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Walther CCP M2 Review: Concealed Carry Part Deux

We live in entertaining times, and one result of it is the Walther CCP M2. Half a decade ago, the compact concealed-carry market was set ablaze, with every handgun manufacturer trying to get in on the game. One segment of firearm manufacturers gave consumers what they wanted, in a caliber they asked for, and were rewarded with a king’s ransom. In fact, they’re probably still counting their money.

Taking another path to differentiate themselves from the pack, the other guys decided the time was right to introduce new operating systems. Others further tempted fate by chambering theirs in 9mm lite, aka .380 ACP. Some did both. 

Walther CCP M2 barrel

Beneath the barrel, just ahead of the chamber, is a gas port. As the pistol is fired, the bullet travels past the port and the expanding gas flows through the port and presses forward on the piston.

One of the other guys, at the time, was Walther Arms with its Concealed Carry Pistol (CCP) M1. Shortly after its release, the pistol was recalled due to a drop safety concern. Knocked down a notch, Walther stood up, dusted themselves off, and made some corrective changes before rereleasing the pistol as the CCP M2. There are a few differences between the M1 and M2 variants, but much of the pistol remains the same. First things first, let’s talk similarities.

Walther CCP M2 disassembled

THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT

The standout feature of the original pistol, and the current M2 variant seen here, is its Softcoil Technology. In a nutshell, the Walther CCP M2 is operated by a gas-delayed blowback system, just like Heckler & Koch’s famed P7 series. Walther calls it Softcoil Technology. Here’s how it works: As the pistol is fired, the bullet and expanding gas travel past a barrel port, located just in front of the chamber. The gas is bled down into a chamber where a piston below and parallel to the barrel opposes the rearward motion of the slide until gas pressure has declined. This, in turn, slows the rearward travel of the slide, thereby directly reducing the felt recoil of the platform. There are other benefits to the system, too.

Walther CCP M2 recoil assembly

The hinged gas piston is attached to the slide. When the pistol is fired, gas fills the cylinder and creates a buffer that slows the rearward movement of the slide.

Most compact pistols can be very difficult to load and operate due to their heavy recoil springs. The Softcoil technology eliminates this. Replacement of the traditional recoil spring assembly with Walther’s hybrid spring-piston system allows the slide to be retracted much more easily; this is extremely advantageous for those with reduced hand strength or dexterity issues. There’s slight tension, but only at the very beginning of the slide’s rearward motion.

ERGOMONIC WORK OF ART 

The Walther CCP M2 is like a fine German automobile — smooth, brilliant, and appealing. Intuitive to operate and well thought out. Maybe a little over-engineered, but nearly flawless in execution. 

Walther CCP M2 disassembled

The robust 8-round metal magazine organizes its cartridges in a single-stack format, allowing the grip frame to remain slim and proportioned, highly effective for those with smaller hands.

Painstaking attention has been paid to control placement and the look and feel of the frame. The grip texture isn’t too aggressive, yet not too smooth; it’s just about right. One of the best features is how the extended magazine baseplate blends with the frame. It does an admirable job pushing your firing hand fingers together, up into the undercut trigger guard cavity, thus locking your grip firmly into place.

The frame of the Walther CCP M2 is wider than the slide, giving your support-hand thumb a place to rest and providing additional leverage over the pistol during rapid-fire strings. The slide rides low, helping to reduce felt recoil. The Walther CCP M2 sports both front and rear slide serrations. The front serrations on the pistol’s right side are sharp enough to draw blood, if you’re not careful. Be aware or knock the Walther logo’s cutout edges down with a file.

Walther CCP M2 barrel

Theoretically, a fixed barrel should provide an increase in accuracy. The CCP proved to be very accurate across the board, with each round feeding flawlessly, including the heavily fluted Black Hills HoneyBadger.

The Walther CCP M2 sports polymer 3-dot sights, adjustable for windage with a flathead screwdriver. Also in the box are a couple of extra front sights should elevation changes be necessary. 

While the trigger is light, the travel on our T&E pistol was a bit on the long side and very stagy. It felt as though several of the trigger components were rubbing, creating excess friction. Again, the pull is light, but not all that smooth. With more rounds through the pistol, or extensive dry-fire, all the parts will probably wear in and result in a light, smooth trigger press.

WHAT’S NEW

The new M2 variant is the recipient of several changes — we’ll call them updates — when compared to the original M1. The first and most notable is tool-less disassembly. The M1 required the use of an included tool for disassembly, and it was helpful to have a third hand. It’s been replaced with a simplified and far more user-friendly method, albeit still a bit unorthodox by today’s standards. We’ll go over that in detail momentarily. 

CONCEALMENT’s review (see CONCEALMENT Issue 2) of the original Walther CCP raised concerns that the pistol’s trigger reset occurs only after the very last few millimeters of slide travel, so that it was possible to manually chamber a round without resetting the trigger. Daniel Reiger, Walther’s director of engineering, says the company addressed this concern in the M2.

Walther CCP M2 angled

As is typical for Walther pistols, the ergonomics of the grip frame is excellent. The CCP, however, is ideally suited to those with smaller hands.

“Because of the proprietary operating system of the CCP, this condition is unavoidable to ensure 100-percent reliability under normal shooting conditions,” says Reiger. “Because of this, we added a large visual indicator to the back of the pistol to provide the shooter with immediate feedback that it is fully cocked and ready for use.”

This modification greatly reduces the likelihood of a customer going about their day believing their CCP is fully operational when it actually isn’t.

