The handgun market is a crowded space. There seems to be a pistol in every size imaginable and to suit every conceivable need – for duty, concealed carry, home defense, or just as a new range toy. Some of these guns are pretty ho-hum. The vast majority get the job done well, with reliability and accuracy, but few rise above and beyond like the Glock 19 and the Walther PDP.
Introduction to the Glock 19
Glock pistols almost need no introduction here. We have reviewed and compared many Glocks, and they remain perennial favorites of law enforcement, military, security personnel, and armed citizens. The Glock 19 is one of the best-selling and most prolific pistols in the world. I have personally owned one in the U.S., confiscated one off a target in Iraq, and carried an issued G19 in Afghanistan. Glocks have a well-earned reputation, and if you think “pistol,” there’s a good chance you picture Glock 19.
Introduction to the Walther PDP
Just because a pistol isn’t well-known doesn’t mean it’s not any good. The Walther PDP feels like a bit of a hidden gem – not many people know about it, but those who do swear by Walther pistols. However, they have failed to catch the attention of military and law enforcement and aren’t even close to Glock’s market share on the civilian side. Regardless, Walther’s flagship pistol, the PDP, has a really excellent design.
This article will compare these two pistols: the legendary Glock 19 and Walther’s new pistol, the PDP. Let’s see how they stack up!
Walther PDP vs Glock 19: A Detailed Look
The PDP (Performance Duty Pistol) is Walther’s flagship pistol, and it replaced the PPQ in 2021. The PPQ had a well-earned reputation as an accurate, reliable, ergonomic pistol, and the PDP seems to be an improvement on that foundation. The PDP is actually a family of pistols, with 4- inch, 4.5-inch, and 5-inch slides, and a compact, full-size grip frame. Additionally, slides/barrels and grip frames are interchangeable, allowing you to mix and match frames with shorter or longer barrels. For the sake of comparison, we’ll stick to the Walther PDP Compact 4”, the closest analog to the pistol we are comparing it against, the Glock 19.
The Walther PDP is a striker-fired, semi-automatic pistol. Again, barrel lengths are available in 4, 4.5, and 5 inches, but we’ll stick to the 4-inch version of the gun here. The slide has aggressive, “Superterrain” serrations and a matte line down the top of the slide to cut glare. It is available pre-cut for use with a red dot, and you can order a new optic plate for a variety of optics for free, through Walther.
Walther PDP Controls
The new PDP’s controls are excellent. The Walther PDP has a very large slide and magazine release. The compact frame has a Picatinny rail and accommodates a 15-round magazine. The trigger guard is a very noticeable feature of the Walther PDP; it is very sharply squared and is reminiscent of the Glock trigger guards. Likewise, the trigger safety is also similar to that found on Glock pistols. The trigger in the PDP is Walther’s “Performance Duty Trigger,” and it boasts a shorter length of pull and good tactile break and reset.
Walther PDP Grip
A major difference between the Walther PDP and many other pistols is in the grip. There are many things to love about the Glock family of pistols...but the grip isn’t one of them. It has all the comfort, contour, and charm of a 2x4. The PDP’s grip looks different, and it feels different. It’s noticeably curvy, and it has interchangeable backstraps. The backstrap doesn’t just bolt on the back of the grip and only makes it bigger – they can be completely removed allowing for sizing the grip down. And there’s what Walther calls the Performance Duty Texture on the PDP. This aggressive grip texture covers almost the entire grip and is good under any conditions.
A Detailed Look at the Glock 19
The Glock 19 has been around since 1988 and has been a perpetual bestselling pistol in the United States ever since. It is the quintessential compact pistol. Like the Walther PDP, it has a barrel length of four inches. Unlike the Walther, the G19 is on its fifth “generation,” with each new era of Glocks boasting new features and improvements.
The Gen5 Glock has forward cocking serrations and MOS versions are available with cuts for red dot optics. The latest Glocks boast an ambidextrous slide release and an interchangeable mag release. The Gen5 Glock also has interchangeable backstraps, though they can only be used to increase the base size of the grip.
