Meet Walther’s Latest Economy Model 9mm
By Massad Ayoob
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Walther introduced a new economy-priced pistol to their line, the Creed. It’s essentially a rework of their former economy model, the polymer-framed, hammer-fired PPX, which had been discontinued earlier the same year. American Handgunner got one of the first ones released into the wild.
Let’s get this out of the way early: yes, it’s big and — arguably — ugly. Of course, big and ugly is exactly the sort of gun you want to point at a home invader. Of course, some may like the lines so I might be being harsh here. Nonetheless, I felt we needed to address the elephant in the room. So, beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that, we’ll table the discussion.
The Creed is advertised as a “pre-cocked” double action, which took me a while to say with a straight face since it calls to the hive mind of my generation a Model 10 revolver in a holster with its hammer cocked. Luke Thorkildsen, VP of Marketing and Product Development for Walther, explains: “Racking the slide from an ‘un-cocked’ (status) pre-cocks the hammer spring and it’s held by the sear. The bobbed hammer then comes back to the flat/flush resting position. When the trigger is pulled the hammer will move with the trigger, but since the hammer spring is held by the sear, there is minimal trigger pull weight. When you feel the ‘wall’ just before the break in the trigger pull, the hammer is back completely. The last part of the trigger pull releases the sear and the hammer spring catches the hammer and hits the firing pin. To the average person the trigger feels very much like a single action striker fired trigger, but since the hammer is moving with the trigger pull it is technically a double action trigger system.”
The Umarex connection? Put your mind at ease: it’s made in Ulm, not Amsberg, and is therefore Walther with a capital “W.”
Components? Thorkildsen told American Handgunner, “There is a unique three-piece barrel design which uses a chambered and rifled high grade steel tube that threads into the MIM breech and holds the MIM feed ramp in place. The slide release is stamped. The slide itself is made from a very high-grade tool steel (actually the same material as the PPW), however it has been optimized for a greatly reduced machine time (as compared to) the PPQ.”
We tested the Creed for 25-yard accuracy with these three 9mm loads.
About The Creed Trigger
Cheap guns often tend to have crappy triggers. You can’t say that about the Creed. A lot of folks think “light trigger” is synonymous with “good trigger.” It isn’t. As it happens, however, I can say the Creed’s pull is objetively light, and subjectively, pretty darn good for pure shooting.
The human index finger wants to lie across the center of the trigger, where a pivoting trigger like the Creed’s affords less leverage and therefore requires more pressure to activate. In this case that’s a good thing, because measured at the very toe, the Creed’s pull is a very light 4.05 pounds. Measured at the center point, the pull on test pistol serial number DEX FCD5644 averaged 5.13 pounds. That’s a good “duty” type pull.
The pull itself gives the finger a long, light take-up before it hits any sort of firm resistance. At this point, you have a very short space where you feel some “creep” (that is, scraping resistance between moving parts) before you hit the next level of heavier resistance, which is very short. This is where the hammer can be seen to move commensurately rearward. Then, the shot breaks. The creep I mentioned is palpable only when you’re bringing the trigger back slowly; in rapid fire, it seems to disappear. There is very little trigger backlash, that is, rearward trigger movement after the sear has released and the shot is on its way. The trigger’s reset is relatively long.
If you’ve shot HK’s LEM version of a double-action only trigger, you have an idea of what the Creed’s trigger will feel like. They’re not exactly the same, but they’re similar.
Green Force Tactical outside the belt holster for Creed
proved fast and practical on the range.
Accuracy has two metrics: how tightly do the shots group with one another, and how close does point of impact come to point of aim? Our test Creed batted .500 in this regard.
As usual, testing was done from a concrete bench with a Matrix rest at 25 yards. I like to test with the three most popular bullet weights in the caliber. For this 9mm pistol, that meant 115 grain, 124 grain and 147 grain. Groups were measured center to center between the farthest bullet holes to the nearest 0.05″, once for all five and again for best three, the latter to help factor out unnoticed human error.
Federal’s American Eagle 115-grain round nose FMJ training rounds put all five into 2.95″, with the best three hits in 1.05″. With a low-price service pistol, I was certainly happy with this grouping. However, the group centered a good 6″ left of point of aim, and almost 4″ high.
SIG’s V-Crown 124-grain JHP point clustered about 4.5″ to the port side of point of aim, and 3″ to 4″ high. The group itself was nice, though, measuring 3.20″ for all five hits and a remarkable-for-the-price-range 0.60″ for the best three.
