Walther’s Q4 SF

All-Steel Elegance
5

Walther’s Q4 has a familiar profile, but this one’s all steel. It sports aggressive but ergonomically
comfortable grips, a large undercut trigger guard, Picatinny rail and a generous ejection port.

When Agent 009.5 found himself stranded in a country with more consonants in its name than vowels, with a job to do and nothing to do it with, he contacted a source friendly to his Black Ops alphabet agency. Arriving at the hidden location and following his man through hidden doors and tunnels, 009.5 waited for a disguised wall to reveal a rack filled with handguns. “That one,” he said, pointing to a heavy-looking, all-steel handgun with the distinctive Walther silhouette.

The Walther Q4 SF has this effect on gun guys. It’s stout, attractive and in your hands feels like all business. Retracting the slide was surprisingly easy. Locking it open with the oversized but very thin slide lock was also effortless. Righty and lefty agents alike could put this pistol to good use given the ambidextrous slide lock.

Drawing a bead on a faraway object in the dim room, 009.5 nodded appreciatively at the larger and brighter than typical night sights. He could only think of one word to describe the grip in his hand — awesome. “This will do,” 009.5 told his source as he collected the spare magazine and mag packaged with the Q4 SF.

The Q4 ships with two magazines and a mag loader. Cocking serrations front and rear and a long,
flat slide lock make operation of the slide easy. The large mag release button can be swapped to the right side.

Weighty Panache

Of course, this is all fiction and 009.5 only exists in my imagination based on the plethora of adventure novels I read. But the attraction to the gun is real. Even now, several weeks after first getting my hands on the Q4, I love to hold it, dry fire it and think about the next range trip. It’s similar to how a car guy would feel about the chance to drive an Italian sports car — or in my case a full-fendered 34 Ford hot rod.

All steel guns. Aren’t they heavy? Why, sure. Heavy like my 40 oz. Colt Q45 Marine 1911. Heavy like the new SIG 320 X5 Legion. Heavy like the SIG P226 the SEALs carry. Speaking of the P226, the Q4 fits right into a couple of my IWB/OWB holsters made for the P226, and that’s saving me money! I know people balk at carrying a gun weighing anywhere close to 2 lbs., but lots of us do. It’s simply a matter of having the right belt/holster combination. I am admittedly a big guy around the midsection, but I have buddies who are beanpoles who carry big guns because they like them, and the right holster makes it not a problem.

David finds carrying the Q4 easy in this Alien Gear IWB holster. The large holster backpanel
provides plenty of support and distribution for the all-steel weight.

Carry Heritage

What makes this gun worth even thinking about carrying on your person? Let’s start with the name Walther. Technically, it’s Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen but known around the world as simply Walther, makers of some of the finest pistols on the planet from ultra-small hideout guns to the Q5 Match. The Walther factory was churning out police guns before WWII and P08s during the war until it was destroyed near the end. Production resumed after the war with a contract to equip the new West German Army with P38s, renamed the P1. Walther was acquired by Umarex in 1993 and now has a distribution facility for the U.S. in Fort Smith, AR.

Walther has been responsive to the concealed carry market with several fine pistols, including the easy to rack CCP (Concealed Carry Pistol). In appearance and operation, it is very much like the Q4 except the CCP is a polymer-framed handgun. Like the CCP, the Q4 is a smooth operator. Cycling the slide and operating the trigger reminds me of driving my son’s Bimmer. The parts are fitted superbly, and the overall balance makes the weight seem inconsequential when you’re demolishing targets.

Large phosphorous sights on the standard model are easy to see regardless of the light.

The Q4 Tour

The pistol is 7.25″ from the crown of the muzzle to the back of the generously long beavertail. It measures 5.25″ from the top of the rear sight to the base of the magazine. These are typical dimensions for a mid-size defensive pistol. The Q4 is wider than many, measuring 1.37″ at its thickest point at the ambidextrous slide locks. Speaking of slide locks, these are some of the easiest to operate in the industry. They’re long and thin which helps in two ways—leverage and positioning. Your thumb can operate it from wherever your thumb naturally rests instead of having to reposition it to find a small lever. The slide locks are also recessed to help with concealment. The frame is machined from solid steel billet and interfaces with the slide as if they were hand-filed to match — German engineering at its finest.

