I have been looking for a Walther P99 replica for some time. The P99 is a handily sized, distinctive looking semi auto pistol and several replica versions have been produced, but none ticked all the boxes for me. The pellet shooting Umarex CP99 is powerful and accurate, but it lacks blowback and is really a revolver in disguise. The Umarex PPQ (the PPQ is a development of the P99) is also a good shooter, but again lacks blowback and has a very heavy double action only trigger. So I was excited when a new 6mm Umarex replica of the Walther PPQ M2 was announced last year. Especially when I discovered that this replica was to be manufactured by highly regarded Taiwanese manufacturer Vega Force Company (VFC) in collaboration with Umarex. VFC have a reputation for fanatical attention to detail in their production of replicas which are also good shooters. Add to this the fact that Umarex and Walther are part of the same group of companies, giving Umarex unrestricted access to original design information and you have a great basis for a replica. I recently managed to get hold of a PPQ M2 to find out whether it’s as good as I had hoped…
Real steel background
Launched in 2011, the Walther PPQ (Police Pistol – Quick Defence) is a development of the Walther P99. The PPQ is visually and dimensionally similar to the P99, though the grip features a new “Hi-grip” finish and there is no de-cocker or cocking indicator on the PPQ. However, the most notable improvement in the PPQ is new trigger system. The wide trigger incorporates a central blade that operates as a trigger safety. The pre-cocked firing pin gives total trigger travel of only 5mm and release travel of less than 1mm. Together, these give a very short, light and consistent trigger pull. The PPQ does not fire in conventional single and double action, it has only one firing mode but the trigger pull is shorter and lighter than on many DA/SA pistols. The Walther PPQ is also fully ambidextrous, with slide and magazine releases on both sides. No manual safety is provided. The PPQ is available in 9mm and .40 S&W calibres and can be factory equipped with a passive RFID transponder in the grip which records weapon specific data.
Walther PPQ M2
The PPQ M2 was launched in 2013 and is identical to the PPQ other than that the ambidextrous magazine release levers have been replaced with a conventional thumb release on the left side of the frame. The thumb release is reversible for left handed use. The PPQ M2 is extremely light, weighing just 680grams (1.5lbs) unloaded.
The Umarex Walther PPQ M2
Umarex bought the Walther firearms company in 1993, so it’s no surprise that they also have an exclusive licensing deal with Walther. A number of Umarex replicas have been based on Walther pistols and several have been manufactured by Asian suppliers. The Walther PPQ M2 is no different, being sold under the Umarex label but manufactured by Taiwanese company VFC (Vega Force Company). VFC have become known for a range of AEG and gas blowback rifles including a range of licensed H&K replicas produced for Umarex. VFC replicas are highly regarded for their extreme attention to detail as well as being reliable and accurate shooters, but the company are relative newcomers to the gas blowback pistol market.
The relationship between Umarex and their Asian suppliers is more collaborative than seen with many OEM companies – Umarex provide detailed design information, advice and even machine tools where required to ensure visual and functional accuracy. The result is good news for replica collectors – we get German engineering experience combined with low cost Asian manufacture, providing great quality replicas at a reasonable price.
The Umarex Walther PPQ M2 is a gas powered, 6mm, blowback replica featuring a polymer grip and frame and a metal slide and internal and external parts. The PPQ M2 is a licensed replica, includes accurate Walther markings and produces less than 1 joule of muzzle energy.
Packaging and presentation 2.5/5
The Umarex Walther PPQ M2 is provided in a card box with Walther markings. The box features a card insert to fit the pistol. The PPQ M2 comes only with a single magazine and a short user manual – no BBs or tools are included.
Visual accuracy 9/10
Walther PPQ M2 (top), Umarex Walther PPQ M2 (bottom).
For visual accuracy, this is about as good as it gets. The Umarex Walther PPQ M2 is virtually indistinguishable from the original firearm. Every line and contour of the original are replicated including the complex “Hi-Grip” texturing on the grip. On the left side of the pistol all markings are precisely the same as on the original. On the right, only very small, engraved text reading “Cal. 6mm BB” and the “F” mark for the German market are different. The magazine and base have authentic markings and even the markings on the transponder housing in the backstrap are replicated.
Visual accuracy is further improved by all controls being accurately replicated (in function as well as visually) and by details such as the extractor being modelled as a separate (metal) part.
If I had to pick out slight visual issues (and I’m struggling to find any), I’d mention that the brass inner barrel is only recessed by around 5mm, and is visible from the front and that there is a light moulding seam on the base of the trigger guard and under the accessory rail. Some people have also noted that the gap between the rear of the slide and the frame is larger than on the original. However, the difference is marginal and doesn’t detract from the overall visual appeal.
Replicas seem to get better and better in terms of visual accuracy, but it’s difficult to see how the PPQ M2 could be substantially improved upon.
Functional accuracy 14/15
When you first pick it up, the Umarex PPQ M2 feels a little light at 640g, though to be fair that’s only around 40g lighter than the (unloaded) original. It does have good balance – on many replicas with a polymer frame and grip the weight is carried high and forward, but the PPQ M2 has good weight distribution.
The slide moves through a full range of travel and locks back on empty. Both left and right slide release catches work. The takedown latches work as per the original and holding down the latches allows the slide to be removed to the front. One quirk of the PPQ M2 is that it can’t be de-cocked. You must rack the slide to cock the internal striker for the first shot but, like the original, there is no decocker. Once cocked, the only way to decock is to fire the pistol without gas in the magazine.
The full-size magazine latches and releases as per the original. The trigger is a good replication of the original, with a short, light action. Even the trigger safety works as it should. On many replicas which feature a blade trigger safety, this is purely decorative. On the PPQ M2, if you carefully try to pull the trigger without touching the central blade, the pistol will not fire.
