Walther P5c (compact) range report
My new P5c arrived a short time ago, and I thought I would put up some first impressions and a report on it's first trip to the range....
The pistol comes in a very small and cheap plastic box. Very unbefitting for such a famous and expensive handgun. Included is the manual (auf Deutsch), test target, a plastic cleaning rod, and a spare magazine.
Opening the box revealed a beautiful pistol! Mine has wooden grips, which IMO give it a more refined look than does the plastic versions. My FFL dealer was amazed as well, having never seen one of these before. The pistol fills the hand well for a compact sidearm. It's grip length is shorter than a P7, but still long enough for fingers three through five. In fact, the overall size is within a few tenths of an inch of that of the P7, with the exception of thickness (P5c a bit thicker, mostly due to the wood grips). The straight backstrap is checkered, and the frontstrap has vertical grooves.
An interesting thing about the pistol is that the slide release lever is also the decocker. Pushing down once releases the open slide. Push down again and it decocks the hammer. The hammer is more of a nub and looks rather odd when cocked, but it is easy to use. Cocking the hammer is easier than our CZ85, and it has no half-cock notch (doesn't need one). The magazine release is located behind the trigger guard, which is different from the regular P5 which has the heel release. The rear sight is screwdriver adjustable for windage, and the sights are of the single white dot over bar variety. There is no safety, which is not uncommon in a double-action pistol. There is no magazine safety.
Taking the P5c apart reveals how complicated some of the parts are, particularly the barrel assembly. The barrel and locking mechanism has the appearance of being a very complicated piece of machinery. I can't imagine how many steps it took to machine the two pieces that make up the barrel assembly. The slide also seems to be more complicated that most others as well. Now I can understand why they are so expensive. Field stripping is about the easiest that you will find, even easier than a Glock. Remove the magazine, press the muzzle down on the table, flip the takedown lever, and pull the slide off the frame. Since there is no guide rod/spring, the barrel just falls right out of the slide.
The recoil springs are located along the sides of the frame, rather than around or under the barrel. There are two springs, one on each side of the frame. The P5 is unusual in that the barrel and slide both move straight rearward upon firing, then the barrel unlocks from the slide and stops, while the slide continues rearward. IOW the barrel moves, but doesn't tilt to unlock. Since the barrel moves rearward with the slide, it's not possible to do a press/pinch-check. The feedramp is built into the frame. The ejection port is on the left, so of course the empties eject to the left.
The pistol was cleaned and then lubed with regular gun oil on the frame/barrel/slide mating surfaces, and Tetra Gun Spray on the mechanism.
Shooting the pistol was a great pleasure, however there were a few hiccups. I had six or seven ejection/feed failures in the 100 rounds fired. I only had regular Blazer on hand (my other autos eat that stuff up, and as it's the cheapest good ammo in these parts, I always have some on hand), so I don't know if this was due to the pistol or the ammo. Felt recoil was about what one would expect for a pistol of this weight. Mags drop free when released.
The trigger was very interesting. The double-action pull was pretty average - very similar to our CZ85, but not nearly as nice as that on my Colt Detective Special. Not greatly smooth, but not exactly gritty either. It has only a hint of stacking at the very end of the pull. The single-action pull however is a very different animal. I would characterize it as a three-stage pull. The first stage is short, has no weight, and just takes up some slack. The second stage lifts up the rear of the firing pin, then comes to a stop. The third stage releases the sear. Sounds unusual to be sure, but the third stage is fairly light and crisp. The last stage has less travel and requires less pressure than does the second stage of my P7PSP. When firing slowly, the crisp letoff seems to be conducive to accuracy.
And accurate this pistol seems to be. I didn't shoot for maximum accuracy, but I did shoot it enough to get a good feel for it, and I'm impressed. The reason why I'm impressed is because the barrel is so short. In fact, it has the shortest barrel I've ever seen in an auto of this general size. It is downright stubby, with the rifled portion just under 2.5" in length. I just didn't think that a pistol with a barrel this short would group so well, however the best group shot that day was with the new P5c. I'm sure that part of this is because the trigger letoff is so much better than our Glocks, H&K's, (other) Walther's and CZ's. I think that with some practice, I could consistently outshoot my P7, whose trigger is not as nice (but still pretty decent in it's own right). The P5c shot to point-of-aim at about seven yards, so I did not adjust the sights at all. Here is a pic of the barrel, underneath a Sig 225 barrel.
Overall I'm very happy with this new pistol. It's about the perfect size for all-round use - not too big, not too small, not too heavy. I think it is the most handsome of my sidearms, probably due to the wooden grips and the fact that I don't consider our Glocks, Sigs, and other Walthers to be handsome at all. I won't carry it concealed however, as I don't want to put the holster wear on it, and because the G26 makes a better CCW for my purposes anyway. However, if I could only have one centerfire auto, this would be it. I used to say that about my P7, but now the P5c resides on the top shelf in the gun safe.
thanks for reading this far,
Addendum: Second range session, this time with WWB and UMC ammo. Approx. 250 rounds fired without any type of failures. Then went back to Blazer and had a few FTF's. Therefore, it seems that it doesn't like Blazer, but does just fine with regular brass-cased ammo.