So, What Is The Difference?
Both of these guns are going to satisfy the basic requirements of being reliable, accurate, and portable, but there are some key differences. The Glock’s trigger, for instance, isn’t known for being great. In fact, it’s generally known for being kind of like a staple gun: it gets the job done but could certainly be better. The Walther PDP trigger, on the other hand, is renowned as one of the best on the market. A better trigger can improve accuracy and make the overall shooting experience more enjoyable.
As previously alluded to, the Glock is also now known for its ergonomics. While revolutionary in the late 1980s and going through five generations, the Glock hasn’t evolved a whole lot and therefore seems – frankly – a bit dated. The grip ergonomics and the radically cut slide of the
Walther PDP are a thing of beauty. It would be hard to argue that the Walther doesn’t boast better ergonomics.
Walther PDP vs Glock 19: Practicality of Use
Complaints about the Glock’s ergonomics and triggers aside, it is literally legendary. There are reasons that the Glock is still a fantastic choice. In law enforcement, it makes all the sense in the world to stick with the Glock platform. First, there is already a community heavily invested in Glock pistols. Changing to a brand new platform would require new holsters, retraining armorers, new magazines, and new spare parts...to say nothing of retraining every cop on the force. There’s something to be said for that institutional inertia.
For everyday individuals, this effect is lessened somewhat (“I’m not a cop, I can carry whatever I want!”), but not totally negated. Private citizens still need to be able to purchase support gear like holsters and magazine pouches. You can have any holster you want for the Glock 19. For the Walther PDP...we’re sure there are a few out there, but you’re going to have to look hard for them. Still, the PDP might be for you. If you have smaller hands and are looking for a really evolved pistol for concealed carry, the PDP has a lot going for it. Even if you have large hands, it is still a really solid option.
The Sights Leave Something to be Desired
Neither of these guns comes with award-winning sights. While the Glock comes, by default, with cheap, breakable plastic sights, the Walther comes with steel three-dot sights. An improvement, but not much of one. On the other hand, sights from XS Sights can greatly improve the usability of either gun.
The Glock Killer
Both guns have been popular. The Walther has been marketed as a “Glock killer” due to its Glock-like function and appearance but offers a number of improvements. Its better trigger, improved ergonomics, and more natural grip angle have all been touted as reasons the new pistol is better than the Glock.
Being a proverbial Glock killer is going to be tough, though. Again, Glock is deeply embedded in the LE and military communities. Moving away from Glocks altogether is going to be comparable to moving shooters away from revolvers, and it will probably take generations.
The Walther PDP is certainly a worthy competitor, though. Not only does it hold up well against Glock pistols, but it also looks fantastic compared to offerings from S&W (the M&P 2.0 and M&P Metal) and H&K guns (notably the VP9). Not to take anything away from S&W or H&K pistols – indeed, comparing them to the Walther and Glock 19 is putting them in the upper echelon of pistols on the market today.
Walther PDP vs Glock 19 - Which Is Right for You?
Both the Walther PDP and the Glock 19 are outstanding pistols. The Walther certainly represents some major evolution in handgun design, and the 35-year-old Glock design represents the gold standard in reliability and durability. Both will serve the user well, whether law enforcement or responsibly armed Citizens.
How XS Sights Can Help
Regardless of the handgun you choose, it needs to have high-quality sights. Factory sights are often not the best, and in some cases (ahem, Glock) seem to be placed on the gun merely as a placeholder until the user finds something better. Sights allow the user to place shots more accurately, and accuracy is not optional when it comes to critical situations. Accurate fire is not only crucial to stopping a threat, but also imperative because we are accountable for every round we fire, in training or real life.
XS Sights offers some of the best sights for your Glock and Walther pistols. We have some truly innovative designs to give you the fastest and best sight picture possible, under any light conditions, and our sights are built tough to stand up to hard, duty use. They are made in Fort Worth, Texas by pro-2A Americans. Come browse our sights for Glock 19 and Walther PDP now!