Need vs Service: The What and Why Behind Choosing the Best Pistol for You

The following is a guest post from Michael Denmon.  Michael is a Dad who is working on being a better man, one project at a time. Catch up with his latest attempts at Dad Level Viking.

We are currently living in interesting yet uncertain times.  With uncertainty comes panic.  And with panic comes bad judgement.

I purchased my first pistol many years ago.  I didn’t have much experience with pistols at that time, but I wanted one for home protection, “just in case.”  The Taurus Millennium Pro PT145 (.45 caliber) semi-automatic pistol seemed to fit my needs, so I purchased the gun without even shooting it first.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have a need and make a panic buy.  You jump at the opportunity to meet the need, sometimes with success but mostly with regret.

The gun went mostly unused for a couple of reasons.  First, the gun was too small for my hands.  It felt like the pistol would disappear and then squeeze out between my fingers if I tried to wield it.  The grip didn’t sit comfortably, and I couldn’t get good leverage for operating the slide, which led to me feeling like I couldn’t operate the gun safely, which was reason number two for rarely using the pistol.  I was raised to operate a gun with utmost safety in all instances, and if I didn’t feel safe with a gun, I wouldn’t want to use it.

Enter the Walther Arms PDP DE 9MM semi-auto.

Fast forward many years and I decided to buy a pistol I felt comfortable with using, so I went to my local gun shop and spoke with the experts.  I narrowed down candidates to just a few front runners and then did a deep dive on their technical specifications and the thoughts of others who had used them.  I then took the time to handle each one and make sure they fit me well, and I felt comfortable operating them.  After that, it was time to test fire them for functionality, accuracy, and overall service to my own needs.  The Walther DE hit all the points I was looking for, and so I made the purchase.  Here is my feedback on the two weapons.

Fit

The Taurus is just too small for my hands.  My palms are meaty, and I can’t even fit my pinky finger on the grip, so the gun just seems to get swallowed up within my grasp.  The Walther is not built as a compact weapon, so the grip length and overall gun length are longer and better fit my hands.  While the Taurus may fit better as a concealed carry weapon, it doesn’t inspire confidence in my hands so it doesn’t really serve me as a concealed carry.  Someone with smaller hands may very well prefer it though.

Functionality

When it comes to functionality, I look at caliber size and usability in multiple environments.  A compact .45 pistol has significantly more recoil than a larger sized 9MM pistol, reducing control from my hands and arms.  The Walther 9MM is therefore easier to control.  I like the magazine release better on the Walther as well, as it is reversible, lending itself to use from left-handed and right-handed shooters.  Texturing is another advantage for the Walther over the Taurus.  The grips and the slide all have very tactile serrations and knurling on the PDP, which lends itself to being easier to hold in non-perfect positions or wet or cold environments.

Accuracy

With a longer barrel comes greater accuracy.  The Walther, being a longer barrel gun, has the advantage when it comes to accuracy.  However, comparing 9MM accuracy to .45 accuracy isn’t entirely fair.  I will also add that the difference in better pricing and availability of the 9MM ammunition should lend itself to more range time, and therefore, better accuracy.  Trigger pull is another advantage for the PDP, which also lends itself to better accuracy for the average shooter.  I would dock points on the Walther for its factory-standard sights, however.  The good news is that if your finances allow it, there are many after-market options available to make this an easy upgrade.

Service

When it comes to how well a weapon serves my needs, I am looking at how well the weapon suits my abilities to protect myself, my family, and my property, apart from the ability to carry.  When comparing the Taurus and Walther I have at hand, I feel that the Walther best fits my needs and abilities. 

One aspect of the Walther is that I don’t believe it would be as comfortable for my wife to use should she need to.  Her hands are decidedly smaller than my own, so the Taurus could potentially be the better fit.  The caliber size does come into play though, with a 9MM probably being easier for her to shoot with the reduced recoil and its effects on her small frame.

Overall, I am happy with my purchase of the Walther PDP.  At the weapon’s cost point, I feel like it is a very hard model to top. In the future I may take that next step into higher-end offerings, but for now, I feel confident in my protection of myself and my family.

Do you own either of these weapons or have any thoughts on what Michael shared? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

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