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Firearms

Head To Head: Walther PPS M2 vs FN Reflex

Both Walther and Fabrique Nationale are well-known names in the firearms industry, and both have trusted histories and some great firearms to their credit. Today, we’ll be pitting pistols from each of these manufacturers against each other to see if one is better than the other.

In full disclosure, I’ll start by clarifying that neither company sent us any pistols to test; these were private purchases by a friend and me. In all, three pistols were used in the test, and I’ll explain why later.

Walther

Walther was founded in 1886 by Carl Walther. In 1929, he invented the PP and PPK models. By 1938, the German government awarded Walther the contract for the P38 pistol. Over the years, Walther continued producing high-quality weapons, and they’re still manufacturing them today.

Fabrique Nationale

Fabrique Nationale (FN) was founded on July 3, 1889, to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 89 rifles for the Belgian government. In 1897, the company teamed up with the famous American firearms maker John Browning. Among others, one of the more well-known pistols that this team produced was the P-35 Hi-Power.

Unbeknownst to many, FN also used to manufacture cars, trucks, and motorcycles (you’re welcome for that bit of trivia). Today, the company produces weapons for the US military, including M-16s, M249s, M240s, and the M2 Heavy Machinegun.

The Pistols

Which pistols are up at bat today?

We’ll take a look at Walther’s PPS M2 and FN’s Reflex, both in 9mm and in the micro-9mm pistol category. Both pistols are some of the most recent work by these companies.

Walther PPS M2

Walther’s PPS M2 is a very slim, compact pistol that feeds from single-stack magazines. Seen here with the 7-round magazine inserted, the extension allows a satisfyingly full grip on the pistol. This was the favorite magazine for those testing the pistol. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Walther’s PPS M2 has a 3.2-inch barrel, an overall length of 6.3 inches, and a height of 4.4 inches. It is one inch thick, which makes carrying this pistol comfortable. The overall weight is a modest 19.4 ounces. The frame is polymer, with an internal steel chassis. Walther asserts that the steel chassis helps with slide-to-frame fit.

Grip

The pistol’s grip is slim but slightly elongated, so it’s not the tiniest grip on the market. That appears to be intentional in that it gives those with larger hands enough real estate to have a good grasp on the pistol.

The stippling around the grip allows a decent purchase but is not abrasive to skin or clothing. On the front of the grip are a couple of very subtle finger grooves to help lock the grip into the hand.

Trigger

We didn’t have a trigger gauge on hand to measure the trigger, but Walther states that it’s 6.1 pounds, which seems about right. Considering that this is a striker-fired pistol, there are no surprises, in that there is a smooth take-up, followed by a wall. When that wall breaks, it is pleasantly crisp. This trigger has the same blade-type safety that is found on Glock pistols, along with other internal safeties.

Magazines

The pistol reviewed had two magazines supplied with it: one holds six rounds, and the other holds seven rounds of 9mm. The seven-round magazine had an extended base plate installed, which gave enough room on the grip to support the little finger of the hand. Unfortunately, the six-round magazine left no place to put the little finger (it’s flush fit), and was my least favorite. Eight-round magazines are also available for the PPS M2. All magazines are single stack.

The magazine springs were extremely strong, and getting the last round in there was pretty difficult. Despite that, they functioned perfectly in the pistol, which is what really counts.

Accuracy & Performance

We tested the pistol at 10, 15, and 25 yards. It really shined out to 15 yards, but at 25, it was certainly still making good hits, especially considering its compact size. We kept the pace of firing fairly brisk, so there were no bench rest groups.

A shot group from the PPS M2.
Walther’s PPS M2 is a pleasingly accurate pistol, as this 15-yard rapid-fire group shows. (Photo: Jim Davis)

The Walther’s sights are very simple 3-dot sights with white dots. They are also metal, which is excellent. Overall, nothing to get excited about, but they’re more than adequate for the job they’re designed to do, with the dots being bright and easy to see.

The recoil/muzzle flip was a bit snappy, as expected from a micro-9 pistol, but nothing unusual. We were able to keep the pistol on target during rapid fire. The hand-filling grip certainly contributes to taming the recoil, and it’s not at all prohibitive. Walther also kept the bore axis fairly low on the PPS, which contributes to the controllability.

We fired the PPS with several types of ammunition, both FMJ and hollow point, and it all worked perfectly. The pistol was boringly reliable.

