New Tech vs. Old Tech: PPQ and Blackhawk Face Off

As many of you who follow my blog are well aware, I’ve developed a severe case of “PPQitis” as of late.  I seem to take this gun to the range with me on every trip, and am now convinced that it really will make my whites whiter and my teeth cleaner.

The PPQ is, at this point in time, the most consistently accurate autoloading pistol in my collection.  However, I have always felt I shoot better with a revolver than any self-shucker.  A fellow poster on the Walther forum got me thinking of a fun little test:  why not run the PPQ head to head with one of my wheelguns and see which is truly the best in my hands?

The PPQ was a given because, well, it’s the first up and best dressed of the slide guns.  But, which revolver?  I own three: a S&W 6″ 686, a S&W 4″ 67, and a Ruger Blackhawk 50th Anniversary .357.  While all are accurate, the Ruger has a trigger that can’t be beat (with a common little spring modification the pull is down to 2.5 pounds and crisp as a November morning).  And, it’s showed some remarkable accuracy during a couple range trips last year.  So, I figure, why not pick the old single action and pit it against the new polymer wonder?

I only had 30 minutes at the range today, so I had to move somewhat quickly through the session.  Mind you, I never claim to be a great shot.  Many are better than I.  But, I will say that when I look at the average range shooter’s targets next to mine, I usually don’t have a lot to be ashamed of.  My overall message is that better shooters will get more out of these guns than I.  However, my intent is to not show what a gun can do in a mechanical rest, but rather what they do in my hands.  All shooting was conducted unsupported using a two-hand grip (isosceles stance was the name of the game today).

Here’s what the Ruger and the PPQ did from 10 yards.  All groups were 5 shots each.  The Ruger’s will be easy to spot; I was using wadcutters (.38 special) so they look as if they were hit with a paper punch.

The Ruger delivered an average of 1.56″ groups, and the PPQ was an average 1.84″.  I will say the PPQ was definitely thrown off with one flyer I made in the upper right group; the flyer actually ended up on the top of the lower right target.  Regardless, the Ruger’s groups were consistently tighter… but not by much.

Next, I shot each handgun a total of 10 times at a single target from 50 feet.  Here’s what happened.

Both pistols performed admirably.  10 shots from the Ruger landed in a 5″ space.  10 shots from the Walther delivered an 8.25″ group.  But, remember… 10 shots, not five.  And You’ll notice I had a couple fliers with the Walther.  Not the gun’s fault, but they were there expanded the size of the group.

Finally, I shot each handgun five times at 25 yards.

The Ruger once again came out on top.  Well, in this case, it dominated.  4″ group at 25 yards vs. the PPQ’s 8″ group.  Of course, with the PPQ, I had a flyer but it still counts as part of the group size.  Notice that, just for fun, the Ruger decided to punch a couple holes in the center X… just to prove a point (“How ya like them apples, Walther?”).

Both of these pistols are spectacular and a blast to shoot.  The Ruger is a 50th Anniversary Blackhawk, meaning it has a frame size more similar to the original Blackhawks vs. the current production models.  The PPQ is, of course, one of my favorites.  But the results were clear:  in my hands, if I had to put the money on one shot in the “X” ring, I would open the loading gate, put one round in the Blackhawk, and hope for a steady hand and a little (well, a lot of) luck.

Shooting is so fun.  Thanks for reading!


About martowski

Garden-variety professional with one too many hobbies.
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