Walther brought its new compact steel frame pistol to SHOT Show 2020

This year’s SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range showcased a number of pistols from a variety of brands, but few of them were as interesting as Walther’s latest compact 9 mm offering.

While Walther’s reps at the range day claimed this new striker-fired pistol, the Q4 Steel Frame (or Q4SF for short), is the ideal compact carry/duty gun, we decided to take the gun for a test drive to see if it really does live up to the hype.

From a slight distance, the gun looks somewhat generic... just another angular Walther product without an external hammer.

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The game changes, however, when you pick up the gun and bring it to bear — it feels incredibly well-balanced. The slide is incredibly easy to work, and thanks to the extended beavertail, you can choke up on the textured grip as high as you’d like without fear of slide bite.

(Photo Ian D'Costa)
(Photo Ian D'Costa)

When it comes to weight, the heftier frame, machined from solid steel billet, is almost comforting; the Q4 clocks in at 39.7 ounces unloaded versus 21.2 ounces on an unloaded Glock 19. According to the Walther rep I spoke to at the industry range day, the frame is optimized for improved weight distribution to minimize recoil.

Replete with front and rear cocking serrations, the slide comes in two major variations. With the standard Q4SF, the slide is as described with phosphor sights. The Q4SF-OR, however, features an optics cut for most major red dot sights, and drift-adjustable LPA irons at the rear (to be removed when mounting an RDS).

Walther ported over their Quick Defense Trigger from their PPQ pistols. The QDT is a two-stage trigger with a short (1/10th of an inch) reset, allowing for faster and more accurate shots on target. Both the Q4SF and the Q4SF-OR feed from 15 or 17-round steel magazines.

Hitting the well-placed recessed slide release is a breeze, and the slide moves forward without much effort at all, a huge positive for me as I prefer to reload using the release than manually working the slide.

The recoil on the Q4SF is indeed surprisingly close to as advertised — noticeably minimized, though not as drastic a reduction as the ads and product placements might have you believe.

(Photo Ian D'Costa)
(Photo Ian D'Costa)

The QDT trigger also lived up to expectations in a big way, especially with the quick reset, allowing me to put more rounds on target in short order without the need for the trigger to move back to the first stage.

All in all, the Q4SF did live up to the hype and I’m very much looking forward to putting more rounds through the gun later on.

The primary pitfall of this pistol (or any Walther product) will always be its price.

The Q4SF comes with an MSRP of $1,499, and while dealer pricing may be a shade lower, a +$1000 price tag doesn’t bode well for a pistol ostensibly marketed as a viable alternative to the current mainstays of the compact 9 mm pistol category (which are generally priced far below the Walther offering).

The police market, however, could be a potential source of mass buys for the gun.

With a number of North American law enforcement agencies opting to pick up Walther firearms as their standard issue service weapons over the years, it wouldn’t be surprising if they replace their older P99s or PPQs with the Q4SFs, given the quality of the pistol and the reliability associated with the Walther name.