As mentioned earlier, Walther recalled a number of CCP M1s because the pistol was capable of firing if dropped, regardless of whether the thumb safety was activated or not. These pistols were upgraded free of charge, and we’re told by Walther that the issue was due to a small batch of bad parts. Therefore, should you come across a CCP M1 on the secondary market, have a close look at the backside of the inside of the magazine well. An upgraded pistol will be marked with an obvious circle.

WHERE THINGS GET A LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED

A noteworthy drawback of the Walther CCP M2 is disassembly and reassembly of the pistol. Original M1 owners will breathe a sigh of relief, while those new to the CCP may groan in despair. The process may seem a bit complex the first few times you do it, but it becomes easier with practice. Crack the manual and turn to the field-stripping section, or follow along here.

Walther CCP M2 left

We found the short front rail to be relatively limited in use, but discovered Streamlight’s TLR-7/8 fits, albeit barely, with the right plate installed.

You might expect to find a takedown lever to turn or depress, but there isn’t a typical one. First, unload the pistol. Then, dry-fire it to decock the striker. Facing the rear of the slide, push the locking block into the slide and move the locking block release (takedown lever-ish thing) below to the right. Note that the locking block can’t be pushed into the slide unless the striker is first decocked. 

Next, allow the locking block to slip out the rear of the slide. The spring cover should glide up the ramp of the locking block and out of the slide. 

Because this is a fixed barrel pistol, the next step is a little unorthodox, though familiar to P7 owners. Retract the slide. As soon as the extractor is free of the extractor notch, lift the rear of the slide upward as you ease the slide forward and off the frame. Now, you can depress the firing pin safety in the slide and remove the striker assembly. Finally, remove the recoil spring.

Walther CCP M2 bottom

Should you choose to clean the pistol, now would be a good time. If you’ve scrubbed and lubed a handgun before, it’s pretty much business as usual, with one exception. As previously mentioned, this pistol is piston operated and this area does require special attention. Grab the supplied brass bristled brush and go to work. 

Once it’s all cleaned and lubed, it’s time for reassembly, which requires a little more patience than it should because you need to align the gas piston as you slip the slide and frame together, but repetition is your friend. 

SHOOTING IT

The Walther CCP M2 380 ACP is to handguns what a 9mm PCC is to carbines — which is to say it’s pure, lethal entertainment. Sure, there are far more effective rounds to burn through a carbine than 9mm, just like there are far more effective self-defense cartridges for a pistol than 380 ACP. Yet, out of their respective platforms, they sure are a lot of fun, effective at close range, and easy to shoot fast. 

Walther CCP M2 top

The Walther CCP M2 proved more than acceptable in the accuracy department at the 25-yard line, capable of shooting mid 2-inch, five-shot groups with relative ease. Where the pistol, no doubt, excels is putting numerous shots on target in rapid succession. The CCP is like shooting a pellet pistol — firmly grip the pistol, aim down the sights, and start mashing the trigger as fast as you can, which is the way to shoot this long-reset trigger. The lack of felt recoil and muzzle flip will put a smile on your face, and it’s downright amazing how quickly the 8-round magazine empties into a tight cluster of punched holes.

Walther CCP M2 muzzle

The Walther CCP M2 proved to be completely reliable with all loads tested, including an assortment of each in the same magazine. The CCP cycled through them without a hiccup. During low-light shooting, the 60-grain Black Hills HoneyBadger loads exhibited an amazing lack of flash compared to the others tested. Not only did it return the best groups of the test, it also felt the lightest in recoil. As a bonus, the round looks like a Philips-head screwdriver and cuts a similar shape into paper targets. Reviewing ballistic gelatin supplied by Black Hills Ammunition, the round appears to perform exceedingly well in those tests as well.

IT’S NOT ALL RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS

There’s a lot to like about the Walther CCP M2, especially if you’re seeking a feature-rich, compact single-stack. If you have a handle on recoil management, the pistol will make you look like a masterclass badass. If the .380 isn’t your preferred cartridge, no worries there; the CCP is also available in 9mm. It just won’t be as, well, pellet gun-ish to shoot. 

However, there was one bone to pick with the Walther CCP M2. As its name implies, it’s designed for use as a concealed-carry defensive pistol. Its intended audience includes folks with reduced grip strength, hand size, and/or dexterity complications. These shooters are, more often than not, untrained and inexperienced.

angled right Walther CCP M2

Front and rear serrations adorn each side of the slide. Beware — the serrations surrounding the Walther cutout on the pistol’s left side are sharp enough to draw blood.

While handling the pistol, I noted that I could manually retract the slide until the slide stop just barely engaged the slide and locked it to rear, insert a fresh magazine, and depress the slide release to chamber a round. The result? A loaded gun with a dead trigger. I could reproduce this issue 10 out of 10 times. To be clear, this only occurred if I didn’t retract the slide fully to the rear and I ignored the absence of the red striker indicator. But it’s a dangerous condition, and not unreasonable to imagine for someone who struggles to completely retract a pistol slide to begin with.

If you’re going to trust your life to a Walther CCP M2, please vigorously slingshot your reloads and pay close attention to that striker status indicator — this could be the difference between a click and a bang.

As much as I like shooting the CCP, I’m a slide stop release, load/reload kind of guy, and as a result, it doesn’t work for me. If you’re a slingshot aficionado, then no problem, carry on. But you should be aware of the CCP’s long trigger reset, and make an informed decision based on what works for you. 

[Editor's Note: This article first appeared in Concealment #18. Photos by Rob Curtis.]


Walther CCP M2

Caliber: .380 ACP
Weight Unloaded: 19.4 Ounces
Magazine Capacity: 8 Rounds
Overall Length: 6.4 Inches
Barrel Length: 3.5 Inches
MSRP: $470/$490

URL: www.waltherarms.com


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