And The “F” Stands For …


The Walther PDP-F pistol has a number of features that will not only apply to women,
but also those with arthritis or weakened hands. With an easy-to-rack slide and 15+1
capacity in 9mm, it should have widespread appeal. Image: Walther Arms

The recent introduction of the Walther PDP-F pistol is seen largely on the gun-related internet as “a handgun for ladies.” Designed with a short reach of the index finger to the trigger — and for less pressure to be required to retract the slide to the rear and charge the handgun — it certainly fits the profile.

I sit here now at my keyboard, with a Walther PDP-F pistol on by desk — 9mm, 3.5″ barrel, two 15-round magazines complete with a mag-filling tool. The PDP designation stands for Performance Duty Pistol. The “F” suffix stands for … um … well, let’s talk.

I’ve just returned from an afternoon at the range with a focus group that encompassed male and female, small to large and ages from 20s to 70s.

Without exception, everyone who shot the PDP-F liked it, and therein lies a “Tale related to sale.”

“F” Is For Female

Every gun dealer has run across the female customer who wants a semi-auto pistol but has trouble working the slide. It’s a simple act: On average, women have less upper body strength than men of the same height. Walther focused on this with the PDP-F. Consider the following features.

A claimed 20% reduction in effort required to rack the slide — the redesign which makes this possible includes a two-piece striker.

Lengthened, ambidextrous slide stop levers — these make it easier for shorter digits to lock the slide open during both training and routine administrative handling.

Great big slide-grasping grooves provide better hand traction — bearing in mind a petite female’s fingers will be about one digit shorter in overall length than those of an average size male, unusually short trigger reach is a hallmark PDP-F feature (as is the surprisingly slim grip circumference considering the pistol’s 15-round magazines).

“Look at the hands of your customer. If they appear to be twisted out of shape, steer them toward a pistol like the PDP-F.”

The PDP-F is set up to mount a carry optic — which gives additional leverage for activating the slide.

Finally, a ledge-configuration rear sight is present — which can be “hooked” on the edge of belt or holster to retract the slide one-handed, a universally applicable combat feature for worst case “wounded defender” scenarios.

And, of course, it has the easy trigger pull for which striker-fired Walthers have become justly famous. (Curiously, the flare at the rear of the slide, introduced by Taurus a few years ago and seen on the HK VP9 and some other pistols, is not present on the PDP-F.)

Walther’s marketing thrust is definitely toward the female sector. On the landing page promoting this new pistol on Walther’s website (, the company has some very short — and very effective — videos on this pistol done by top female instructors in the field, such as Tatiana Whitlock. If you have a TV playing in the background in your shop, consider downloading these!

That said, though, the F-Series won’t appeal to just the female market.

”F” Is For Fogey

Yes, I’m old — so this gives me license to say the (other) F-word: “Fogey.”

I started shooting semi-auto pistols at age 9 or 10, and 1911s at age 12. At this writing, I’m 73 … and have suffered from arthritis for more than half of my life. I’m one of your many potential customers who appreciate a semi-auto pistol expressly designed to make it easy to run the slide.

A sales tip here: Look at the hands of your customer. If they appear to be twisted out of shape, steer them toward a pistol like the PDP-F. They’ll thank you for giving them something that works for them, and your accountant will thank you for what you’ve added to your shop’s bottom line.

“F” Is For Fouled-Up Hands

The grandmother had recently injured the thumb of her non-dominant hand; the hand that runs the slide. She racked the PDP-F and said delightedly, “It’s easy!”

One of the septuagenarian males said, “Yup, runs easy.” The other — me — didn’t find it quite as easy as some others in the same product category, but certainly didn’t have trouble with it.

“Weakened hands are not the exclusive province of age or gender.”

Weakened hands are not the exclusive province of age or gender. Whether it’s an elderly hand, an arthritic hand or an injured hand, there are a great many of your customers out there who can’t “rack the slide of a semi-auto” as briskly as a young Marine recruit at Parris Island. Keep in mind: Any customer of any gender who fits this profile is a candidate for a semi-auto pistol with an easy-to-run slide!

Look how well Smith & Wesson’s EZ series has sold playing on its cardinal feature, ease-of-slide operation. The PDP-F’s feature set takes this concept one more step forward, and does so with a 15-round magazine capacity and a competitive price.

Once its features are explained to the clientele above, you can expect the Walther PDP-F to be rotating quickly from showcase to sales

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