Is the Walther CCP capable of knocking the Glock 43, Ruger LC9s, or S&W Shield from their respective top spots? My evaluation should hopefully shine some light on the matter.
For some context, my current EDC is a Glock 27, carried appendix/centerline method with an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. I've carried this same ﬁrearm for more than 9 years now, and it's safe to say that I like it. I have also carried other ﬁrearms from time to time, so I can give educated, ﬁrst hand opinions to my students when they ask about different concealed carry options.
While I have found some that I really like, could recommend, and that I would feel comfortable carrying on a daily basis, I have yet to ﬁnd one that could separate me from my Glock 27. That was until I tried the Walther CCP. While it is too soon for me to retire my tried and true carry piece, this ﬁrearm may just be the one to do it.
Buying a defensive ﬁrearm is a very personal choice because individual needs and likes vary. Therefore, this may not be the best ﬁrearm for you. The following is just my take on it …
As you can tell from its name, the CCP is designed for concealed carry. It's set to compete with the similarly sized Ruger LC9S, Smith & Wesson Shield 9 and the Glock 43. It competes in every manner, to include price, size, and capacity. Speaking of which, it is a single stack 9mm, striker-ﬁred, semi-automatic pistol; with a polymer receiver and a steel slide. This isn’t a comparison article, rather, the other ﬁrearm’s specs are included to provide a reference point.
S&W Shield 9
The size and weight of any firearm are not only crucial to its ability to be comfortably carried and concealed but is a large factor on how the ﬁrearm ﬁts in your hand and transfers recoil to your hands. As you can see, the CCP comes out as the largest and heaviest in the group, but is by no means a large ﬁrearm. In fact, for those who have some trouble getting a comfortable grip on some of the sub-compacts because of the short grip area, the CCP solves this with the added half inch or so.
The weight of the CCP is slightly more than the others, with an extra four ounces (on average) of weight, which is negligible and helps the gun feel very balanced. For some perspective, a deck of cards is about 3.5 ounces.
CAPACITY & IDPA POWER RATING:
IDPA Power Rating
Capacity is an important factor to consider in your EDC gun. All these ﬁrearms have decent capacity for a single stack 9mm option, but if you can squeeze an extra round or two into your ﬁrearm, it can only be considered a plus.
The IDPA Power Ranking is a fancy way of comparing the kinetic energy of the same bullet ﬁred from each different ﬁrearm. It is calculated by multiplying the muzzle velocity by the bullet weight and factoring in the length of the barrel.
As you can see, the capacity is higher, as is the Power Rating.
Perceived recoil is important in a number of different ways. First, and probably most obvious, extreme recoil is not an enjoyable aspect of shooting a ﬁrearm. Furthermore, the anticipation of this recoil can wreak havoc on accuracy and fundamentals.
Additionally, recoil or the ability to manage recoil is critical in a defensive pistol. This is because your shot placement, not caliber, determines the effectiveness of rounds on target. The more rounds you can place on a threat, the better chance you have of stopping it. A ﬁrearm with less recoil is easier to manage and thus, easier to follow up with well-aimed shots.
The Walther CCP has a design that is slightly heavier in weight and makes use of a delayed blowback system. Both of which help aid in recoil management. How does this differ from many other handguns on the market? Most semi-automatic handguns are recoil operated. Meaning, the pressure of the ﬁred cartridge powers the gun by cycling the slide to the rear. All of the built up pressure and gas exits the ﬁrearm through the muzzle. This escaping pressure causes the muzzle to rise.
The CCP, on the other hand, is designed with what the company refers to as “Soft Coil” Technology. The design is a gas-delayed blowback system, similar to the HK P7 or Steyr GB. This design uses a ﬁxed barrel and a gas piston. Some of the gas is bled off and routed to the piston, which opposes the backward motion of the slide. Once the bullet leaves the barrel, the pressure is released out of the muzzle.
This design sounds complex, but it is simple and extremely effective at reducing perceived recoil. The design is not without its downside. The gasses captured are extremely hot. Because of this, sustained shooting can quickly heat up the underside of the ﬁrearm directly in front of the trigger guard. In my experience, sustained shooting of about 75 rounds causes the area in front of the trigger guard to become uncomfortable.
This is an issue that can easily be managed and an absolute non-issue for the ﬁrearms intended for self-defense use (if you are in a 100+ round ﬁreﬁght with your CCP, it’s probably best to break contact and live to ﬁght another day).
As a side note, the gas-delay design allows the CCP to have a very light recoil spring installed. Why is this important? That heavy recoil spring is what makes the slide hard to operate for some women and elderly shooters. Because this spring is very light, the slide is incredibly easy to operate.
The controls (external safety or magazine release) on your EDC need to match your preference. For a number of reasons, some of you prefer not to have an external safety, while some of you want it on your EDC. Your personal preference, comfort, and level of proﬁciency with your ﬁrearm should dictate which route you choose. Going from a Glock 27 without an external safety, to the CCP, I have had to put in a lot of time practicing my draw technique.
I have been stubborn in speciﬁcally choosing ﬁrearms without an external safety, but not because the safety will drastically slow me down in presenting the ﬁrearm. In fact, with proper, repetitive and continuous practice, you can easily incorporate the sweeping off of the safety into your draw without adding any time. My stubbornness came from ergonomics and ﬁt of the ﬁrearm. Because of the size of my hands (smaller than average), I was never able to ﬁnd a ﬁrearm whose safety I could access without adjusting my grip or using my off hand.