Winchester WinClean 147-grain FMJ subsonic is probably the most accurate low-lead training round in its caliber I’ve seen, but its 5-shot cluster measured a disappointing 6″ exactly, at 25 yards, with the best three in 3.40″. This is something I’ve seen in the past in more than one sample of Walther’s pricier PPQ with 147-grain subsonic. Dunno if it’s the rifling or what. Remember, European 9mms aren’t necessarily built for the 147-grain subsonic, a load primarily popular on the North American continent. The 147-grain bullets centered some 9″ above point of aim, and about 2.5″ left at 25 yards. As a rule of thumb, 147 subsonics group higher than 115 and 124 grain 9mm rounds.
Two spent cases are leaving the gun, and a third leaving the ejection port,
but despite high bore axis Creed is coming quickly back on target.
The Creed In Action
With an obviously high bore axis, I expected a lot of muzzle jump. We got that, but didn’t really find it slowed us down, With a solid hold and stance, by the time we had reset the trigger, it was back on target. Tester Chad Mason, a Walther fan spoiled by his PPQ and other high end Walthers, was a bit disappointed by the trigger pull. It didn’t keep him from shooting racks of Bianchi steel falling plates six for six once he figured the hold-off.
Allen Davis, a 5-gun IDPA Expert and Division Champion, liked the Creed’s trigger and its overall feel, but was as disappointed as I the sights on our test sample weren’t properly registered. Gail Pepin liked the ergonomics and the short trigger reach and pronounced the pull just fine, having won more than one overall pistol match against all the men present.
Me? While the trigger pull is lighter than what I like for the first shot in a pistol one might be holding suspects at gunpoint with under high-stress circumstances, I was certainly happy with its handling. Unlike so many high-cap magazines, the all-steel ones coming two-apiece with each Creed are easy to load by hand all the way up to their 16-round capacity. When inserting even an empty magazine, you feel a resistance toward the end of the stroke making you say, “Uh, oh,” but in practice, a firm slap into the capacious mag well locked it in every time.
The left-side-only slide release lever was easy to operate swiftly and positively, whether loading, reloading, or unloading the Creed. The Creed will work with old PPX magazines, but not with PPQ magazines, says Luke Thorkildsen.
Creed’s trigger reach is ideal for the average adult male
hand and proved adaptable to larger and smaller hands.
Aimed at red dot, our particular Creed grouped high left from 25 yard bench.
Carrying The Creed
I spent a day wearing the Creed, backed up by a SIG in a shoulder holster since a gun shooting far from point of aim does not inspire confidence. The rounded edges at the rear of the Creed’s slide and the edges of its front sight guaranteed comfort inside the waistband in a Green Force Tactical IWB holster. A vertical outside the waistband scabbard by the same maker proved fast and comfortable on the range. The IWB was set to a forward “FBI tilt,” keeping the grip-frame from printing.
In holstering, I treated it like a Glock with a lightened trigger pull. While it does have a hammer, it’s so small and so enclosed within the slide you can’t ride it with your thumb while holstering. Being able to do this is normally an advantage with a hammer-fired auto, since if something catches the trigger on holstering, a thumb holding the hammer down can prevent unintended discharge when holstering. It felt like carrying a SIG P226, which wasn’t exactly a surprise, since they’re about the same size.
Creed, left, is about the same size as the popular SIG P226, right.
Chad Mason got a hundred rounds through the test Creed before I did, and my test team and I got a couple hundred more through it. There were no malfunctions of any kind, even when deliberately “limp-wristed” or shot upside-down. It shoots sweet and reloads slick and carries as a lightweight 9mm service-size pistol should.
The only deal breakers for me were a lighter-than-I-personally-like for carry trigger pull, and bullets not striking where aimed. That could have been fixed with a higher front sight and a drifted rear, but when I asked Walther about this, the reply was, “The Creed sights are not drift-adjustable like the PPQ so we do not recommend a user try to adjust windage.” Luke Thorkildsen told me this was highly unusual, and the fact is, I haven’t heard of it being a problem on other Creeds or PPX pistols, so there’s a good chance this problem with our test sample was a fluke. Still, it seems being able to adjust for windage would be a good idea.
Luke said if this happened to a customer,“Ultimately we’d send the consumer a shipping label with an RMA and have our gunsmiths check it out. We strive to hit a 48-hour turnaround and are successful 98 percent of the time.” Everything I saw when I visited the US Walther repair center at the Umarex plant in Fort Smith, AR three years ago confirms Luke’s promise of excellent customer service.
Mercedes-Benz makes less-than-astronomically-priced automobiles, Smith & Wesson has made economy priced handguns going back to the Highway Patrolman .357 Magnum of the mid-1950’s, and Walther has in the Creed a very promising, reliable 9mm pistol with an easy trigger and a sub-$400 price tag.
For more info: http://americanhandgunner.com/company/walther-arms-inc/
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