for proper fit to your hand. The comparatively long sight radius makes for easier accuracy and the slide cuts and ports removes weight, reducing the recoil impulse. It comes with and is ready to accept various red-dot optic mounts and the blue Q5 trigger is exceptionally smooth with a relatively short press travel (0.4”) and very short reset (0.1”). The result is a very shootable and accurate system right out of the box.
Since Walther went to the trouble to make it immediately ready for various red-dot optics, this is a pistol to consider specifically if you plan to run it with one. Since adding a red dot to a pistol that was not built for that setup can introduce function anomalies, it makes sense to instead get a model made for it. Lastly, you might consider the Q5 Match if you’re looking for a great value and you’ve got a fairly hefty budget, since its MSRP is $849. But again, this is not your average, compact carry gun; it’s a racer with some excellent competition-specific features which more than justify the cost.
Walther Q5 Match 9mm Specs:
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Length: 8.1”
- Height: 5.3”
- Width: 1.3”
- Barrel: 5”
- Weight: 27.9oz. (w/empty magazine)
- Frame: Polymer with S-M-L backstraps
- Finish: Tenifer (black)
- Sights: Fully-adjustable rear blacked-out sight with red fiber-optic front sight
- Optic Mount: Optional red-dot mount position, comes with mounting plates for Trijicon, Leupold, and DOCTER red-dot optics
- Capacity: 15
- MSRP: $849 (often available for less)
Shooting the Q5 Match
One enjoyable constant of shooting just about any Walther pistol is the grip ergonomics. They just feel good in the primary hand; at least I’ve always thought so. I got to spend a couple of weeks with the Q5 Match and my hands enjoyed every minute of it. Well, my support hand not quite as much, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Mostly, though, shooting the Walther Q5 Match was an absolute pleasure.
The first shooting I did with the pistol was on 1” dots. Even when shooting at a good pace—about four shots in 2 seconds—I was able to maintain quarter-sized groups of four at 7 yards and if I slowed down to 4 shots in 3 seconds I could put all 4 rounds in the same hole with relative ease. I’ve never shot a pistol that was so easy to maintain accuracy with medium-paced shot strings. Part of the reason for this easy accuracy has to be the excellent trigger. It’s smooth and relatively short, but that extra quick reset is fantastic and really allows for some “quiet” hands when shooting. I love this trigger.
I noticed pretty quickly that the pistol’s muzzle was moving around more than I’m used to seeing with each shot. The long slide extends further away from my hands than with most pistols I shoot, so I was unaccustomed to that much muzzle flip. Even with the slide cuts and ports, which did reduce the felt recoil, I thought, the end of the gun was moving far more freely than with more compact pistols. One of the reasons for this muzzle flip is the fact that the Q5 Match lacks any sort of index point for the support-hand thumb. I tend to ding lots of pistols for having straight, slick sides and no shelf to allow the support-hand thumb to mitigate muzzle flip, but on a purpose-built competition gun like this, I think it’s a pretty big flaw.
The sins of that flaw showed up when I started shooting the Q5 Match the way it was intended to be shot. I setup a target with 4 fist-sized circles at 7 yards and did runs of eight shots: quick pairs in each of the four circles, doing the full circuit in about 2 seconds. My lack of practice with a longer slide and the lack of a forward thumb shelf combined to make it very difficult for me to maintain accuracy with each pair. I wanted to go fast—I’m rather practiced at fast shooting strings—but I had great difficulty controlling the muzzle flip. As a result I never got the hang of the timing and grip management required to keep that second shot of each pair in close enough proximity to the first, for my taste. I have to believe this is merely a training issue for a new gun with different dimensions than I’m used to, but I confess I was quite frustrated. This is a race gun and it seemed a bit clumsy while racing.
That issue aside, I found the pistol to be a pleasure to shoot. The model I used had only the iron sights, but I would really like to shoot this one with an RMR mounted. Seems to me that it’d be something close to an unfair advantage on a gun that’s already so easy with accuracy. Running the gun for mag ejection, reloading, and using the slide release (something I don’t habitually do) was all very smooth and comfortable. Walther has done a pretty fantastic job with this pistol.
Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
The Q5 Match has Walther’s famous ergonomic grip geometry that just seems to feel better in the hand than most pistols on the market. That fact coupled with one of the three included backstraps means you can likely create just the right fit to your hand. While some pistols beg for a bit of frame modification for better comfort (*cough* Glock), my hands were perfectly comfy on the Q5.
My impression of the recoil impulse was that it was no worse than any full-size, 9mm, polymer pistol; perhaps lighter than most. What I did have a bit of an issue with, however, was muzzle flip. The long slide on this gun means that there’s more real estate moving around and more weight that is farther away from your hands as compared to a compact pistol. The result, even with the removed slide weight with the cuts and ports, was quite a bit more movement than I’m used to.
Somewhat surprising, I think, is the fact that the Q5 Match has something of a meager capacity, at 15 rounds in the magazine. So while the slide length is 8.1” and longer than that of a Glock 17, the capacity is the same as a “compact” Glock 19. I’d have thought that for a competition-specific pistol that they’d go for a larger grip and capacity. The magazine capacity can be augmented, of course, with extended slide plates, but I still wonder why Walther chose to go with 15 as the stock capacity. If I were to nitpick, I’d say this is perhaps the second flaw in this package.
Components and Features
As mentioned before, the Q5 Match’s grip is remarkably comfortable and configurable with small, medium, and large backstraps. The grip texture, however, is somewhat lacking in my opinion. The “quick defense trigger” is fantastic and even though it is not exceedingly light at 5.5 pounds, I’d be happy with this on any of my pistols. Walther says the press has 0.4” and the reset 0.1” of travel. Well done!
The front sight has a fiber optic insert and the blacked-out and serrated rear sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. If you opt to use one of the three included red-dot sight mounting plates, you’ll lose the rear sight so there will be no co-witnessing with this pistol. The slide cuts, with serrations in the rear and the front, are nicely done and there are 16 ports cut into the forward half of the slide, which has a beautifully satin Tenifer finish. Here are the included red-dot mounting plates:
The controls are also very nicely done. The slide stop/release is oversized for length, but still keeps a low profile on the side of the frame. The configuration is perfect for staying out the way when you’re shooting and easy to access without breaking your grip when you want to actuate it. There are slide stop/release levers on both sides of the gun. The magazine release button is round and, again, unobtrusive, but I found it easy to access when I needed it. It is reversible so that lefties can have that option.
The included red-dot mounting plates are made specifically to fit either Trijicon, Leupold, or Docter red-dot optics. That Walther included all three in the box is pretty awesome, I think. The pistol comes with three (!) 15-round steel magazines (or 10-rounders in more tyrannical states).
The Q5 Match is a formidable production competition gun right out of the box, with its ported-for-reduced-weight slide, long sight radius, and fully adjustable iron sights. Even better with the multi-red-dot-optic options. With the right backstrap, the Q5 should fit just about anyone’s hand like a glove. Lastly, the trigger is one of the best you’ll find on any striker-fired pistol.
The Q5 Match has a comparatively low capacity for a competition gun and some folks may balk at the price. Moreover, it should have some sort of forward thumb rest built into the frame.
So for rating the Walther Q5 Match…
The Q5 Match is among the most comfortable pistols around.
This is an eminently shootable pistol with all sorts of characteristics that make accuracy easy, but it could use some design features to assist with fast shooting.
I find the Q5 Match to be among the most accurate pistols I’ve ever shot.
Even with the $849 MSRP, the features and out-of-the-box adaptability and included peripherals for this pistol make it quite a good value. There are a lot of companies who do good slide modification work, but the cost of doing what Walther has already done here would be prohibitive and one would end up paying far more this one costs from the factory.
If you’re looking for an advantage in the production division of your competitive matches—and/or—if you’re looking to build an optic-equipped race gun, I think you could do a lot worse than the Walther Q5 Match. This may be about the best value available as a starting platform for your competitive machine. Yes, there are better models available, but at something close to twice the price.
I recommend that you give the Q5 Match a try. I’m guessing you’ll fall in love with the grip comfort, controls design, and the excellent trigger, as I have. You can rent it here at Eagle Gun Range, so give it a shot or two and see what you think. I’m betting you’ll dig it.
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