Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its various firearms, ammunition, and sports! Last week, we talked about the reliability or unreliability of rimfire cartridges. While there was a lot of disagreement over just how reliable .22LR was on its own, most of you agreed that more premium ammo tended to be more reliable including hotter offerings like .17HMR, .17HM2, and of course, .22WMR. Walther recently released the new WMP (Walther Magnum Pistol) chambered in .22WMR and today on The Rimfire Report we’ll be taking a closer look at it to assess how this newest addition to the rimfire market functions and feels.
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The Rimfire Report: Walther WMP 22WMR Pistol Review
The Walther WMP comes standard in a plastic foam-lined case with various optics mounting plates for RMR, Shield, Docter, and Vortex Venom red dot optic footprints. Additional hardware is also included to accommodate the various heights in optics. I, unfortunately, discovered that the optics mounting plates were unlabeled meaning you have to fumble through all of them to find one that is the correct pattern for your optics. This is a small issue and one that is easily overcome for an experienced firearms owner, however, I think it could lead to a lot of confusion for a novice gun owner.
The pistol comes standard with two 15-round magazines each featuring a steel liner with a polymer outer sleeve. The pistol is also available in a 10-round version for restrictive states. The WMP pistol does come stock with a pair of plastic rear blacked-out serrated sights in two different heights. The gun features a nonadjustable orange fiber optic front sight. It is worth noting that neither of the two included iron sight options is capable of co-witnessing with any of the optics I tried on this pistol as they are not quite suppressor/optics height.
The WMP’s frame also incorporates a 5-slot dust cover Picatinny rail, and completely ambidextrous controls featuring both button and paddle-style magazine release options. The pistol’s barrel is not fixed but instead uses something similar to what the FN 502 .22LR rimfire pistol uses and features a removable non-tilting barrel.
For those still curious, the WMP is in fact an Umarex-made product and features the Three Crowns roll mark of the Cologne proof agency for Arnsberg where Umarex makes their guns. If it were produced by Walther proper, it would feature the Stag or Antler roll mark indicating it was produced in Ulm. To keep it short and simple, I feel like the WMP is a drastic improvement in terms of production quality, and features when it comes to the .22WMR market which is wholly underserved when it comes to semi-auto pistol options.
I was able to get ahold of a small variety of .22WMR ammunition for testing and in total, I fired about 500 rounds through the pistol for this review. Right now, .22WMR is still a bit more expensive than it used to be and still goes for about $25-$30 for a 50-round box. None of the ammunition I tested seemed to have any effect on the overall operation of the pistol. Hotter ammunition like CCI Maxi-Mags will produce a visible flash which is quite impressive to look at in low light conditions and could be a fun way to ring in independence day for the whole family before the fireworks start.
I did have a grand total of 4 malfunctions: two of those were failures to feed with the round getting caught up as it was entering the chamber. In one case, using 40-grain Armscor .22WMR ammunition, the slide failed to lock open on the last round – this, however, could be attributed to my thumbs tendency to cover both the memory pad on the gun and part of the slide. One final malfunction happened when the pistol failed to strip another round from the magazine and feed it into the gun.
All of these malfunctions happened within the first 100-rounds fired from the pistol and I experienced no malfunctions of any kind with the remaining 8 boxes of .22WMR I fired through the pistol. My good friend Dave (22Plinkster) had much better results than I did with his WMP chewing through every type of ammunition he threw at it without a hiccup.
The .22WMR cartridge is a very accurate one. At a distance of 25-yards at my home range, I was able to get groups of about 1-2 inches when shooting from a bag on a table – the mechanical accuracy is there. Shooting from a free-standing position wasn’t difficult either and the recoil of the gun wasn’t bad at all despite the added mass of the RMR. In fact, with the addition of the Streamlight X300U-A, I would have to say it is probably the lightest recoiling .22WMR pistol I’ve fired. This could be a huge positive for those who are recoil sensitive or who may need to make quick follow-up shots on predatory animals on the farm, ranch, or homestead.
Out of curiosity, I took an entire magazine to try and shoot a 10″ plate at about 50 yards and was able to get a couple of hits on it shooting freehand. At this distance, all the misses I think were entirely me and probably the dot I was using (RM04 features a 7-MOA dot). A smaller dot would be far more suitable for these types of distances and I’m confident that a more competent marksman could easily land 15-shots on target unsupported.