The slide profile is a familiar one if you’ve handled other mid- to full-size Walthers. The sides and front are rounded. There are cocking serrations front and rear with the Walther logo superimposed over the front ones. The top of the slide has full-length, anti-glare grooves and large phosphoric night sights. A large opening is cut for ejection and a small window at the rear of the port on the righthand side serves as a loaded chamber indicator. The combination of the slide’s weight, the excellent machining of the steel and the balance of the recoil spring make racking the slide an effortless task even for my arthritic hands.

The trigger guard is large enough for gloves and generously undercut to allow a high grip. The entire scheme promotes a powerful grip. The metal wrap-around grip panel is aggressively textured but not painfully so. The palm swell produces a natural fit, and the checkering extends to the front and rear. You can operate this gun when it’s raining, snowing or muddy, and you’re not likely to drop it. But if you do, there is a drop safety for the trigger. There’s also a blade safety on the trigger. The front of the trigger guard is squared off with a small tab. I’ve read many instructors and reviewers who discourage putting the index finger of the support hand on the front of the trigger guard, and I think I was once in this group. But these days as I’m trying to steady shaky hands, I find that position helps, and it works on the Q4. Ahead of the trigger guard, a three-slot Picatinny rail facilitates mounting your favorite light, laser or combo. The big mag release button behind the trigger guard is reversible.

Takedown is straightforward using a takedown lever on the left side of the frame.

Performance Features

There are two things somewhat legendary about Walther handguns, both found on this model. One is the barrel which is known to be very accurate for a production gun. The other is what Walther calls the Quick Defense trigger, hailed by many as one of the best striker-fired triggers in the industry. I haven’t shot every striker-fired pistol out there, but I have fired a lot of them, and I have to say this trigger is one of the best. There’s less than 0.25" take-up, then a very smooth break at about 5.5 lbs. Reset is almost too short to measure.

David found the Q4 to be exceptionally accurate. It really likes the heavier 9mm bullets
as indicated by this 12-yard offhand target with SIG SAUER 147-gr. V-Crown.

Range Perspectives

In addition to the firearm with two magazines, a mag loader and the requisite lock in the plastic carrying case the Q4 arrived in, there was a 15-meter target fired by Heir Graetz at the factory with a group I thought might be a challenge for me to beat. It wasn’t. The Q4 made me look good on the very first outing with one of my grandsons and his friend. As I invited them to shoot it, I discovered it made them look good, too. Most of the ammo I had with me that day was 115 grain. I shot some pretty good groups from 10 to 12 yards, but the best ones were with 135-gr. Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun. This made me think the gun might like heavier rounds better.

On the next range trip, I shot heavier defensive rounds — Hornady 135-gr. Critical Duty, Speer’s new 135-gr. Gold Dot Carry Gun, Speer 147-gr. G2 and SIG SAUER’s 147-gr. V-Crown. The SIG SAUER V-Crown rounds almost followed each other into the same hole. The other heavier rounds also grouped very well. This was the first time for me to shoot Critical Duty in years because it hurts me to shoot it — not with the Q4. My entire shooting session with these heavier rounds was comfortable because of the weight and action of the gun. I was in no hurry to end the shooting session, and I experienced no discomfort later.

People have been waiting for the Q4 knowing it was going to be a hit. I’m sure glad I got my hands on one early. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, not having shot a Q5, a CCP or a PPQ M2, all popular guns with my friends. I found it a delight to shoot — very well made, very accurate and in the right holster, easy to carry. Shopping around, I’m seeing prices around $1,295, which is in line with other high-end steel frame production pistols. What more could you want?

For more info: waltherarms.com

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