Walther PDP F-Series 4-Inch 2842734 9mm Luger

The Walther PDP F may be designed for the female hand shape, but our male raters liked the gun as well. Our female raters do not like larger grips and found the PDP F to be an excellent fit. It is also a great shooter, well worth the extra tariff over the Canik. While it is less expensive than the Shadow Systems MR920, it is a better shooter.


Despite there being a bad shortage of 9mm handguns a couple of years ago, in 2023 many well-known brands are reasonably available and are facing challenges from all quarters of the market, lower priced, par priced, and higher priced. We recently took a look at three lesser-known nameplates to see how they shaped up against household handgun marques, and we found a lot of quality.

Our first test gun was the Canik TP9 Elite SC HG5610T 9mm Luger, $419. Readers have asked us to test the TP9 SC, in part because of the Canik’s affordable price. A word of caution: The price spread on this pistol was more extreme than the other two handguns tested. While we found an example new in a shop for less than $400, some online sites were asking $599, and the optics-mounted pistol was as high as $699. Beware scalper prices. We found three identical Canik 9mm pistols within a 50-mile radius at fair prices, like our test gun. Caniks are manufactured in Turkey and have earned a favorable reputation. The early pistols were more utilitarian, and some had add-on safety levers we did not like. The present Elite type seems well developed and looks well finished. As a parenthetical, we don’t feel that the “SC” nomination (Sub-Compact) is accurate. This isn’t a sub-compact pistol, in our view. It is a compact, save for the short grip.

The Walther’s grip treatment is called Performance Duty checkering. Like the Shadow Systems pistol, the F’s grip flares slightly at the front of the grip strap (arrow).

Our second handgun was a Shadow Systems MR920 Combat 9mm Luger, $830. We have previously tested the MR920; this was a new optics-ready pistol, which we found for sale just shy of $800 in a well-stocked shop. We found these handguns offered online for as much as $989. We don’t mind paying a little extra to a stocking dealer, but $170 extra doesn’t sound right. This 9mm compact handgun is in most ways an elevated Glock 19, but you could not purchase a Glock 19 and add the slide, barrel, and sights to the pistol and spend this amount of money. To be clear, Shadow Systems doesn’t modify a Glock pistol; they simply manufacture their own receivers. The pistol has been available when Glocks were not in the past two years, with the situation now somewhat reversed.

The F pistol is supplied with the usual accessories.

A Walther PDP F-Series 4-Inch 2842734, $599, was our third gun. It, too, was a pistol some readers have asked that we review. The Walther was more consistent in price. Most examples were priced from $589 to $639. Walther’s Performance Duty Pistol F-Series has an upgraded and reconfigured grip that was designed with female shooters in mind. The polymer-frame handle is designed to accommodate not simply smaller hands, but the female hand structure — a certain size hand, with long fingers. The sole female rater on this team really liked the hand fit. But all the male raters also liked the hand fit of the Walther.

Here’s more about the pistols individually:

Gun Tests Grade: A (BEST BUY)


The grip is the story with the F-Series pistol, and we found the grip is nicely textured and offers an ideal balance of abrasion and adhesion. The Walther’s grip treatment is called Performance Duty checkering. Like the Shadow Systems pistol, the F grip flares slightly at the front of the grip strap. The result is a grip that is very stable during firing. While there is nothing wrong with the Shadow Systems MR920 grip, the Walther PDP F grip is superior, we thought.

Action TypeSemi-auto, double action
Overall Length7.25 in.
Overall Height5.4 in.
Maximum Width1.35 in.
Weight Unloaded26.0 oz.
Weight Loaded31.0 oz.
SlideBlack-phosphate-finish steel
Slide Retraction Effort14.0 lbs.
Receiver MaterialPolymer
Front Strap Height2.4 in.
Rear Strap Height3.2 in.
Barrel Length4.0 in.
GripReplaceable back strap
Grip Thickness1.3 in.
Grip Circumference5.5 in.
Magazine(2) 15 round
Rear SightFixed
Front SightFixed (Glock compatible)
Trigger Pull Weight4.9 lbs.
Trigger Span2.6 in.
Sight Radius6.4 in.
SafetyTrigger lever
Telephone(479) 242-8500
Made InGermany
The Walther F-Series pistol field-strips easily. There were no surprises internally with any of the guns.

Another Walther feature is forward cocking serrations on the slide called Super Terrain. They are secure, but not abrasive, and certainly allow good leverage to be applied to the slide, part of the reason the slide is easier to rack. And the slide is easier to rack than the other two pistols. It doesn’t register much lighter by poundage, but it feels lighter.

