Walther PPS Observations:
I believe that by following these steps, 100 percent of the common issues that are associated with this handgun can be alleviated. That is, of course, if you are having any problems at all in the first place, most owners are not.
I compiled this list based on the ownership of two Walther PPS's, twenty five plus years as a "amateur gunsmith", many hours spent shooting and “smithing” on Walther PPS’s and being active in Walther forums.
This is a great firearm that needs a little extra attention during the break-in period and light lubrication of the disconnector.
Note: On a Glock this is called a "connector".
1) Very tight, close tolerance handgun. Probably the reason it is so accurate. It needs to be properly cleaned and lubed. (Don't all firearms!)
2) This handgun was designed for concealed carry. Though the accuracy is uncanny for a short barreled, medium to large caliber handgun, it is not a target gun and can become uncomfortable to shoot after many rounds. (Especially in .40 S&W)
3) Magazine springs are under outrageously high tension. A real thumb buster at first.
a) The magazine springs do break in after continued use. I always store mine fully loaded. (no, this does not weaken the spring, years of compressing and expanding wear out springs)
4) High magazine spring tension pushes up on the cartridges so hard, when new, that it slows the slide down and can cause feeding issues.
a) During break in, lightly grease or oil (lube) the underside of the slide area that moves across and picks up the cartridges. (Loading rail, do not confuse with the "feeding ramp" which is part of the barrel assy.)
b) Do not fully load the magazines for the first 50-100 rounds.
c) Many of us have even polished the entire loading rail with good results.
5) Disconnector induces drag on the slide during forward movement. This, and the partial cocking of the firing pin is the hesitation you feel in the slide before it goes into battery.
a) Apply a small dab of gun grease directly on the disconnector tab.
Disconnector location: Slide removed, located in the handgun frame, against the aft right slide rail.
Nickel or S.S. color. Marked with an "S" for standard or "H" for heavy trigger.
Disconnector function: a safety which prevents the pistol from firing in an "out of battery" condition when dropped. The disconnector resets the trigger bar so that the striker will be captured in half-cock at the end of the firing cycle.
b) Lube disconnector tang and area of slide that engages/disengages the disconnector. (Disconnector ramp)
c) The Walther manual doesn't tell you this but lube the disconnector in the area where the trigger bar slides across it. One very small drop of oil helps to smooth out the trigger and helps prevent the trigger from not resetting. This was a problem I had with my PPS. Lubing the disconnector permanently stopped this malfunction. This is a very important step! Don't skip it!
6) If necessary, polish the feeding ramp and top of chamber. Smoothes cartridge feeding function.
7) Find the backstrap size that you like and than don't remove it. It is not necessary to remove it for cleaning, just make sure the magazine is removed and the chamber is empty, point in a safe direction, than pull the trigger and remove the slide. Wow, just like a Glock! If you can't figure this out or do not like the Glock method, use the QuickSafe backstrap to decock the weapon.
8) These handguns normally hit low on the target due to the European style of sight picture, Point of Aim verses American style of 6 o'clock position. Don't know the difference? Look here:
9) Due to the short, narrow slide (lighter weight) this firearm is susceptible to "limp-wristing". Use a firm grip during trigger pull and proper follow through.
a) If you are experiencing feeding or extraction problems...stove piping, not going "into battery" fully, limp-wristing may well be the problem.
10) It is normal for the PPS recoil spring rod assembly to fit with very little compression. When the slide is on the frame, the recoil rod actually seats against an area inside the frame, not on the barrel lug. This puts more pressure on the spring after assembly.
You can tell this is happening by the way the slide moves forward about 1/4" when you release the slide from the frame for disassembly.
Make sure you are seating the small diameter spring end onto the second rounded step on the barrel and not on the first flat step. The second step usually puts just enough pressure on the recoil spring assembly to hold it in place during assembly.
Note: Most later model PPS’s, 2009 and higher, fit with more compression than the first few year models.
11) The Walther PPS uses a dual spring, dual stage recoil rod assembly. I have found that it benefits greatly to spray this unit lightly with a "dry" lubricant. There are many available on the market, use one that is recommended for use on plastics.
Gun manufacturers claim that plastic, dual stage guide rods are self-lubricating but a coating of a dry lube really smoothes them up and will not collect dirt.
12) Having problems installing the slide after removal:
You are pulling the slide back too far when you disassemble the weapon. A Glock slide can be pulled back quite a ways to release pressure on the take-down lever, a PPS can not. It only takes less than one quarter of an inch of rear slide movement and the disconnector engages. If this happens the slide can be removed (though it is a little hard on the cruciform) but the disconnector must be reset in order for the slide to be reinstalled. It can be reset by moving the trigger slightly forward or by pressing down directly on the cruciform.
13) Still having problems installing the slide assembly?
What you have is your striker hook hitting the ejector.
With the weapon unloaded, magazine removed and the slide removed, take a light and look into the magazine well as you try to install the slide assembly. You will see that the ejector (from your upside down point of view) has to slide under the hook on the firing pin (striker). If you torque or twist the slide over toward the left side of the frame (toward the slide stop lever) the ejector clears the hook and the slide assembly slips right on.
14) Dry fire practice with the Walther PPS.
This is real simple....use snap caps or risk breaking your striker guide by prolonged dry firing of the Walther PPS.
Proof: Unload and remove the slide assembly. Remove the recoil spring assembly and barrel. With the slide positioned to view the striker, push the striker forward to simulate firing while pushing down on the striker safety (striker safety is the silver button, part 7.1).
What stops the forward travel of the striker? Answer: The back part of the plastic striker guide (part 11.3)! Every time you dry fire this weapon, the striker, not being cushioned by a primer strike, is stopped by the plastic striker guide.
The guide has been reported as broken by a number of PPS owners on several forums over the years. Several have E-mailed me personally on the issue.
Occasional dry firing for Glock-style disassembly is not a problem but continued dry firing CAN and has damaged the PPS.
Hope this helps a few people out that are having issues.