Additionally, all the external safeties just did not feel responsive to my touch and were awkward, until now. The external safety on the CCP is superb. If I could put the safety anywhere on the CCP, I would have put it exactly where it is. It is easy to sweep on and off and its shape is not uncomfortable, likely to snag or to be inadvertently engaged or disengaged. Because I carry appendix/centerline, the ability to have an easily operated external safety with a striker ﬁred ﬁrearm, has been quite alluring. Although a ﬁrearm is only as safe as its operator, having an extra layer of safety can’t hurt.
The mag release is very tactile and is a great size. Like everything else on the gun, the magazine release was designed to be streamlined so as not to catch on a holster or clothing. It is sufﬁciently recessed, (but not overly), so as not to accidentally release the magazine. With a proper grip, I ran no risk of inadvertently depressing the mag release. Additionally, the mag release is ambidextrous and can be switched for a left handed shooter. The safety is only set up for a right-handed shooter, so I wouldn't call this a left-handed friendly gun. But again, the option to reverse the mag release is there.
Sights, Trigger, and Everything else:
Sights on a defensive pistol are still important, even though much self-defense shooting may be done without obtaining sight alignment or sight picture. My recommendation for sights on an EDC is to have the front sight something easily picked up by your eye. Very small 3 dot sights are not the best, but most defensive concealed carry pistols’ sights are minimalistic. As far as the CCP's sights are concerned, they are indeed minimalistic.
They leave a little to be desired, however, they are easily changed out and at least one large brand aftermarket sight manufacturer produces replacement sights for this concealed carry pistol. The rear sights are adjustable for windage, but out of the box, I found them to be spot on.
Trigger weight or pull, travel, and reset are all factors to take into consideration for any gun. The type of trigger pull you prefer on your ﬁrearm is likely as unique as the type of music you listen to. Trigger pull weight is just a portion of the trigger's equation, and the CCP’s trigger pull is 5.5 lbs. Having said that, it feels completely different from the 5.5 lb trigger pull on my Glock.
I ﬁnd that the trigger pull on the CCP is disappointing, not in a way that makes it difﬁcult to shoot accurately, but just differently from the super smooth triggers, I have felt on other Walther ﬁrearms. The trigger pull weight is great at just 5.5 lbs, but the travel and reset are quite long and just take a bit of getting used to. When I ﬁrst shot the CCP, I actually had a couple times when ﬁring rapidly, that I failed to let the trigger all the way out to it’s reset point. This is most likely due to me training extensively with a Glock trigger, whose reset is much shorter.
This was easily overcome, however, with some more trigger time–but is still worth noting. With this ﬁrearm having an external safety, I think Walther could have done a little more ﬁne tuning with the trigger and produced a trigger with much shorter travel and reset. Perhaps in the future, Walther will respond.
Ergonomics and finish are top notch on the CCP. This is possibly the most comfortable gun I have placed in my hand. It just seems to melt into my hand and every control feels like it is exactly where I need it to be. The styling is very nice and although I am not huge on the appearance of my EDC (heck, I carry a Glock), it is nice to see the attention to detail that went into the design and aesthetics of the gun.
I am not a big fan of any ﬁrearm that requires a tool for disassembly, and the CCP requires one. I like to be able to take my ﬁrearm apart with just my hands and nothing else. If you lose the tool you can still take the gun apart with a screwdriver, but it’s not ideal. Some people have reported the CCP is difﬁcult to take apart, but I had no issues or difﬁculty with it.
In fact, I ﬁnd it very simple, even though a tool is required. One thing to note about the takedown procedure is that the striker has to be forward for the ﬁrearm to be disassembled. This means the trigger has to be pulled prior to disassembly. Great care should be taken whenever disassembling a firearm to ensure you don't have a negligent discharge on your hands.
This gun was a very big surprise to me and I didn’t think I would like it this much. The trigger is probably the biggest gripe I have, however it is not something I would consider a deal breaker. Again, I have ﬁeld tested many different concealed carry handguns and think this really raised the bar for competition in its category.
The ergonomics are difﬁcult to describe, other than saying that it just ‘feels right’. This concealed carry pistol was easy to shoot and very accurate. The CCP held tight groups at distance and even though the sights are not ideal, were easy to acquire in the daylight. For a 9mm handgun in this size, the perceived recoil is transferred straight back, reducing the rise of the muzzle, translating into more controllability. The size and weight are perfect for concealed carry and the entire package Walther put together in the CCP really is a winner.
UPDATED ON AUGUST, 24, 2016
As I am not a salesman for Walther and merely want to provide you readers with the best information on the products I review, I wanted to update the article with one of the reader's experiences with his CCP. His chronicles are posted in the comments section of this article, but I wanted to address it in the body of the article as well. John purchased a Walther CCP based on research gathered from articles and reviews and personal experience with the gun.
Unfortunately, he had a myriad of feeding and extracting issues. The issues were occurring with different brand/grain ammunition, and with multiple magazines. John sent the firearm into Walther and they replaced the slide. Even after this John was experiencing feeding issues. John will keep the readers up to date in the comments section of this article.
I personally have not experienced the same problems John has experienced with his CCP and I am not posting this update to claim all CCP's are not reliable. I pride myself on keeping the reader informed and wanted to provide you with all the latest and greatest info I have on a product I review. I am sure there will be more to come.
If you were unaware, the CCP has been recalled for drop firing issues. You can find more information here, on their website.
If you have any experience with a CCP drop firing or any positive experiences, we want to hear about them in the comments below.