FN Reflex

FNH's Reflex 9mm pistol.
The FNH Reflex is a good-looking, compact pistol. Note the forward cocking serrations. Seen here with the 11-round magazine in place, it’s compact enough for easy concealed carry. (Photo: Jim Davis)

Introduced in April 2023, the FN Reflex weighs in at 18.4 ounces. Barrel length is 3.3 inches with an overall length of 6.2 inches and a height of 4.27 inches. The pistol is one inch thick.

Grip

The sides of the Reflex’s grip are stippled, and the texture is fairly rough. The front and back portions have squarish texturing. Between the squares and stippling, it not only gives a solid purchase but an interesting one that looks sophisticated. The grip really is comfortable.

Trigger

Here is where the FN pulled into the lead; the Reflex’s trigger is single action only and fired by an internal hammer. And it’s the only such single-action trigger of any Micro-9mm pistol that I’m aware of. As such, the trigger has some take-up that’s smooth, followed by the wall, which breaks very lightly and crisply. In fact, any lighter and it would be too light for a defensive pistol. The break is between 4.5 and 5.5 pounds. All in all, the trigger is superb.

Magazines

There are only two options for magazine capacity with the Reflex: 11 and 15 rounds. The 11-rounders are okay, though it would be nice if the base plate extension would give a little more length/support to the rear of the pistol’s grip so it wouldn’t dig into the shooter’s palm as much. The 15-round magazines also feature an extension, making the grip full-length. While the longer grip is really comfortable, it doesn’t make the pistol conceal very well. Something in between 11 and 15 rounds would be great (I’m thinking 13 rounds, like Springfield’s Hellcat 13-rounders).

Overall, the magazines are sturdy and well-executed.

Accuracy & Performance

This is one accurate pistol! We shot it at 10, 15, and 25 yards and were very impressed! The great trigger is likely a huge contributing factor in how easy it was to get excellent groups with the Reflex.

Shot group from the FN Reflex at 15 yards.
At 15 yards, rapid fire with the Reflex proved it to be a surprisingly accurate pistol. (Photo: Jim Davis)

FN put some very nice sights on the Reflex. They are 3-dot sights, and the two rear dots are white. The front sight features a tritium white dot in the center, with a bright orange circle around the dot, which really goes a long way toward being visible in all kinds of conditions. Unfortunately, the tritium in the front sight of my pistol was completely and utterly dead; it did not glow in the slightest in low light. This one slipped past the QC people at FN.

The Reflex is not overly snappy, and the recoil system efficiently keeps it manageable. People have come to expect a certain level of muzzle flip with micro-9mm pistols, which is justified. We’d say the Reflex’s muzzle flip is similar to the others we’ve tested so far.

However, the Reflex wasn’t overly reliable. We reviewed both my Reflex and one that belongs to a friend. His worked relatively well, in that it only suffered one stoppage and then seemed to work well enough. The Reflex that I owned suffered stoppage after stoppage. The rounds just would not chamber.

Figuring that it was ammunition-related, I tried several different brands of ammunition (mostly FMJ), including hollow points. Sadly, the pistol just would not feed most brands of ammunition.

The Comparison

Both pistols are roughly comparable in size and weight. As this is written, the Walther PPS M2 is available in gun shops for around $520, give or take. The Reflex is available for slightly under that price point.

Firing the Walther at the range.
Walther’s PPS M2 9mm pistol in action. The little Walther functioned perfectly and proved to be an accurate shooter. Although it’s a single-stack pistol without a huge magazine capacity, it’s very slim and carries nicely. (Photo: Jason Stimmel)

The Reflex’s lack of reliability (coupled with the fact that the front sight was defective) was extremely disappointing, not to mention a little shocking. We expected far more from FN, whose reputation is stellar. Most likely, this was just a lemon, which can happen from any company (we’ve experienced it before from other manufacturers). Which is a shame, because the ergonomics are very good and it’s amazingly accurate.

Walther’s PPS M2 chugged along without a single bobble during the entire test, which didn’t surprise us because that company also has a sterling reputation. The accuracy was extremely good as well. Some people might be a little turned off because the M2 is a single-stack pistol that doesn’t have a capacity in the double digits. However, we believe it’s still an excellent pistol that conceals very well. It is obviously very accurate.

We’re declaring the Walther to be the clear winner in this contest; it wasn’t even close.

The post Head To Head: Walther PPS M2 vs FN Reflex appeared first on The Mag Life.

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