The pistol’s sights are OK. They are low-riding three-white-dot-insert types. While they did not materially affect accuracy in a negative way — this is the most accurate pistol in the test — the sights were the least popular of the test. The Walther PDP F has well-designed ambidextrous slide locks, a feature the Canik also has, but the Shadow Systems lacks. This is the only pistol that uses polygonal rifling. This is a deterrent to using inexpensive lead-bullet handloads, but it’s likely the majority of shooters will use jacketed ammunition in their 9mm firearms. Just the same, this is a consideration if you make your own bullets or shoot lead-bullet handloads. Polygonal rifling often produces greater velocity than conventional rifling, and that proved true here. Polygonal rifling may produce less bullet deformation and can be a factor in accuracy, although we feel a good sight set and trigger are at least as important. Take down is Glock simple, but on the PDP F, it works out easier due to the increased size of the take down levers.

The Walther’s cocking serrations are called Super Terrain. They allow good leverage to be applied to the slide, part of the reason the PDP-F’s slide is easier to rack.

We discovered that 18-round Canik magazines, readily available, also fit the Walther PDP. Function was excellent. The PDP is Glock compatible as far as sights go, a wise choice. Still, the only real shortcoming of the PDP F is the sights. They are not bad, they are only okay and suffered in comparison to the other pistols. One of our team members who bought PDP F after the test bought a set of XS Sights F8 Sights ($106) and easily placed them on the gun. This brought the sights up to a higher standard and still cost less than the Shadow Systems pistol.

The Walther’s white-dot sights are good combat sights, but they suffered compared to the other pistols. They are Glock compatible and easily replaced.

Elsewhere, Walther’s Performance Duty Trigger lived up to its reputation and proved to be among the best triggers we have tested. Movement is smooth, and the trigger breaks cleanly at 4.75 pounds. The trigger became smoother as time and dry firing progressed. The PDP trigger is the smoothest tested and has the sharpest reset. Our shooters said the PDP recoils the least of the three pistols tested, a function of weight, balance, grip design, and other factors. We feel the F’s balance is best, although the Shadow Systems is a well-balanced pistol.

The Walther 9mm is a well-mannered handgun. Combat-type firing was much better than with the Canik and incrementally better than the Shadow Systems. In firing off the bench, the Walther gave what was easily the best accuracy. The pistol fired groups as small as 1.75 inches at 25 yards. This is an exceptionally accurate striker-fired pistol.

Our Team Said: Reliability was faultless. The Walther PDP F-Series provided a good hand fit for all shooters. As a result, the F-Series should prove popular with shooters who have problems with larger pistols. The PDP F-Series is also engineered to reduce racking force, which proved out to be true, while controlling recoil with an efficient recoil-spring system. This was accomplished — a neat trick.

9mm Luger Range Data

We fired all groups from an MTM K Zone rest at 25 yards, shooting strings of three five-shot groups for each load in each handgun. We used an RCBS Ammomaster Chronograph to measure velocities at 10 yards.
Remington UMC 115-grain FMJCanik TP9 Elite SCShadow Systems MR920 ORWalther PDP F-Series
Average Velocity1120 fps1145 fps1166 fps
Energy320 ft.-lbs.335 ft.-lbs.347 ft.-lbs.
Small Group3.0 in. 2.5 in.1.75 in.
Average Group3.5 in.2.9 in.2.4 in.
Hornady American GunnerCanikShadow SystemsWalther
115-grain XTP 90244TP9 Elite SCMR920 ORPDP F-Series
Average Velocity1099 fps1123 fps1154 fps
Energy308 ft.-lbs.322 ft.-lbs.340 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.9 in. 2.6 in. 1.8 in.
Average Group3.5 in. 3.1 in. 2.2 in.
Federal Premium 124-grain HST JHPCanik TP9 Elite SCShadow Systems MR920 ORWalther PDP F-Series
Average Velocity1149 fps1168 fps1180 fps
Energy363 ft.-lbs.376 ft.-lbs.383 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.4 in2.2 in.2.0 in.
Average Group2.95 in.2.8 in. 2.4 in.


  1. I found out interesting that you saw a spread of prices when you purchased the pistols fit this test.

    Back in April ’23 I was in the market for a concealment 9mm pistol. I decided on a Sig Sauer 365XL. I live in a Columbus Ohio and started my search. The gun has a suggested retail price of $599.99. I visited 3 local gun stores and all of them were asking $650+ less tax, which would have pushed the total price to just ship of $700.00.

    Luckily, there’s a shop in town that caters to Law Enforcement , Military, and retired Military providing discounts to those who served. To masked a long story shorter, I paid under $575.00 out the door. With the disparity in prices, I strongly recommend shopping around.


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