This is a very good functional replica and would make a useful training and practice weapon for users of the firearm version. The only feature from the original which doesn’t operate in the same way here is the extractor (on the firearm version, the extractor also acts as a loaded chamber indicator).
To prepare for shooting, the magazine must be charged with gas and up to 22 6mm BBs loaded into the magazine. The magazine follower cannot be locked down, so it has to be held in place while BBs are loaded into the wide part of the loading slot. The slide must be racked to cock the internal striker, and then you’re good to go. The trigger pull is short, light and consistent and with a clear release point.
The rear sight is adjustable for windage only (though strangely the manual claims that the rear sight is fixed). To adjust the sight, the slide must be racked and locked back. Viewed from the underside, a hex screw is then visible which retains the sight. If this is loosened, the sight can be moved from side to side. Front and rear sights include white dots and the sight picture is clear.
Six shots, six yards, .25g BBs, rapid fire.
The blowback is strong and snappy, though the pistol is fairly quiet. Fine if you want to shoot without disturbing the neighbours but a little disappointing if you enjoy a loud bang. The PPQ M2 shoots well and with reasonable power – in the 270 – 290fps range with .25g BBs – well under the claimed 360fps but entirely adequate for target shooting. On my PPQM2 consistent groups of 1½” at six yards are possible for aimed shots with around 2″ for rapid fire. My version is very new, having fired less than 300 shots, and in my experience airsoft GBB pistols take time to bed in, so accuracy may improve with use. Groups are very consistent with no flyers. The combination of hop-up adjustment and the windage adjustable rear sight means that the point of impact and point of aim can be aligned. There is no noticeable cooldown if shots are fired rapidly and two full magazines can be shot from a single fill of gas.
Hop-up adjustment wheel (arrowed)
Out of the box, my PPQ M2 had a very irritating tendency to allow the loaded BB to roll out of the front of the barrel if the pistol was held pointing even slightly downwards. However, a couple of clicks on the hop-up adjustment cured this. No tools are required to adjust hop-up, just remove the slide and turn the knurled wheel under the barrel. On occasion the slide also failed to lock back on empty, but to be fair this may also improve with use.
And it’s lefty friendly too…
I don’t assign points for replicas which can be set up for left-handed use, but if I did, the PPQ M2 would score, oh I don’t know, maybe an additional gazillion points here. You see, I’m a lefty and this is the first replica I have tried (there are probably others, but I haven’t found them) that supports full left handed configuration without spending additional money. Ambidextrous pistols are fairly common in the firearms world, but for some reason very rare in the replica world – I have lost count of the replicas I have owned which have had non-functioning slide release catches on the right side. I knew that this replica had a working ambidextrous slide release, but I was a little disappointed to see the magazine release only on the left side. However, some background reading suggested that the mag release on the original pistol is reversible and that the magazine has cut-outs to allow the catch to be used on either side. One of the first things I checked on the replica was to see if this was accurately modelled, and I was delighted to find that it was.
The theory of swapping the release button over is simple – a grub screw is removed which allows the two halves of the mag release assembly to be separated and removed, and it’s simply reassembled the other way round. In practice, it’s a little fiddly. You need to remove the mag and slide and then use a long, 0.9mm hex key to remove the grub screw, which lives at the bottom of a long channel and is rather difficult to see.
The grub screw is very long and has to be completely removed before the two halves will separate. And putting it all back together takes a lot of squinting into the mag well to get everything lined up. But it makes such a difference. Lefties of the world rejoice! For the first time, you can shoot a replica without having to juggle it from hand to hand.
Right handed shooters just won’t appreciate how good this looks.
Quality and reliability 13.5/15
The Umarex Walther PPQ M2 appears to be very well made and finished, especially for a pistol in this price range – I paid just €100 (around £84/$135) for my PPQ M2. The polymer frame and grip are robust and there is no flex or creaking when you grip the pistol. The finish on the slide is a very good match for the plastic frame, which helps the components look as if they belong together. Attention to detail is very good indeed in looks and function.
I had no misfeeds or failures to fire with my PPQ M2, once I had stopped BBs from rolling out of the end of the barrel by adjusting the hop-up. The slide did fail to lock back on empty on a couple of occasions. Overall I’m not aware of any reliability issues with this replica, and VFC have a good reputation for the reliability of the other airsoft guns they produce.
Overall Impression 13/15
I like pistols which are good functional and visual replicas of the original forearms, and this is about as good as it gets in both respects. It’s also a good enough shooter to be fun for target shooting, which is what I’m looking for.
And it just feels good when you pick it up. Despite the light weight, there is nothing toylike about this replica. The grip fits my hand very well and the whole pistol feels well balanced and tight. Nothing rattles or wobbles and all the controls work crisply and well.
I might have liked a little more weight (though it’s actually close to the weight of the firearm version) and perhaps it would have been better if the brass inner barrel was recessed more deeply, but otherwise I’m very happy with my PPQ M2. The fact that I also finally have a replica that supports left handed shooting is the icing on the cake, and I can see that this is a pistol that I’ll be using a great deal.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive pistol which is also a good action shooter and an accurate replica, you can’t really go wrong with the Umarex Walther PPQ M2.
Total score: 86/100 (unless you’re left-handed, in which case you should add as many extra points as you want…)
Pros and Cons
- Functionally and visually accurate replica with good markings.
- Decent shooter.
- Can be set up for left or right handed use.
- Well made and finished.
- Low cost.
- Feels a little light.
- Visible moulding seam under the barrel/trigger guard.
- Brass inner barrel could be better hidden.
Total score: 86/100