Handling and Ergonomics
The Walther WMP feels good in the hand and this shouldn’t be a surprise with a pistol coming from Walther. It is a full-sized pistol rivaling my Beretta M9A3 in size and although the grip isn’t flat like a 1911 or a Glock, it also doesn’t feature any actual finger grooves and instead uses a wavy sort of front strap which is a blend of both I suppose. The controls layout is odd and satisfies both those who like paddle magazine releases and those who prefer button-style releases. I noticed that right out of the box, the paddle releases both functioned flawlessly, but the button releases stuck a little bit and took a little bit of breaking in to operate smoothly. I think options are always good and having 4 different magazine release options that don’t interfere with one another is a huge plus in my book.
As stated earlier, the WMP doesn’t recoil very aggressively which is good for making quick follow-up shots and staying on target. However, I did notice that I experienced quite a bit of blowback from the pistol when using CCI Maxi-Mags and if I were not wearing eye protection it could possibly turn into an issue – once again this isn’t an issue for most experienced shooters but I could see a new shooter being turned off by this.
Finally, we come to the trigger. This is where I have some pretty major issues with the WMP. Before even going to the range, I wanted to test the WMP’s claimed 4.5-lb trigger pull. My pistol did better than the advertised 4.5-lbs and weighed in at a touch under 4 lbs with a 3-lb 14-oz trigger pull. This is just about right for a single-action pistol. My personal issues with the trigger have to do with just about everything else.
I feel like since the WMP is a hammer-fired single-action pistol, it should naturally have a pretty good trigger. The trigger has a small amount of slop before a noticeable takeup of about 1/4″ and also has no clearly defined wall. Once the trigger is prepped and you start to feel the sear engagement, you’ll notice that there is about an additional 1/8″ or so of creep before the trigger will break. Coming back there is very few audible and tactile reset indicators. The trigger resets at nearly the same distance as the entire length of pull. As a final note, the triggers safety blade is a touch too narrow for the width of the WMP’s trigger.
If you don’t have a good grip on the pistol or you have smaller hands or shorter fingers, I think you’ll run into issues with the safety blade not being properly engaged, and then you’ll wind up with a frustrating time having to readjust your grip and where your finger first starts to engage the trigger. For me, I found that it worked best when I moved my trigger finger so that the first crease lined up perfectly with the blade safety on the trigger. Other methods do work but there are instances where the rest of your finger can start to pull the trigger shoe rearward before the blade safety has been engaged and this can lead to a messy and inconsistent trigger pull.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
I am mostly satisfied with the Walther WMP. Outside of a handful of single-action revolver options, there really aren’t many semi-automatic .22WMR pistols on the market so I have to give credit to Walther for taking a leap of faith and producing a new semi-automatic option that competes directly with the PMR-30. I would say overall, the Walther WMP is more reliable, has a better overall feature set, and really only loses on capacity and the trigger.
There are two foreseeable markets that I think the WMP serves and if I am wrong or there are ones that I don’t mention please let me know down in the comments. The first of these two groups is those who are just rimfire junkies and want something with a bit more power than .22LR but isn’t quite as powerful as a 9mm centerfire pistol. The WMP could be used as a way to bridge the gap between .22LR and 9mm, and 22WMR is offering power similar to that of some smaller centerfire pistol calibers meaning that it has better potential as a home defense weapon for those who are recoil sensitive. For anyone else, both the relative cost of .22WMR ammunition and the wider array of options for centerfire calibers makes the WMP a better range toy than a self-defense weapon.
The other use that I see for the WMP is a far more practical one and it has entirely to do with varmint hunters or those who work on a farm, ranch, or live on a homestead and have to deal with pests like coyotes, groundhogs, squirrels, foxes, and prairie dogs. The .22WMR is a great choice for this application and I found the WMP to be accurate enough that taking an unsupported shot at something as small as a prairie dog wouldn’t be too much of a hassle, and would also be much more convenient than lugging around a rifle on a sling – the ability to mount a light on the weapon is an added bonus for knocking out pest critters during the early morning or waning hours of the day.
So to wrap things up in a nice bow, I think that the WMP is a good place to start for Walther’s first venture into the .22WMR pistol market. I think with a few improvements made to the sights, and the trigger, we’d have a very desirable option that would be the new gold standard for .22WMR pistols. However, if you’re not a trigger snob and only like to run red dots on pistols, I think the WMP is already an easy buy if you’re considering a .22WMR pistol as it’s virtually the same price as the PMR-30 and is, in my opinion, a far better pistol as it exists now.
As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on what you’ve seen so far from the Walther WMP .22WMR pistol. Did my results surprise you or is this what you had expected from a new .22WMR pistol option? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below and thanks as always for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report! We’ll see you all next week!
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